- There are 3 main types of websites for financial advisors: RIA, Niche, and Membership. Look at your audience carefully before choosing one of them.
- RIA Websites are essentially digital business cards. These appeal to the widest audience possible. As a result, they’re the most common.
- A Niche Website is precisely tailored for a particular people group. That might give you traction for pulling leads away from the bigger, more established sales funnels.
- Membership Websites have content behind a gate. They may have a secondary gate blocking a high-quality lead magnet, too: That 2nd gate is usually free to open, but the best content is reserved for members.
The 3 Best Kinds of Financial Advisor Websites
3 Varieties of Financial Advisor Websites
The primary trio of website varieties for financial advisors is RIA, Niche, and Membership. Look at your audience carefully before choosing one of them.
The first type, the RIA Website, is essentially your firm’s digital business card. Although they can be niche-specific, they’re usually more generic. This is to appeal to the widest audience possible.
They’re as shiny as possible—typically with a straightforward, let-us-manage-your-assets theme. If you have a solid client base and a large team to back it up, they have obvious advantages.
However, if you’re relatively small, it’s risky: Let’s say you’re trying to hit $100m in AUM (or equivalent revenue from fee-only models). Can you afford the advertising budget to compete with the big players?
Unless your answer is an emphatic “Sure,” a different approach may be wiser. In fact, a Niche Website could help. Believe it or not, it might give you traction for pulling leads away from big corporate sales funnels.
While RIA Websites utilize a shotgun approach, a Niche Website is precisely targeted. In fact, it’s one huge marketing endeavor. Everything is geared toward your ideal future clients.
If this sounds like more work than a generic site, sometimes it is. However, there are definite advantages to having one.
For starters, Niche Websites aren’t constrained by the same limitations. For example, if your demographic is millennials, your messaging can probably be less formal.
Second, they can boost a growing RIA’s prospecting. If every lead is vital, a Niche Website running parallel to a traditional RIA site cross-pollinates through links back and forth.
Financial Advisor Websites: Membership’s Benefits
The final approach is a Membership Website. This takes elements of both an IRA Website and a Niche Website to the next level.
All 3 typically offer something of interest to visitors, but that’s behind a digital gate. Opening the gate requires leads to provide their name, email address, and possibly a little more information.
Membership Websites have libraries of content behind their gate, but the key is sometimes monetary. They may have a secondary gate blocking a high-quality lead magnet, too.
That secondary gate is usually free to open in exchange for contact information. Meanwhile, the best things are reserved for the members-only area.
This reserved area functions as both a private online community and an exclusive content vault. As a result, Membership Websites can be leveraged much more directly.
The beauty of Membership Websites is that they generate additional income over time: People find your site and purchase memberships, even if you’re away on vacation.
However, a successful Membership Website is every bit as honed-in as a Niche Website, if not more so.
- Use your RIA Website to control the process. Have a digital calendar for clients to sign up for initial consultations. You may want to clear the air in advance by listing your fees there, as well.
- Distance yourself from your IRA’s (main) site on your Niche Website. This allows you to present yourself as a helpful voice who happens to have an IRA on the side. For some leads, this is more accessible; less intimidating.
- When your RIA is at capacity, consider a Membership Website. Likewise, if your ideal future client market turns out to be too large for your practice to serve directly, that’s a good time to consider it, too.
Last but not least, thank you for listening!
WELCOME TO ANOTHER EPISODE OF THE RIA MARKETING PODCAST. I’M YOUR CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AND HOST, NOLAN MARTIN.
Today, I’m going to explain the different types of websites we typically build for RIAs and what the advantages and disadvantages of each of them are.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. A website is a website—so how can there be three different types?
The answer is that each one has its own specialized purpose. Some things you should consider are: are you trying to provide information about your RIA, are you trying to educate your ideal future clients about specific information that pertains to them, are you trying to raise the barrier of entry so that you start building Superfans?
The level of interaction and relationship you are planning on building with your ideal future client is an important consideration when choosing the type of website that will achieve your goals.
We usually build one or more of these three websites for financial advisors:
- RIA Websites
- Niche Websites
- Membership Websites
First, let’s look at RIA Websites. You’re probably most familiar with these. They’re the face of many RIAs online.
They’re also probably the greatest source of frustration, too: You may have hoped that your initial $3,000-$5,000 investment was going to give you a great ROI. You likely had hoped that qualified leads would have stumbled onto your website directly from Google and they would want to do business with you and your RIA. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. But, there are pros to having an RIA Website.
A positive is that you have a location to send your prospects--whether you helped move them from a lead to a prospect or a client did through a referral. Having a destination for your prospects to land is important when they want to include you in the running as they find a financial advisor to help them solve their issues.
Some other pros of an RIA Website is that you can control the process you want your prospects to take. You can have a digital calendar on your RIA Website so the prospect can sign up for an initial consultation and even accept payments if you charge for that initial engagement. You can specifically address who you work with so that underqualified prospects can self-eliminate from contacting you. If you want to be up front with prospective clients on your fees, you can have your fee scheduled posted on your website. Overall, your RIA Website should enable your RIA to function as if you had an additional Relationship Manager who works 24/7 and never complains.
As previously mentioned, the con to an RIA Website is that if you are not appealing to a specific niche and you are not creating hyper-specific content, then you are likely going to have ZERO ideal client profiles that digitally stumble upon your RIA.
But, that is okay. As long as you realize that you can build a separate website, what we call a Niche Website, then you can generate the traffic and direct it to your RIA Website.
A Niche Website is like a digital office where everything caters to your ideal future clients’ wants and needs. From the architecture to the flavor of the water fountain, it’s all designed to appeal just to them.
If, let’s say, your target is a subset of millennials, your language might be less formal than your RIA Website’s. You don’t want any messaging that conflicts with your RIA site, but the idea is to use the tone the niche is most comfortable with.
Your niche site becomes a lead pipeline into your practice. You continue to grow your pipeline by creating valuable content for your ideal future clients. As your content matures and you become a known authority in your niche--your RIA will continue to see incredible growth.
A main pro for a Niche Website is that you can distance yourself from your RIA. When you speak to your ideal future clients through the lens of an extremely helpful person who has an RIA on the side, that is much different than speaking to your ideal future clients from your RIA platform. When you usually do the latter, it is difficult to establish the same level of a connection because your ideal future clients are anticipating a sales pitch at some point.
A main con for a Niche Website is that it is a lot of work showing up for your Superfans time and time again. Creating content is time consuming and requires a strategy to be successful. Not to mention, it is going to take 2-3 years of head down rowing, before you really start to even see true success.
The good news, is that overtime and with that increased success, you may run into the great problem of realizing that your RIA is at capacity and you don’t necessarily want to grow it any more. Or, your ideal future client market is too large for your RIA to serve directly. That is when we recommend you start exploring a Membership Website.
A Membership Website adds a premium content offering to your Niche Website. It usually is unlocked by a subscription payment and provides even more value to your niche. Courses, tools, exclusive video content, and exclusive webinars are a few ways to provide additional value that is locked behind the subscription wall.
Some pros of a Membership Website is that you can truly build Superfans by offering the content and tools that directly solves your niche’s most difficult problems. Also, you are diversifying your offerings because you are providing a service that is at a tier lower than your one-on-one financial advisor engagements. You are able to create a new stream of income because you are likely providing a service to a subset of your ideal client avatar that likely would have never become clients anyways.
A couple cons of a Membership Website is that there is likely going to be a greater, added expense and it will be even more time consuming. Whether you hire your own team member or outsource to a media company, you are likely going to need some help to create the value that exceeds your member’s expectations. Another con is increased production quality will be more of an expectation when your Superfans move from the freemium side of your Niche Website to being a paid member. So, the additional expense to create premium content will be another negative factor.
At the end of the day, there is no one size fits all to which website is best for you and your RIA. If you want to talk strategies, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we can discuss all of the pros and cons that relates directly to your situation.
I’M NOLAN MARTIN AND THIS IS THE RIA MARKETING PODCAST. WE AT GRAY LINE MEDIA THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO OUR PODCAST.
Please remember: We’re determined to help RIAs connect with Superfans and their Ideal Future Clients through remarkable websites and relatable content.
My only question is, will it be your RIA?