As a specialist marketing consultant for financial planners, Susie Munro looks at many financial advice websites. Unfortunately, none of them impress her.
“I’ve never seen a financial adviser’s website that resonated with me as a consumer,” Munro says.
The problem, she explains, is that they all look the same, which makes it incredibly difficult for clients to know what makes each firm special.
“It’s very hard for someone choosing a financial adviser to differentiate between them,” she says, “when all they see is stock photos of grey-haired and tanned old folks in white linen walking along the beach, hand in hand.”
Munro implores advisers to abandon the stock photos and cliched images in favour of real pictures of themselves and their clients, which are more likely to strike a chord with prospective clients.
Another common mistake is to splash overused terms all over the website.
“Getting your financial house in order” is one of the worst phrases I see. No client has ever said, ‘I want to see a financial planner because I want to get my financial house in order,’ ” she says. “A lot of advisers also talk about certainty, which may be good but isn’t an impactful message until you explain what it means, such as paying off the house.”
The other word Munro disavows is ‘we’.
“Talk to your clients, not about your firm,” she says. “Use a lot of ‘you’ language instead of ‘we’ language. If you’re saying we a lot, you might need to restructure what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.”
Munro runs Sixpence Media, whose own website promises “targeted messaging + non-salesy marketing for fee-for-advice financial planners”. She says advisers need to be clear about whom their ideal client is before they create a content plan for their site.
“The good thing is that when you do know your ideal client, you can be very clear with the language you use,” she says.
Munro believes many planners cast their net too wide, which dilutes their message; however, this doesn’t mean they need to narrow their focus down to a small, predetermined niche.
“A niche doesn’t have to be just a profession, or small business owners or something like that, it can be people who have a particular mindset or play a sport,” she explains. “It doesn’t have to be a traditional niche.”
Website architecture should also be considered, Munro advises.
“You can’t talk about holistic financial planning and say you’re not about money or products, then have services, superannuation and insurance tabs,” she says. “It’s a mismatch.”
Munro appreciates that many advisers create website content themselves, which isn’t their core competency. For those struggling with the task, she has a message.
“Focus on what the client wants and needs,” she says. “Show two things: empathy and some level of authority. Let them know it’s OK to not be at the financial point in their lives where they thought they would be. Talk to them about their problems instead of saying, ‘We’re a firm with 30 years of experience.’ That’s not important to them.”
TOPICS: professional and functional websites