Fraser Jack: 00:07 Hello and welcome to the Goals Based Advice Podcast, where I have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host, Fraser Jack. I want to thank you so much for tuning in today. I’d also like to thank our supporting partner Advice Intelligence for powering this podcast. This week we have a very special episode. We chat to a, I would say regular on the show, Pat Flynn, who was actually on episode 78 not so long ago, early October.
The process guy, I like to call him. The process guy. Pat Flynn is coming back on to talk to us today about something slightly different in the way that he was talking about the life goal cards the first time, now we’re really focusing in on the website side of it, which is a fairly topical piece for a lot of advisors, and he’s also got a bit of a special offer coming up very quickly. We’ll get into that shortly. Welcome Pat.
Patrick Flynn: 01:06 Thanks very much, Fraser. Good to be here.
Fraser Jack: 01:08 Now, you are the process guy and as I said, we had you on talking about life goal cards previously, but now we’re talking about something different.
Patrick Flynn: 01:17 Yeah. Well, being the process guy, your nomination, not necessarily mine, but being that guy I typically look at a process and try to find problems that I can fix. Whether I’m doing that one on one with a practice or whether I start to identify something that’s really common across lots of practices, if I see a problem, I’ve got to solve it. I noticed that there was a pretty consistent problem with a lot of advice websites, and I saw a problem that could be solved.
Figuring that what most advisors require is relatively similar, even though the messages might be wildly different, there’s a foundation that’s really consistent. I just figured, “Why not jump in there and go fix it?”
Fraser Jack: 01:58 Fair enough, too. Now, I love the fact, find a problem, got to go solve it. You were the Rubik’s Cube guy, weren’t you? Tell me, you could solve a Rubik’s Cube?
Patrick Flynn: 02:06 No, I cannot solve a Rubik’s Cube. I don’t have the patience.
Fraser Jack: 02:10 Fair enough. Now, let’s talk websites. Most advisors, pretty much all of them let’s say, will have a website. They need, I guess we don’t need to talk about the fact there’s a need there. People understand that, they understand that they need to have this presence, this face, this shopfront if you like, on the interweb.
Patrick Flynn: 02:32 Yeah, and whilst I completely agree, it’s definitely when we’ve got a situation in the advice world where so much fatigue exists around change, so much focus is put on compliance, or changing client requirements, that the digital shopfront starts to get a little bit tired, and not unlike a physical shopfront, if you don’t give it a fresh lick of paint every once in a while or look to tweak things from time to time, it’ll get out of date, and the digital shopfronts do tend to get left behind quite a bit in the advice world. That’s a pity, because they don’t need to. They’re not that hard to maintain once you know what you’re doing.
Fraser Jack: 03:13 Yeah, they do get out of date very, very fast, as obviously the coat of paint lasts a little bit longer than the digital shopfront, because everything else is moving so quickly and moving ahead of it, constantly, constantly moving.
Patrick Flynn: 03:27 I completely agree, but there is a number of things you can do that, you can use to future proof the work that you do. A little bit similar to advice. Some parts change very frequently and some parts are foundations that stay the same. The focus on the message, for example. That message for most practices will get tweaked over time, but really just needs to get drilled down into a core once.
Once we’ve got that, building a website around a really good core message is actually relatively easy and that bit doesn’t need to change. It’s just some of the other fiddly bits around the edges that need to change.
Fraser Jack: 04:03 Cool. Let’s go high level. With a website, obviously there’s a lot of moving parts, let’s go through all those parts. Start with the idea around obviously we need to have a website that people can see and interact with, but there’s a lot of moving parts behind that. Like, there’s design and development and there’s hosting and there’s all these different parts. Let’s break that down and start there.
Patrick Flynn: 04:27 Yeah, so when we went to solve this process, problem, it was really just a case of me looking at it and determining, “All right, what are all the factors across all these different metrics, and what’s the kind of site that I would want to build, having done that research?” There’s a bunch of things that are subjective, but there’s a lot of things that are just objective in there. We started with some objective things first.
The main one for that, the one that’s probably the most striking visibly, outwardly, is around the design, whether it be mobile first or not. For most of our listeners, I imagine that they’d be aware of what mobile responsive is, and that’s a website that looks good on a mobile or a tablet or whatever the device is, even your desktop, it should resize when you change your browser window size.
That’s mobile responsive, but a mobile first design is designed with the intent of being used on a mobile most of the time. Depending on the kind of approach you take to clients, most clients are typically accessing their financial advice details outside of hours. That didn’t use to be the case, even as recently as five years ago. You’d see a lot during lunch breaks and stuff like that, but especially if you’re dealing with retirees, especially if you’re dealing with anyone outside of the white collar worker space, and even within that, unless you’re targeting them specifically, you tend to see a lot more on mobile.
When you’re designing a website to be used on a mobile, you just make some different choices around how you do it as opposed to if you were designing it to work on anything.
Fraser Jack: 06:06 Yeah, no, design’s obviously a massive part. Stats, do you have the stats or understand when people do look at websites, and understand that most people are looking at between this hour and this hour?
Patrick Flynn: 06:20 There’s a lot of different stats and they’re all very conflicting, and it’s very hard to find the best studies. To be honest, I haven’t gone too far down that road, but suffice to say that I know that it’s more than 80% of people depending on which ones you’ll look at, will be looking at professional services on a mobile. We know that 93% of people Google a small business before they go to see them, and typically that would be something done within a couple of hours of engaging them, and a lot of the time that would be on a mobile as well.
Fraser Jack: 06:52 Yep, so design’s actually probably the biggest part, isn’t it? Or certainly the first part you need to start with. Understanding the user experience, understanding what the user is looking for. Are they just looking for contact details? Can I get that information quickly? Can I find the address quickly? Can I find the information I want to get to in a very simple way, without having to search too hard?
Patrick Flynn: 07:12 Well, it’s interesting. Stephen Covey, myth number two, of begin with the end in mind, which I’m often referring to, really is something that you need to think about when you’re looking to build a website. For a lot of our listeners, I imagine it’s really just a case of, “I need to get something up that looks good, is credible, because the target market is somebody who’s already heard about me, already knows me in some way and now they’re looking to validate me.”
In that situation, the goal you’re trying to get is to take a lead that might be lukewarm through to piping hot, and you’re hoping that that lukewarm lead gets warm enough to actually call you and becomes hopefully a warm lead. What you don’t want is something that’s so bad that even a piping hot lead starts to work their way down to lukewarm, and you’ve got to build trust back up again from the process because people are seeing you in spite of your website, and you’d see that when you perhaps even in your own life, when you’re referring someone to something, and it’s got a bad website.
You say, “Look, go to this person, their website’s terrible, but they’re really good, trust me.” We don’t want our referrers to have to do something like that. We want them to just say, “Yeah, go there” and they actually feel proud to be your client when they’re referring there. That’s when we’ve got the website as an inbound tool for an existing prospect. It’s a very different approach if we’re looking to capture people straight off the internet at large. Those who might be searching “financial planner Brisbane” or whatever the case may be.
It’s a little bit easier to do that if you’re in a more regional area, but it’s just a very different approach to the work and the design and the structure around what you might build if that’s what you’re going for.
Fraser Jack: 08:58 Yeah, whether they’re searching for something, or whether they actually know the name of it, and they’re actually typing that in and coming directly to it.
Patrick Flynn: 08:58 That’s right.
Fraser Jack: 09:04 It’s such a visual medium that you can’t emphasize how important that design is, in the first impression. We’ll get to the validate me part in a moment with the know, like, trust side of it. That’s the design side, what are the other elements? You mentioned we’ve got development and we’ve got security and we’ve got the compliance and we’ve got a whole lot of other I guess pieces to the jigsaw puzzle that we have to think about.
Patrick Flynn: 09:30 Yeah, well one of the things that I didn’t see too many great options out there for was around compliance. So, there’s just a whole bunch of things that we know for a fact are required by compliance to have on your website. We just bake those into the tool at large. Whilst our tool is built on templates to start with, they’re very customizable. You can really do just about anything you want with them, just like you would with a Microsoft Word template.
Pretty much the only part we lock down is along the footer, and that bit where we’ve locked that down is so that the compliance details all sit in one space, and even if you handover the keys to your website to your 16 year old nephew to go and make a few tweaks, they probably won’t be able to break those particular bits down the bottom, so that that compliance is basked in from the outset. And we’ve got a little important information page there which includes all the FSGs, privacy policies, general advice warnings, anything else in particular that may be required.
We’ve worked with most of the larger licensees now, so we’ve got something in there that’ll meet all of their different requirements as we go. That was something that I felt was important because with the practices that I knew, that hadn’t gone through this process, because it didn’t really exist at the time, I found that they would go back and forth with compliance a few times, because their local design firm didn’t understand their needs, even though they’d sent through the document that compliance had given them.
Then you have this back and forth, the advisor’s piggy in the middle, they’re not necessarily adding any value so we just cut that out as well and we just say, “Look, we’ll just deal directly with the compliance team. CC you on everything,” but then that we get it from the horse’s mouth. It’s actually quicker for us, because we’re getting it without any Chinese whispers along the way and it’s better for the advisor because it saves them time.
Fraser Jack: 11:19 Yeah, this is a really important part, isn’t it? Because most firms, if you just find that you Google a firm that does websites, they’re not going to understand what’s required by a compliance team for a professional advice practice or anything with regards to making sure that the privacy statements are correct and the FSGs are available and they’re updated and they’re the latest version, and how do you then keep them updated and all of that sort of stuff? Do you want to talk about the keeping it updated piece?
Patrick Flynn: 11:51 Yeah, so there’s some things that we monitor general compliance requirements, even though they don’t change all that often. There are things that may not necessarily be within the financial services area, but might extend a little bit beyond it, so things like privacies and cookies disclosures, which are still important for us to cover. We do some stuff around that.
Then there’s also little things when people go through standard changes, like when they change a licensee. We’ve got a little set pack for that. We even do little things to make sure that’s working. For example, I’ve had to go through a few licensee changes lately, and they’ve gotten to the end and they’ve said, “My go live date is X” and then I’ve called them up on the day and said, “Oh look, you’re not showing on the financial advice register as being the new licensee yet so I’m not going to make that switch yet. I’ve just removed the old licensee’s details, and you’re in purgatory right this minute.”
A lot of the time that’s the first they’ve heard of it, that they’re not showing it. Sometimes it’s a quick fix, sometimes it’s uncovered that there’s been a problem in that process. Just a number of those little things where if the people at the other end know what financial advice needs and how it works, we can save some of those things from potentially going wrong and either ticking off a new license or an old license, or if you’re an own license, we’ve probably got more awareness around this stuff than you may have had time for, because again, we get to deal with most of the larger licensees around the country.
Fraser Jack: 13:14 Yeah, and you’ve got to get that timing right, don’t you? With getting onto the register and having the website say the same thing at the same time.
Patrick Flynn: 13:22 Yeah, exactly. I don’t want to have a website that says the wrong thing. That’s not in our interest when we’re there to serve financial advisors exclusively. Why would we let a website be knowing non-compliant? So we don’t. That’s very different to another situation where it’d just be you tell the provider, “Change this,” they change it. They’ll never come back to you to say, “Oh actually, I can see a problem with that.”
If we see something that’s potentially problematic and we know a lot of the stuff around wording and things like that, if we see particular wording or phrases that we identify are a problem, then we’ll raise those with you, too.
Fraser Jack: 13:59 Yep, and while we’re onto compliance, do you want to quickly chat about security as well?
Patrick Flynn: 14:05 Yeah. Security’s really important and again, this is something that you typically wouldn’t engage somebody to say, “Look, I want to make sure this thing’s secure.” A lot of advisors don’t necessarily realize that security’s a particular issue for them because they think, “Look, it’s just a website, there’s nothing really on there. I’m not too stressed from a security perspective.” However, there’s some important things in there, and I see my work here similar to how most advisors see their advice, and that is they’ll recommend a really good product, even if a client doesn’t necessarily recognize how good that product is.
Or, they’ll take the time to craft a really good strategy, regardless of whether the client recognizes all the value. Similarly, I’ve baked in security into the base of this, whether or not that’s necessarily valued, because it’s about craftsmanship and it’s about making sure that this is a tool that I would use.
There’s a number of things around security that we do to manage it at a high level to keep things as secure as possible. There are some things that are restricted so that people can’t just plug in anything, and again, if you let your 16 year old nephew to go in, make a few changes, we lock down certain aspects of that so they can’t get too many things wrong. But also there’s only so far we can go with that, if they’re really determined. Some 16 year olds can be very determined, and talented, but the stuff that we put in there is really just around making sure it’s as secure as possible.
And that’s to prevent some things that you might not necessarily think of, so if your website gets hacked, you may not even know it. They may not shut your website down and send you a ransom note. They may do something more like put a little bit of malicious code in your website, and then every visitor that comes to your website downloads the code and now it’s running around in their browsers, and if that’s something that you wouldn’t want your clients to have, and you certainly wouldn’t want your clients to have gotten from you, then that’s something that you’d want to have built into what you do.
They can also do things like they could add a little popup form on your website, appears after 30 seconds on your website. You might never notice it, years might go by without you noticing it, and it might try and collect their contact details, or worse still, send them off to a phishing site where it says, “Hey, you’ve come to XYZ Financial Planning’s client login. Enter your banking login here.”
Whilst you’d hope most of your clients wouldn’t fall for something like that, if they’ve come from a trusted source, which you’re meant to be, then they’re going to be much more likely to fall for that. There’s a number of things we want to make sure we’re preventing on a security front, even though they may not become top of mind for most advisors.
Fraser Jack: 16:44 Yeah, it’s hard to fathom the companies that are out there, that companies and scammers out there that are actually doing this to financial services websites across. Not a day goes by where I get an email that says, “Hey, can you click on this link?” Often from people in the industry that have been hacked in some way, and how people, what they call the endpoint, how people get in, could be through their website or through their internet browser, or through their wifi, but there’s a lot of different ways of getting in these endpoints, and the website’s certainly one of them.
Patrick Flynn: 17:17 And even just the list of email addresses that have made a query on your site would still be of value. Because they’re typically people who are seen to have some money, so that list would be much more valuable than a sample of the same size the got hacked out of Yahoo a few years ago. Something that says, “These people have gone to a financial advice website, they’re actually legitimate emails and they’re people that typically have legitimate amounts of money.” They’re going to be worth 10 times as much.
Fraser Jack: 17:47 Yeah, and as you said, if they can be the impostor and pose as you and hit your clients up, then that’s a problem.
Patrick Flynn: 17:55 Yeah, absolutely. That’s a really important point because that is a source of a fair bit of fraud.
Fraser Jack: 18:00 Yep. We’ve covered compliance, we’ve covered the fact that security’s a must and it’s just a no brainer, don’t even think about not having it. I wanted to talk about the size, like I mean it’s one of the questions I think that a lot of planners and advisors and professional services companies ask a lot of, like you can spend a few thousand dollars, 3 or $4000 on a website, or you can spend 30 or $40,000 on a website, depending on the size and how far you go with it, and it’s kind of this, a little bit of scope thing. Do you have anything around the idea of what’s the must have and then do you really, what would you need to be doing to have all that extra built on and added on? Is it worth it?
Patrick Flynn: 18:44 We recently launched a new style, because that was something where we felt we needed to get that really mobile first design for people that had a really simple message. And for most advisors, they are very content light. They don’t have a blog, they’re planning to write a blog, they don’t have a massive educational library, they don’t plan to write a massive educational library. They’re still great people, they’re still great planners, they still believe in what they do, and they’ve got a message or a process that they go through that they communicate to their clients.
That is really far more important to nail that than anything else. We know that we’ve only got a few seconds to engage people. In terms of written content, they typically will spend six seconds reading your written content. Strangely, that’s almost the same amount of time they spend looking at your main image on your site, so if that’s a stock photo, that’s also a little bit less engaging.
They’re some real low hanging fruit items. Just get a picture of the individuals in the business, the client facing individuals in the business, and getting those first six seconds of language right. That’s more important than all of these other things. If you haven’t gotten to that, let’s get to that first.
Otherwise, it’s really how long is a piece of string? The work that you can do around blogging, you can get some great leads from doing some work around blogging. You can get some great leads from doing a number of things with your website around content, and around regular updates and so on. There’s also a fair bit you can do there around client education and client engagement, and that’s something that’s perhaps not thought about quite so much with a website, if you only think about a website as a marketing tool, as opposed to a client engagement tool.
That’s something that’s not condition so frequently. So, we can use a website to accelerate booking appointments or allow people to be self-serve around booking appointments, or filling out questionnaires that we require them to fill out. Again, that security becomes even more important there, but there’s a number of things that you can use it as an engagement tool, or as an educational tool rather than blogging for the sake of pumping out some content.
But if you think about the educational journey you want to take your client down, and a lot of advisors will do this in their first or second meeting, you can start that journey before they’ve met you and indeed you should start that journey before they’ve met you, around what your three most important pillars are, or what your one, two, three process is to getting your head around your finances or taking control of your finances.
Those things are still far more important, but you can spend 30 grand on a website and you can get 30 grand worth of value out of a website, absolutely, but that’s also going to take a lot of time, and there’s no point even thinking about that if your message isn’t pitch perfect.
Fraser Jack: 21:34 Yeah to me, it feels like the 80/20 thing, right? 80% of the value that the consumer or the clients will get out of that website is that first, as you mentioned, 12 seconds maybe. Some content, some information, some visual, aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, those sorts of things. Which is your start, your starting point, right? Then you add on the thousands at the end to fix the last 20%.
Patrick Flynn: 21:59 Yes. Yeah, completely agree. For most advisors, they only need that 80, that good old Pareto principle, that’s all they need.
Fraser Jack: 22:07 Yep. Fair enough. I just wanted to quickly jump in before we get too deep into this chat, around one of the competitions that you’ve, I saw you posted on LinkedIn. Pat Flynn’s LinkedIn page. I went, “Oh, I should talk to you about that and get it out” but it’s a limited time only. This podcast is going to go out and if you’ve waited a few weeks to listen to it, you’ll probably miss this opportunity but for those people who are going to the FPA Congress, which is in Melbourne on the 27th to 29th of November, 2019, and you’re listening to this and you’ve got a website which let’s face it, may have been done a long time ago, or maybe you’ve put some effort into it, or maybe you’ve just put a landing page up with a few things and haven’t really got anything else to show, tell us about this offer.
Patrick Flynn: 23:04 Yeah, so this was something where really taking that philosophy of wanting to solve problems for advisors and wanting to get things done. I thought, “Well, you know what? What could be potentially more exciting about going to a conference than actually just getting one?” So we’re just going to give away a brand new website, completely free, for the entrant who we feel we can make the biggest difference for.
We know that there’ll be some websites that’ll look really good, there’ll be some websites that yes, need a lot more love, or maybe need some more structured love, and what we’re really looking for is the one where we can have a real wow impact between before and after. That’s only going to be for one conference attendee. We’re going to reveal that at our little expo session on the Thursday there, and that should be pretty cool.
It’ll be nice to be able to turn something around quite quickly as well, because the entries will close on the Tuesday the ... Oh, I need to get this date.
Fraser Jack: 24:03 19th, is it?
Patrick Flynn: 24:04 It’s Tuesday the 19th, that’s right. Midnight on Tuesday the 19th is when entries close. Depending on when you’re listening to this, you may not have much time, but we’ve got a little form which we’ll include in the links and you can simply go there, enter your website, and your name, and we’ll take a look and hopefully you’ll be the winner.
Fraser Jack: 24:25 If you’re listening to this podcast between ... And you’re going to the FPA Congress in Melbourne, and it’s before the, you’re listening to this before Tuesday the 19th, and your website needs a bit of love, then jump on the link and submit your website to Pat and he’ll choose one and what, turn it around in time?
Patrick Flynn: 24:51 Yeah, so we may not be able to make it live live, because the compliance team may be involved, and they may need some time to review it, and depending a little bit on what you’ve got, but if we’ve got everything we need, we can make a website live that quickly because we’ve put a lot of effort into getting things working. We’ve put a lot of effort into making it so that we don’t recreate the wheel every time, and in doing so, we can knock something around pretty quick.
Fraser Jack: 25:17 Fantastic. That’s an amazing offer. Jump on that link if that applies to you. If it doesn’t apply to you, then you missed it, but maybe you can still check out Pat’s website and do something.
Patrick Flynn: 25:28 You’ll have to listen to Goals Based Advice hot off the press from now on.
Fraser Jack: 25:30 That’s right. Yeah, you miss it, you’re going to miss them. Tell me about pricing. Like I mean, you mentioned you’re giving away a free website. If somebody wants to get, like you mentioned, let’s say the 80%, get it to that 80% where we’ve got everything you need and it does what it’s supposed to do, it brings the consumer in, what sort of price range are we talking?
Patrick Flynn: 25:52 That’s a flat fee of 2200, plus GST. The idea around that is that’s typically something that’d be valued at four, five, or six grand or more, but because you’re not paying to recreate the wheel, you’re not paying for a whole quoting process, you’re not paying for wire framing and all this sort of stuff that typically happens throughout the process, we’re able to get that price right down.
One of the other things that we do is we also ask you for the information upfront. So, we’ve got a form on our website that’s probably the worst new business form ever. It’s almost like having a fact find upfront, but I like to think that most advisors recognize that if we can get them to do some of the heavy lifting, that means they don’t have to pay for some of that. We’ve got a form where we ask all the questions, we ask what’s your AFSL? What’s your AR number? All these little things, tell us your ABN, et cetera, et cetera.
Then we ask you a bunch of stylistic questions around are you professional or casual? Are you a little bit more progressive, a little bit more conservative? These sorts of questions to get a bit of a feel for what you’re like, and then we’ve got a spot for you to upload your logos and whatnot. It typically takes about half an hour for someone in the practice to complete, and that covers off all the facts.
By the time we’ve got the website order in, between that and some clever tech at the backend, we’ve got a lot of the website already pre-built. That’s pretty cool, and that’s something that I felt that nobody should have to pay for. That’s how we structured it. We do have some extra add-ons that are available in there as well, so we’ve got a bunch of financial calculators that you can just plug in and again, because we’ve done this before, you don’t have to pay for somebody exploring, “How do I get those calculators in there? Do they work?” Et cetera.
We link off to other tools where required. We’re familiar with being able to go off to XPLAN logins, or MyProsperity logins, or whatever the case may be. We’ve got Calendlys built into many of our sites already, including my own, so we know all of that stuff. So again, a lot of those are just tick boxes, as you’re going through the signup process, which helps keep that cost down, because you shouldn’t have to pay for that.
Fraser Jack: 28:07 Got to love operational efficiencies.
Patrick Flynn: 28:09 Yeah, that’s kind of my sweet spot. That’s why I built it out that way. It doesn’t mean that it’s not a tailored process. It just means that all the love is focused on where it needs to be, which is around that message, being clear on your vision. We did one, for example, one of our first ones on the new style, and he’s a regional advisor and he specializes in medicos. We just, it was really great because he had a very clear message so then it’s about us making sure the style and the theme uses imagery that would resonate with those sorts of people without resorting to stock photos of doctors with stethoscopes and stuff like that, which start to get really stale really quick.
That’s where we’d like to focus our effort on, working to help design something great, not, “Do you want an about page or not?” Or, “Do you want a Google map on your contact page or not?” Those things are standard. Everyone needs them. You don’t need to pay for us working out whether we need them.
Fraser Jack: 29:11 Right, so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just said, “This is what’s going to be best in 90 of the cases, 80% of consumers, what they want straight away.”
Patrick Flynn: 29:23 Exactly.
Fraser Jack: 29:24 “And let’s just go and do it.” Now, you mentioned there was about a half an hour form to complete. What else is involved as far as my time, for example, as a planner?
Patrick Flynn: 29:33 So, that form’s designed to be able to be completed by probably almost anyone in the office, with the exception of maybe some of the what’s our brand style kind of choices, but in all honesty, most people can answer those. They’re fairly straightforward questions. The only other step that’s really involved at the outset is a form for you to complete, which just is around what those messages are.
What’s your big, bold message upfront? What’s your next bit? What’s your next bit? We like that to be three different areas, and there’s a little bit of coaching in the form around that, and I often find myself stepping people through a bit of coaching around that.
Fraser Jack: 30:12 So you just do a Zoom call or a phone conversation?
Patrick Flynn: 30:15 I’ll send it off to them and then I’ll say, “Look, if this isn’t clear for you, if this isn’t easy, then we’ll just schedule a quick Zoom and we’ll work through smashing out the remainder of it.” Then we’ll-
Fraser Jack: 30:27 And do you give some examples of what ... Because a lot of the time, if no one’s doing that all the time, it’s the classic scenario, because I don’t do it all the time, I don’t have the confidence in it, or I don’t think I’m very good at it, so can you give me some examples, so then I can ...
Patrick Flynn: 30:44 Yeah, absolutely. We’ll direct them to some examples, especially once we know a little bit more about them. We can pick some very relevant examples that may well resonate and then in turn, that person can also share some examples. If they’ve seen something that they like, they can share it with us and we can tailor the work that we do towards that. Then, we simply, because it’s at that price point, we don’t have scope for lots of rounds of review.
We do have scope for one round of review, and in that we’ll go, “Great, you like it, cool.” Then we’ll send it off to your compliance team on your behalf, again, CCing you along the way. We’ll work to whatever the compliance requirements happen to be, unless they’re really out of the ordinary, that’s all priced in. And then we’re ready, we go live.
Fraser Jack: 31:28 This is the part I love, the fact that getting you talking to the compliance team and organizing what needs to be organized, and I’d imagine if you’ve already spoken to that compliance team in the past with an existing website, it becomes easier.
Patrick Flynn: 31:40 Yes. I often just say, “Which licensee are you going to?” Now it’s just a case of, “Oh yeah, cool. I’ve already got their requirements. That’s fine.”
Fraser Jack: 31:48 Yeah. Now on this messaging, we talk about the idea of the website just getting people to know, like, and trust you, or you’re certainly not turning them off you in any way. There’s the first call, and then getting to know, like, and trust you. Do you do any work around that messaging with them as far as that marketing slash side of it, or is that something you refer off to?
Patrick Flynn: 32:11 Oh look, we typically refer that off to a copywriter. Naturally, if we’re having a conversation around what that message is, then I can provide what little insights I have, but I’m more of the process guy rather than the perfect messaging guy. For example, Kim who’s been in your program, is very good at working out that messaging and working with people on that, but we may also refer off just to a pure copywriter for some of that stuff.
Fraser Jack: 32:35 Yeah, sure. Kim Payne that is, does a lot of work in helping advisors distill their value. That’s the know, like, and trust. I wanted to cover off on the idea of imagery and videos, all those things, because obviously a lot of the sites we see have video in it. Images is a big one, you mentioned stock photos before. Do you want to talk to that?
Patrick Flynn: 32:56 Yeah. Look, whether using our service or any other service under the sun, imagery’s really important, so we do lose a lot of time from that first impression process that only goes for a handful of seconds, where people will be looking at one of our first images on the site. That’s about six seconds which is, it’s actually, it’s 5.92 or something like that whereas looking at your first set of text is actually about 5.5 seconds.
They actually look to your primary image longer than they actually read your first set of text, which is, seems strange to us. Especially when it’s your business and it’s what you love, but if we look at how that’s reflected and how most advisors build their sites with a bit of a stock photo, then you’ve actually really gone the wrong way, putting the effort into the text and not the photo. You need to put the effort into both.
So, what I always recommend people do is to build as much of the personality into that part of the process. Humanize it with you or your team as much as possible. As we think about it as that know, like, and trust, and as we think about it as a process, this is the first step in the client engagement process. You’re just not a part of it, or you can’t control the journey of it so much.
What we want to do is we want to have photos of you on location. You in your meeting room, the meeting room where you’ll meet the clients, or if you’ve got some nice real estate, then some images of your building. You outside your building. Something along these lines. The more of that personal feel we can get in there, then the better of we’ll be, because for most of our clients, if a client wanted to go to a bank, they’d go to a bank. They’d get that little corporate experience and they’ll know that person will change at any given time.
Fraser Jack: 34:50 So if they wanted the big brand logo as their number one priority, they’d go to a big brand logo. If they want a human being at the other end, they want to see a human being.
Patrick Flynn: 34:58 That’s right, so double down. Be a human being, and make it so that when they come and see you, it’s almost already a little bit familiar. That’s on the photo side. There’s also some things that you need to make sure you do, even if you are using stock photos and stuff like that, just make sure you are compressing those, because if you just upload the 5000 pixel by 5000 pixel image, you’ll slow your site right down, so that’s a quick tip, and a little common problem I’ll see as I go about the place. But when it comes to that, building on that know, like, and trust message, it’s really important for you to consider that design.
There’s the image, there’s the message written, but there’s also the design, and that’s simply just the art that’s gone into making it look pretty and readable and structured nicely, but when it ... It’s so important for advice because we’re meant to be the trusted advisors, and when 75% of users make credibility judgements based on a site, using design alone as their cause, that’s a big impact when it comes to credibility. We know that, so when it comes to that design we know that 75% make that judgment primarily, that’s an older study, it’s a 2002 study by Stanford that one.
But we also know that 94% of first impressions are design related, so if you’re getting quick bounces, then ... By bounce, I mean that’s somebody’s clicked on your homepage, they haven’t scrolled anywhere and they’ve gone somewhere else, that’s because that first impression was not good enough and your design is the primary driver of that rather than anything else.
And then as consumers are tested when they’ve spent a bit longer on a site, when they’re forced to spend a bit longer on a site, it still comes down to about 46% of their assessment of credibility is based on design. You’d like to think, “Well, if these people have spent 20 seconds on my site, hopefully they’ve read something.” You’d like to think that design would be less of a factor, but it’s not unfortunately. So, making sure that look and feel is up to par is really important.
Fraser Jack: 37:12 Yeah. First impression’s so important, isn’t it?
Patrick Flynn: 37:15 It shouldn’t be but books get judged by their cover. Coming to video, though, video’s also really important. Video gets liked by Google and is a nice touch from a credibility perspective and just looking good. But I think it’s much more important than that. It’s really about an opportunity to increase that engagement and to tell a story as somebody gets to that particular part of your site.
I do think having a video right near the start of your site, either boom, above the fold, on the homepage, so it’s there immediately as you see it, or on the next tier down, so as soon as they’ve decided to engage the journey even just a little bit, it’s there. That’s actually the sweet spot from what I’ve found. I do think that’s really important. We know that people stay longer on websites when there’s a video, up to 10 times longer, and it’s a great way for you to tell that story again in a personal way.
The video, like the images, should be in the room where you meet the clients, but it should, and it can have a little bit of stockish stuff in there, or what they call B-roll, but what’s really important is just that it’s there with the client facing people telling a client facing message that aligns with the rest of the story that we’re telling on the site.
Fraser Jack: 38:35 Yeah, I love the videos, and some of the ones I’ve seen around introducing the team, and as you said before, the authenticity and personality of the people and the humans in the business. What they do, how they do it, and that B-roll around the office and even if it’s just somebody handing a piece of paper to somebody else, or showing something on a screen. All of that sort of stuff, and being done really well, too. I really like to think if you’re going to spend 10 grand on a website, [inaudible 00:39:02] have to spend half of that on just getting the productions and the images right, getting somebody in, getting a videographer in and getting all those digital assets done and maybe your branding and logos and things and colors, then coming to you to then construct it and put it together in a way that’s easy and compliant, and secure.
Patrick Flynn: 39:20 The only thing I will say, and this may sound completely self-serving, but it’s really easy to add that stuff in later. I will typically say if we’ve got something that’s struggling right now, and design is the primary thing, then let’s just get it fixed up and then if you don’t have those photos, cool. Adding in photos is a very easy, little thing to do. Adding in a video is a very easy thing to do. In fact, we even do a little cheat at the backend where the spot where the video goes, if you don’t have a video yet, I’ll leave it there hidden so that when you get me a video, hopefully at one point down the track, then it’s literally just we paste in the link and then remove the photo. That way, the video can go live in literally five minutes flat. I just don’t want to see people waiting for perfect before they get something good.
Fraser Jack: 40:08 Yeah, that’s a really good point. It’s get the website up and do the other one, not do the design or do the images and everything first.
Patrick Flynn: 40:16 That’s right. Absolutely.
Fraser Jack: 40:18 What are some of the big mistakes you see people making with their websites?
Patrick Flynn: 40:24 The list is so long. One of the common ones I see is, it’s around design. Design is there to present information in a logical way, to tell a story, to tell a message. It’s not there to look sexy for the sake of sexy. So, the one that’s a little bit of a bugbear of mind is those moving backgrounds. You load up the site, there’s this video that’s playing in the background, and I’m actually not a fan of them at all, because they do two things. One, they operate slower than an image would, which slows down your load speed, and we know that has all these other impacts.
The stats on those are long winded and not worth going into but we know we want it to be fast. It slows it down a little bit, but more importantly, it just detracts from the actual message itself because you’ve got this distracting stuff of people, and it’s always stock, it’s always stock stuff. So, people you’ve never heard of moving around, and you’re never going to see, moving around an office or pointing at a whiteboard or whatever, just in the background.
That sort of stuff is a particular pain point. The other one that’s probably more advisor driven is just getting too bogged down in the content and having too much. It’s always a case of less is more. We’ve only got a matter of seconds to get anybody to go through and do anything, so if you’ve got something that is ... If you’ve got a paragraph that’s running more than five sentences long, it’s just too long. You just need to trim it down.
For a lot of the stuff that I see written, my first bit of feedback is, “This needs to be cut in half. I can’t even read this. I’m not going to read this. It’s just too long. You need to cut it by half, and then I’ll read that.” It might sound a little bit brutal, but it’s absolutely necessary because less is very much more in this space.”
Fraser Jack: 42:25 Yep, so make the point and move on to the next point, rather than dwelling on that point over and over and over again or having three sentences on it. I’m just thinking of this from the design ... Let’s get to the 80%. The blog or let’s go with the search engine optimization piece of it. To me, that’s once we get over the 80%, we move into the 90%, we’re looking at how we’re going to get search traffic to our site, but really if we’re an individual practice, we’re not necessarily after search traffic, are we? Unless we’re trying to get to several hundred thousand people, it’s sort of a ...
Patrick Flynn: 43:02 Oh look, I think it’s definitely something worth doing. It’s just a matter of when. Yeah, get to your 80% first. We also bake in a bunch of no brainer stuff. So, this is stuff that would be absolutely standard, that again, most of users probably don’t even realize that we do, but this is meta tags and titles and all these little things that help with search engine optimization. Things like schemas, which tell Google, “Hey, this bit is the person’s name and this bit is where we’re at” and that’s actually quite important when we’re looking for maximizing local searches, which is where a lot of advisors are looking for.
It’s one big disadvantage if you’re in a CBD area, is it’s extremely competitive, but if you just need to be out in the suburbs and you’ve got a good chance. We do a bit of stuff around Google reviews and that’s a really good opportunity for even a small practice, with some great Google reviews, to improve their search rankings really well, but also improve that journey an awful lot. But when it comes to going beyond those sort of fundamentals that are relatively easy to implement, the hard ones are blogs or other things that update your site regularly, that you have to write yourself, or you have to pay someone else to write.
From a pure SEO perspective, there is an advantage in getting someone to write out some fairly stock content. That’s pretty much the only benefit I find. The clients can smell stock stuff and they don’t engage as a result. Any of us who follow other planners or are connected with other planners on social media, we’ll see this sort of stock stuff just pump out and have nil engagement. Because it doesn’t tie back to their core message, and that’s a big flaw.
It can help just on the SEO front, but at the expense of everything else. Where I feel it’s really great is if you can put that effort into writing something, then great, do it. Craft it up, and then it can tie back to your broader message. If you say, for example, when you go to recommend superannuation strategy to a client and you’re having that conversation with a client around, “What’s better? Repay the mortgage or contribute to super?” It’s one of those old age discussions, right?
You may have a four point process that you go through on that that really weighs up in the pros and cons, and then you leave that and then you make guide the client in a personal advice context to go one way or the other. Write that up as a blog and then that tells the story that you tell the client and is built on the principles that you drive the client to. That’ll be a compelling blog. It’ll also do really well for search engine optimization, but it’ll be a compelling message so that if somebody does read your stuff, then they start to go, “Oh yeah, cool. He spoke about that in my meeting.”
Or, they don’t ask you the question because they’ve already learned it from you and they already have your opinion, or when they do raise it, if they’ve already read it then you’ve got a great starting point so you’re starting to use that language that you already use in all your meetings. That’s when it goes from, “Yeah, it’s a nice tool to help get the rankings up. Might get a few clients drop out of the system that way” to being something that’s really powerful, really engaging, and really has a big impact.
Fraser Jack: 46:29 Yeah, and that’s the blog side. I also think that short videos, you can do a short video on the same blog and then add them as well. We even do the podcast, transcribe the podcast and stick it on the Advice Intelligence website, which adds 10,000 words a week I guess, to that and it’s all again, it’s just conversation that we’re having. It’s all that sort of natural conversation.
Patrick Flynn: 46:55 On the blog bit, there are a few really common mistakes that are absolutely worth mentioning. Be it the blog or if it’s social media, if it’s something that’s not getting stuff pumped out to it, just shut it down. If your blog section says, “Latest news,” dated 2015, just make it die. It needs to die. Get it off life support, take it offline. If it links to a Twitter account that had its last post in 2015, then turn that off from your site as well.
You don’t need to kill the account, but don’t bother linking to it, because if anybody clicks on it, it’s just like, “Ah, you just sent me to a dead little dead end. That wasn’t very helpful.” If you’ve got a blog, you may have some really good evergreen content from it, even if it’s four years old, but then maybe flip that into being educational content that’s presented as an evergreen content. It might be educational articles or you might have learn more or something like that.
Fraser Jack: 47:54 A three step process to budgeting or whatever it might be. It’s something that’s always going to be relevant.
Patrick Flynn: 48:00 Exactly. We can still take that content and use it. we just use it in something that doesn’t have a date on it and has a little bit more consistency to it. That’s one thing on the blog side. The other one is just building on that is around being consistent with it. If you’re going to do it, just be consistent with it.
One tip I find is very helpful for advisors that have told me they want to start blogging is I’ll say, “Write four first.” First off, that’s great, you can submit them to the compliance team and get them to review it before you start publishing anything and that’ll give you a really good sense of if you’re on the right track or not, but also if you haven’t gotten to four, then that’s a really good indicator that this wasn’t for you.
Much better than posting up two, and then never getting around to number three and four. Four’s sort of like the point where, “Okay, there’s a good chance you’ll actually continue with this.”
Fraser Jack: 48:52 Yeah, I’m certainly one to blame when it comes to blogs. I think I’ve started certainly a lot more blogs than I’ve finished, that’s for sure. Much easier to start them than it is to finish them in that final piece of the puzzle which is getting them signed off. I also liked the word that you used before which is helpful, and the fact that the content does actually need to be helpful.
Patrick Flynn: 49:15 Well, I do that with my own personal blog, so I think about the problems that I’m seeing day-to-day and I go to solve them with the blog. If I was having a conversation with a client that was about that particular thing, mortgage versus super, then I’d be pretty inclined to write up a blog about that, and then I can share it with that client later.
And then every time I get that question again, I can give a short answer in the meeting, and then say, “But I’ll send you a blog, it actually covers everything I’ve said in much more detail” which means you’re able to give a 600 word answer to a question without it being weird, and covering all the points that you might not cover off in a meeting. That’s what I do, so on the website front, I recently wrote one about how to write a really good profile for a team member.
Because I’d hit this problem with advisors, they might write their own profile really well, but they’ve got a team of four, and some of them may write about themselves, some of them are very bad at self-promotion. So, these people may not have a LinkedIn profile, they don’t know what to write. They’ve never had to write anything in this context before, so it’s a guidance to those people that then solves that problem. My blog identifies a problem, share the blog where it’s required, and it helps.
There’s no reason why you can’t do that in the advice context as well. Simply operating like an ongoing FAQ.
Fraser Jack: 50:38 Yep. Now there’s a lot of, there’ll be people out there asking about, “What about the landing page? What about the eBook that I’ve written on the easy steps to minimizing your tax?” Or whatever it might be, and they want to collect their email address and then start to engage people in that way. Is that all part of what you’re doing?
Patrick Flynn: 50:57 Yeah. We have people that do that. That’s very easy. The eBook side of things is extremely easy, and it works well on that mobile first design where you’re just scrolling down and then it’s like, “Cool, I’ve gotten this far along. Bam, this panel is about get my eBook, handover my email.” In the other ones, and we can do it as a popup, which may be a better way to do it. Again, I typically prefer, especially because trust is such a big thing in a device, I’d typically prefer to put a pretty long timer on it, so it might be when they’ve been on the site for 30 seconds.
They’ve been scrolling around your site, whatever they’re doing, for 30 seconds, now it’s time to say, “Hey, you want to really learn more? Bam, get an eBook.” As opposed to, “I’ve been here for one second and you’re already in my face.”
Fraser Jack: 51:46 You can’t see the first image until you put something in, or manage to find the close button.
Patrick Flynn: 51:51 I was actually looking at an advisor site this morning that had submitted to our competition and it popped up with something within one second, but it wasn’t mobile responsive, so I couldn’t even see, there was like a “No thanks” button down the bottom. Without knowing to scroll around for this “No thanks” button on my phone, I couldn’t even see how to get away from this popup. I hit back, I go back to the last site I was visiting and I was just like, “This is, wow. This is incredible.” That’s where some of that mobile responsiveness can be really bad if you don’t get it right.
Fraser Jack: 52:25 Yeah, certainly. And it’s not the sort of thing advisors do all the time, so it’s certainly a thing that they can easily get wrong.
Patrick Flynn: 52:33 Yep. But it’s quite solvable. For most of this stuff, there’s a right way to do it and that’s why I built it, because it was just like ... Some of this stuff is qualitative, but most of this stuff is just completely objective, there’s a right way to do it. You should have a contact page with a map to your site. We build that in. You should have all your legals, all your compliance stuff all in one spot, so that’s how we’ve built it.
Most of this stuff is just obvious when you’ve done it several times, you know what to do. But when you’re doing it for the first time, that sucks. It’s also bad when somebody’s saying to you, “Well, tell me what you want” and you don’t know. That’s not the journey advisors are used to, because they’re used to people saying, “Look, I’m not really sure what I want. Help me.” But most firms that they go to for a lot of things, web included, just say, “Tell me what you want and then we’ll go build towards that and we’ll build a quote” and so on.
Fraser Jack: 53:34 Yep, as if you’ve done it 1000 times before, which you haven’t.
Patrick Flynn: 53:34 Exactly.
Fraser Jack: 53:37 Now tell me about the time frame. How long does to normally take to get something from go to whoa?
Patrick Flynn: 53:41 Look, it really depends on how quickly that information comes in and how clear we are on it. We can get it done, if we’ve got everything, we can get it done in a couple of weeks, but it often takes a good deal longer than that because a lot of the time people spend a little bit of extra effort around refining that message, and they ... I do find that a lot of people, and this isn’t just on the site site, this is in all my work, they’ve got what they feel is a really good idea, and a really clear concept, and they may be able to verbalize it okay but everyone’s quite forgiving when somebody verbalizes something.
When they go to write it down, it’s not that clear. They find that getting that message structured, black and white, on a page, does take a lot more time than they thought it would, and that’s where sometimes advisors can get a little bit lost in the process. That’s why we try to get all the facts out of the way first so that it’s not too daunting when you get to that clarify my message bit, because if I asked you for that on top of all the facts, that would be a nightmare. That’s something that also needs to go around the office, needs to get workshopped with any business partners and stuff like that as well.
Fraser Jack: 54:56 And may still change.
Patrick Flynn: 54:57 Exactly.
Fraser Jack: 54:58 Like you said before, get it to 80%, get it in there, get it live, and then if they want to refine it slightly even more they can do that, it’s an easy process.
Patrick Flynn: 55:06 Yeah, and look, I do pick up sites where even if the headline was, “We provide financial advice in Brisbane” would be an improvement on the current, and then you can just go in and tweak it. We make it all really easy so people can go in and edit it and change stuff, and add this, add that, remove that, change address. You just type into one spot, so changing the text on the homepage is quite easy.
Fraser Jack: 55:28 Fantastic. Now, let’s finish up on how can people get ahold of you, and how can people enter the competition if they’re in time?
Patrick Flynn: 55:36 Yeah, so for the competition, it’s AdviceWebsites- ... Sorry, /fpa-dash-congress-2019. That’s a bit of a long one, so we’ll put that in the notes. But really AdviceWebsites.com.au is the place to go to see all of this stuff.
We’ve recently launched our Simplicity theme, so that’s probably the one I’d recommend you check out, especially if you’re on that content light side. If you are content heavy, or you plan to be content heavy like in the next six months, and by that I mean you plan to have a lot of stuff. Stuff that’s too complex to fit into a relatively simple page, then let us know. We’ve got our Classic theme that’s there as well, which is a really good option, but we are working on a new one called Depth and I’m keen to get some early adopters for that, too.
If the stuff that’s in there looks a little bit too simple, then just drop us a line in the contact form and we’ll have a more interesting chat about the cool stuff we can do.
Fraser Jack: 56:35 And you can obviously upgrade if you grow out of one.
Patrick Flynn: 56:38 Yeah, so it does cost a little bit to move. It’s not just a case of to [inaudible 00:56:45] because you are effectively building a new site. But still, it’s an awful lot cheaper than the alternative. We do have people, we’ve got one on right now where they do plan to be content heavy but they’re going to be six months away from getting some of that content together, so they just said, “Look, let’s just do the simplicity, get it live, get it running, we’ll start to add that content and then maybe in nine months once that content starts to get a bit too heavy, cool, then we’ll make the switch over” and that’s not too bad.
Fraser Jack: 57:14 Fantastic. Thank you Pat, the process guy, Flynn. That website again?
Patrick Flynn: 57:21 AdviceWebsites.com.au.
Fraser Jack: 57:22 Fantastic. You can find Pat also on LinkedIn?
Patrick Flynn: 57:27 Yes. LinkedIn/PatrickJamesFlynn, but really just type me up and I’m probably a third connection to anyone listening to this anyway.
Fraser Jack: 57:36 Fantastic. Thanks for coming on. Thanks for sharing your special offer that you’ve got coming up, albeit very quickly, and giving us a bit of an overview of what we should be doing with our website. Appreciate it.
Patrick Flynn: 57:46 Awesome. Hey, if anybody’s out there and they just want to shoot the breeze on websites, and see not just how we may be able to help, but any quick tips and stuff from learning lots of lessons over time, by all means drop me a line there as well.
Fraser Jack: 57:59 Fantastic. Thanks Pat.
Patrick Flynn: 58:00 Cheers.
Fraser Jack: 58:03 If you haven’t already, I’d love you to subscribe to the podcast on your podcast platform of choice. To continue the conversation, head over to our social media channels. We’ll catch you next time.
Disclaimer: This document is a transcription obtained through a third party. There is no claim to accuracy on the content provided in this document, and divergence from the audio file are to be expected. As a transcription, this is not a legal document in itself, and should not be considered binding to advice intelligence, but merely a convenience for reference.