The term Digital Marketing isn’t just a flash in the pan phase or buzzword created by marketers to drum up sales. Digital marketing – while constantly growing and evolving – is here to stay.
As an independent RIA – you’ve no doubt noticed the fast-paced digital landscape and have possibly tested the waters a bit yourself. Perhaps you’ve established social media accounts and started a blog. At a minimum, you have a website and online listings. But if you really want to stand out from the competition, you need to up your digital marketing game.
Here are the top questions you should ask a digital marketing agency before you decide to form a partnership:
Do you have experience working with financial advisors?
Having previous clients that are financial advisors or advisory firms is a big positive. As you well know, there are many compliance rules and regulations that need to be adhered to in order to present a marketing message for your firm. Hiring someone with that specific experience can help avoid violations as well as miscommunication about what services you provide and how the industry works.
It’s also a good idea to ask to see samples of work from previous financial clients. This can tell you a great deal about their industry knowledge, as well as their team’s writing and overall design style. Just be sure to ask how recent the samples are, and if the team member(s) responsible are still with the agency.
What is Your Pricing Structure?
Cost is obviously an important factor when hiring a digital marketing agency. However, transparency is arguably even more important. When inquiring about pricing, be sure to look for any signs of add-on fees or anything else that may not be in their initial proposal.
Ask if rates are locked in for the term of your agreement or if there’s a possibility that the rates could increase. If you have an agreement covering multiple services, it’s wise to ask for those costs as a-la-carte pricing so you can compare and make sure you’re being given a fair price. If you find inconsistencies from the onset, you may want to consider using another agency.
What Experience Do Your Team Members Have?
One of the biggest benefits of partnering with a digital marketing agency over hiring an in-house marketing team is that you’ll have access to an entire team of digital marketing professionals.
As part of your consideration process, ask all prospective agencies to give a detailed listing of their team members and their areas of expertise as well as any relevant industry certifications such as AdWords, HubSpot Certification, SEO, Graphic Design, etc.
This can help you determine if the agency has a solid team of people who can make educated recommendations and also execute those recommendations to get your firm where it needs to go to be successful in the digital marketing space.
Once you have a good idea of a firm’s lineup of skilled team members, ask which of those team members will primarily be working on your account. You can also ask the firm to set up a meeting with core members of your potential team, including the project manager and designer (at minimum).
What Marketing Technology Platforms Do You Use?
In today’s digital marketing landscape, there are many valuable tools and seemingly new ones popping up every day. Ask any potential agency partners which platforms they use, and how they leverage those platforms to the advantage of their clients.
Consider this: The type of platforms they use can be a key indicator of how they feel about investing in their business and the results for their clients. Some platforms are more expensive and thus more robust. Others offer free or minimal fee watered-down versions of the same platform. If you don’t feel like they are investing enough resources into the technology platforms, that should be a big consideration when making your final decision.
What is Your Process?
Find out how they work. From inception to delivery of analytics – including communication throughout the campaign, any digital marketing agency should be able to provide detailed information on their methodology, timelines, communication schedules, analytics, and reporting.
Digital Marketing, when successful, should: increase your Internet traffic, increase your lead generation, and increase your client acquisition. When you are interviewing different agencies you should clearly state that these are the 3 areas where you are most interested in seeing a positive ROI.