These 3 Website Tools Advance The Understanding Of ETFs

Little more than one month after our post about highlights on mutual fund and ETF Websites (see 5 Random Highlights of Mutual Fund, ETF Sites)  we’re back with another installment, this time all about ETFs.

Exchange-traded funds offer the advantage of lower expenses. That’s a blanket statement that’s made when comparing mutual funds to ETFs. But, how does the cost of using ETFs compare to the cost of using no-load funds? This Rydex Investments trading expenses calculator considers all the variables and gets into the particulars.

Understanding the volatility of an investment is always important, but you might say that it’s critical for an investor considering leveraged index funds. To that end, Direxion Funds offers a volatility tool for 10-, 30-, 90- and 180-day rolling periods. To fully appreciate this, you have to see the graphic reset as the periods change. Note that the user can customize this list by selecting a subset of funds.

When added to an investment portfolio, an ETF typically has a specific job to do. Other sites have correlation calculators but we like PowerShares’, which licenses Smart Money functionality (in fact, it looks as if you’d have to pay for the correlation tracker on 

We know from experience the work that goes into the development and testing of calculators on investment sites. Somebody must think they’re important to have, and we agree, maybe for a different reason. If you’re hosting a special calculator, it has the potential to serve as link bait to draw attention to your company or site.

But too often, Marketing teams err in thinking that the work is done when the site tool is launched. No. The next step is to execute on a promotion plan. A press release at launch, followed by periodic promotions/reminders and enlisting national account and Sales teams to include mentions in every capability presentation. Maybe tack on a Compliance-approved promo in the signature of all outgoing emails.

We urge you to do this for at least three reasons: 

  • To produce a return on the company’s investment. What opportunities were missed out on because getting the tool out the door was the top priority? Usage will justify the resource call.
  • A promotion plan will build in metrics—it will guarantee that Marketing is focused on measuring the reception of this tool. You’ll want to tie promotions to milestones for usage and other analytics. If the promotion is succeeding in driving traffic to the tool and visitors are bouncing, that’s valuable information that may prompt you to pull the promotion and go back in the lab. At least you’ll know. Ultimately, you’ll want to base subsequent development of the tool and other tools on usage and feedback you're collecting and considering.
  • If you thought that it was important for your site visitors to have the tool, why risk them using the site without knowing about it? I repeatedly find gems on investment management sites with no apparent Marketing or even on-site support—no press release, no callout on the sitemap, no cross-mentions on other pages. You market the work of other areas in the company, don't be shy about marketing what Marketing had a hand in creating.