As I wrote in my last post, it’s now easier than ever to have a polished, sharp investment management website. Clearly, a strong website is important because in areas of strong competition, such as investment management, looking your best is an important marketing imperative.
What struck me was the across-the-board consistency in design. What I mean is, there’s not much diversity here. These 50 sites are all variations on the same two or three themes.
Whether that’s good or bad is in the eye of the beholder – to me, it smacks of “me-too marketing" (here's a PDF of a recent presentation I did on the "me too marketing" phenomenon).
Still, what was apparent in these sites is that form clearly followed function; these sites were designed to further clear marketing goals. These investment management websites are all clean, easily navigable, with intuitive layouts. Importantly, there’s not much fluff or extraneous distraction.
Which makes sense – visitors to these sites tend to be busy professionals conducting due diligence or research and thus want to find information quickly. Nothing should distract from that mission.
But as I’ve noted before, what happens when everyone’s website looks great, but the same?
I think from a design perspective, that’s the rub: Investment management websites can’t get too cute or inventive because doing so runs the risk of sacrificing some of the intuitiveness visitors to these sites value. But on the other hand, from a marketing perspective, you still need to make an impression.
That’s why I think the best examples from that list are graphics-heavy, have bold imagery, with strong headlines.
But ultimately, it’s the internal content of the site that truly matters:
- Does it conclusively answer questions and assuage doubts?
- Is there a clear articulation of an investment manager’s 5 P’s (people, product, price, philosophy, process)?
- Is the content persuasive?
- Is there valuable thought leadership or other content that shows you understand your core client type?
- Does the messaging differentiate your firm from your competitors?
- Is the content helpful in a thoughtful, meaningful way?
Unless all of these boxes are checked, a sharp, well-designed site means that you're just another pretty face.