Having a great website can be like throwing a wonderful party with great refreshments and entertainment, but nobody comes! You need a strategy to get the right visitors and convert them into qualified prospects.
You have probably setup your website using the full-featured site available to NAIFA members at www.NAIFAwebsites.com. If not, do that now. This is a good first step, as customized features unique to your practice can be programmed as a separate website at a later date and simply linked to the first.
Get the word out
Add your website’s address to all your stationery, brochures, proposal folders and the ID section of your software. Send all your clients two labels to place on their computer monitors with your firm’s name, logo or motto, phone number, website and your email. You should send these labels every year, perhaps with your annual review or tax-planning memo.
Work on exchanging website links with other firms in your market area. You add a link to their firm on your website and they add yours to theirs. This has substantial benefit as it is an implied endorsement. Start with law firms, accounting firms and bookkeepers. Then add upscale vendors such as wedding planners, photographers, florists, car dealers and golf courses. Dont forget non-profit organizations such as chambers of commerce, charities, churches and arts groups.
Consider using small classified ads, billboards and radio spots. An example of a simple, yet effective message would be: Worried about retirement? Go online for local advice at www.MFRS.com, thats Midwest Financial and Retirement Services. Just 4 letters MFRS; with the usual ‘www’ and ‘.com,’ www.MFRS.com.
You should also offer something on your website such as a free subscription to your newsletter, a pamphlet or a book.
A mini-CD-ROM can also drive prospects to your website. They can be delivered in person or by mail for less than $2 each. The CD-ROM conveys a message about your services and then links them directly to your website.
Be clear about who you are, what you do and where you are licensed to do business on your homepage. If you charge fees, advise Web visitors. Heres how one firm does it on their opening screen:
“Our financial services are offered to families and businesses in the Willamet Valley. We charge a fee for planning and investment management and offer other financial products such as insurance annuities and mutual funds on a no-fee, commission basis. Our initial ‘get acquainted’ visit is currently available at no cost?just call for an appointment.”
If you are using the NAIFA-sponsored website, you already have three ways for prospects to come to you: “instant memo,” “refer a friend“ and “request information.” Every serious visitor to your site will eventually encounter these features, but the most powerful is “request information,” which pops up a detailed check-off list with topics ranging from employee benefits, to annuities, to cash management, to life insurance and general insurance.
The text message explains that you are going to mail a report. Why mail? It allows you to get their name, address, phone number and email address. You must respond swiftly. If you are not in the office, be sure to send an auto response to acknowledge receipt of their request. Then you must assemble a response that will attract their attention.
You should also offer something on your website such as a free subscription (within your market area) to your newsletter, a pamphlet or a book.
Your website marketing strategies are cumulative activities. You have to put the systems in place, provide a moderate amount of support and soon youll have a steady flow of prospects.
Edwin P. Morrow, ChFC, CFP, RFC is president of Financial Planning Consultants in Middletown, Ohio. Contact him at Box 42430, Middletown, OH 45042, 513 424-1656, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.