Unlocking Real Value Blog

Do Advisors Still Need A Website? YES!

Hardly a week goes by that you don’t see an article questioning whether or not advisors need to have a website. This question has become especially prevalent as blogs have grown in popularity. Is a blog enough? My answer is an emphatic no! Blogs are great and I recommend them to those with the discipline to commit to one – but your blog should complement, not replace your website; you still need a high-quality website.

(While I am focusing on Advisor websites, the same general principles hold for other financial services companies as well – investment managers, mutual fund companies, sponsors, etc.)

Most prospects and clients utilize the internet – at the end of the day, not having a website sets off more of a red flag than anything else. In this age of full transparency – let’s not forget Madoff – the last thing you want is for someone to question your legitimacy. For prospects, a good website is a great way to set your credibility before they even meet you. For clients – who are likely to want on-line access to their accounts – why not provide the portal so that they can always see what is new on your site when they sign into their accounts? What a great – and free – way to highlight your latest newsletter for example.

A 2011 survey by Fidelity found that 44% of millionaires looked to the internet when searching for money managers. 75% of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s advisors now have websites as do about 80% of Merrill Lynch advisors. Especially for an independent RIA, how do you explain not having one when so many of your competitors do?

Now, some advisors think that not having a website has a certainty aura and mystery in and of itself. They prefer to have clients give prospects a verbal referral. To me this thinking is outdated. It assumes that the prospect can find you without the internet, which may not be the case. There might be some exceptions – advisors who get all of their clients from one small geographic area for example – but this to me is more the exception than the rule.

Finally, and importantly – your website has to be very good – it has to be both visually appealing and have top-notch content which differentiates you from the competition.

Remember all of those articles I alluded to up front? It drives me crazy when they say that the website can be a simple electronic business card, or that you can do it yourself for around $500. No. No. No. If you are going to have a website – it needs to reflect the same high quality of your entire business. Remember the old saying, if you can’t do it right…..

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