For years Unbiased was the dominant IFA directory, until in 2012 Vouchedfor launched, giving advisers and consumers greater choice.
But which one should you sign up to, Unbiased or Vouchedfor? Before we can answer that we need to look more closely at the two options.
What does each option offer to advisers?
So which option is best for your business?
I get asked this a lot by advisers, before I answer that question there are a number of areas to consider, first up, price.
Cost The cost of the Enhanced listing with Unbiased, and the Professional Lite option from Vouchedfor, is broadly the same. Although the number of enquiries from Unbiased is unlimited, anecdotally I believe the number an adviser receives from both these options will be broadly similar.
Clearly an adviser using Vouchedfor, and taking more leads than five per quarter will, incur higher costs; this of course isn’t true of Unbiased.
It’s also worth remembering that price is less relevant that Return on Investment (ROI), which is why monitoring the results you get is so important.
Types of adviser allowed Unbiased will allow listings from both independent and restricted advisers, providing they are whole of market in the areas they advise on. In contrast Vouchedfor will only accept listings from independent advisers.
Frankly, I’m not sure one approach is better or worse than the other; although, I wouldn’t like to see either directory taking listings from advisers restricted by provider.
Traffic levels Unbiased certainly gets a higher level of traffic and is probably more recognised by consumers. But, from my research, the gap is closing and it will be interesting to see the respective traffic stats in 12 months’ time.
Number of enquiries generated This is impossible to call because Unbiased don’t collect this information, which is a shame.
Vouchedfor tell me they have created 8,000 enquires during the first three months of 2015. When referrals to websites, which then result in an enquiry are taken into account, Vouchedfor believe they create 80 enquiries per year per adviser.
It would be good to see Unbiased produce similar stats to allow an even more meaningful comparison between the two directories.
Adviser ratings This is probably the key differentiator between the two sites. Vouchedfor allow clients and those people who have made an enquiry to rate their adviser.
I’ll admit to being initially sceptical, but what do good advisers have to hide? I’ve not been able to find any significantly negative reviews and there are real benefits to well rated advisers, from appearing more prominently in the search results, to a higher enquiry rate for well rated advisers to PR in national newspapers such as the Telegraph and Times.
There’s also a good looking widget which advisers can use on their own website to display their Vouchedfor ratings.
The Vouchedfor rating system, coupled with the way it is publicised is certainly innovative; it’ll be interesting to see whether Unbiased follow suite or move in a different direction.
So which is best?
Both sites have merits; for example Unbiased gets more traffic, whereas Vouchedfor is arguably more innovative.
So what would I do if I were an IFA?
In truth I like both. Frankly I’d take a ‘paid for’ listing on Unbiased and Vouchedfor and then closely monitor the return on investment I’m getting before reassessing my decision after perhaps a year.
There’s one other thing I’d definitely do and that’s work hard on my profiles; look at my competitors, regularly tweak my listing, whilst testing what works and what doesn’t.
Create great profiles on Unbiased and Vouchedfor
Read more tips on creating a great Unbiased listing by clicking here.
Read more tips on creating a great Vouchedfor listing by clicking here.