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Steward Partners, LLC | Comprehensive Financial Solutions for Advisors and Clients

Keys To Building A Digital Identity - Greg Banasz

It is impossible to succeed in business without a strong online presence – a statement as true for a financial advisor as it is for any other business. Many advisors who opted for independence after working in a bank or wirehouse have no idea of how to go about establishing a digital identity, because they have never had the opportunity to market themselves or to build a brand identity of their own. The following are keys for these advisors to consider.

Make Your Name Memorable

One of the most important decisions you will make when establishing a firm identity is what to call your business. The name should include descriptors of the kind of business, be easy to spell and remember, and contain a simple domain name to direct people to you.

Almost as important will be your firm’s logo, which should be simple, distinctive, easily recognizable and memorable. For example, when you see a swoosh or the golden arches, you don’t need the company names to know what those symbols represent, but if your name is “Northpoint Advisors,” for example, incorporating a compass needle pointing north in your logo could help prospects remember your name.

Your logo should also be versatile and usable across a variety of media, including your website, letterhead, business cards and collateral materials. It should look good both in color and in black and white, and you should limit the design to a single, strong color, or two colors at most.

Make A Good First Impression

The core of your digital identity is a professional-looking, well-designed and up-to-date website. Before constructing your website, explore the websites of other advisors, and not just local firms. Look to see how other types of businesses that are looking to attract the same prospects go about it. Make note of those features and designs that you think work particularly well and those you would like to avoid.

Although you can find do-it-yourself website builders, do not try that unless you have serious design, coding and website backend skills. A professionally built website costs more but is worth the investment if it conveys the right message to your prospects.

When searching for a web designer, look for companies that specialize in creating websites for financial advisors. Talk to several and find one who understands what you want to accomplish and can work within your budget.

A designer who is already familiar with industry regulations and restrictions should make the process smoother, help you reach your target audience, differentiate you from competitors and help you with search engine optimization (SEO) and content creation.

Tell Your Story

Once you have a designer, you should seek professional assistance for content. You must showcase who you are, what you do, and what makes you different, but it is hard for most people to tell their own story in a concise and effective way.

Your website should include your philosophy, approach, client service model and team bios. You can leverage team bios so that prospects get to know you in a deeper way by sharing personal details, listing any philanthropic work you do, and including pictures of you and your family. This demonstrates transparency, builds trust, and helps people feel connected to you.

In addition to a “Contact Us” section, your website should feature other sitewide call-to-action opportunities to engage visitors. Consider a giveaway that showcases your expertise, like a downloadable PDF.

Maximize Social Media

Your firm should utilize all major social media platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, X and Instagram. Learn strategies to engage your target audience, and remember that social media is designed to be social – use it to connect, humanize yourself and deepen relationships.

On social media, use friendly language that is easy to understand. Don’t present financial industry jargon that will go over the heads of your intended audience. Balance your financial content with non-financial content to avoid appearing salesy. Post about what’s happening in your office, such as staff events and work anniversaries. Add articles that are relevant to your target market but not directly related to finance.

LinkedIn is especially important. All team members should have LinkedIn profiles that include a link to the firm’s website. LinkedIn is also a good platform to showcase your subject matter expertise.

Moving Forward

Create a regular communications strategy and keep a regular cadence of content distribution including social media, weekly or monthly newsletters, and market commentary. Content that is weeks old sends the wrong message.

FINRA applies the same standards to electronic communication as it does to any other medium. All communications must be fair, balanced and complete, and not omit material information. If you repost information from another source or link to another website, the same rule applies as if you had been the source of the information, and you must retain records of your electronic communications.

Finally, keep score of your digital efforts. Make sure you understand how to use the various analytics that can track everything from social media performance to website traffic. You should also regularly search for your firm and individual team members, and regularly check consumer review sites, to make sure your reputation stays strong.

Greg Banasz is a Managing Director, Founding Partner and Chief Marketing Officer for Steward Partners Global Advisory.

Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck
Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck