Google “financial advisor marketing agency,” and you’ll get plenty of results. And if you click on some of those results, you’re likely to see a lot of the same language, claims, and capabilities. indeed, pretty much anyone can publish a website and call themselves a financial advisor marketing agency. And that makes finding an agency or consultant that will actually help you tricky.

There are however a few things you can look for to separate the experts from the wannabes.

1. They have wealth management firms as clients: this one is pretty obvious, but not all agencies publish their client roster. While there  are certainly cases in which clients ask not to be identified, most don’t mind, so if you don’t see any on the website, be sure to ask, then verify.

2. They have verifiable testimonials: surprisingly, you’ll find this missing from a lot of sites, and when they’re present, they often list the full names, companies or job titles. Ideally, you want to see testimonials from people in your business with first name, last name, company, title, and a headshot. If you want to go a step further, you can always search for the individual on LinkedIn.

3. They have case studies: marketing isn’t only about pretty websites and cool logos, it exist to perform a very specific function: getting you more clients. As the advertising legend David Ogilvy said,”sell, or else.” To that end, the agency should have a few case studies published on their website, and the case studies should cite, at a minimum, quantifiable results.

4. They practice what they preach: while there’s some truth to the saying “the cobblers children have no shoes,” expecting an agency to do something for you that they don’t or can’t do for themselves may get you in trouble. If they ranked well on Google for “financial advisor marketing agency,” that’s a good sign.

If you’re looking for someone to build a new website or do other design work, you can expect the quality of the work they do for you to be on par with the work that they do for themselves. Also check out their blog: are they publishing at least monthly? Is the content well-written and informative? If you can check off the boxes that apply to the type of work you’re looking for, you’re likely to be pleased with what they do for you.

5. They’ve got industry certifications: there’s no governing body or standardization among marketing certifications, so they vary widely in terms of what it takes to achieve them, but there are a few that indicate solid expertise.If you’re looking to run search ads, look for Google Ads certifiations. All digital marketing involves analytics, so a Google Analytics certification is a good one to have. If you’re using or considering HubSpot, there are a number of HubSpot Academy certifications, you will want to look for, but the basics for an agency are Inbound Marketing, HubSpot Marketing Software, and HubSpot agency partner. And if you’re using Salesforce, Pardot, or Marketo, all three have certification programs as well.

6. They’re involved in the wealth management community: do they blog or post LinkedIn articles about marketing for financial advisors. Does the content they produce indicate an understanding of the industry? Are they members of professional organizations like the FPA of NAFPA? Have they been published on industry websites? Spoken at industry events? If you can say “yes” to even a couple of those – and they work with other wealth management firms, you can be pretty sure that they know what they’re doing.

As a financial advisor, looking for a marketing agency is a lot like a marketer looking for a financial advisor. We’re comfortable in our respective areas of expertise, and we need the services of the other, we just aren’t sure how to find the right fit. My hope is that the list above will help you move forward with confidence.

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