- If you do your adequate due diligence, you should be able to find a good company to provide you with a positive ROI for your RIA.
- Does the marketing company you are evaluating use the same marketing strategies they are recommending? If they recommend a YouTube channel, creating articles, or starting a podcast, are they doing that themselves?
- Seek accountability: If a marketing agency won’t discussMarketing Analytics, that’s a red flag. These are the industry standard for measuring success. So, anyone doing well may eagerly brag about theirs.
- A marketing company should take on the role of a coach, coordinating efforts between their team members and the general manager (you). Good coachescan create an overall strategy to achieve your goals.
How Financial Advisors Evaluate a Marketing Company
Quality Marketing is Essential for Advisors
Good marketing can put your RIAand your online brand on the map.
However, poorly synchronized marketing can be a massive waste of funds. You may have people in your network who can share horror stories.
So, how do you identify the winners? What sets them apart?
6 Considerations for Evaluating RIA Marketing Companies
1.Their own marketing strategy.
Do they actually usewhat they recommend?
For example, ifthey believe an advisor should start a YouTube channel, create article content, or even start a podcast, look for their own.
You should be able to use their content as a model for creatinga strategy. Similarly, it should represent their professional capabilities, for better or worse.
How much value do they say they’ll provide?
Worthwhile marketing companies should achieve at least 3 times your investment. Better ones may get you a 5x ROI.
To be fair, keep in mind that there’s a time horizon: It can take 2 years to see a campaign fully realized.
If you’re creating a new niche website, the process takes longer. Depending upon the popularity of your niche, you’re probably looking at 2-3 years.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Do some research of your own. A realistic time horizon is essential to measuring any marketer’s ROI and effectiveness.
Are they listening to your RIA’s needs—and then developing a recommendation specific to your situation?
Investing money into a new website—without an approach to creating content—isn’t going to yield the results you are looking for.
Even if you decide to wait before jumping aboard the content train, they should address this with you.
How they intend to benefit you should be clear.
In other words, having them on your team should significantly, reliably enhance your capabilities over time.
In sports terms, they should view you as the general manager of their projects for your RIA. Meanwhile, they act as a coach, coordinating their team members’ efforts.
Good coaches can create an overall strategy to achieve a general manager’s goals. Sometimes they even guide the general manager, when necessary.
At the same time, never entirely outsource a marketing project. That leads to hit-or-miss results.
You’re the financial advisor. So, remain engaged and informed.
Think of this as the agency’s resume. Outside financial services, past performance normally indicates future results.
Even mid-range success provides potential bragging points. From watch time on YouTube, email subscribers, or the number of visitors to a website, there are clear metrics for gauging a marketer’s effectiveness.
Therefore, no analytics whatsoeveris a serious red flag.
Good marketing companies ensure that you remain authoritative within your niche, even if you outsourceyour RIA’s content creation.
However, better marketing companieswon’t fully allow you to outsource 100% of it: Skipping appearances in your own videos, for example, is obviously unauthentic to your ideal future clients.
- Understand when a marketing company will provide your RIA with a force multiplier.If you are a newly established RIA, this may be 3+ years out. However, if your practice is maturing, evaluate the opportunity.
- Seek agencies offering a comprehensive strategy. You don’t provide financial advice without fully understanding a client’s situation. Similarly, they should want to know yours—even if you only want to focus on a particular aspect.
Last but not least, thank you for listening!
WELCOME TO ANOTHER EPISODE OF THE RIA MARKETING PODCAST. I’M YOUR CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AND HOST, NOLAN MARTIN.
Today I want to share with you some of the metrics I believe you should use to evaluate a marketing company if you are thinking of using one for your RIA.
I’ve heard of--and you may have experienced--some negative encounters with marketing companies.
Many of the frustrations financial advisors have are: the investment in the marketing company did not lead to any results, there were no synchronized marketing efforts, and it was a waste of money.
However, I’m here to tell you that not all marketing companies suck.
If you do your adequate due diligence, you should be able to find a good company that can provide you with a positive ROI for your RIA.
6 Considerations for Financial Advisors When Evaluating Marketing Companies
- Does the marketing company you are evaluating use the same marketing strategies they are recommending?
This is the largest discriminator against marketing companies and how you can quickly tell if you want to invest any more time to learn more about their services.
If they believe that you as the financial advisor should start a YouTube channel, create article content, or even start a podcast--are they doing that themselves?
You should be able to use their content as a model for you to create your marketing strategy.
The target audience may differ but the overall marketing strategy is relatively the same.
Their content should be professional and be a direct representation of their capabilities.
You should feel engaged and after consuming their content, you should leave looking to apply the same best practices to your content.
2.How does the marketing company measure its worth?
A good marketing company should achieve 3x-5x of your investment
Now, the important factor is to understand the time horizon for this to take effect.
If this is an investment towards SEO, then you are looking at a 2-year time horizon to see your ROI.
If you are creating a new niche website and want to start seeing results in your niche--it will likely be 2-3 years depending on the popularity of your niche.
If you want to optimize a sales page for a course you are offering, then you should see the results by the end of the launch campaign.
Having a realistic time horizon is essential to measuring the ROI and the effectiveness of the marketing company.
3.Is the marketing company listening to your RIA’s needs and developing a recommendation that is specific to your situation?
Much like your clients value your opinion and solicit your input--a marketing agency should provide you with the same input.
The best comparison I can make is if you are offering holistic planning services and a client comes to you for investment advice--you need to see the entire financial picture before you likely feel comfortable answering many of those questions.
A good marketing company should take the same approach.
Investing money into a new website without an approach to creating content is likely not going to yield you the results you are looking for.
Regardless if you decide you want to wait before jumping aboard the content train--the marketing company should address this with you when they are providing you with a recommendation.
4.Understand how the marketing company intends to deliver value to your RIA.
In the military, we use the term “force multiplier.”
Essentially, a team has the ability to significantly enhance your capabilities when they are attached to you for a period of time.
That is how you should feel when you engage with a full-service marketing company.
Bare with me for a moment as I use a professional sports organization analogy to make this point.
Our most effective relationships with our advisor clients have been when they want to be the “general manager” of their projects.
A marketing company’s approach should take the role of a coach, coordinating the efforts between their team members and the general manager.
A good coach has the ability to guide the general manager when needed and create the overall strategy to achieve the general manager’s goals.
What this means is that you are never entirely outsourcing a marketing project. This leads to “hit-or-miss” results.
You as the financial advisor should remain engaged and informed because the marketing company will never understand your niche and your ideal clients like you do.
Understanding these roles is going to create a relationship that is a force multiplier to your RIA and helps you deliver value to all of your ideal future clients.
5.If the marketing agency does not address analytics--or how they intend to measure success--it should be a red flag.
In everything except financial services, past performance is indicative of future results.
If the word analytics does not come up in your initial conversation, then it is likely a red flag.
Anything that goes unmeasured goes unnoticed.
Which to you, means you may be making a poor investment.
A marketing company should address what analytics they intend on using to measure results.
From watch time or subscribers on YouTube to email subscribers or the number of visitors on your website, there are important metrics a marketing company should be using to understand the effectiveness of their efforts.
6.If you are trying to outsource your content creation, what is the marketing company’s process to ensure you remain authoritative in your niche?
Lastly, the marketing company should ensure that you remain authoritative in your niche, even when you are outsourcing the content creation aspect of your RIA.
Since this is usually the most time-consuming part of creating a successful digital marketing strategy, it is commonplace for many advisors to want to outsource this aspect of their RIA.
Now, a good marketing company will not fully allow you to do this.
Why? It is apparent and unauthentic to your ideal future clients. As I have mentioned before, no one understands your ideal future clients as you do.
The process for an advisor to outsource the content creation aspect of their digital marketing strategy should be similar to this:
First, the marketing company should do market research to understand topics your ideal future clients are looking for.
From Google to YouTube, each platform should have a unique strategy that they should tap into. Once a strategy is developed, they should solicit your feedback.
Once you are both in agreement, the content plan is created.
Once the content plan is created, the marketing company should work with you directly to help you create an outline for the content medium you prefer--if you choose to remain the face of your RIA (which we recommend for any solo advisor RIA).
For best results, consider being the face of the video and podcast formats--allow a writer to create the written content.
Then the marketing company should be able to take your raw content--and create the professional, finished product for your review.
Once your final approval (and compliance if needed) is gained, they should then be able to multi-purpose this content across many different platforms so that your time spent provides you with the maximum amount of value.
Hopefully, these considerations provide you with a starting point in your conversation when evaluating different marketing companies.
Now, this is a podcast that is all about getting quick wins for your RIA.
Quick Win #1 - Understand the point at which partnering with a marketing company will provide your RIA with a “force multiplier.”
If you are a newly established RIA, this still may be 3+ years out.
But, if your practice has started to mature, there is a point where you should take the time to evaluate this potential avenue.
You have grinded long enough, maybe it is time to still keep the throttle down but you personally can slow down a little?
Quick Win #2 - Much like you can’t provide financial advice without understanding the entire picture, a marketing company should act the same.
They should express interest in providing you with a comprehensive strategy--even if you only want to focus on a particular aspect at the current time.
I’m Nolan Martin and this is the RIA Marketing Podcast. We at Gray Line Media thank you for listening to our podcast.
Please remember: We’re determined to help RIAs connect with their Superfans and Ideal Future Clients through remarkable websites and relatable content. My only question is, will it be your RIA?