Ah, yes: the ubiquitous, humble, frequently-neglected ETF detail page (or fund web page). Although they often serve as little more than a repository for basic fund materials including holdings data, NAV, fact sheets, and prospectuses, such a limited utilization of ETF detail pages represents a tremendous missed opportunity. ETF detail pages are the public face of an ETF. They are an ETF issuer’s best chance to authoritatively frame the narrative and educate prospective investors when it comes to their funds’ key selling points. In other words, ETF detail pages aren’t just information hubs—they are important sales tools in an ETF issuer’s toolkit. What follows are the key aspects of a killer ETF detail page that delights, converts, and—yes—informs prospective investors.
See our related article: What’s Wrong with your ETF Website?
Address your audience
No piece of content, whether it’s a graphic, animated video, or snippet of text, can be effectively crafted if there is no particular target audience in mind. Think carefully about the sophistication level of your target audience, and what they might be looking for in an ETF. If your audience is “everybody,” think again.
ETF issuers often take two different tracks with ETF detail pages: they either segment their audience into two or more categories, creating as many as three different versions of the same ETF detail page (for example: one for individual investors, one for financial advisors, and one for institutional investors), or they may opt for the “lowest common denominator approach,” crafting messaging with a simplicity (without resorting to financial jargon) that only addresses retail investors, in many cases locking more sophisticated content for financial advisors behind a login.
What’s the “so what?”
Your ETF may very well be the best thing since sliced bread, but you need to focus on what it does for your target audience. Sure, it may have a certain set of characteristics, but—pardon our bluntness—so what? Which three-to-five aspects of your fund are the most important? By boiling an ETF down to its three-to-five most important selling points, you’ll be avoiding another common pitfall of ETF detail pages: walls of text.
Avoid walls of text and superfluous information
It’s become a truism in marketing circles that “nobody reads anymore,” but this is nonsense. Of course people still read, it’s just that they have increasingly short attention spans and precious little time to devote to long-winded pieces of text that can be put more succinctly. The fact that website visitors are increasingly accessing ETF websites from their mobile devices further exacerbates the problem that a long text passage can present for users. When crafting the text for an ETF detail page, ask yourself: do we need to devote a whole paragraph to this idea, or will a bullet point or short sentence suffice? How will this look on a mobile device with a small screen?
Don’t pull text directly from your prospectus
We have yet to read a genuinely exciting ETF prospectus, and there’s probably a good reason for that. These, dense, statutorily-required SEC filings are not sales documents: they’re incredibly dry, detailed, and verbose, laying out the inner workings of ETFs in often excruciating detail. If you must, you can use a fund prospectus as a starting point for an ETF detail page’s web content, but please, for the sake of your investors, don’t copy and paste this text directly into the website.
The Bottom Line
ETF detail pages serve as the public face of an ETF issuer’s funds. By taking a target audience into account, paying close attention to a fund’s main selling points, and avoiding superfluous information, ETF issuers will be that much closer to converting curious website visitors into investors.