Once upon a time, financial services companies could skate along on the strength of their reputations. In the pre-Internet days, they didn’t need fancy brochures or costly direct advertising campaigns; even in the early days of the Web, they didn’t need an extensive digital presence to keep new prospects coming.
Those days are long gone. Even the strongest fiduciary firms need to show off their digital savvy. More than that, they need to be visible in the online spaces where they’re most likely to encounter prospective clients and partners.
If you feel that your firm hasn’t kept up with digital trends, make up for lost time by focusing on these seven must-have elements of its Web presence.
1. High-Value Business Directory Listings
Business directory listings are cheap or free, easy to set up, and often great for SEO. While there’s no such thing as a guaranteed first-page Google listing, listings on platforms like Crunchbase and Angi reliably clear that threshold for smaller firms’ exact-match search terms.
These listings aren’t always intuitive, unfortunately. The Crunchbase listing for Asiaciti Trust, a fiduciary and trust services provider with clients across the Asia-Pacific region, is a good example of a comprehensive, well-optimized entry that does what it’s supposed to, SEO-wise — and provides clear, actionable information about the organization itself.
2. Directory Listings for Your Key People
Your key employees should have their own high-visibility directory listings as well. Not all business directories have a “People” section, but the best do — including Crunchbase. There’s very little downside to asking key team members to create their own listings or having a representative do so on their behalf, with their permission.
3. A Company Website
What’s that? You have so much business coming in from referrals and word of mouth that you have no need for a website?
A Facebook page will do?
It won’t. Spend a few hundred dollars to secure a domain and launch a basic website; ignore astronomical cost projections from people trying to sell you on high-priced Web design and development services you don’t need right now.
Then, see what happens. Worst-case scenario, your website attracts little traffic and you continue to rely on other funnels to drive revenue. More likely, your website will turbocharge your organization’s credibility and set it up to move beyond word of mouth. With an ecommerce portal attached, it could even drive revenue directly.
4. A Company Blog
A website is a good start, but it can’t by itself convey the authority your company needs to stand out. You also need a blog, either as part of your website or on a purpose-built blogging platform like Medium.
Use your blog to publish original longform content about topics that matter to your audience. Feel free to drill down on really specific concepts. To a knowledgeable audience, your insights are a sign of authority, and it’s okay to show that you know your stuff.
5. A Focused Social Media Presence
There’s an argument to be made for creating and maintaining profiles on every social media site you can find.
It’s not clear that this is a good use of your resources, however. A more focused presence that’s limited to two or three core properties probably has a higher return on investment. Identify the platforms most valuable to your audience and ignore the rest.
6. Contributor Arrangements With High-Authority Digital Publications
Work to sign your top employees as contributors to high-authority digital publications in your niche — or, if your niche doesn’t have any to speak of, general business publications.
These bylines convey authority and credibility by default, even if your employees don’t publish much or don’t produce earth-shattering insights every time they write. It’s all about visibility.
7. A Multifaceted Earned Media Presence
Your company’s earned media presence is not entirely within your control. It relies on the “generosity” (really, interest) of others.
But you can do a lot to cultivate that presence. You can reach out to journalists and influencers in your field, create high-quality resources that attract coverage, even hire a PR team to professionalize your operation.
It’s a numbers game — you’ll need to do a lot of outreach to get one quality mention. That mention (and those that follow) can do a great deal for your company’s visibility and reputation, however.
A Web Presence Is Always a Work in Progress
Your digital presence is never going to be perfect. It’s always going to be a work in progress, even after you’ve crossed each of these action items off this list.
Because, let’s face it — times change. Twenty years ago, few would have imagined the change wrought by social media. A decade or two from now, we might collectively marvel that we ever did business outside the metaverse.
Who knows? We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it.