Most financial advisers have considered working with a financial marketing agency. How do you know which one to choose? Even then, what does it look like to work with them?
In this post, we’re going to tackle the second of those two questions.
Most IFAs can find a decent agency which specialises in financial marketing. Not all, however, know how the process and relationship works.
So, here are 5 tips to help you foster a productive relationship with your financial marketing agency:
#1 Define Your Goals Clearly, From The Start
Most financial advisers would agree that, in their own industry, things get off to the best start with their own clients when the latter know what they want to achieve.
The same is true in the creative and digital industries. When you do not define your marketing objectives, then you run the real risk of becoming disappointed and disillusioned with your agency.
After all, how can they know what you want and efficiently devote time and effort towards delivering it?
A financial adviser will see far better results with their financial marketing agency if they can tell them what their goals, timescales and resources are.
For instance, are you looking primarily to increase awareness of your brand within a particular demographic and/or geographic area? Or, is the aim for your marketing to bring on ten new, qualified clients within the next 6 months?
If your marketing goals can be SMART (specific, measurable, achieveable, relevant and timetabled) then you will do even better.
#2 See Your Agency As A Partner, Not Business Accessory
Some IFAs will regard financial marketing as an accessory, or extension, to their business. In other words, they do not view marketing as really important or necessary.
Financial advisers with this attitude to marketing are probably better off not working with an agency, until their perspective has changed.
The fact is, working with a marketing agency is not cheap. Moreover, even though you are outsourcing your marketing with them, it is still very much a partnership.
A strong, effective relationship needs to exist and be working between you for this to be worthwhile. Your financial marketing agency very much needs to be brought into the fold, and treated as part of your in-office team.
After all, they’re taking your message to the world – so your agency needs to “get you”. This might not necessarily mean getting them into the office for weekly meetings.
However, it does mean being open with them about your business and its goals. Holding regular phone calls and video conferences, and so on are a great way to do this.
#3 Expect A Relationship, Not Transactions
For most financial advisers, their own clients treat them as such. In other words, your own clients tend to approach you as an expert on pensions, inheritance tax and estate planning.
Rarely do people come to you with all of their financial planning “all figured out” – they just want you to implement it. Rather, most people work with an IFA because they recognise that they need help in financial areas where they feel out of their depth, and need an expert guiding pair of hands.
The same holds true with your financial marketing agency. Certainly, you may have been working in financial services for a long time. But they have focused specifically on marketing for financial advisers, possibly for many years.
They will have experience with niche IFAs from all around the country, and maybe even abroad. They will have seen many marketing campaigns with different IFA firms. Some of these campaigns will have worked, and others will not have done. Most IFAs do not have this depth of marketing experience, and so would benefit greatly by drawing upon it.
In effect, what we are saying is that you should approach your financial marketing agency as a partner. Expect them to push back on some of your ideas, and to present ideas of their own. Do not simply expect them to carry out your pre-decided wishes.
#4 Set Input Expectations
In your own IFA business, you probably have at least one client who is emailing and phoning you all of the time about their pension, investments or financial plan.
These people are a pain, and a drain on your time. It’s frustrating for you, as well, since ultimately their behaviour indicates that they do not really trust you to do what they approached you to do.
This unfortunately sometimes also happens when IFA work with a financial marketing agency.
Like financial planning, marketing services are not cheap. Moreover, the services on offer are intangible. Both agencies and IFAs are selling something of value, but it cannot easily be seen, heard or touched in the way other products can (e.g. cars).
This reality sadly leaves open a strong possibility for the relationship between an IFA and their financial marketing agency to go sour, if both are not careful. The latter need to carefully manage the expectations of the former. Ultimately, however, the former are responsible for their own attitudes.
So, when it comes to reporting, updates and input from your financial marketing agency, make sure your expectations are realistic. Make sure you are kept in the loop about what they are doing, and that you are seeing regular, transparent results.
However, keeping on your agency’s back and querying everything they do is more likely to turn things sour in the medium to long term.
Keep your agency accountable. But do yourself a favour, and trust them as well.
#5 Divulge Your Industry Findings
Of course, your agency should have a wealth of marketing experience in your industry.
However, at the end of the day, you are the one living and breathing financial services every day. You truly are the expert on what is happening in the world of wealth management, financial planning and pension transfers, for instance. So share your insights with your agency.
One great way this can work is for your agency to publish regular, search engine optimised content for your blog. At the same time, you could contribute an article or two a month yourself.
This could take the form of “company news” (e.g. a new team member joining), or a word from the Director to clients addressing a matter that the latter might be worried about.