In our previous article, we addressed how archaic imagery and poor use of social media are hindering fund issuers in their attempts to connect with Millennial investors. In this 2nd of two parts, we will explore the other two ways fund issuers are missing the mark with Millennials.
2. Bad websites
As the first generation to come of age along with the internet, Millennials have somewhat higher expectations when it comes to websites. They expect it to not only be easy to use, but to look good and function on all of their devices.
Your website is the public “face” of your company. It’s likely one of the first things a potential investor, journalist, or businessperson encounters when searching for your company or its products and services online. Unlike other venues such as social media, advertising, or appearances in the press, you have complete and utter control over your website, its messaging, content, and how it looks.
So what makes for a good website? Beyond providing your company with a public face, a website is essentially an index of information. It succeeds or fails by one essential characteristic: can visitors easily find the information they’re looking for? When formulating your plans for a new company website, you should think long and deep about the kind and amount of information which visitors that land on the website may be seeking, as well as who those visitors might be. Depending on the specific nature of your company you may wish to address different parts of your website to different “slices” of the public: individual investors, financial advisors, and institutions, for example. Or you may find it sufficient to merely provide a company overview and links to fund materials. Whatever the quantity of content, do keep in mind that you should not bury your content in layers of navigation; the fewer the number of clicks a visitor must make to reach the information they need, the better.
Good design is, of course, inseparable from a good website. We address staid, “blah” imagery in the “archaic marketing materials” in part 1 of this post. To springboard off of that discussion, good design is not merely evocative, relevant imagery, but also clean, readable, intuitive layouts. For example: you should probably not make a potential visitor to your site “hover” their mouse for a dropdown menu unless there is a significant number of pages to deliver. Colorful websites are good, but it’s also important to strike a balance—one or two colors is great—more than that and the design’s unity starts to fall apart under the color scheme’s kaleidoscopic weight.
Lastly, the world is changing, so your website absolutely must be “responsive.” Responsive websites look just as good, and are just as navigable, no matter the device that accesses them. Whether it’s an iPad, an Android tablet, an iPhone, or a 15-year-old IBM accessing it, your website should be able to render correctly. Every visitor—Millennial or otherwise—that is unable to properly view your page on their device is a missed opportunity.
1. Self-serving Content
As a generation that has grown up among ever-more pervasive advertising and branding, Millennials have something of a sixth sense when it comes to content. As they read a piece about, say, a strategy related to one of your funds, some variation on this thought might flit through their minds: “am I being marketed to?” It’s a fair question, and one worth carefully considering.
Crafting quality content can be absolutely essential to generating traffic to your website, increasing your media footprint, and publicizing your firm’s products and services, but it’s important to make sure these pieces do not come off as self-serving. For example, an ideal piece of content will educate readers about an aspect of investing related to your funds, but never takes the next step of actually recommending your funds. The goal here is to provide potential investors with valuable information. Useful content will boost your firm’s standing among readers, establish your company as an authority on the space, and if done consistently enough, may help lead to more investments in your products. But it’s important to tread lightly when it comes to recommending your own products. Although you may only want what’s best for investors, this can be a hard sell to advertising-saturated Millennials, who have been targeted, focus-grouped, and branded practically since birth.
Millennials represent a tremendous opportunity for fund issuers as they move more fully into the investing world, but marketing to them demands a lighter touch. By avoiding archaic marketing materials, poor use of social media, bad websites, and self-serving content, fund issuers can ensure this opportunity is not squandered.