On average, I speak with over 50 RIAs each year who are interested in learning more about content marketing services offered by Perfectly Planned Content.
Unfortunately, more often than not, firm owners or marketing directors at a financial planning practice who reach out to me have had a bad experience during this process. They may have found a firm that knocked their socks off at the beginning of the engagement, only to find out they oversold their services. Or maybe they haven’t even hired someone yet, but are feeling generally confused about what everyone offers – and what, exactly, they need help with.
If you’re interviewing multiple marketing agencies or freelancers to help you amplify your strategy, it can help to ask these questions!
What services do you offer?
I make it my mission to help financial advisors clarify their goals, and to walk away with a clear understanding of where Perfectly Planned Content fits into their plan when they meet with me. However, it’s not always as easy to discern what a firm or freelancer offers. After all, you’re not a marketing expert – you’re a financial advisor, wearing way too many hats to keep your business running smoothly.
You need clear answers on what services the marketing agency you’re talking to offers, and whether it’s what you need.
In general, there are a few different types of marketing zones of expertise:
- Content marketing (that’s us!). This focuses on (you guessed it) content creation and distribution. Writing, copywriting, social media, and email marketing are all pretty typical pieces of this puzzle.
- Digital marketing. This is a slightly different zone of expertise. Strategies may still be content-driven, but they focus on more robust digital strategies. It could include web design, email marketing, automation, SEO, and advertising.
- Niche-specific experts. Freelancers may have a marketing niche – social media, newsletters, PDF or web design, blog writing, etc.
- Advertising. Ah, yes, the Don Drapers of the marketing world. Ads of all kinds can be a tricky game, and we usually recommend bringing in an expert if you’re considering running campaigns.
- Paid lead generation. Smart Asset, Smart Vestor, Zoe Financial – these are services where you pay to get in front of leads. I’d also put LinkedIn messaging experts in this category (social media professionals who run outreach campaigns to increase connections and generate leads).
The more clear you can get on what services are offered by everyone you speak with, the better! Even if you’re only looking for a specific service right now, working with a firm that can expand to continue taking tasks off your plate later on can be helpful.
For example, 80-90% of the RIAs I speak with in a year reach out because they need help with blog writing and website copywriting. However, we also offer social media management, consulting, lead generation/funnel creation, and email marketing services.
Most of our clients end up adding on additional projects as needed, or even upgrading services later on when they have built a strong foundation of content for their brand.
Do you have a referral network if services are outside of your zone of expertise?
If you needed open heart surgery, would you go to a primary care physician or a surgeon with experience?
The answer might seem obvious when you put it in those terms, but the idea of working with a specialist doesn’t always translate well when firm owners are looking for a marketing partner.
I’m a strong believer in the fact that, if you’re planning to outsource part of your business (marketing, sales, operations, etc.), you should work with a focused expert. Your budget goes further, and you get stronger results, when you work with a team that has expertise and experience in a specific area.
However, that means they won’t specialize in everything you might need! For example, Perfectly Planned Content is a content marketing firm that works with financial advisors. We specialize in:
- Marketing strategy and consulting
- Website copywriting
- Blog writing
- Social media management
- Lead magnet writing and funnel building
- Nurture email marketing campaigns
We don’t specialize in:
- Web design
- Video editing
- Podcast editing
- PDF design
- Paid advertising
When clients need those services, we bring in an expert or refer them to a colleague we trust. Our goal is to never leave people without an answer, and even if we’re not the right fit, we find the person for the job.
Not every marketing agency will have connections, or will be willing to work with marketing partners! Make sure you ask if they have a network that they can refer you to if you have specific needs that you’re looking to cover.
Is the content you create unique to my firm?
There’s a place for content that’s written for multiple firms to use. Many, many companies specialize in this.
However, if you’re signing up for original content, you’re likely paying a premium. Make sure it’s original!
Ask who owns the content that’s created, and whether or not it’s used for multiple clients or firms that your agency works with. The answer may be a hybrid!
At Perfectly Planned Content, the copywriting and blog content we write for our retainer clients is 100% unique and original to them. However, we also have a Client Resource Vault where we upload timely communications advisors can use with their clients, templated fact-driven information about timely events, etc. All of our clients have access to the vault to supplement the unique content they’re publishing on a regular basis.
Are the strategies you help create and implement data-driven?
In today’s world, it’s not possible to build a marketing strategy that ignores analytics.
Whether you’re working with a web development team, an SEO expert, or a copywriter – do they look at the data? Do they pull from time-tested strategies in the industry?
Or are they kind of winging it?
Ask how they track success, and how an ongoing scope of work (like a content calendar or ads strategy) is adjusted based on analytics.
I’ve had a problem with X in the past, can you help me with Y?
Many advisors have worked with a marketing firm, or a freelancer, in the past. Don’t be afraid to tell the person you’re interviewing what’s worked – and what hasn’t. Truth be told, marketing is both a scientific and a creative field. There’s going to be a lid for every pot, you just may not have found yours yet. As much as I wish this field was one size fits all, it’s not! You deserve to find a marketing team that fits your brand goals, personality, and tone.
Before you hop on the phone with a new marketer, jot down a list of what you’ve loved about your marketing in the past, and what felt lackluster. For example, a few things we hear “don’t” work when it comes to content writing are:
- Past marketers or writers failed to “nail” an advisor’s tone/brand messaging
- Advisors who DIY’d their writing struggle with consistency
- They didn’t feel confident their freelance blogger was leveraging Google Analytics to come up with topics
- They’ve been creating content (either on their own or with a marketer) for a while, and still don’t feel confident in what “success” should look like
Reach out! I’m happy to help point you in the right direction, especially if you’re looking for a content marketing team or strategist. Even if Perfectly Planned Content isn’t a fit for your current marketing needs, we always prioritize connecting firm owners with the right expert to help them move the needle in their business. Shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.