It’s a digital world out there, and even old-school industries have to change their marketing strategies if they want to keep up. And in finance, where industry regulations have generally made it more difficult for businesses to branch out with their digital marketing strategies, it’s important to get creative.
Seventy-one percent of financial service organizations intend to increase their spending on digital marketing in 2019, according to a recent digital intelligence briefing by Econsultancy, in partnership with Adobe.
This realization comes at a time when businesses across all sectors are increasingly putting less money into cold call marketing and more into data-driven, consumer-targeted digital advertising.
If your business is among the large majority of financial service providers who intend to up their digital marketing spending in the coming year (or if you think you should be), read on for six financial services digital marketing ideas that will help you figure out how to spend your budget wisely.
1. Focus on the customer experience
If you’re finding it easy to bring in new leads but are struggling to convert, you’re not alone. Only about 22% of businesses are happy with their conversion rates. And this lack of conversion success is more than just an inefficiency—it’s a sign that money isn’t being well spent. For every $110 that businesses are spending on acquiring customers, they’re spending just $1 on converting them.
So how do you turn those leads into clients? You dig in to the foundation of digital marketing: the customer experience and targeted messaging. Trends among today’s financial service consumers show that people want a digital relationship with their banks—in fact, they actually prefer it. Optimizing the customer experience in banking and finance necessitates a strong digital presence, not just in how you provide actual services but how you market those services. Among millennials, 84% are perfectly happy to research their banking options through entirely digital means. The more you can focus on engaging with your customers how and where they want to be engaged with, the better you should be able to convert.
2. Mobilize your mobile efforts
If you’re on the topic of financial services marketing ideas, you’d be wise not to ignore the importance of mobile marketing. We know, you’ve got enough to deal with without having to worry that your mobile site is completely on point. But the world is on their smartphones, so you should be too.
More than one-quarter of all internet users do their searching on smartphones only. That’s two times as many people as those who solely use computers. With average users spending almost three hours a day on their phones, you have a major opportunity with mobile to connect and engage with potential clients.
The key to a successful mobile site is customization and usability. Customers want mobile sites to customize their experience to their location, and they want sites with intuitive navigation that doesn’t require a ton of clicking around. Mobile sites should also have built-in message capabilities (see tip #3 below) that quickly facilitates communications between your leads and yourself. If your mobile site needs work, it’s worth allocating some of your marketing budget into hiring a professional team who can take it to the next level.
3. Bring on the chatbots
Robots aren’t replacing humans in business—they’re enhancing them. You’re 7x more likely to secure a deal if you respond to leads in under an hour, as opposed to responding in two hours or more. Chatbots make it both easier for leads to connect with you, and easier for them to get a quick response.
For maximum benefits, you should have a chatbot as part of your digital marketing strategy on both your website and your mobile site. These usually live as friendly little boxes on the bottom corner of the screen where customers can type in what they need, be it information on opening an account or details on the status of their current account. In addition to helping ensure a fast response, chatbots can qualify your leads for you, directing questions and comments right to the people they’re intended for.
Chatbots are part of a general trend toward real-time marketing that makes the most of consumer desires for constant connectivity. The quicker your current and prospective clients can engage, the more likely they are to stick around.
4. Capitalize on content
All marketing has a two-fold effort: generate leads and convert those leads into customers. And few things help you do both of these key tasks better than original content. Content marketing generates 3x as many leads as traditional marketing, and it helps put forth the authority that allows you to convert. It’s an especially important asset in financial services, where there’s usually little to distinguish businesses from their competitors and consumers have less of an incentive toward brand loyalty.
There are plenty of different content mediums to choose from, but focus your efforts on the types of content that customers are most willing to exchange their information for. These include white papers, e-books, webinars, case studies, and third-party/analyst reports. Spend less time on the content that generates fewer leads: podcasts, video, and infographics.
The financial sector is well-poised to make good use of content marketing, since the topics they deal in aren’t usually readily understood by the people who they’re marketing to. Use this to your advantage, and create original content that utilizes your own expertise to draw in customers and provide insight into the topics they care about.
5. Don’t shy away from social media
Twitter and Instagram for banks? You bet! Twitter had more than 336 million active users around the globe in 2018, and Instagram more than a billion. Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and other social media giants also boast millions upon millions of active users.
So while there may seem to be a disconnect between the professional world of financial services and the more laid-back world of social media, there’s no denying that the former can benefit from the latter.
Social media for business operates a bit differently than social media for individuals. Skip the status updates and focus on promoting compelling imagery that represents your brand and what you can do. Look at financial service companies that have found success on social media and try to discern what they’re doing that’s working so well. It may be that they focus on highlighting the people behind their brand, or that they’re acing their hashtag game (or both).
And keep in mind that there’s a learning curve when it comes to social media. Don’t expect big benefits right away – it will take time to build a following and start capturing strong engagement.
6. Make your print and digital marketing efforts work together
There’s no reason that your digital marketing has to completely replace your print marketing. Instead, the two should work together to form a consistent and impactful strategy. Because while it’s true that business-consumer relationships are taking place primarily online, print marketing is far from dead – 70% to 80% of consumers open most of their mail, versus just 20% to 30% of consumers who open most of their emails.
Integrate print marketing into your digital strategy by using innovative direct mail to drive consumers to your online content, either through a URL or a QR code. You can also use it to offer coupons for digitally-redeemable promotions. The financial services industry is the biggest user of direct mail, and that’s unlikely to change soon. Embrace the power of print and digital as complementary marketing tactics, and find out just how fast you can grow.
There’s no such thing as a universal blueprint for how to make your digital marketing do more for you. But there are trends that are undeniably shaping how you should be connecting with consumers to increase your industry foothold. Incorporate the advice above into a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to keep up, and even move beyond, what today’s financial sectors leaders are doing.
Find out more here about how financial services companies can boost the effectiveness of their digital marketing efforts.