Over 60% of financial services companies already use Digital Marketing – and, following the COVID pandemic, that’s almost certain to rise to 99%. Yet most don’t succeed as well as they could, and some fail completely.
It’s the right way to go – as long as it’s done right.
And there’s a whole host of useful digital tools at your disposal – not only websites, social media and email, but podcasts, video, blog posts, apps and more. Whatever aspect of financial services you’re into, it’s essential to have an integrated strategy that encompasses all the digital media that can work for you.
All the general considerations that I’ve written about in other articles apply to financial services companies – but there are 3 really important “golden rules” that are particularly specific to the sector – whether by “financial services” one means banking, credit cards, loans, investments, pensions, foreign exchange, insurance or anything else relating to money management.
Rule 1 – KYC!
Every financial advisor has to complete KYC – Know Your Client – questionnaires for each individual they sell services to, and most financial products have KYC factsheets. So everyone in finance knows about KYC.
Amazingly, though, a lot of financial services companies don’t demonstrate that they know their clientele – current or target – in their digital media.
There’s not only no point to emailing inappropriate content, it’s actually counter-productive.
If you’re selling investment services to high net worth individuals who are likely to be in their fifties or older, there’s no point in using a young social media platform like Tik-Tok.
Conversely, if you’ve got a good way of reaching those individuals, there’s no point in sending them balance transfer or low cost loan offers.
Either could work against you if you’re selling a range of services – the hard-up millennials you need to reach for those loans may ignore relevant messages if they associate you with investment services, and the older market with money to invest may ignore your messaging if they associate you with loans.
But there’s no reason why a financial services company that sells to both markets can’t digital media – it’s just essential to focus relevant content to the relevant audience, and differentiate the messaging.
Content is key
…and content needs to be appropriate for your audience. A good digital media strategy starts with identifying your target audience – the potential clients that you need to reach, and the existing clients that you need to retain. Recognise that if you have different products and services, there’ll probably be a different market for each – which means having a differentiated digital strategy. One market may react well to visual messages delivered via social media, whilst another will react only to more serious messaging, perhaps delivered through articles or podcasts.
Rule 2 – React to the news
If there’s one thing coming out of the pandemic that everyone recognises, it’s that news changes fast. In the world of finance, even small events can result in big changes to personal finances. Some people will find themselves unexpectedly out of work, or suddenly fearing being made redundant. Investors may be spooked by tiny events that mean nothing to most people but trigger stock market falls. Interest rate changes and even political speeches can dramatically affect exchange rates.
So the interests, perceptions and priorities of your audience can easily change day to day, regardless of the financial services you’re selling. It’s a market unlike any other in how local and global events entirely beyond our control can make a product or service that was highly desirable yesterday difficult to sell today.
Someone who’s just lost their job won’t be interested in pension planning. Yet that same individual, who felt financially secure yesterday, may now be interested in products that will help him or her steer successfully through the next few months.
So you’ve got to stay on top of the news with your digital media strategy.
Constantly review and refine your messaging. Post new and relevant content frequently. It may be right to plan the methodology in advance, but you should never prepare content long before it’s needed – at least, not unless you’re always ready to make last minute changes.
Rule 3 – Honesty and humility pay off
Unlike most other business sectors, financial services are heavily regulated – so you’re always going to be limited in what you can claim. However, that doesn’t stop a lot of companies making relatively exaggerated claims – or at least what might be termed “best case scenarios”.
Finance is a serious matter for everyone. People usually think long and hard before making any commitment to a new financial service of any kind. They’ll compare alternatives. They’ll discuss with their partner and maybe with friends.
Now is not the time to push claims that are difficult to substantiate and more difficult still to believe. Almost everyone is “put off” by advertising hype.
What’s taken to heart by potential customers for financial services is serious, honest, responsible messaging. Customers need to trust you. Trust you with their money. Trust you that they won’t be cheated or that tomorrow they’d find that they’d chosen a lousy deal that they now can’t back out of.
Digital media really succeeds here in a way that no other marketing can.
You can get your message out there quickly and to a targeted audience, reacting to events.
Articles and blogs, especially when supported by infographics, enable you to set out detailed explanations in a serious yet engaging way.
Podcasts and videos enable you to reach audiences that otherwise wouldn’t find you, and that will take the time to listen to detailed explanations, allowing your expertise to shine out.
Manageable, adaptable and affordable
Ready to prepare your new digital strategy?
Or scared that it sounds like a lot of hard work and a lot of money?
It’s really not hard or expensive if you use a really clued-up digital agency to manage the whole process for you.
First, you need to be careful choosing that agency. You’ll need one that’s prepared to get fully involved with you, starting with really understanding your services and products, working together to define your target market – your audience – in detail.
Classic audience profiling isn’t enough for digital media
You need to take into account the demographic reach of each platform and other criteria as well. These are in a state of constant evolution, so you’ll need expertise to help you here as well.
You’ll need them to prepare real quality content. Always 100% professional – and 100% original. Digital media moves fast, and it’s essential to keep posting new content. Your business is unique, and you need to keep it that way – some agencies simply copy and paste or plagiarise content they or others have used for others.
Maintaining your digital presence requires constant attention, so you need to be confident that your agency will be ready to do that, as, however enthusiastic you may be at the start, you won’t be able to keep it up day after day, month after month – believe me.
You’ll always be on top of the news that matters, but you’ll need your agency to be up to date too. You’ll need to be confident that they’ll recognise events that affect your target audience and that they’ll be nimble enough to react fast, prepare and adapt content as necessary, and get it out there.
Being quick to react will put your business in a really good light, whilst pushing out a message prepared weeks ago that’s eclipsed by recent events could actually damage it.
All of this is a tall order – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done – or that the costs will be astronomic.
Even a modest start in digital marketing for financial services will pay dividends.
Discuss the options with your chosen digital agency, and plan to start at an affordable level. Make sure that your agency knows how to build your audience in a way you approve of, and has all the tools in place to track engagement and results. Be prepared to be patient – it takes time to build an engaged audience. And be prepared for the occasional failure – and make sure that your agency adapts rapidly and effectively.
At the end of the day, and whether your financial services business is new to the market or long established, you need to see – month after month – that your digital marketing is not only building your brand and enhancing your reputation, but is paying its way.
I’d be happy to talk through some ideas on how digital marketing for financial services could work for you – just get in touch here