What a website says about your financial adviser’s trust, likability, and care


Financial advisers setting up their practice have many requirements, from navigating regulation to filing registration. Even once that work is done, promoting the business often falls by the wayside — these are money managers, after all, not sales people.

“A lot of advisers didn’t get into the industry to do marketing,” said Mike Byrnes, president of Byrnes Consulting LLC, which helps financial planners with public relations.

Yet financial advisers need to treat sales and outreach as a core responsibility. A good place to start is the firm’s website. Advisers have to make many decisions about the website’s content. Byrnes urges advisers to disregard what he calls “the old model,” where a website doubles as a brochure that explains services, lists credentials, and summarizes an adviser’s approach or philosophy about money.

Instead, he recommends that advisers offer a personal touch. “Show them, don’t tell them, so that when they come to your website, they will make a purchasing decision,” he said.

Use multiple avenues to establish credibility. Integrate text, video, and graphics such as photos, charts or eye-catching illustrations. “Your visuals should be in line with your brand,” Byrnes said. For example, someone targeting entrepreneurs can show understanding of the pressures that business owners face. An adviser with a military background could convey eagerness to help veterans with subtle messaging that alerts potential clients of his or her national service.

Many advisers feel uncomfortable promoting themselves. Advisers can get over that hump by describing their personality rather than bragging about their strengths. Byrnes notes that the “About Me” page of a website tends to attract interest, so he tells advisers to use it to achieve three goals.

“They want to like you, trust you, and find out if you’re a caring person,” he said. “A good bio accomplishes that.”

To boost likability, an adviser’s website could include a few “fun facts” — from the adviser’s favorite books and movies to their heroes and most recent vacation spot. To build trust, an adviser can explain his or her role as a fiduciary and present a bullet-point list of commitments made to every client. To showcase a caring side, cite philanthropy or volunteerism.

A photo gallery can make an adviser even more relatable. The website can include photos of the adviser enjoying a cherished hobby, admiring a scenic view, or chipping in at a community event.

“Use at least two photos on your website,” Byrnes said. “First there’s the head shot. You should smile because it makes a better connection. Then there’s the one of you playing with your kids” or doing something else to introduce us to you outside of work.

In addition, Byrnes instructs advisers to film themselves for two or three minutes expressing enthusiasm for their profession. Along with photos, videos break down barriers and help website visitors feel like they know the adviser. The video should answer these three questions:

• Why are you an adviser?

• Why do you like to help clients?

• How do you help clients?

“You want to answer the ‘why’ before the ‘how’ because the prospect wants to know what’s in it for them first,” Byrnes tells advisers. “And don’t read from a script. You want your passion to come across.”

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Source : MTV