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How to Use Transparency as a Marketing Tool in your Financial Planning Practice

There is a quote that I use in almost every presentation I give to financial advisors:

Incredibly sad, but also very true.

There is a perception that most financial advisors are sharks with good math skills, sitting behind 1980s-looking cherrywood desks, eager to have you sign over every asset you own so they can do something with it that they're reluctant to disclose to you.

Unfortunately most financial advisors don't do anything to change this perception when it comes to their marketing. And let me tell you - PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING when you're talking about digital marketing.

Perhaps back in the day when that desk was in style, you might have new clients just walk in your office door looking for someone to help them with their financial future. But now they're not. In fact, they're not walking through your door unless they've checked you out online. So, if what you have on your website is stiff and impersonal, that's what they're assuming they're going to get if they contact you.

What's the opposite of transparent?

  • Obscure.

  • Ambiguous.

  • Shady.

These days, if you're not upfront about who you are, how you work, how you charge, and how you're going to help, people automatically assume that you have something to hide or you're not an honest person. In a world where everyone and every business is vying for our attention, we're naturally wary of things that don't seem on the up-and-up.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to fix this that don't require an entire website overhaul. Don't get me wrong, ideally your website should visually reflect what you're saying through your content. But if your budget requires baby steps, then do what you can.

1. How are you going to help?

That's the number one thing you should talk about in every piece of content you put on your website. The client should be your center focus.

2. How much do you charge?

I know most people would rather not put that on their websites, but it's actually really effective. Most of the clients I have who are upfront about that hear from clients that that's the reason why they contacted that advisor.

3. Who are you?

What do you like to do? Do you have a family? Do you care for an elderly parent? Do you have any causes that you're passionate about? How do you feel when you've helped a client? These little things allow me to get to know you a little better and gain my trust.

If you CAN implement more visual elements into your website, here are a few things I suggest:

1. Pictures of you meeting with clients.

This gives me a sense of how you work and who you work with. Are you meeting with a couple or someone who is single? How old are they? Are you meeting them at their home or at your office? All of these things tell me a little more about you.

2. Graphics of how you work.

Creating a graphic that visually tells me about your process is eye-catching and tells me more about whether or not we'll be a good fit.

3. Buttons/Calls to Action.

Buttons that will allow me to contact you should be scattered throughout your website - not just on your home page. I highly recommend using an online scheduling tool if possible. Here's more about that: Why My Clients Love My Online Scheduling Tool.

When you think about making some changes, just put yourself in the client's position. How do you feel when you're trying to find a new service provider/resource? What websites naturally attract you? You probably don't care what plumbing school your plumber went to - all you care about is that they'll do the job and you feel safe with them in your home. Transparency is key.

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