Bill McGuire is managing director of McGuire Marketing, a full service marketing resource serving the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) community. Bill provides marketing guidance to independent RIA firms and has worked with industry leaders including ByAllAccounts, MarketCounsel, Morningstar, and TD Ameritrade Institutional. Bill’s focus is to help businesses grow by applying common-sense marketing with a keen eye towards your budgets, deadlines and results. Connect by email, Linkedin, and Twitter.
When helping RIAs with marketing, the first place I start is the website. And for good reason, it’s the first place prospective clients go! A DAC Group study found that “71% of purchases begin with online search” and “57% of the purchase decision is made before contacting you”. An effective website establishes your credibility, broadcasts your message, and shares your mission to the world!
From my experience in working with firms to build a Twenty Over Ten website, I’d like to share a few lessons-learned tips to help to make your experience most productive and rewarding:
- Be Prepared: Begin with clear and specific goals. Twenty Over Ten provides a client questionnaire to help you get started. One of the first things you’ll need to do is take an inventory of creative assets:
- Logo— You probably have .png and .jpg files but do you also have the .eps or .vector type files? This will be important if any type of revisions or editing need to be done to the logo.
- Photos—Are your headshots current? Do you have other unique imagery, such as pictures of the office that you’ll like to use? If so, make sure they’re good quality and, if taken by a professional, get permission and footnote them with credit along with the image.
- Be Authentic: We hear this time and time again but it’s worth repeating. What are you most passionate about and what makes your firm different from others? Is there a particular niche or a unique client type that you best serve?
Here are a couple examples:
- Plectrum Advisers has a unique niche serving the studio musician community and was able to create a site tailored to that audience.
- FSC Wealth Advisors serves clients in a beautiful area of New York State which is clearly reflected the imagery throughout the site.
It’s also helpful to determine who within the firm is best to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be the firm’s principal, but it does need to be someone who will be fully committed to the role.
- Be Responsive: What typically makes a project finish efficiently is your ability to respond back with clear direction in a time manner. While you may need time to review content and make changes to the beta version, don’t overthink it.
- When working with your designer, be very specific with style likes and dislikes. It’s can be helpful to reference other sites for inspiration and illustration.
- When providing feedback on copywriting, use the track change feature in Microsoft Word doc is the best method of providing feedback.
- Be Curious: Twenty Over Ten offers an incredible amount of helpful information in the Twenty Over Ten blog but it’s up to you to use it. I like to reference ‘Showcase’ when first getting started and the ‘Outreach’ and ‘Webinars’ offers some great best practices and are searchable and on just about any topic. I like to tell clients it’s like have your own personal website marketing coach. Don’t overlook this wealth of information!
- Be Forward-Thinking: Once your website launches, make a plan to keep it fresh with activities like blog posting and custom landing pages. Decide on the approach that you’re most comfortable with and matches your firm’s culture There are so many ways to deliver content these days; newsletters, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, Q&A articles, to name a few. Don’t take the “let’s do it all” approach, which often leads to a less than desirable results. Research best practices, plan your work in advance, and do it right. If you have multiple contributors who will be delivering content, consider an editorial calendar, so the messaging is varied and balanced. Also, be mindful that the cadence you use is consistent. You can have different people telling different stories, but they should all still have a united voice regardless of the audience; clients, prospects, COI, etc.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Please feel free to reach out to me if there’s any way that I can help provide clarity to your marketing efforts.