Today we are sharing a guest blog post from Taylor Schulte, founder, and CEO of Define Financial. He also hosts a podcast for financial advisors called Experiments in Advisor Marketing.
Financial advisors have no choice but to take their marketing efforts online these days. After all, the internet is where our customers are — whether we like it or not. And if a potential client is searching for an advisor, we need to make sure we are visible.
To this day, I’m amazed how many people find us simply by searching for financial advisors in San Diego or something similar. In fact, my firm website was responsible for over 100 introductory phone calls in 2017!
The thing is, having an online platform for potential clients to find you isn’t enough on its own. To make your marketing efforts count, you have to offer the right information and structure your content with the end result in mind.
This brings me to the importance of having a “Start Here” page on your website and why I recently recorded an entire podcast episode on the topic.
The “Start Here” landing page on your website should offer a specific set of information created to incite a very specific reaction. Unfortunately, it’s way too easy to focus on how your page looks instead of what it says.
Knowing Where to Focus Your Energy
My own experience will explain exactly what I mean.
In 2017, I launched my retirement podcast, Stay Wealthy. Barely. My excitement over the sheer prospect of podcasting got me so worked up that I spent the bulk of my energy on the theory of podcasting instead of the practice.
I hired a fancy podcast production crew, built a podcast website, purchased not-so-cheap equipment, and did a ton of research into the creative elements that go into voice media.
Basically, I did everything except hit record — mostly because I had let myself become distracted by shiny objects.
Worse, I hadn’t even poured over the point of my podcast or what I hoped to accomplish. Did I want to leverage my podcast to get new clients? To build my personal brand?
The answer is probably “both,” but I never really thought it through.
In reality, all you really need to start a podcast is a smartphone. Hit record, upload your audio to a website and — boom — you’re a podcaster!
The other stuff makes you look more professional and production quality is important, but it doesn’t make the words you’re saying any more meaningful.
Plus, you should really know why you’re starting a podcast (or a blog, YouTube channel, etc.) before you put in the immense amount of time and effort it takes to be successful. You need to have a point — a goal in mind — or you are just spinning your wheels.
Creating a “Start Here” Page that Works
There have been other instances in my life where I’ve approached a goal without thinking it through. When I launched my firm in 2014 and started building my first website, for example, I had some pretty strange ideas about why I was doing it.
I thought that if I invested in a fancy website and got enough traffic, I would magically get all the clients I could ever want.
Anyone with a business blog or website knows that this isn’t exactly how it works — and that traffic doesn’t always convert. Regardless, the number of visits to your website doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the quality of those visitors and whether that is a good match for your firm to begin with.
That’s why, last year, I made a conscious decision to reverse my marketing approach and do things differently.
When I’m working on my business – or any project for that matter – my approach today is to start at the end first and then work my way backwards.
This means that, instead of getting caught up in branding, design, or clever marketing strategies (i.e. the fun stuff), I’ll first ask myself two important questions:
- What is the one thing I want to happen if the right person engages with the project?
- If they do that one thing, and the stars align, what is the perfect end result?
A recent example includes the private community Justin Castelli and I are creating for financial advisors.
The one thing we want to happen if the right advisor visits our landing page is to join the informational email list. That’s it.
If they join our informational email list, and the stars align, the perfect end result is that they join our private community.
With those questions answered, we were able to build the back-end workflow, create the landing page, and then work on a strategy to eyeballs on the page. In just a few short days, over 400 advisors joined the list!
The most important place I’ve applied this approach is on my firm’s “Start Here” page. Instead of creating a page that is just visually appealing, I’ve worked hard to provide information that serves my end goal — getting the right type of clients with problems we have the expertise to solve.
If someone clicks on a page that says “Start Here” on your website, there should be a point and an end goal in mind, right?
For my firm, that has meant asking ourselves what we want potential clients to do when they land on our website and specifically when they visit the “Start Here” page.
We also asked questions about the internal workflow that gets launched if a potential client takes the first step and schedules an introductory call. Will they get a confirmation email? If so, what will the email say? Will someone from our office reach out personally to confirm the upcoming appointment? What if they call our office to schedule instead of using the calendar tool on our website?
If you look at our page, you’ll notice we decided to include some very basic information about my firm and how we help our clients. We also added a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) after getting the same questions over and over.
There’s even a section on my “Start Here” page that asks: “How do I know if I’m a good fit?”
Potential clients can read over these details to see if we might be a good fit to work together. They can schedule the first call directly through an online scheduling tool if they like what they see. If not, they can join our email list to get to know us better, read through other parts of our website, or attempt to find another advisor that better suits their needs.
There’s no obligation or pressure, but I strive to offer as much information as possible so potential clients can make an informed decision about reaching out to our firm.
How to Make Your “Start Here” Page Shine
If your goal is getting new clients that fall into your niche, having a “Start Here” page that’s been crafted with an end goal is mind is crucial. You want to have a page that’s pleasing to the eye and easy to find, but don’t forget about what you hope your page will accomplish.
And remember, the end goal doesn’t have to be “they become a client.” It could be something as simple as signing up for your email list, joining your coaching program, or subscribing to a tech tool you created. Steve Sanduski includes all the above on his “Start Here” page:
A few steps I took to improve my “Start Here” page in the last year include:
- Featuring it prominently on my home page since that is the most visited page on just about every advisor website
- Placing a “Start Here” button in the menu bar at the top of the screen so it follows users around no matter where they land on my site
- Making the button a different color than the rest of the page so it stands out and catches their eye
We also added very specific information to the page to help potential clients figure out if we are the right type of advisor for their needs.
Yes, it felt great to see 100+ phone calls get scheduled in 2017, but many were not a good fit. The result was a lot of awkward, difficult conversations and me wasting consumers’ valuable time.
I learned the hard way that the goal should not be to schedule a phone call with every person who lands on our website — just ones who have a financial challenge that matches our expertise.
Lastly, I believe it’s important to explain your new client process on your “Start Here” page so anyone reading knows exactly what to expect. Even if it’s only two short steps like my friend Colin Overweg at Advize Wealth:
On mine, I share our six-step process in detail and then make it really clear that the very first step is a simple 15-minute phone call. I’m setting clear expectations on day one, so they are never left asking, “what’s next?”
The Bottom Line
Having a “Start Here” page on your website is a smart way to let potential clients find out everything you want them to know, but it’s important to think bigger than that. Make sure you’ve thought through what you hope they’ll do once they land on your page, then created a step-by-step process with your end goal in mind.
Make sure your marketing strategy has a point. If you don’t, you could be wasting both time and money.