Targeted Musings on Financial Marketing

What’s Wrong with your ETF Website?

13 May 2019

ETF websites are arguably one of the most important pieces of the marketing puzzle to get right. They are one of the only places on the entire internet where you have complete control over what you say about your ETFs and how that information is presented to investors, financial advisors, or other target audiences. So it’s amazing how often ETF issuers get them wrong. An ETF website should be attractive, easy-to-use, and logically organized for straightforward navigation. It should feature a wealth of content, ranging from “snackable” short videos to lengthier pieces for investors that wish to dive into the nitty-gritty of your fund. And the messaging should be cohesive enough that the website delivers a consistent narrative throughout. With this in mind, what follows are just a few of the things that may be wrong with your ETF website:


Unclear Messaging

What is your firm all about, what are your ETFs all about, and who exactly are you hoping your message will resonate with? These are two key questions that all ETF marketers should be able to answer as they seek to develop consistent messaging for their ETF websites. If your homepage declares your ETFs to be aligned in a certain direction, then the rest of the website’s messaging should back up those claims. Unclear messaging will leave visitors to your website confused, and is unlikely to lead to a decision to invest. Clear, organized messaging will guide website visitors on a journey from broad, top-level message, to individual product-level narrative, which can be further fleshed out through content pieces, collateral, and even animated videos.

Be sure to see our Key Tips for Communicating with Retail Investors


A “Hodge-podge” Design

Unfortunately, in the real world, people really do judge books by their covers. This holds just as true with ETFs as it does with books. If your website is poorly designed, right or wrong, investors are going to be more likely to draw negative conclusions about the ETFs as well, even though, strictly speaking, design of a website has next to nothing to do with the quality of the investment products on offer.

Did you design your website yourself, or use a pre-built template? Although it’s not completely beyond the realm of possibility that, in addition to being an investment professional, you’re also a top-notch designer, it’s probably best that you leave the designing to the professionals. Professional designers know to stick within a limited color palette, the best ways to organize content, and other best practices that you may not be aware of. If your homepage is a riot of different colors, design practices, and content blocks of varying shapes and sizes, it may be time to have a professional designer overhaul your website.


It’s not mobile-first

It’s already a mobile-first world, meaning that websites need to be designed from the get-go with mobile users in mind. If a would-be investor on a mobile device lands on your website and encounters tiny links that are impossible to engage, it’s unlikely they’ll stick around to interact with your content or learn more about your ETFs.


In summary…

Websites are one of the most versatile, impactful tools in your ETF marketing toolkit, but they can only do their job if they are optimized for mobile, have messaging that makes sense, and are professionally designed. By taking these factors into account on your own ETF website, you’ll be well-positioned for success in gathering AUM.