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The Rules of Content Marketing for Financial Institutions

Posted @ 2:17 pm by Tim Ross | Category: Copy & Content, Digital Marketing, Financial Services | 0 Comments

This is part four of our series on how Financial Services firms can leverage web and mobile technologies to drive business results. Read the other posts in the series here.

Content marketing should be an easy addition to the marketing strategy of any financial institution for two reasons: First, financial services companies already collect large volumes of salient data on customers, and second, they regularly perform research on the sort of information that their customers are looking for, from strategic investing advice to market trends.

The anonymous aggregate data that financial services companies are already collecting could produce dozens of how-to guides, top-10 lists, and buzz-worthy trend pieces, all without financial services companies having to pay for new research., eLance and oDesk are all great examples of companies that turn anonymous customer data into press releases and reports that routinely get picked up by the press and help them win new customers.

But that doesn’t mean every financial services company should start working on an email newsletter right away. Content marketing done wrong is as likely to send customers packing as great content served up to the right customers is likely to boost sales. Following are four simple rules for getting it right.

Don’t Pigeonhole Your Customers Customer segmentation is no longer the Holy Grail of marketing that it was once thought to be. Customers don’t want to be reduced to stereotypes. Just because someone is a working mom with a household income of X dollars doesn’t mean she prefers to get her information from a specific source. By delivering content through several different mediums: website, multiple social media platforms, e-newsletters, blogs, and so forth, financial services companies can enable customers to segment themselves.

Use the Same Data to Produce Different Types of Content Say you’ve got great research on where lots of different types of customers should invest. You could turn that into one dry report on your website, or use it to create a focused brief for analysts and reporters, an actionable list for savvy investors, and a folksy blog posts for consumers intimidated by hard financial data. JD Power & Associates Banking blog was the Financial Brand’s #1 Readers Choice Blog for 2012, preferred because it successfully translated the companies’ research into an actionable easy to follow plan. At the other end of the spectrum, Neighbors Federal Credit Union’s popular “Stone Age Dad” is a homespun style blog about a new dad’s adventures in parenting with a few financial tidbits thrown in. What companies are learning now, is that many customers are interested in multiple types of blogs and would follow both depending on their mood.

Mention Your Products Educating customers builds trust between financial services firms and their clients, but it’s also an opportunity to get them interested in additional products. While it’s important to focus first on producing high-quality, useful content, companies can’t forget to include information about their products where it fits.

People go online for one of four reasons: to shop, socialize, discover or for entertainment. Capture them while they are there for discovery- by providing quality information — or grab them while they are online socializing by creating proprietary social communities on the web, and turn those visitors into shoppers.

According to a recent Gallup poll, financial services companies have found the most success with Facebook and Twitter when their customers use these social media channels for researching bank products. Even though only 5% of customers use Facebook and Twitter for information, these customers are 18% more likely to purchase than customers that use other research methods.

Don’t Forget the CMS Any company’s content strategy is only as good as its Content Management System (CMS). So often, companies will develop a great content strategy and then forget to plan for the execution of that strategy. It’s important that websites are built with the tools and infrastructure that enable content to be updated and changed as needed, without the involvement of a development team every time. To be able to create, manage, and distribute content across multiple platforms, financial services companies need to invest in a CMS that includes easy content creation and editing tools, a modular structure that makes it easy to use the same piece of content in multiple places, seamless integration with existing systems (CRM software, for example, or back office data systems), and easy distribution of various types of content–video, blogs, etc.–across multiple channels. Even the best CMS can’t automate absolutely everything, though. Companies still need to think through how to handle these systems from a practical standpoint—how will the CMS handle security and permissions? Will the CMS enable the current organizational work flow or will it need to change?

While it does take some thought and planning to execute an effective content marketing strategy, financial services companies are at a distinct advantage thanks to the large amount of quality content they’re already generating. And given that 70 percent of consumers prefer getting information about a product or service from content rather than an ad, it’s worth investing a little time and energy into getting it right.


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