As you focus on rolling out a new ETF, re-evaluating your company’s existing marketing materials may not be highest on your list of priorities, but it probably should be. After all, investors won’t take the plunge and invest in your fund if they’ve never heard of it or don’t understand how it works; and they’re unlikely to learn much from opaque walls of text replete with financial jargon (fund prospectuses) or data-heavy fact sheets that don’t speak their language. As the ETF marketplace continues to grow, “if you build it they will come” no longer applies—you’ll need to upgrade your existing marketing materials to connect to prospective investors. In this 2-part blog, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most important materials you should consider upgrading:
Like it or not, even if you have some of the best-performing investment products in the world, website visitors who are unfamiliar with your brand will be turned off by a poorly-designed, difficult-to-navigate website. Unfortunately, prospective investors often do judge books by their covers. To avoid “bounces” (visitors who land on the homepage and “bounce” without navigating to another page), your website should be cleanly-designed, easy-to-navigate, with minimal, impactful text. It should also be responsive, displaying flawlessly and fluidly on nearly any device, from a ten-year-old iPhone to a Samsung tablet, to a desktop computer. If a visitor lands on your page and can’t view the website properly, it’s unlikely they’re going to go to the trouble of struggling to click through to learn more about your firm’s investment products.
Although the impulse when it comes to drafting website text is to provide as much detail and nuance as possible, this will often only serve to overwhelm website visitors. Keep to the basics: what does your company do? What sets your ETFs apart? If you find yourself writing more than a couple sentences on the homepage, you’re writing too much. Save lengthier text for blog articles, in-depth collateral, or fund detail pages.
When it comes to fund-specific detail pages, don’t count on a website visitor’s willingness to download a file such as a fund prospectus or fact sheet. Although these files should be available to download, be sure to provide a broad overview of what the ETF is trying to accomplish on the fund page itself, so that you don’t miss an opportunity to communicate some top line value propositions to prospective investors.
Although the ETF industry is beginning to slowly move away from the bare-bones, compliance-required, data-heavy model of fact sheets, it still has a long way to go. The vast majority of ETF fact sheets still merely recapitulate language from a fund prospectus, name the index the ETF is designed to track, and provide bland charts or graphs displaying the fund’s allocations and top holdings. Much of this information does need to be conveyed, but it need not be so dry and unengaging. At the very least, a fund fact sheet should contain 2 or 3 short bullet points that help investors understand the ETF’s main value propositions. Beyond this, the fact sheet can go a step further and explain how the ETF might be used in a portfolio, or which problems it is intended to solve.
In part 2 of this article series, we’ll take a closer look at how video content, investment cases, and whitepapers/reports can be further improved.