Head of Digital
Posted on July 25, 2016
With the digital landscape constantly evolving, keeping pace with the latest developments can prove challenging. As marketers, we need not only to keep up with the latest and greatest trends, but also to apply them effectively to our businesses.
Whether your customers are businesses or consumers, they are expecting a better and better experience on digital platforms. In this blog we take a look at some of the digital challenges facing us, how to address these and turn a challenge into an opportunity by doing things better than competitors.
1. Mastering personalisation
Putting the right messages in front of the right people has always been a basic marketing requirement. But for some reason this mantra does not always translate to the digital world. This may be because of perceived technical challenges or the fact that setting up digital personalisation can take a little more time.
However to have a successful digital marketing strategy (whether in financial services or not), personalisation is a must – there’s no excuse for emailing someone promoting a product they have already purchased or promoting an offer on your website that is completely irrelevant to them.
Notice that I have been careful to use the term ‘digital personalisation’, not ‘website personalisation’. We’re talking about a range of digital communication channels, segmenting and personalising where appropriate.
If you are not currently using segmentation and personalisation, this can seem like a daunting task. Our advice is to start small and develop your strategy over a period of time. Your strategy will undoubtedly adapt as you gain feedback – so take it a step at a time.
Start by segmenting at the highest level (e.g. customers, prospects) and then drill down further by areas of interest or previous purchases. Create and assign contacts to segments within your CRM and start personalising your email communications – nearly all email platforms support user segmentation.
Combine this with some basic social media segmentation and you’re already starting to do more than many of your competitors. Following this you may like to consider some website personalisation – for example promoting specific pages to your segments, or even changing website content to better suit a segment.
2. Making social media work
With social media an integral part of so many people’s lives, both personally and professionally there’s clearly a huge opportunity to be exploited for a financial brand. The difficulty lies in identifying the opportunities relevant to your company and devising a strategy that pays dividends.
In the B2C banking world, Facebook and Snapchat have become a hot area of interest, with many high street banks not only advertising on these platforms, but providing customer support and even trialling money transfer systems that use these platforms.
Within B2B finance, LinkedIn is the clear market leader, with financial brands publishing content through LinkedIn’s publishing platform, engaging with prospects through LinkedIn Groups and advertising through LinkedIn sponsored content and ads.
If you have limited marketing resources then the best approach is to start with and focus your energy on one platform, rather than trying to cover all of the platforms. As a first stage, aim to get the basics right before getting too ambitious.
If you’re working in B2B finance, then to get started consider:
- Crafting well-formed LinkedIn profiles for each member of staff
- Producing a company page
- Inviting your existing clients to your company page, possibly with the allure of an incentive
- Research relevant groups on LinkedIn and make a list of common questions being asked on these groups
- Produce blogs that address these questions and post them on your LinkedIn page. You can then mention these in forums in order to start developing a relationship with potential prospects
- Take the time to find complementary companies using LinkedIn, share their content and build reciprocal relationships – this will not only provide your followers with useful content, but amplify your content to areas you may have struggled to reach
For B2C financial organisations, consider using Facebook to:
- Create a company page
- Promote your company page to your existing customers by offering an incentive of some form ( a special offer maybe)
- Post a mixture of content to your page, this could be special offers, new products, useful information, links to relevant tools
To grow your social media presence you may wish to consider using paid ads. Both LinkedIn and Facebook offer excellent paid ads platforms with fantastic targeting tools to allow you to promote specific offers to specific groups of people.
3. Creating an effective content strategy
An effective content strategy is becoming the cornerstone of an effective marketing strategy. From websites, to email, mobile and social media – creating exceptional content that resonates with your prospects and customers has never been more important.
The most important part of this process is producing content that prospects and customers find useful – content that answers their questions, is helpful and ideally something that someone would like to share. But how do you know which questions your prospects and customers have?
At Talisman we recently came across a very useful website www.answerthepublic.com which allows you to enter a series of keywords and find questions that are being asked around those topics on search engines. You can also combine this with some basic keyword research using Moz Keyword Planner or the Google Keyword Tool.
Using a combination of these tools, as well as researching the questions being asked on websites such as LinkedIn and Quora – you will be able to generate a list of ideas for content that provides real value to prospects and customers.
The next stage is to produce your content. For most this involves the creation of a blog and it’s important to remember to write for your reader and not think too much about search engines at this stage. As your blog develops you can start to promote your content by posting links to your blog posts where your prospects are asking questions (e.g. LinkedIn, Quora, Facebook and other relevant forums).
When done consistently over time you will start not only to build a reputation as an authority within your field, but also benefit from increased brand awareness, traffic to your website and hopefully more business.
There are a number of digital challenges facing us as financial marketers and we’ve only addressed a small number in this post. However, the three we’ve discussed are some of the largest challenges being faced today.
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