Even Online, Keeping It Simple Brings The Clients

By Cynthia Stephens, VP of Marketing on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Third in a series of advisor perspectives on marketing and technology

Michael Lynch has been courting high-net-worth clients, and now he feels like the campaign has been successful enough to take on a new partner and kick the process into an even higher gear.

Part of the process entailed taking a hard look at his website and ripping it out -- more than once. The process took years.

“In 2000, it was a good website,” he tells me. “By 2006, it was old.”

Unfortunately, a year-long redesign process ended in what Lynch calls a “dismal” failure. Then he brought in a client who happened to know something about marketing, only to find out that the new design was too programmatic and too complicated.

Now, he says, 30% to 40% of the more than $12 million in new assets that have come into his firm finds him through the website.

Keep it simple

What he learned from the process is literally simplicity itself.

“On my new site, it’s easy to find stuff,” he explains. “It’s easy for a client to make an appointment for an introductory meeting or financial review. It’s easy for them to start a relationship.”

Advisors tend to think in complicated terms. While that’s fine when you’re crunching market numbers, it can be lethal when you’re explaining your value proposition to a prospect who may be very successful, but doesn’t know much about the industry.

You don’t have to dazzle them with jargon and statistics. And with the wealth of bells and whistles available online, the challenge is making sure you cover the essentials without leaving your prospective clients more dazed than dazzled.

Now, Lynch finds high-net-worth investors flocking to his site via Google searches or NAPFA’s advisor recommendation tool -- a great lead generator for members, by the way.

Yes, even HNW clients use the Internet

Lynch has a piece of advice for advisors who say high-net-worth investors are not spending a lot of time online.

“I started my practice in 2001, when that might have been true, but now I’m getting $1 million clients through the website and they love communicating via email,” he says.

“We just did an online meeting for a retired client whose wife can’t travel. Instead of being afraid that older clients don’t use technology, we -- and they -- see this as a real opportunity.”

The reason the Web works for these clients is not because they’re young and hip. And there’s nothing intrinsically magical in the dot-com format.

Advisors like Lynch are seeing results because the site lets them “touch” a prospect without scheduling a face to face meeting, or even being awake.

“A very narrow way of marketing is one to one,” Lynch tells me. “That’s the best way to market to current clients, but prospects are a different type of relationship that might benefit from the social media broadcast aspect.”

Simplifying relationships as well as the site

Lynch seems confident that his technology can help him hit aggressive goals for 2012: 50% revenue growth.

One last tip there: he’s started charging on all assets, whether they’re actively managed at his firm or held away.

After all, he’s watching those accounts, so he deserves to be compensated for that.

And once his clients appreciate that, they recognize immediately that it makes things simpler -- and cheaper -- to consolidate their holdings under his umbrella.

Michael Lynch, MBA, is the founder of Lynch Financial Advisors, a privately-held financial, tax and life planning company serving clients throughout California. Lynch Financial Advisors’ client base includes individuals, couples, and small business owners. Lynch Financial Advisors provides comprehensive, fee-only financial planning – taking no commissions from the purchase or sale of products. The firm focuses on a range of clients including those with a negative net-worth of more than $10 million in assets. Lynch Financial Advisors’ philosophy is to help clients understand what is important to them, set reasonable goals, and hold them accountable to achieve their goals. 

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