If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.
That’s the takeaway from…well, I can’t cite a study, but it’s my opinion.
Less than a generation ago, few businesses would consider not having their phone number published in the yellow pages. (Remember them?) Today, search engines have replaced phone books as the place most go for research and information. How can your potential new clients search you if you don’t have a website or social media presence?
Yet 55% of small businesses don’t have a website, according to a 2013 survey of more than 3,800 small businesses conducted by Google. That’s a slight improvement from the year before, when 58% said they didn’t have a website.
You may think of yourself as a start-up hedge fund manager, or a Registered Investment Advisor, or a real estate private equity manager. And you’re still also a small business, too, at least as defined by the SBA.
Here are ten reasons why you may not have a site yet, and what you may do to correct the oversight:
1. I Don’t Have the Time
Is this you? “I’m too busy trading…I’m on the road making sales calls…my partners and I have full time corporate jobs, too.” With all the demands on your time, a website can help sell your story while you build relationships and multi-task.
2. There’s No Money in the Budget
Is it that you don’t have the money, or you haven’t figured out what your marketing budget should be? As a start up, your focus might understandably be on the legal costs of a private placement memorandum, and administrative, accounting, technology, trading, office space, and sales expenses.
How much capital are you looking to raise, and it what period of time? Is it $25 million? $50 million? $250 million or more? And you want to raise that from professional and sophisticated investors without the credibility of a website?
3. Marketing Success Can’t Be Quantified
Investment managers want to know what ROI they can expect from marketing. Costs, pipeline growth, profit, and revenue can all be quantified by keeping track of which site pages, landing pages, blogs, and calls to action prospects came to you through.
4. I’m Waiting For My First Client Capital Infusion
Or are your initial clients waiting to see if you have a website that helps verify who you are?
5. I Think I’m Credible Without a Website
Well, maybe not. A website can establish trustworthiness, honesty, dependability, and build relationships, customer loyalty, and search engine visibility.
6. A Website Can’t Create Leads
Your website and its mobile cousin can indeed be a hub for all incoming leads, and a magnet for potential new investors. Blogs, landing pages, and calls to action can help create leads, too, as prospects search for information. If you have relevant and abundant content on the web, they are more likely to find you than if you have no web provenance.
7. I’m Waiting for My Performance Numbers to Reach the One-Year Mark
Performance can drive sales, of course, but it’s not the only factor investor’s look at. According to a recent story in The Wall Street Journal, a private equity real estate manager came to an initial meeting with an investor prepared to discuss fund performance. During the 60-minute meeting, however, the investor wanted to test the manager’s personality and style: he mostly wanted to talk about what the portfolio manager did on his time off.
8. I Don’t Know How to Do Coding, SEO, or Anything Technical
To build a site, investment managers have more pre-built options than just a few years ago. Go Daddy, Google, HubSpot, SquareSpace, Wix and Weebly require no coding or technical skills. You (or your marketing agency) can choose and modify a template, keep or change color schemes, cut and paste text, and drag in images. As for SEO, your agency can help create long-tail and short-tail keywords as part of a robust SEO strategy.
9. Hedge Fund Managers Can’t Advertise, So Why Should I Have a Website?
The JOBS Act permits hedge fund managers to advertise to accredited investors. While the specifics are still a might murky, and caution is required, a professional website, with appropriative legal disclosures and protections, allows you to build your brand and to communicate with targeted potential investors.
10. I Don’t Know How to Provide Investor Access to Data
Your site can include a password-protected link to your fund administrator’s site. A back-end database can give your investors access to benchmark fund performance data or even performance data at the account level.