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How to Select the Best Financial Advisor Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing the right digital marketing agency for financial advisors can be the difference between a small amount of online visibility and exceptional new client growth. However, the best financial advisor digital marketing partnerships often come with a moderate to significant price tag - for example, a monthly $1500 to $4500 retainer.

On the one hand, you get a team of digital marketing experts for the cost of a part-time employee without all of the headaches. On the other hand, these costs may be prohibitive for firms managing assets under $150 million of AMU.

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Because this is a significant expense, it is imperative that you understand how crucial selecting the right agency is for your firm. The right agency will grow your online visibility, increase your website’s traffic, and convert more visitors into qualified leads. A strategic investment in a premium agency can fuel revenue growth far exceeding the overall cost.

Paladin: Some digital marketing agencies are skilled at telling you what you want to hear. This makes selecting the best digital marketing agency that much tougher.

This guide will help navigate the process of selecting the best digital marketing agency for financial advisor marketing needs. Balancing budget realities with aspirations for growth requires careful consideration and insightful decision-making.

This blog post will cover five topics to help you make the right decision.

  • Do the professionals at the digital marketing agency have extensive industry knowledge?
  • Is the digital marketing agency experienced working in a regulated industry?
  • Is the digital marketing agency staffed with employees, independent contractors, or both?
  • Does the digital marketing agency produce original work not shared by other financial advisors? 
  • Will the digital marketing agency guarantee its results?


Do the professionals at the digital marketing agency have extensive industry knowledge?

Absolutely, professionals at a digital marketing agency that works with financial advisors should have extensive and up-to-date industry knowledge. To excel in their role, they need to understand not just the core concepts and tactics of digital marketing but also the unique dynamics of the complex financial industry. 

Digital marketers delve deep into the specificities of their clients' markets, examining patterns, trends, and competitive landscapes. They must stay ahead of industry changes, continuously learning and adapting their clients’ strategies based on that knowledge. 

It's not simply a matter of knowing digital marketing; it's a matter of applying that knowledge in nuanced, industry-specific ways.

Paladin: Suffice it to say, reaching investors on the Internet and convincing them to contact financial advisors is one of the more complex marketing processes on the Internet.

However, it's important to note that while agency professionals may have extensive knowledge, they do not operate in the same way as an in-house team would. They serve as external consultants, analyzing from the outside and developing strategies based on their understanding of the industry and their client’s businesses. While this provides a broader perspective, there may be certain specific operational or industry nuances that an in-house team could be more familiar with due to their constant immersion in the organization's day-to-day operations.

Paladin: A collaborative approach with in-house teams can be beneficial, leveraging the agency's breadth of knowledge with the in-house team's depth of understanding.


Is the digital marketing agency experienced working in a regulated industry?

Yes, a seasoned digital marketing agency should have experience working in regulated industries, including the complex financial service industry. Understanding the complexities of operating within heavily regulated fields is vital to ensure effective and compliant marketing campaigns. This requires familiarity with the rules established by entities like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and relevant state agencies.

The agency will typically have dedicated compliance professionals or legal advisors as part of its in-house team. These specialists ensure that all content produced, from blog posts and whitepapers to social media posts, adhere to the strict guidelines set forth by regulatory bodies. They liaise with marketing strategists to ensure the creative vision aligns with regulatory frameworks. Their expertise is understanding and applying these rules in a practical marketing context.

To maintain a robust understanding of regulatory requirements, one should participate in continuous learning opportunities and stay updated with important changes. In-house staff are frequently trained and educated about the latest changes in regulatory policies. This is achieved through regular workshops, industry webinars, and collaborations with compliance experts. Agencies may also use specialized tools to help track and manage regulatory changes to ensure that marketing efforts remain compliant.

Moreover, in a digital world where data privacy and security are paramount, the agency should also demonstrate a thorough understanding of laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Knowledge of these laws is important in creating campaigns that respect user data and build trust between the financial institution and its clientele. In summary, a proficient digital marketing agency will prioritize regulatory compliance as a fundamental part of its strategy when operating in the heavily regulated financial services industry.


Is the digital marketing agency staffed with employees, independent contractors, or both?

The makeup of a digital marketing agency's staff can significantly impact its performance, productivity, and quality of work. The organizational structure can be a combination of employees, independent contractors, or both, depending on various factors, such as the agency's business model, size, and scope of services. 

Understanding the implications of each structure is key to evaluating the agency's capability to deliver quality results consistently and on time.

A digital marketing team of full-time employees often signifies a more controlled environment, as the agency has direct control over the staff's training, work process, and timelines. Employees who work together on a regular basis tend to develop synergies, enabling them to better understand the agency’s unique processes, values, and culture. Consequently, they are typically more in sync, ensuring consistent quality and timely delivery of projects. However, maintaining a full-time staff can be costly, especially if the agency isn't consistently handling larger, long-term projects.

On the other hand, independent contractors provide the agency with greater flexibility, particularly when dealing with fluctuations in workload or specialized tasks. Contractors bring varied experiences and skills, and their use can be cost-effective, as they are paid per project without the agency incurring additional overhead costs. However, the main challenge lies in managing quality control and deadlines, as contractors often work on multiple projects and might not be fully aligned with the agency's work schedules or processes.

Finally, a hybrid model, employing both full-time staff and independent contractors, often proves to be the most effective for many agencies. In this model, core tasks and strategic operations are assigned to employees to ensure consistency, while contractors handle specialist or overflow tasks. This approach allows the agency to maintain its quality standards, meet deadlines, and scale up or down based on project deadlines. However, managing this model requires a fine balancing act to ensure everyone is on the same page and aligned with the agency's client goals.

In conclusion, while employees may often produce better quality results due to their immersion in the agency's culture and processes, independent contractors allow for flexibility and diverse expertise. A judicious mix of both can help an agency achieve its goals while maintaining quality and efficiency.


Does the digital marketing agency produce original work not shared by other financial advisors?

Yes, a reputable digital marketing agency specializing in financial advisory services should produce original work that other financial advisors do not share. This is crucial for several reasons. First, producing original content sets the agency apart from its competitors and helps establish its unique value proposition. The agency can position itself as a thought leader in the industry by offering unique insights, perspectives, and expertise. 

Secondly, original content has greater SEO (Search Engine Optimization) value. Search engines prioritize fresh and unique content because it provides more value to their users. By consistently creating original content, the agency can improve its clients’ search engine rankings, making it more visible to investors who are seeking the advice and services of financial advisors.

Furthermore, the quality of the agency's work is essential for establishing financial advisors’ credibility and trustworthiness. The higher the quality, the higher the probability investors will find it and read it. By providing valuable, informative, and well-researched content for clients, the agency can build their trust and establish itself as a reliable source of information and guidance for investors.

In summary, a digital marketing agency focusing on financial advisory services should produce original, non-shareable work to maximize its SEO results and effectively reach its target audience. By creating high-quality content distinct from what other advisors offer, the agency can help financial advisors differentiate themselves, improve their clients’ search engine visibility, and engage investors with valuable insights and value-added expertise.


Will the digital marketing agency guarantee its results?

As is the case in many business spheres, a digital marketing agency generally cannot provide an absolute guarantee of results. This is due to many variables influencing the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns. Some of these variables are within the agency's control, while others are external and cannot be managed or predicted.

Firstly, the digital marketing space is dynamic, with rapidly changing trends, algorithms, and customer behaviors. For instance, changes in the algorithm of a search engine or a social media platform could significantly affect the visibility and performance of a campaign. A shift in user behavior or preferences can also impact the success of a marketing strategy. These are factors that a digital marketing agency can react to but cannot predict or control with any absolute certainty.

Secondly, there's the challenge of competition. While an agency might employ the most innovative strategies and robust technologies, it is not the only player in the field. Other companies might also target the same audience, using similar or even more effective tactics. This intense competition can affect the overall results of a digital marketing campaign, and these results may vary significantly from predictions.

It is also noteworthy that the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns can be influenced by uncontrollable factors such as the overall economic climate, sudden market changes, or even global events. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly influenced the business landscape and consumer behaviors, with unforeseen consequences for digital marketing strategies - they actually improved as more digital marketing agencies marketed themselves virtually.

Thus, these uncontrollable and unpredictable factors make it unrealistic for any digital marketing agency to offer guaranteed results. Instead, agencies should continually adjust and optimize their strategies based on the latest data and market insights to deliver the best possible outcomes for their clients.


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