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Websites in finance – a generational divide?

March 1st, 2022

WEBPRO Adviser works with clients of all ages in the financial services industry. Throughout our many years of collaborating with financial advisers, we have noticed somewhat of a trend, or you could say, a difference in opinion, between younger and older advisers on the need to have a business website, as well as the need to market one.

Before we get into this anecdotal generational divide, we must state that this is not a blanket divide, and there are of course advisers of all ages whose opinions differ from what is to follow.

What has WEBPRO Adviser noticed?

The first thing we have noticed is that older advisers who have worked in the financial services industry for a long time - often with very successful businesses – do not see the value in having a website. They often come to us feeling “forced” to have a website as they have been told they need to have one and they tend to see it as an unnecessary expense rather than an investment. Because of this, it is also older advisers who are less likely to further invest in their website once it has been created, such as adding new content or promoting it through digital marketing services and so they are the least likely to see any benefit from having one, proving their point that they didn’t need one in the first place!

As a result of these attitudes – again, this is not every older adviser’s opinion! – these clients tend to veer towards the bronze semi-bespoke template package offered by our web design agency. The bronze package is an excellent way for a business to create a simple online presence to be used as verification should a potential client go looking for a business. However, it doesn’t offer multiple website pages and there is little scope for online marketing with a bronze template website. This again makes these types of advisers the least likely to benefit from having a website.

On the other hand, our younger advisers are typically more enthusiastic about having a website for their finance business. They start the process of setting up their business with a new website and marketing plan high up on the list and they recognise the potential ROI from owning a professional website and marketing it effectively. Before contacting us, most young business owners have already done their own research on website design and how to make the most of it. It’s great to work with enthusiastic clients who understand the value of what we do, but this can sometimes throw up its own issues. We might need to slow them down to prevent a run-before-you-walk situation. Or we may need to explain why something they have read online is not the best thing for their particular business.

What causes this trend?

We believe the reason that some older advisers don’t really want a website is because they have operated successfully for years, sometimes decades, without the need for one. Moreover, they tell us that most of their business comes from referrals from other clients, so having a website would be an unnecessary investment for them, they already have all the business they need.

At a glance, this rationale for not wanting a website makes complete sense. Why would you get a website when everything is working swimmingly? But there are some counterarguments to consider.

Why successful financial services businesses still need a website

A website can still increase leads and help a finance business grow, even in an unlikely situation where 100% of clients come from referrals.

Even when people are referred to a service by someone else, they typically try to verify and check out the business online for more information first. If the user makes an online search and cannot find any details about the business and its services, they may decide to explore other alternatives that appear on the search result instead. Ultimately, this results in lost clients to competing businesses.

Research also suggests that most leads prefer to make their first contact through a contact form or email rather than calling, but without a website, this option is much less accessible. And last but not least, relying on referrals alone is a high-risk business strategy that can easily go south if referrals dry up.

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