There are 4,000 financial adviser firms in the UK and many have some form of website. These vary fro...
There are 4,000 financial adviser firms in the UK and many have some form of website. These vary from information only to those boasting more complex e-commerce and technical wizardry.
In the majority of cases, however, these websites are actually loss leaders ' they cost more to run than any revenue streams they attract. This need not be so and the solution is blindingly obvious ' communication. Over the past two years, My Money Adviser has built a significant bank of knowledge about advisers and their websites. From this, we have designed the following tips for successful development of a site towards profitability.
For a start, and this may sound ridiculous, can all of your staff remember your website address? These days, not having a web address is akin to not having a fax in the 1980s. You can survive without it but it says a lot about your company if you do have one. If staff cannot remember the address, stick to low-cost technology and give everyone a post-it with the details on.
While difficult to gauge how people use the internet, it is fair to say that, for the majority of the younger generation, the web is the first place to look for information and services. So ask around: how does your target audience use the internet? Do they shop online and where did they find out about the sites they use? Why not 'google' yourself? Enter your company name in any search engine (like www.google.co.uk) and find out whether your web address even appears. If not, why not?
Online directories exist to help web surfers find an adviser near them and, if you want to attract new clients, these are worth a look. Find.co.uk and IFA Promotion's site at www.unbiased.co.uk both represent a good start. Ethical advisers can also list at EIRIS. Advisers could also consider any local listings, especially those run by local or regional newspapers.
You probably have some regular communications with your clients. The banks are adept at sending sly messages with every statement so why not adopt their tactics? It costs very little to add an information box on reminder letters, newsletters or even client emails if you send them. And each reminder may just prompt someone to check out your site.
We all know the argument that the web is cheaper, easier and faster but do you remind your clients of this? If a fund manager leaves and you want to let your clients know, do you remind them about your fund supermarket too? Whether it is by phone, face-to-face or by email, constant reminders to use the web will encourage your take-up.
For more details about making the web profitable see www.mymoneyadviser.com.
Ann Marie Martyn is managing director at My Money Adviser
Making the web work for you
1. Make sure your staff know the address
2. Internet ' how would you and your clients find an online adviser?
3. Online directories ' are you listed?
4. Stationery and business cards ' make sure your site is included
5. Regular communications ' use them as a call to action
6. Face to face reminder ' the drip-drip method is effective
7. Call to action ' give clients good reason to use your site
An ambitious objective
'Something completely new'
'Illusion of control'
Reasons to be cheerful
Total investment reaches £9m