Unless you are a seasoned web programmer, you may dread the thought of having to set up a website for your financial advisory practice. You either have to figure out how to do it yourself or hire a web designer to do it for you; it may seem like either too much work or too much money. There are many good reasons, however, for having a presence on the web. It is a simple way to build your practice and keep in touch with your clients. Here are five reasons you should set up a website for your business:
1. Clients Expect It
There was a time when only large, established businesses had websites; most small business promotion was still done through ads and brochures. Now, however, consumers go online first to seek information on local businesses. Almost every successful company has at least a basic website, where customers can find out about products, services and contact information. If you're not on the web, you are invisible to a large portion of your potential new clients.
2. Projects Your Company's Message
Your relationship with your clients is one of trust, much like that of a lawyer or accountant. To feel comfortable enough to do business with you, potential clients want to know how you operate and what services you offer. Viewing a website is a non-confrontational way for them to get a feel for who you are and what you can do for them. They can read about other happy clients and about your philosophies on financial planning and investing; it's an important way for them to get to know you.
3. Makes Comparison with Other Advisors Easier
Potential clients often look at multiple advisors, in order to choose the one who is most closely aligned with their needs. The easiest way for a person to do that is by comparing advisors' websites. If you don't have one at all, you are at a disadvantage from the beginning. Having a site with basic brochure-style information on it is better than nothing, but, if you have a robust site with articles, advice and other useful tools, you are more likely to catch the eye of a new client.
4. Potential New Clients Can Find You
While many clients will already know your name before they look you up, some will search for local firms on the Internet and, if your company's name doesn't come up in search results, you will miss out. An experienced web designer understands how to make your site prominent in online search results and it is well-worth the investment to hire one. Ranking high in search results also gives your firm an established look.
5. Helps to Capture Client Contact Information
Maintaining a website is an easy way to gather clients' email addresses and other contact and personal information. There are several electronic newsletter applications that you can hook up to your site; clients enter their information and are automatically signed up for future communications from you. This way, you can reach your clients whenever you want, in order to let them know about new services or other company news. The automated system saves you the substantial amount of time it would take you to accumulate, sort and copy the information by hand.
The Bottom Line
Having a strong web presence is no longer an option for successful financial advisors; it is as important and as basic as printing business cards. Your website stands in for you and represents you to both clients and potential new clients.