Head of Digital
Posted on August 30, 2016
Let’s turn back the clock to 2013, the Wall Street Journal has just published an article entitled “Lenders looking all too similar”. Within this article a source is quoted as saying “I choose my financial services on price, because in the end banks are really all the same”.
The article received a mixed response, with some banks reacting quickly to dismiss such claims. However, regardless of the response, as financial marketers this raises an interesting question – how do banks differentiate themselves through marketing?
Fast-forward to 2016 and finance has seemingly never been more competitive. Larger, more established banking institutions are continually being challenged by new start-ups. These start-ups are fast and nimble – combining marketing and branding to deliver powerful messages to their markets.
Marketing has probably never been more important in banking as it is today. So, which are the most important bank marketing strategies to be considering in late 2016 and into 2017? There are several we will be discussing over the coming weeks, but one of the most important right now is content marketing.
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Investing in content marketing
Developing a website purely around products is going to be a thing of the past (if it is not already). Using content marketing within your website (and mobile platforms) provides an ideal opportunity to engage with prospects and provide added value.
Content that addresses issues and provides real value will resonate with your prospects, build relationships and help re-enforce your brand. Content can be developed around a wide range of topics, from personal loans, to wealth management, pensions and small business.
Rather than focussing on marketing products directly to prospects, there’s a trend developing of marketing solutions. Your content can form an integral part of that solution. Content can be in a variety of formats, from simple blog articles to helpful guides and videos. Content provides a cost effective method of generating leads (see below).
Using content to generate leads
Building brand engagement and relationships is an important benefit of content marketing. But content marketing can be taken so much further! Forward thinking banks are already leveraging content to provide a cost efficient lead generation tool.
Content can be supplemented by high value propositions, for example webinars and offline events. What better way to generate leads than by producing content around a topic, such as pension planning and then invite your readers to register their details for a free pension planning webinar, or local event?
After the event has passed, why not use content marketing again to send further, helpful content to nurture the prospect until they are ready to be passed to a member of the sales team?
This is Inbound marketing in its purest form and we’ve spoken about it many times in our blogs and our dedicated whitepaper ‘A simple guide to inbound marketing in the financial services sector’.
Leveraging social media
Marketing (not just in banking), is most successful when the right message is targeted to the right person, at the right time. This sounds basic, but it’s easy to forget sometimes.
Social media provides an enormous opportunity to do this. Where else can you target advertisements to prospects that fit your ideal customer profile based on age, gender, location, hobbies, interests and things they have been discussing online?
Combined with an effective content marketing strategy, the results have the potential to be tremendous.
For example, let’s assume that there’s a marketing drive towards mortgages for first time buyers. To begin with, you could create a content strategy that includes articles and video based on the important aspects of buying your first home.
You could then advertise your content on social networks, targeting users by age and whether they have been posting about houses and mortgages on their timelines. You can drive prospects to this content and then to the high value propositions (see previous section).
There is so little wastage with this kind of strategy and it helps to position your bank as an authority within the mind of the prospect.
This blog has been focussed around content marketing. That’s not to say there aren’t other bank marketing strategies that can be used. However content marketing is growing quickly across the board and encapsulates everything that we try and achieve as marketers. It provides real value to the most relevant people at the right time. It’s well worth a little investment.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be diving into further detail on these strategies and examining others. So if you’ve enjoyed reading this (fingers crossed), why not subscribe for our weekly blog update?