Rocket Talk: Is Your Website Mobile Responsive?

The move towards mobile has passed the tipping point. There are now more people accessing your marketing material on mobile devices than traditional desktop computers. Are you 100% sure your website is displaying correctly across all of these devices? Join Raudel Sanchez and Kirk Faulkner as they discuss the benefits of a mobile-optimized design and what you can do to make sure you have one.

3 Things A Graphic Designer Can Do For Your Marketing

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a graphic designer is worth their asking price. We live in a visual age where people who once read newspapers cover-to-cover now get their current events fix from scrolling headlines and Tweets.

Even in Hollywood, blockbuster movies need dynamic posters to sell tickets. The same rules apply to financial advisors. In this increasingly digital age, visual communication has become a key component for gaining new business.

Simply put, graphic design lays the visual foundation of your online presence. As your bold and expressive introduction to prospects, graphic design encompasses everything from your company logo and your newsletter lead image to the snazzy photo accompanying your latest LinkedIn blog.

Just as you might have a personal assistant or a marketing expert in your firm, now is the time to consider adding a graphic designer to your roster.

Here are 3 Things A Graphic Designer Can Do For Your Marketing:

1.   Create Consistency and Client Confidence

As a financial advisor, you operate in an ever-evolving market where no two days are alike. A graphic designer can create a sense of consistency that reflects your company’s vision and reinforces your commitment to clients. When your firm’s communications have a reliable aesthetic, you create a subconscious rhythm that assures your clients: “no matter what the market’s doing, we have your back.”

On the flip side, consistency engineered by a graphic designer can also give your team a sense of unity. There’s a reason art galleries exist and “word galleries” do not. People get excited by pictures, and when your team is proud to share a new post or newsletter because of the stylish graphics attached, that’s a win-win for office enthusiasm.

Graphic design has the unique ability to excite employees and clients alike.

2.   Attract Prospects (and Cultivate Clients)

When Best Buy released their new logo earlier this year, they made headlines across social media and news outlets. Their fresh design put them front and center with loyal customers and former buyers alike.

Hiring a graphic designer can represent a fresh start for your firm. While the inside of your office may stay the same, upgrading the quality of your outbound marketing materials effectively tells your audience: “we’re back and better than ever.” Beyond retirement-age clients, if you are looking to attract young professionals to your firm, graphic design could be your silver bullet. GIFs and graphic design work are like a second language for millennials. Start adding strong visuals to your content marketing and get ready: younger clients will come calling.

In general, prospective clients of all ages are far more likely to consider your services based on your design alone. In fact, 75% of user judgment on your business’s credibility is directly based on the graphic design you employ.

When 3 of 4 people hire or fire depending on your materials’ appearance, it may be time to start Googling a graphic designer.

3. Align (and Enhance) Your Brand Identity

Verbally describing the advantages of your firm can be challenging, but a graphic designer can help capture the ineffable. The sleek Nike swoosh and half-eaten Macintosh apple are billion-dollar representations of an idea.

When you work with a graphic designer, you gain the expertise of a digital artist in command of a branding toolbox that can help you carve your niche in the marketplace. While developing your logo (the visual foundation of your online presence), a graphic designer can help you build a cadence of images year-round. From light-hearted social media posts to information-packed blogs, graphic designers can capture the essence of your message and sell it in a split second.

They can also bring important doses of humor into an otherwise serious business. While your clients respect you and your team as financial experts, a graphic designer can use their craft to help you build a more personable online persona.

Conclusion

Graphic design can do wonders for your business. Beyond enhancing brand identity and attracting new clients, it is widely demonstrated to increase user engagement across all platforms. When people are intrigued by your images, they will inevitably click on links to absorb your content, peruse your website, and ultimately contact your office.

Rocket Talk: How to Work With a Designer to Get Great Visuals

 

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to get the benefits of great design. You just need to learn how to collaborate with a designer to get the best visuals for your website possible. In this episode of Rocket Talk, Kirk Faulkner and Raudel Enrique sit down and talk about the ways that you can make sure your experience working with a designer is not only fruitful but fun as well!

These Four Website Tweaks Will Change The Way Visitors See Your Site

We don’t have to tell you the importance of having a website in today’s marketing age. But, simply having a website isn’t the final step. Your website must be engaging, user-friendly, and lead-generating. Let’s look at four simple tweaks you can implement today to take your website from flat to fantastic.

Making it Responsive

Mobile traffic continues to surge in popularity and if your website isn’t mobile-responsive, you are likely losing many visitors and potential clients. There are few things worse in the marketing space than a website that doesn’t display correctly on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

All Advisor Launchpad websites are built with mobile in mind. Our Concierge and Exclusive themes look beautiful on all different screen sizes and translate well on Apple’s iOS, Androids, and other operating systems.

Make it Stylish

This one comes down to personal preference, but there are common design trends that must be considered when building your site. Your website designer will understand terms like “white space,” “user experience,” “typography,” and more, but all you need to know is that design matters!

Check out this article we wrote about some do’s and don’ts of website design for financial advisors for a few more guidelines.

Make it Easy to Navigate

Piggybacking on design, the navigation of your website is one of the most important things to consider when thinking about usability. A simple navigation is a successful navigation because you want your website viewers to be able to get the information they need quickly and easily without getting lost in your site.

Our Advisor Launchpad sites have parent navigation (the navigation items on the top) and child navigation (the items that fall below). Some websites may have grandchildren navigation items that go one step further, but this can get a little convoluted if not used correctly.

Make it Legible

There are many rules to follow when writing and designing your website content. Writing for the web is a lot different than writing other long-form pieces such as newspaper articles or books. Attention spans are shorter, the content goes into less depth, and website visitors don’t read every single word.

So what does that mean for your website? When creating your copy, make your paragraphs short and focused, only use one of two different fonts, and create division in your content with headers, sub headers, and bullet points. These tweaks will make your website much more legible and increase conversions and leads.

Is your website up to today’s design standards? Meet with a marketing expert today to find out!

Want to Integrate Robo-Platforms on Your Site? Read This First!

Robo-advising technologies are gaining more popularity and how to properly market them has become a question many financial advisors are wondering. Marketing robo-platforms is a sticky situation because you want to highlight the advantages of technology while also promoting your own value.

Here are four things to do before integrating a robo-platform onto your Advisor Launchpad site:

Understand the different types of robo-advising technology

Not all robos are made equal, and deciding which platform is best for your firm is the first step in implementing a strategy (this article from IRIS does a good job of laying out the basic types of robo-technology options). Here is a quick synopsis:

  • If you would like to remain in charge of your technology’s look and feel, you may consider building a robo-advisor front-end and use APIs to tie in an existing BD. This option will still need guidance from an IT team, but it is a less expensive option than building something from scratch.
  • For advisors looking for complete customization and maximum control, you can build a robo advisor from scratch. The cons of this option are that it is the most costly and will require professional help from an IT expert.
  • Integrate a third-party software into your website, such as Riskalyze and eMoney Advisor. This option gives advisors the least amount of customization options, but is also the easiest and the cheapest.

Choose the technology platform that is right for your firm

After understanding the basics, you should choose which robo-platform is best for you. Ask yourself what do you want to accomplish with this offering and what benefits it provides your clients. These are great questions to get you started in your search for the perfect robo.

Some of our favorites, and ones that can easily be integrated into Advisor Launchpad sites, include RiskalyzeeMoney AdvisorHiddenLeversNest Egg Guru, and Advizr.

Market your technology in a client-centric way

You may have been drawn to the robo-tech of your dreams because of its fancy bells and whistles, a long list of features, and the nitty gritty details of what makes it great. But when marketing the platform to your clients, put yourself in their shoes. At the end of the day, they might not care about what makes your tech the hottest on the market. They care about how it will benefit them and help them pursue their goals.

This is the position that the majority of your marketing materials should take – client-centric and focused on their needs. For example, eMoney provides clients the opportunity to see a living, breathing financial plan. There are plenty of features that you could list on your site, but simple is better and you only need to answer one question: how does this piece of technology help your clients?

Highlight the complementary relationship between human and computer

Many financial advisors struggle with marketing their robo-advisory services because they don’t want to devalue themselves. You may think “if I have a risk tolerance software on my site, why wouldn’t a client just use that?”

But on the contrary, having a robo-offering actually complements your firm. Then, your clients can enjoy the concierge, high-touch support of a human advisor and the efficiency of technology. When marketing this offering, highlight this advantage and how your financial advising clients can enjoy the best of both worlds.

The above are just a few ways to market robo-advisory strategies. What technologies do you use, and how do you market them?

The Difference Between Traffic and Conversions (Plus 5 Ways to Increase the Latter!)

If you’ve been studying your Google Analytics, you may have noticed a metric called “website traffic.” But what is the difference between website traffic and website conversions? Should you focus your energy on one more than the other?

The Difference Between Traffic and Conversions

Simply, website conversions are like leads. They are website visitors who have taken action and become more than just a passive bystander. Whether they filled out a form on your site, reached out to you through email, or contacted your office, they took that next step. These are considered conversions. The two metrics, traffic and conversions, are similar but conversions take things one step further.

How You Can Increase Conversions

So if conversions are the goal, how can you have more of them? Below are a few tips you can take to increase conversions:

1. Keep Your Form Fields to a Minimum
Studies show that the more form fields you have, the less likely people are to fill it out. Because of this, you should aim to ask for as little information as necessary, such as just a name, email address, and phone number if necessary. You can always ask for more information later when you connect with the prospect!

2. Add More Action to Your Calls to Action
Calls to action like “Submit” and “Learn More” are used too often on website forms. Make your offer more enticing by using action verbs that make it clear what the person is receiving when they submit the form. This could be “Download our eBook” or “Discover the 6 Investment Secrets.” Instead of “Sign Up for My Newsletter,” you may try “Get Weekly Financial Tips.” The clearer you can be, the more likely someone is to take action.

3. Keep Forms Above the Fold
You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to see your website forms and take action and some website visitors won’t scroll all the way down your page. Instead, they’ll land on it and make their decision on whether or not to stay within a matter of seconds. Take advantage of this by adding a web form above the fold, whether it’s in the sidebar or as a popup.

4. Highlight Your Credibility
Trust is essential in the financial services industry and your website should emphasize your expertise. While advisors can’t highlight testimonials, there are other ways you can provide proof and increase credibility. For example, you could share specific benefits of your services or offering, emphasize your centers of influence, and give “social proof” by connecting your social media profiles to your website.

5. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Responsive
When over 50% of website traffic is on a mobile device, it’s absolutely critical that your site is mobile-responsive. This doesn’t just mean that your site is accessible on a phone. Mobile-responsive sites respond to the device’s screen size so all pertinent information remains readable and the design and layout flows nicely. If someone can’t easily move around your site on their phone, they’ll be inclined to leave.

 

Conversions are a great way to get tangible results from your website traffic and eventually drive new business.

Your Website Pre-Launch Checklist

Preparing to launch your website? Review our checklist first:

Download the image.

4 Website Upgrades for Financial Advisors to Generate Leads and Increase Client Trust

The financial crisis of 2008 did more than just devastate the American housing market; it took a real toll on the relationship of trust that many people had with their financial advisor. Some reports have shown that only 20% of investors have real confidence in their financial services providers.

The last nine years have been an uphill battle for many financial advisors who have tried to regain that trust. One of the most crucial things advisors and wealth managers can do to help establish or re-establish good relationships with clients is to maintain and upgrade their online presence continually.

Whether you are a Financial Advisor, Wealth Manager, Registered Investment Advisor or Financial Planner, these four upgrades to your online presence will attract new potential customers and will inspire existing clients to take further action with you.

#1 Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Responsive

The mobile devices market is growing with each passing second. Your business needs a website which is mobile friendly if you want to keep ahead of the competition. More and more, prospective clients are using mobile devices to investigate service professionals before engaging them. If your site is not mobile responsive, both clients and prospects will get annoyed and leave to go to your competitors.

Research shows that almost 77% of American adults possess a mobile device and use those devices for over half of their total web browsing.

Even if you are developing great content, if you are not optimizing your website for mobile use, soon it will be a moot effort.

Responsive website design also helps with your search engine optimization (SEO). Responsive advisor websites perform much better according to Google’s statistics. Google has released a new search algorithm aimed at boosting sites optimized for mobile devices. If you want to see how mobile friendly Google thinks of your site is you can test it with this free tool provided to help publishers adapt to the new mobile environment:

#2 Increase The Quality of Your Content’s Insights

How many times have you finished reading an article only to realize that you have not learned anything new from your effort? Don’t let your clients and prospects have this experience. Insightful content will help you build authority and trust with your visitors, which is imperative for all financial advisors, and it will improve your exposure on the Internet.

Not only does high-quality content attract new visitors, but it also keeps users coming back to your website again and again, for longer periods of time which has been shown to generate a higher engagement ratio.

High-quality content is also more likely to be shared between social networks, which gives you an even higher level of exposure and attracts, even more, traffic to your website.

High-quality insights improve your search engine optimization. The job of search engines is to bring the content which gives the most value to its “searcher.” If the visitors to your site are learning something useful, there are myriad ways for Google to sense this and then direct more users to have the same experience.

#3 Connect Your Site to Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter not only allow financial advisors to find new opportunities but are excellent tools for increasing relationships of trust with clients and prospects.

One way to increase your engagement level on social platforms is to delineate the pathway to find said networks clearly on your website. This may sound obvious, but many financial advisor websites either hide their social networking buttons or don’t have them listed at all.

Research suggests that social links should be placed at the top and the bottom of your website as that is that is where they are most visible and reachable the easiest.

It is also important that the links you provide are set to open in separate windows or tabs so that the user keeps your website open longer.

Only link social networks you can commit to keeping current. You should remain active on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in order to cover the basic social media bases. If you add a particular icon, be sure you post actual valuable content on that specific social media.

Include share buttons to your articles and content. This way you enable your visitors to share your content hence promoting your financial practice even more. Without share functionality, not only are you missing out on impressions, but also on potential leads.

#4 Integrate More Videos Into Your Content

If you are not using video on your website, you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity. A new statistic states that including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.

Video is also an incredible way to get found by new prospects. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, meaning that if you are not on it, you are forfeiting a massive amount of possible leads searching for your financial services.

Video is also one of the best ways to communicate complicated information succinctly and entertainingly. 59% of executives say they would prefer to receive new information in video format than written.

By investing in any of these four simple upgrades to your website, you will show both prospects and current clients alike that the relationship you share with them as their financial advisor is important enough to you to provide them with real valuable insights and experiences.

How To Choose The Right Website Theme For Your Financial Firm

If your website were a football team, the homepage would be your quarterback. As the hallmark of your digital domain, your homepage serves as the first point of client contact and the gateway to the rest of your website.

When it comes to selecting the ideal template for your financial advisory firm, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. At Advisor Launchpad, we designed over 40 dynamic themes built specifically for financial advisors, to connect you with the perfect website. Though it may seem hard to choose, there are two key questions to remember in the selection process:

1. What Do You Want Your Website To Achieve?

Think of it as an elevator pitch. As a financial advisor, what are the major points you need your homepage to communicate to prospective clients? This refers specifically to the content and messaging on your website. For example, themes like Equinox kick off the conversation with a paragraph of reader-driven content, while sites like Carlsbad lead with a simple slogan, tagline, and photo to capture your essence.

Whether you want to highlight your strategic wealth management process, introduce your financial advisory team, or focus on values like trust and integrity, choose the template that allows you to stake your claim right at the start.

As for the second question, ask:

2. How Do You Want Your Website To Feel?

Great websites provide an experience for visitors. As a financial advisor, you’re well aware of the working relationship you share with clients. When choosing your website theme, look for one that best aligns with that experience. It’s more of an emotional choice than a scientific one, but trust your instincts on what looks and feels like the right website to represent your financial advisor practice.

Here is a brief walk-through of our most popular templates and each of our Express, Concierge, and Exclusive services:

Express

Efficiency is at the heart of our Express websites. With an added emphasis on messaging, each of the 12 templates is designed to feature your financial firm in an eye-catching way. Templates like Solstice include a rotating welcome image on your homepage, three boxes to center your firm’s values and services, plus additional room for long-form content.

If you’re looking to showcase your financial advisors or products, templates like Zenith are built for you. Along with the wide welcome image and content, the homepage provides an overview of your services while keeping your advisory team front and center.

While maintaining an air of simplicity, our Horizon template leans in a more modern direction with circular imagery, clickable icons, and more. It’s the perfect layout to introduce your company, establish a connection with readers, and even inspire them to fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Each of these templates is mobile-responsive and can be easily edited and updated at your convenience. To view a complete list of our Express websites, click here.

Concierge

If you’re looking for the next level of customization, our Concierge advisor websites are optimized for your firm. By working with the website specialist included in your package, you will have the unique opportunity to design your homepage exactly as you imagined.

Drawing from five individual templates, our designers can tailor your website to fit your practice. For example, if you like the icons on the Bankers Hill theme but want to use the Balboa layout as your foundation, you can mix-and-match your favorite elements and produce a website that fits you as financial advisor perfectly.

For advisors seeking to capture the perfect blend of content and imagery, the Carlsbad layout strikes the balance. The sprawling homepage photo and tagline set the tone early, capturing the essence of your firm without flooding your readers with content.

Exclusive

With our Exclusive themes, you get more than just a financial advisor website. Each of our state of the art templates is engineered to provide customers with a digital experience, not just a destination. While blending images, videos, and text, our Exclusive themes are designed to provoke an emotional reaction in your viewers.

Take our Santa Barbara layout, for example. With big, bold text and a captivating background, this theme spotlights your key values and your mission right out of the gate. As with Laguna, these types of websites are the wave of the future. However cerebral and technical the financial world may be, it is founded on a trusting and emotional connection between advisor and client. Our Exclusive websites were built to capture that relationship in digital form.

If you’re looking to truly reinvent your firm’s digital presence, check out our library of websites to find the best fit.

3 Essential Photo Tips For Your Website

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As a financial advisor, your website sells an experience. The symphony of images and content gives prospective investors a taste of what it’s like to be your client. More than anything else, the pictures your website uses become the primary instrument for conveying your firm’s uniqueness. As noted political pollster Frank Luntz said, “[customers] have to think they could see themselves” in the pictures you feature on your website.

As a financial advisor, how should you select the right images and paint the picture of your client experience? More importantly, how do you even find those images?

Here are 3 Essential Photo Tips For Your Website:

1. Know Who You Want To Attract

Start by identifying your bread and butter clients. What investor profile dominates more than 50% of your roster? If you’re content with your current clientele and simply want to grow it, then cater to them with images that capture their essence, their values, and their lifestyle.

On the other hand, let’s say your average client is 55 years of age and nearing retirement. Maybe you want to expand your audience appeal to the millennial crowd. Again quoting Frank Luntz, “A 25-year-old looking at a picture of a 50-year-old says, ‘that’s my parent.’ That doesn’t work.” Fortunately, modern digital design allows you to reach both sets of clients. Through rotating images and customized layouts, you can easily address each audience. To counter Mr. Luntz’s admonition, some younger investors may actually see images of older clients and envision themselves in their shoes. For the right clients, this can subtly foster thoughts of retirement and the need to partner with an advisor who can help them prepare.

As you identify the audience you want to attract, keep in mind that authenticity is a hallmark of digital marketing. When it comes to the average financial advisor website, real is rare. While developing your new website and coordinating your photos, remember that your main goal is to inspire affection in your readers. By keeping your photos realistic and relatable, you get one step closer to winning their trust.

2. Know Where To Look

To maximize your website’s appearance, you’ll need to look beyond Google Images. For your advisory website, you have three solid options to obtain the best photos:

  • Utilize free, online stock photo websites
  • Subscribe to premium stock photo vendors
  • Hire a personal photographer

There is a plethora of free stock photo vendors at your disposal. From www.unsplash.com to www.stocksnap.io, you can easily scroll through thousands of photos that capture the ethos of your firm. Though you’ll never have to pay a cent, bear in mind that other advisors are likely looking at the same images.

You can’t put a price on uniqueness. As you have probably noticed, the majority of financial advisor websites look like carbon copies of one another. Advisor Launchpad provides an alternative to that trend, and you can take matters into your own hands by selecting rare photos that speak to the culture of your firm. Though you’ll have to pay a subscription premium at sites like Getty Images and Shutterstock, the investment is often well worth the cost.

If neither of these options appeals to you, consider hiring a personal photographer to capture images truly tailored to your company. Better yet, if you’re an aspiring shutterbug with a high-quality lens, then you can take matters into your own hands.

3. Know How To Choose

Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but for financial advisors, they’re worth far more in revenue. As the digital world becomes increasingly mobile, prospective clients will remember your website’s pictures on an unconscious level.

As you select your photos, ensure that they match the verbiage on your website. If your messaging focuses on “harvesting and growing wealth,” align that content with pictures of abundant fields and rich gardens. If corporate retirement plans are your primary focus, then consider not only incorporating photos of the architecture we associate with corporations, but extend to using photos of their individual employees. Prioritize showcasing relationships and connectivity over stiff-collars and cubicles.

Finally, make sure your photos speak to your audience. Because your website is an extension of your business, it should closely represent the actual day-to-day operations of it. If your office décor features a nautical theme or a patriotic appeal, tailor your photos to represent that. If you’re a rural office with many local customers, keep your photos personal and of the community.

Whichever route you choose, make your photos authentic, aligned with your content, and accurate to the experience clients will receive when visiting your office.