Much has been said about the marketing opportunities posed by the internet to those in financial services, and more adviser firms are taking steps to gain market share over their rivals with improved online profiles and digital marketing tailored for tech savvy customers.
For many, using an online platform is the best source for winning new business and offering clearer, engaging websites is seen as a great way for advisers to demystify client services.
However, spending substantial amounts of money on website development and optimisation will only get an adviser so far when it comes to improving their search engine rankings.
This is the view of Mike Terry, web developer at Codepotato, who designs and builds websites for adviser firms and other companies operating in financial services.
The danger, for many advisers, he said, is that they may be spending too much time meticulously improving superficial facets of their flashy websites, without significant improvement to their search engine profile or rankings.
Ray Galt director of Glasgow-based Macarthur Denton Asset Management, said spending big on website development is likely to be more beneficial to larger deep-pocketed adviser firms who boast a large book of clients and who have a greater capacity to accommodate new business compared to smaller rivals.
He said: “We are a small firm so we would not be able to cope with 100 new clients a month, so climbing up the rankings is not in our interest.
“We do not try to get high on Google rankings but instead try to increase our exposure through websites such as Unbiased. This approach has worked for us over the years – we have had a number of enquiries.”
Mr Terry claims that intermediaries who regularly updated their website with new content are likely to see it climb up the rankings.
“Blogging is no longer the preserve of the frustrated teenager in their bedroom, quite literally everyone and their mother is blogging,” he said.
A blog can be a valuable resource for your business, especially if it can allow you “focus on your website and your business” he said. “Then suddenly the potential becomes clear.”
Mr Galt agrees with the sentiment, adding that he aims to update his blog once a month – which is not only a boon when it comes to climbing up the search engine rankings, but goes a long way in bolstering the credibility of an adviser practice, he added.
“If you can’t think of something to write about once a month, you probably should not be an adviser because you need to express your views on industry movements.”
In addition, Mr Terry suggests that web users who feel the need to revisit a website through regular blog updates could potentially share content on other platforms or link back to it on their own sites, which would again help lift its Google profile.
He added that sites lacking fresh content will often suffer when it comes to engaging with consumers and are likely to lead to a decline in the adviser firm’s online prominence.