Launching and executing successful marketing campaigns for banks, credit unions, investment firms, and other financial services providers isn’t easy. First, it’s tough to make CDs, lines of credit, or other financial products sound sexy and interesting. Content marketers need to continually find new ways to position products and services in a way that will reach and engage their target markets.
Another issue that can compound the problem is that financial services is a heavily regulated industry. A financial institution that steps over the line between what can and cannot be said in marketing materials or communications could face regulatory blowback, fines, loss of customer trust, and other very real consequences.
Despite these challenges, successful content marketing for financial services organizations is not impossible. Companies that find ways to work within the regulatory framework and keep content fresh and exciting can benefit from long-term, lucrative customer relationships.
Here are positive trends that can give more “oomph” to content marketing for the finance industry:
1. Implement a Theme-Based Approach to Content
If your content jumps from one product to another with no discernible connection, your target audience probably won’t be bored. However, too much jumping around could give them marketing whiplash. Instead, some financial services marketers have found that using a theme-based approach can help keep readers engaged and can do more to position their organizations as thought leaders and subject matter experts. In financial services marketing, trust is everything; a unified and seamless approach to content marketing can go a long way in building that trust.
Rather than using narrowly-focused themes like “home equity loans” or “savings”, one popular trend is to use broad themes tied to the seasons. For example, you could create campaigns around back to school and holiday shopping in the fall, home improvements and weddings in the spring and summer, vacation getaways in the winter, small business loans in the spring, etc.
2. Consider Your Audience Before Determining What Type(s) of Content to Use
While there may be a lot of overlap in the types of products and services two different financial services firms offer, there can be big differences in their target audiences. While interactive webinars, infographics, and social media content can reap big rewards for some demographics, savvy financial marketers understand the need to tailor the delivery method to the intended recipient.
Content marketing campaigns geared toward Millennials can look markedly different than those targeting recent retirees. For example, an email-based strategy highlighting CDs or bond options might work well for the latter group, but it’s not the approach most institutions would likely want to take when targeting the college crowd and recent graduates. Likewise, a content strategy geared toward raising awareness of mortgage loan options for first-time home buyers would likely have a bigger impact using social media channels and video content than direct mail methods.
The bottom line is that identifying who you’re targeting for financial services content marketing must come before you decide what content avenues and methods to use.
3. Embrace Variety and Interactive Content
Don’t get stuck in a rut of just using one content type. While infographics, calculators, and other interactive tools are still “hot” and reaping rewards for many financial services organizations, old content standbys like blog posts, informative articles, and white papers still have their place.
Banks, investment firms, and other financial services companies have also come to embrace social media channels in recent years, engaging with customers and prospective customers through pictures, educational posts, videos, and more. Leveraging pictures and videos to help tell the financial institution’s story is a powerful way to strengthen the company’s brand and increase awareness in the marketplace.
A comprehensive strategy that incorporates a mix of media types, with an emphasis on methods that are most likely to reach your target audience, can help position your campaign for greater success.
4. Personalize Your Messaging
Targeted marketing is nothing new, but marketing and communications professionals in financial services are increasingly personalizing their content based on the data their firms collect about their customers. The somewhat-recent twist is that firms are leveraging artificial intelligence more to send targeted advertisements to specific subsets of their customer or prospect population, using social media and search algorithms.
Those customized, data-driven efforts can include targeted webinars, personalized loan offers, and tailored communications based on the customers’ data and whether they have previously interacted with the financial institution.
5. Add Value Through Content Rather than Simply Using Content to Sell Products
For years, financial institutions’ content marketing strategies were built around trying to convince customers and prospects that the financial company’s rates were the most competitive or that the firm’s customer service couldn’t be beat.
While it’s still important for financial companies to differentiate themselves from the competition, the do-it-yourself culture the rapid expansion of the internet brought has meant many financial services firms have had to reconsider their approaches. Successful financial services firms recognize that their content marketing efforts can result in greater brand awareness and customer loyalty when content isn’t overtly trying to sell a financial product or service to the reader.
You want to reach your readers, but you also want to engage them in a way that can make them brand ambassadors for your institution. That’s where the content and tone of the information you share comes in. Your audience is more likely to share content designed to educate and inform than they are a thinly-disguised sales pitch.
Consider that the goal of most financial services organizations is to ultimately build trust through long-term customer relationships. Providing relevant, interesting content on a regular basis can go a long way toward reaching that goal.
6. Work with Content Providers Who Understand Regulatory Challenges
As previously mentioned, the regulatory environment within which financial firms operate can pose its own challenges. Whether an institution’s activities are governed and overseen by the SEC, OCC, FCA, FINRA, state authorities, or other regulators, financial services organizations need to operate within a defined set of rules.
Of course, those rules are there for good reason and protect both the financial institution and customers. Financial products can be incredibly complex. Content that could potentially mislead the public or that inadvertently misrepresents a product’s risks or features could have disastrous consequences for everyone.
Working with content professionals who know where the guardrails are, who understand content marketing trends in the finance industry, and who can create compelling content within those guardrails, can help keep financial organizations on the right path while helping propel them toward their goals.
At the end of the day, financial services marketing trends are not significantly different from those seen in many other industries. However, because financial institutions deal with people’s money, customers will ultimately seek out and give their business to firms they feel they can trust. Marketers who keep that in mind should be well-positioned for success.
Why not find an expert financial writer from WriterAccess to help you create relevant, compelling content to engage your customers?
Cindy D has been a freelance writer since 2015, and penned her first assignment for WriterAccess in March 2016. In addition to delivering fresh, compelling content for writing clients, Cindy is also an estate planning and business law attorney in private practice in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. Cindy spent almost two decades in the financial services industry in various operations and compliance roles, including 2 years as the Chief Compliance Officer for a federally-registered investment adviser owned by an accounting firm. Drawing on the knowledge and experience she gained in those roles, Cindy loves to write about topics applicable to financial firms, accountants, realtors, insurance professionals and law firms, as well as general business pieces.