3 Essential Photo Tips For Your Website

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.

Top 5 Questions Advisors Ask Us About Websites

Building Your Website.jpg

Building your website is like buying a reliable car. It keeps you connected, gets you from A to B, and even makes a statement about your personality. If you’re in the market for your first website or your fourth, take heart: getting your digital domain up to speed isn’t rocket science. It’s about finding the balance between design, branding, and messaging. Like buying a car, once you get it right, you can drive it for years.

At Advisor Launchpad, we build custom websites to help you distinguish your firm from the competition. To get the conversation started, we’re answering a few of the most popular questions advisors ask.

1.    “What is the most important part of my website?”

Though every section of your digital domain is important, nothing eclipses the importance of the home page. It’s the first thing clients see, and given the many distractions in the online world, you have to grab their attention straight away. Remember the “thesis statements” college professors required in your term papers? The same principle applies to the home page. Let clients know right out of the gate who you are, what you do, and how you can help.

We often find that a lack of content delays clients in the website development process. While we understand that assembling the right messaging and verbiage takes time, we encourage clients to truly understand the core message they want to communicate long before the aesthetics of their site take shape.

Once you identify your thesis statement, your slogan, or even the single word that summarizes your firm, continue to thread that theme throughout your website. Don’t let clients build a narrative about what they think you can do; tell them precisely about your expertise and why they need your help.

2.    “How many pages should my website have?”

When helping advisors build their websites, we start with the four major areas that usually comprise its foundation: the home page, the company page, the team biographies, and the services section. These pages should establish everything prospective clients need to know about you. They deliver your mission statement, your history, your areas of expertise, and the professionals with whom you work.

There are certainly other sections worth considering for your website, but these four provide the framework of your website. When building a website, it can be easy to conflate volume with effectiveness. Given how little time the average consumer spends on a website, you may be best served to provide fewer pages that are carefully crafted and packed with key information.

Less is more.

3.    “How often should I update my website?”

Cars need oil changes every 5,000 miles, and your website will benefit from nips and tucks that keep things fresh. Though much of your key messaging can stay the same, updating your blog and “recent events” sections are great ways to consistently remind clients of your presence.

Should the focus of your firm evolve, however, you can always shape your content to fit your new brand. For example, if you have predominantly specialized in retirement planning but are expanding to reach a younger audience, adding a sentence or slogan directed at millennials is easily achieved.

All of our websites are designed for you to make changes whenever you need them. Take confidence knowing that you can cut, edit, and add verbiage whenever you like.

4.    “Do I need a logo?”

Nike. Amazon. Apple. We know these companies for their logos as much as their products. However large or small your firm may be, a logo will help anchor your digital presence. It’s your seal of approval, and on your website, it’s the very thing clients will click on when returning to your home page from other sections of the site.

If you prefer to stick with your DBA in a sharp font, that’s not uncommon. As you anticipate building or rebuilding your website, however, think about making a logo. It will speak to your uniqueness, add a touch of legitimacy to your website, and create uniformity across your business cards, email signatures, newsletters and more.

5.    “How much can I expect to spend on building a website?”

Websites aren’t an expense; they’re an investment. Should they capture the attention of just one successful client, the costs of your website will be covered many times over.

At Advisor Launchpad, we provide three tiers of websites starting for as little as $300 with the Atlas package. Our standard designs come fully loaded with multiple pages, resource centers, and access to our top-tier content library.

Our Delta package includes hands-on sessions with our design specialist, a fully-integrated blog platform, plus email and social sharing across Twitter, Facebook and more. Each of the Delta themes features state of the art designs to match your company’s appeal.

Finally, our Titan package not only includes a design specialist and web developer, but customizable website designs, a blog platform, email and social sharing, a full content library, and even local search to boost your SEO rankings.

Whichever path you choose, our websites are engineered to attract prospective clients and turn them into loyal customers. Reach out to Advisor Launchpad to get started on building a website, optimizing your existing content, or ensuring your digital marketing plan is effective.

4 Key Homepage Elements to Attract Clients to Your Financial Firm

Websites are the gold rush of the 21st century.

By the end of the year, 2016 proved that digital storefronts are not only essential to business, but that they are eclipsing the value of brick and mortar shops altogether. Thanks to cutting-edge chat bots and the rise of virtual reality, websites are increasingly becoming more of an experience rather than a mere destination.

Websites also look more attractive than ever, and when coupled with interactivity, these digital domains are capable of turning an incredible profit. The same principle holds true for financial advisors, many of whom have witnessed the opportunities a strong digital domain can provide.

As the new year unfolds, what trends can we anticipate in the world of websites?

4 Must-Have Homepage Elements for Your Website

Making sure the homepage of your financial advisor website grabs the attention of potential clients and retains their interest can greatly impact your firm’s success online. If website updates are on your plan for the next year, you’ll want keep these things in mind.

Use Real Photos, Not iStock

It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” This adage holds true especially for website homepages. We live in an increasingly visual world where sentences are summed up with infographics and videos are reduced to GIFs. More than even the craftiest content, your homepage’s lead image will inspire an indelible emotion in your viewers.

There was a time when stock photos were in vogue, helping give websites a professional and detached appeal. Those days are over. As viewers get more savvy in the digital sphere, they can easily spot models and phony photographs a mile away.

Instead, bespoke pictures give an air of legitimacy that a stock photo can’t match. If you work in a metropolitan area and want to feature a photo of the skyline on your homepage, use the view from your office. If you work in a rural area and have a community clientele, use that to your advantage and feature pictures of local vistas and Mom and Pop shops.

Keep it real with your pictures, especially on the home page.

Go Bold with Homepage Layouts

Website customization is more important than ever. While templates will always retain their value, a tailored website is engineered to inspire.

As the marketplace grows inevitably grows more cluttered and competitive, truly original websites will rise to the top. There’s a reason why visionary web designers are the VIPs of the digital world. If Van Gogh were alive today, even he would be dabbling in websites.

Customization starts with the layout and carries through even to the typeface. The days of size 12, Times New Roman font on the home page are being replaced by dynamic and loud, large text. It’s like a billboard on your homepage.

Then again, the pomp and circumstance of photos and typeface rely on another key component…

Write Creative and Consistent Content

Content isn’t just a king. It’s a dictator that demands a seemingly infinite supply of material. Frankly, the phrase “content is king” can create a panic of inundating the market with copycat articles and white papers simply to check the “output” box.

For financial advisors not particularly interested in becoming the next Buzzfeed, breathe easy. Feeding the content beast is more about quality than quantity. While you and your clients will undoubtedly benefit from curating your own blog, start with honing the messaging on your homepage.

Above all, prospective clients want to learn about your experience, your values and your leadership.  Each of these areas can be addressed right out of the gate. Put that big and bold typeface to work with a catchy slogan, then follow it up with a pithy paragraph or two about your history and your mission statement.

This is the foundation of your content messaging. By incorporating Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and a consistent approach to your blog, you’ll notice a marked increase in traffic and conversions.

For an extra boost with your website content, Advisor Launchpad can help create customized copy to deliver your message to clients.

Incorporate Videos on Your Homepage

Every minute, over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. It’s clear we have an insatiable appetite for content, and this trend is hugely valuable for advisors.

The financial industry is a business of relationships. When choosing their advisors, clients invest in people, not just firms. That’s why a personalized video on your homepage can be the best way to “meet” prospective clients.

While the written word is one-dimensional, videos capture your total essence. When faced with the choice of reading or watching, most people will choose the latter. Videos from third-parties about particular services are important, but the introductory video is selling you. Unleash your personality and give viewers a chance to imagine you as their advisor.

As we discussed with stock photos, authenticity is everything, especially in the financial world where trust is so integral to success.

Optimize Your Website to Attract & Retain Clients

Your home page is the most important part of your website. It should be able to stand alone in the eyes of clients as the primary showcase of your firm. The rest of your site, from the services section to your biographies, is just icing on the cake.

As you look to 2017, remember that websites are becoming more of an experience, not just a digital storefront. By building creative layouts and valuing authenticity in your photos, videos and content, your website will have its most dynamic year yet.

About Advisor Launchpad

We provide a comprehensive website solution for your financial advisor firm. If you’re interested in rebuilding your website for the new year, we’d be happy to help. Contact us to design an online presence that impresses your clients today!

3 Tips on How to Supercharge Your Lead Generation Forms

What is the ultimate purpose of your website? Though it has many benefits, your website’s primary function is to turn prospective clients into loyal customers.

From the home page all the way through your team’s biographies, it should demonstrate such significant value that readers feel inspired to call you directly or provide their contact information for you to return the favor.

Because your website is a digital storefront, however, you don’t have the luxury of interacting directly with potential clients. Instead, financial advisors must rely on the next best thing to parlay initial interest into direct communication: lead generation forms.

In short, that’s fancy jargon for “getting client contact information.” It’s the brief questionnaire that asks for your name, phone number and email address.

Lead generation forms capitalize on curiosity and are a key part of successful marketing strategies. They are a significant moment in an online transaction, wherein further knowledge of your services are exchanged for the client’s contact information.

3 Ways to Optimize Your Lead Generation Forms

Here are three ways to ensure your lead generation forms are optimized for maximum conversion rates:

1. Simplicity is Key

How often do dole out your contact information online? Odds are that you do so on occasion, but remain judicious about how frequently you provide your phone number and email address on the internet.

As you have likely experienced, lead generation forms can scare away readers more frequently than they excite them. However interested a customer may be, anything that asks for contact information (particularly online) will inevitably give some people pause.

Above all, lead generation forms must appear like the logical “next step” in the potential client’s exploration of your website. Lead generation forms are best left clear and concise without excessive verbiage. The messaging on your website has already done the selling for you, and the lead generation form is simply completing the mission.

Be sure to avoid points of friction with phrases like “no spam,” which despite their best intentions, can cause clients to associate your website with solicitous emails.

2. Customize, Experiment, and Optimize

The click button is arguably the most important part of the lead generation form. When considering the word or phrase you’d like to add to the button, focus on the value of your services. While uninspiring lead generation forms end with a simple “Submit” button, you’ll be best served with more intriguing phrases like, “Learn More” or even “Let’s go!”

On the web, details are everything. By taking advantage of A/B testing, you can identify your most successful lead generation forms and increase your form conversion rates. In addition to altering your verbiage in the form, you may also want to rotate the color scheme, the layout, and even the look of the click button. Contrast is compelling, and if the majority of your website is green, consider making the click button a fiery red. Indeed, many studies have found that power colors increase conversion rates.

Don’t hesitate to experiment, adjust and make the most of your lead generation forms. A/B testing will reveal your most effective strategy.

3. Form Placement is Key

To feature forms at the top of the page or the bottom, that is the question. While there are arguments to be made in favor of both approaches, we suggest running the lead generation near the end of the page.

Leading with the form right out of the gate creates an inherent problem for prospective clients. By seeking the client’s personal information before solidifying your value proposition, you run the risk of losing your reader’s trust. It’s like Alec Baldwin said in Glengarry Glenn Ross, pointing to the chalkboard and yelling, “AIDA! Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.” That’s an accurate breakdown of the sales process and the emotional evolution of prospective buyers.

Whichever route you choose, be sure to affirm the significance of your services before initiating the final transaction with your reader. As always, A/B testing will help you identify the best approach to your lead generation forms.

Optimize Your Lead Generation Forms & Boost Conversion Rates

At the end of the day, you want one simple piece of information: a phone number or an email address. You’re not asking for a date; you’re just asking for the digits.

Create a sense of value, build trust, and have confidence that clients will want more of what you have to offer. Your lead generation forms will take care of the rest.

5 Do’s and Don’ts for Advisor Website Design

Building beautiful websites is our business. At Advisor Launchpad, we’ve helped thousands of financial advisors create mobile-friendly designs that anchor their digital strategies. We take a lot of pride in our work and know how much a great website can help your firm. Over the years, we’ve notice a few trends. Whether they’re low quality images, outdated content, or endless pop-ups, there are several key missteps we want to help you avoid as you build your new website.

Through trial and error, we’ve accrued a quick checklist of best practices to help guide you on your digital journey.

Here are the 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Advisor Website Design:

1) Stock Photos

Great websites tell a story. Through the ideal blend of imagery and content, you can craft a compelling narrative that entices and persuades viewers to give you a call.

Stock photography can help you build that story, as long as you carefully choose your images. Be mindful that certain stock photos might appear artificial and nothing like real life. This can be off-putting to potential clients who perceive images as a method for understanding the culture of your firm.
Avoid this predicament by specifying the audience you intend to reach. Then, match your overall content messaging with the correlating photos. The more they complement each other, the stronger your story becomes.

For excellent free stock photos, be sure to visit:



2) Low Quality Images

Sharp pictures are worth a thousand words; grainy images kill the conversation.

In the high-resolution era of HDTV and 4K, there’s no market for low-quality images. Small and pixelated pictures will drive new visitors away from your site, while crisp, high-res photos will have the opposite effect. Remember: the images you choose are representative of your firm. They are one of the first things potential clients will observe in judging if you’re a good fit.

People are visual creatures, and we love to see beautiful, relatable pictures. Just look at Facebook for proof. Take advantage of that demand as you build your new website.

3) Video Auto-Play

Don’t be like YouTube! When potential customers browse your website, they probably don’t want to be greeted by loud, auto-playing videos. Whether they’re in the company of others or don’t have their computer volume muted, an automatic video can be quite a nuisance.

Give viewers the power to press play, don’t force it upon them. Current clients will also appreciate the option so they don’t have to hear the same video repeated each time they visit your site.

That said, videos can be a wonderful resource, and Advisor Launchpad encourages their usage on sites.

As with all things, however, moderation is key.

4) Content

We recently worked with a client who had a memorable outlook on his website’s content. For each sentence on his site he asked, “What does it mean? What does it do? Why is it there?” At the outset, these questions may seem rather stringent, but they are very helpful guidelines for understanding and maximizing your content’s efficacy.

The ultimate aim of your website is to garner interest and gain new leads. With that in mind, make sure your content is concise, targeted, and easy to read. We live in a fast-paced world that gets much of its news from 140-character posts on Twitter. Embrace the culture and help your audience focus by streamlining your content. If you have a lot to say, feel free to employ bullet points, graphs and pictures to help.

Finally, avoid making a page too busy. Websites with slideshows, highlighted text, and flashing pictures can be an eyesore. There is great strength in simplicity.

5) Popups

There’s no denying the occasional, well-timed popup can be very effective in getting your audience’s attention. Use restraint, however, and carefully select the degree to which you employ them. Irritating or obfuscating your website user experience with these sometimes annoying surprises can be damaging to client relations.

Multiple popups per page can quickly degrade your website, so use good judgment in deciding when and where they should be applied.