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Why are More Financial Advisors Hiring Digital Marketing Agencies in 2022

Disclosure: A professional at a digital marketing agency wrote this article.

Financial advisors have three choices when they evaluate the different ways they can implement comprehensive digital marketing strategies for their firms in 2022:

  • Hire one or more employees
  • Outsource work to an independent contractor
  • Outsource work to a digital marketing agency


Why use digital marketing in 2022?

Digital marketing is less and less of an option and more of a necessity as increasing numbers of investors use the Internet to find, research, and contact financial advisors.

Not using digital marketing is like betting the Internet will not have a major impact on the marketing practices of the financial service industry. In other industries, just about everyone who has bet against the Internet is no longer in business or is struggling to survive.

Investors have an unprecedented amount of power when they use the Internet to find, research, and contact financial advisors. And, they can protect their anonymity until they are ready to be contacted. The Internet makes this possible. 


What about the employee alternative?

Perhaps the biggest con is salary, taxes, benefits, and bonuses. This can be an expensive alternative if you are going to bring all of the digital marketing service providers in-house. Employees can be full or part-time.

On the other hand, larger financial advisor firms ($1 Billion of AUM and up) usually have one or more marketing professionals in-house. These marketers may have a number of responsibilities and the execution of a digital marketing strategy may be just one of them.

These marketing executives are paid to support the planners and investment advisors at the firm, develop products, create collateral materials, produce fee schedules, create online webinars, conduct market research, and be responsible for a number of other services that help their firms grow.

There is a good chance one employee will not have time to do the digital work themselves so their alternative is to outsource the work to third parties and manage the relationships themselves.


What about the independent contractor alternative?

The use of independent contractors is getting dicier by the year as more states crackdown on firms that use independent contractors to avoid the expense of employees. At some point, it is not worth the risk to outsource work to an independent contractor who is required to attend company zoom meetings.

Independent contractors also have many of the same limitations that impact employees:

  • They may not have all of the skills for a comprehensive solution
  • This means financial advisors have to hire more than one 
  • Someone at your firm has to manage the relationships
  • Contractors are usually independent of each other
  • They are not accountable for each other’s work


What about a digital marketing agency?

Digital marketing agencies deliver a lot of value that benefit the financial advisors who use them:

  • There are teams of professionals 
  • A relationship manager is a single point of contact
  • You can hire a team of digital marketing specialists for the cost of a part-time employee
  • An agency professional manages the work of the team
  • The agency is accountable for the results of its work
  • Agencies can scale up or down based on the needs of clients


What about industry knowledge?

If you are a financial advisor it pays to pick a digital marketing solution that understands your industry. In particular, reaching investors on the Internet, convincing them to visit financial advisor websites, and converting them into qualified leads.

Reaching investors is no easy task for a number of reasons:

  • Financial services is a highly regulated industry
  • The industry is extraordinarily competitive
  • Investors are cautious when they use the Internet to find advisors
  • Exposure on page one of Google is what really matters

It makes sense that the solution you select speaks your language and knows how to reach investors on the Internet. 


What about teams of professionals?

No one professional will have all the knowledge that is required to implement a comprehensive digital marketing solution. Several skills are required to provide all of the services that build online visibility, produce online traffic, and convert visitors into qualified leads and contacts. 

It takes several skill sets to produce a comprehensive digital marketing solution. For example, the professional who writes and edits blog articles, pillar pages, and eBooks may not be the person who produces social media posts.


Who manages the team of digital marketing experts?

Once you acknowledge it takes a team to implement a comprehensive digital marketing solution, who is going to manage the team for you?

Five to ten professionals make up the team based on your level of service:

  • Digital marketing strategists
  • Designers (website, content, info-graphics, video)
  • Developers (website, reporting, analytics, Fin-Tech)
  • Writers (blog articles, pillar pages, eBooks)
  • Social media specialists (posts)
  • Videographers (webinars, Resources, introductions) 
  • Local SEO experts
  • Paid advertising campaign managers

The manager of the team could be an employee of your firm or a manager that is assigned to you by a digital marketing agency. The benefit of the latter approach is a single point of contact for your firm.


Which alternative is more accountable for results?

If you agree that an agency is your most cost effective, productive alternative then you also benefit when the agency is accountable for your top three measurable results: Internet visibility, website traffic, and the conversion rates for your website.

And, since the agency has overall responsibility for your digital marketing it is easy to assign accountability to agencies - in particular agencies that have month-to-month relationships with their clients.


What about FinTech services?

A lot of technology is embedded in digital marketing services. For example, HubSpot has automated the digital marketing sales funnel with its state-of-the-art technology. All of the activity on a financial advisor’s website can be tracked by this technology. It can also act as the financial advisor’s CRM and provides data for agency reporting systems.

For example, HubSpot supports 15,000 digital marketing agencies worldwide.

Digital marketing agencies can add this technology to the websites of financial advisors to deliver state-of-the-art online marketing solutions.


What is the most effective digital marketing solution?

Notwithstanding the bias of the author of this article, two solutions stand-out above the rest.

First, is the firm that wants to outsource all of its digital marketing to a third party. In effect, the third party is the financial advisor’s digital marketing department. The ideal third party is a digital marketing agency that has five key characteristics:

  • It specializes in working with financial advisors
  • It provides a comprehensive array of website and inbound marketing services
  • It is accountable for its results
  • It produces original work so there is SEO value
  • The financial advisors who paid for the work, own the work

Second, is one or more company employees who work with the professionals at a digital marketing agency. The employees outsource the work they don’t have time to do internally and they manage the relationship with the digital marketing agency.

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