Digital Marketing for Financial Services: A Complete Guide for Companies and Advisors

Financial services marketing is a specialist area within the broad content marketing field. So, you may have to adapt your marketing strategies accordingly to fit the discerning needs of your financial services customers. Here’s what you need to know to get it right.

Digital Marketing for Financial Services: 7 Strategies that Will Boost Results

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If you own or manage a financial services brand, you don’t need to be told that getting your digital marketing strategy right takes some finesse. People have always been particular about who they trust with their money (and under what circumstances). 

Nevertheless, in today’s quickly evolving digital age, people want convenient, 24/7 access to their funds and accounts. Digital financial products must provide well-organized, SEO-optimized websites for a seamless user experience. Concerns like security and data privacy also need to be addressed to put consumer minds at ease.

What’s more, the average financial services marketing professional invests a lot of time and capital in attracting new leads and successfully holding their attention, so the ROI must be worth the effort. 

According to Ecoconsutancy, converting a consumer in the market for a new financial service provider into a paying customer only costs about $1, while attracting and holding consumer attention costs an average of $92.

That’s because the financial industry is so complex. There are numerous regulations and a lot of red tape to comply with while successfully making the brand’s services seem more attractive to your prospects than anything else produced by the competition.

The content created must still be informative, helpful, entertaining, and engaging enough to capture and retain a consumer’s attention in a distracting environment.

Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know about creating a winning strategy for financial services websites.

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What can Digital Marketing for Financial Services do for Your Company?

As the prevalence of concepts like mobile technology and e-commerce grows, modern consumers’ everyday habits and preferences are changing. 

People are choosing to handle more and more of their necessities online. They’re not just doing their shopping online or using the internet to stay in touch with their loved ones, either.

The more comfortable people become with working and functioning digitally and remotely, the more they trust the technology involved. 

That said, many consumers now prefer to manage their finances and various accounts online. 

They’re using social media to research new products and services that might meet their needs, too. 

But some financial services providers are failing to make the most of these trends by:

  • Being slow to embrace social media marketing and the value of maintaining a solid social media presence on major platforms.
  • Underestimating just how quickly a good or bad word from a customer can go viral, as well as how many people it could reach.
  • Not updating data management strategies to better accommodate information gathered from social media interactions, consumer website behavior, and similar sources.
  • Failing to personalize what they offer and how they communicate with their customers thoroughly enough.
  • Using potential assets like video marketing to interrupt would-be customers instead of to entertain or inform them.
  • Not making the most of email marketing and communications to stay in touch with customers.

The power of crucial factors like online word-of-mouth, personalized customer outreach programs, and video marketing can no longer be overlooked if you’re serious about staying ahead of the competition. 

Financial services firms that are successfully embracing these changes aren’t just tapping into new markets. 

They’re better at meeting the expectations of their current clients and retaining their business, as well.

How is Digital Marketing Shaping the Financial Services Industry?

Most industries experience a bit of shake-up from time to time, but the finance industry has seen more disruption than most lately. 

Not only are financial services providers scrambling to navigate a market affected by dramatic political and economic challenges, but competition is fiercer than ever.

Dynamic new startups and technologically astute innovators are also throwing their own hats into the finance ring. 

They’re capturing large percentages of the collective revenue growth, so veteran financial services companies that are serious about staying on top have had to evolve in a hurry just to keep up.

Here’s a look at how current digital marketing standards are set to keep changing for the financial services industry.

Greater Focus on Consumer Expectations

The demand for consumer experiences that are available at all times and from anywhere is massive these days, and it’s not just limited to the streaming media industry, either. 

People now expect this from nearly every service they use, and that includes the banking, payment, and finance management options they’ve chosen.

Watch for this trend to continue in the years to come. You’ll see its influence in slicker interfaces, faster service fulfillment, deeply personalized customer experiences, and more.

Increased Need for Personalized Engagement

The days when the average consumer only had a few financial services options to choose from are over. 

Instead, companies across every industry are looking for ways to better cater to the average person’s rising expectation that services be “always-on”, personalized, and limitlessly available.

And with increasingly easy access to so many different choices, consumers are becoming less loyal, so businesses must work harder to retain their business. 

This trend is driving a need to engage with customers on an aspirational level and win their trust by striking a solid balance between security and transparency. 

However, this must be done while preserving the easy, seamless, innovative experience that customers expect.

7 Essential Digital Marketing Tips for Financial Services Providers

When you think of patient animals with long attention spans, you probably don’t picture a goldfish. 

You might think of a human being, but you probably shouldn’t. That’s because the average goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds, which is actually one second longer than the average modern human’s.

What does that mean for you as a business owner? 

It means you need to become an expert at not only standing out from the rest of the competition around you but also quickly capturing a potential customer’s attention before they click away. 

Better digital marketing for financial services is the key to doing this, so the sooner you get started, the better. 

Here are some highly effective options:

1. Prioritize dynamic, engaging content

The saying “content is king” is still very accurate when it comes to attracting the interest of your target demographic. 

A solid content marketing campaign isn’t just great for driving traffic, collecting leads, and converting customers, either. 

It’s a great way to set your company apart from the rest as a proper industry authority — something especially beneficial for finance businesses.

However, the average finance article can be pretty dull and challenging for laypeople to digest, so creativity is the key to engaging content that yields results. 

Develop a clear content strategy that serves your goals. 

Strike a good balance between informative and straightforward, engaging and informative. 

And don’t be afraid to outsource this job to professionals if you’re not sure how to proceed on your own.

2. Cultivate a solid social media presence

Saying that everyone who’s anyone is on social media nowadays isn’t the overstatement it might sound like. 

Around 81 percent of Americans are active on social media and spend an average of 4-5 hours a day utilizing it in various aspects of their lives. 

Yes, they’re using Facebook, Twitter, and similar profiles to stay in touch with loved ones and browse the latest memes, but that’s not all.

Modern consumers are increasingly turning to social media for help with their purchasing decisions. 

They’re using it to research products, contact businesses, and follow brands they’re interested in. 

Building an attractive profile, filling your feed with the right content, and interacting with customers via social media is one of the most powerful marketing strategies you can adopt right now.

3. Leverage the power of multimedia

While it’s true that excellent written content is still an essential part of any well-rounded digital marketing campaign, you don’t want to overlook multimedia. 

Research shows that it’s actually a lot more engaging, convincing, and capable of capturing that 8-second attention span most people are working with.

Infographics are one great example of compelling visual content

Quick-fire stats and fun, colorful graphics make them especially easy to absorb at a glance. 

They’re also precisely the type of content people love to share, as nothing jazzes up a Facebook or Twitter feed quite like a good-looking graphic.

Then there’s video, a steadily emerging trend that’s been changing the marketing world for a while now and shows no signs of slowing down. 

In fact, did you know that more than 80 percent of millennials watch videos as part of the process of making a purchase decision? 

An on-target YouTube channel or similar option could be the key to capturing the attention of this ever-important demographic, especially when you keep in mind that so many financial businesses overlook video altogether.

4. Use personal stories to boost connection

Modern consumers expect more from the brands they trust their lives to than they once did. 

Cold and impersonal don’t cut it anymore when it comes to getting through to existing and potential customers. 

People want a personal connection with the businesses they buy from, and razor-sharp marketing materials aren’t enough to make that happen. 

Instead, add engaging stories to the mix to drive engagement and build rapport.

Is there an interesting story behind your decision to start your company? 

Tell it, and use it to help your customers connect with you. 

Share informative or compelling finance stories and occasional hot takes on events related to your industry, as well. 

In short, don’t be afraid to let your company’s human element shine through, as it’s a terrific way to set a finance company apart from the rest of the pack.

5. Encourage customer reviews

In the past, customer reviews were simply seen as something nice to have — helpful, but not necessarily essential. 

This is no longer the case. 

In fact, nearly all consumers — an incredible 98 percent — read reviews from other customers before pulling the trigger on a purchase decision they’re considering. 

Reviews become even more important for financial companies, as people want to be extra sure of services they’ll be trusting with their money.

A glowing review from a happy, satisfied customer is priceless when it comes to digital marketing for financial services. 

However, even negative reviews can be spun to an astute business owner’s advantage. 

Think of them as an opportunity to show customers how responsive, caring, efficient, and accountable your company is.

Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your company online, and engage with everyone who makes the effort. 

Thank happy customers for choosing you, and work to resolve the problems unhappy ones have to their satisfaction. 

Word of mouth spreads like wildfire online, so do your best to make sure almost everyone has something good to say about your company.

6. Don’t forget about mobile compatibility

Although many people still log a good portion of their online time on laptops or desktop systems, those who only use computers to access the internet for buying purposes are in the minority now. 

Most people do at least some of their purchase browsing and shopping via their smartphones, and 25 percent of all internet users only use their phones for that. 

You can’t afford not to take that into consideration.

Make sure your company websites, blogs, and purchasing interfaces are optimized for mobile devices

Think clean designs, lightning-quick load times, and intuitive navigation. 

Revise your marketing strategies to better reach customers via mobile tech, as well. 

Again, it may be worth bringing in a team of experts to do the job properly if you don’t already have someone capable on your team.

7. Personalize each customer experience

Modern consumers don’t just expect their services to offer instant, continuous access to what they need these days. 

At this point, they’re also used to all their favorite apps and brand offerings tailoring their experience to fit their exact needs and interests. 

Financial services providers could benefit from doing the same.

People are particular about how they handle and manage their money. 

However, many financial services providers still aren’t efficiently leveraging data to customize the consumer experience. 

A business that successfully does this to intuit and deliver what their target customer wants really stands to get ahead of the competition.

Personalizing your website to deliver information and options relevant to each visitor’s location is also a must. 

Keep this in mind, especially when optimizing your site for mobile compatibility.

Efficient Content Marketing Ideas for Financial Services

The financial services sector has been commonly criticized for its lackluster content marketing performance.

The lack of creativity can be partly attributed to the strict government regulations regarding promotions, which were designed to protect investors from abusive and misleading propositions. But truth be told, it’s tough to make CDs, lines of credit, or other financial products sound interesting.

Despite these challenges, successful content marketing for financial services organizations is not impossible. Companies that find ways to work within the regulatory framework and keep content fresh and exciting can benefit from long-term, lucrative customer relationships.

1. Implement a Theme-Based Approach to Content

If your content jumps from one product to another with no discernible connection, your target audience probably won’t be bored. However, too much jumping around could give them marketing whiplash. Instead, some financial services marketers have found that using a theme-based approach can help keep readers engaged and can do more to position their organizations as thought leaders and subject matter experts.

In financial services marketing, trust is everything; a unified and seamless approach to content marketing can go a long way in building that trust.

Rather than using narrowly focused themes like “home equity loans” or “savings”, one popular trend is to use broad themes tied to the seasons. For example, you could create campaigns around back-to-school and holiday shopping in the fall, home improvements and weddings in the spring and summer, vacation getaways in the winter, small business loans in the spring, etc.

2. Consider Your Audience Before Determining What Type(s) of Content to Use

While there may be a lot of overlap in the types of products and services two different financial services firms offer, there can be big differences in their target audiences. While interactive webinars, infographics, and social media content can reap big rewards for some demographics, savvy financial marketers understand the need to tailor the delivery method to the intended recipient.

Content marketing campaigns geared toward Millennials can look markedly different than those targeting recent retirees.

For example, an email-based strategy highlighting CDs or bond options might work well for the latter group, but it’s not the approach most institutions would likely want to take when targeting the college crowd and recent graduates.

Likewise, a content strategy geared toward raising awareness of mortgage loan options for first-time home buyers would likely have a bigger impact using social media channels and video content than direct mail methods.

The bottom line is that identifying who you’re targeting for financial services content marketing must come before you decide what content avenues and methods to use.

3. Diversify Your Content Portfolio

When you are considering your content strategy, you should diversify your content portfolio beyond text. While text is great for many situations, podcasts or videos are ideal for offering a real education on more complex subjects.

In addition, videos can be an essential means of separating yourself from your competition and establishing your brand as unique and innovative. For leading financial services firm Fidelity Investments, creating videos is a common way to feature its top managers and strategists discussing expectations and offering marketing analysis.

Discover New Audiences on Social Media

As one of the true phenomena of this generation, social media hosts a plethora of customers waiting to be engaged. One strategy is to share the content produced by your financial copywriter on various social networks with the hopes it will be shared among users. While there are several ways to use content produced by a financial copywriter on social media, American Express provides the best example with its Amex Open Forum.

This is a program created to assist small business owners with powerful resources and helpful insights. Through this forum, American Express was able to bolster monthly traffic and increase its small business network by thousands.

3. Embrace Variety and Interactive Content

Don’t get stuck in a rut of just using one content type. While infographics, calculators, and other interactive tools are still “hot” and reaping rewards for many financial services organizations, old content standbys like blog posts, informative articles, and white papers still have their place.

Banks, investment firms, and other financial services companies have also come to embrace social media channels in recent years, engaging with customers and prospective customers through pictures, educational posts, videos, and more. Leveraging pictures and videos to help tell the financial institution’s story is a powerful way to strengthen the company’s brand and increase awareness in the marketplace.

A comprehensive strategy that incorporates a mix of media types, with an emphasis on methods that are most likely to reach your target audience, can help position your campaign for greater success.

4. Personalize Your Messaging

Targeted marketing is nothing new, but marketing and communications professionals in financial services are increasingly personalizing their content based on the data their firms collect about their customers. The somewhat recent twist is that firms are leveraging artificial intelligence more to send targeted advertisements to specific subsets of their customer or prospect population, using social media and search algorithms.

Those customized, data-driven efforts can include targeted webinars, personalized loan offers, and tailored communications based on the customers’ data and whether they have previously interacted with the financial institution.

5. Add Value Through Content Rather than Simply Using Content to Sell Products

For years, financial institutions’ content marketing strategies were built around trying to convince customers and prospects that the financial company’s rates were the most competitive or that the firm’s customer service couldn’t be beaten.

While it’s still important for financial companies to differentiate themselves from the competition, the do-it-yourself culture the rapid expansion of the internet brought has meant many financial services firms have had to reconsider their approaches. Successful financial services firms recognize that their content marketing efforts can result in greater brand awareness and customer loyalty when content isn’t overtly trying to sell a financial product or service to the reader.

You want to reach your readers, but you also want to engage them in a way that can make them brand ambassadors for your institution. That’s where the content and tone of the information you share comes in. Your audience is more likely to share content designed to educate and inform than they are a thinly disguised sales pitch.

Consider that the goal of most financial services organizations is to ultimately build trust through long-term customer relationships. Providing relevant, interesting content on a regular basis can go a long way toward reaching that goal.

One great example of a financial blog providing significant value is Credit Suisse’s digital publication, The Financialist. This digital magazine offers perspectives on breaking financial news, reports on changes, and insight into market trends. Through a combination of infographics, stories, and meticulously placed third-party content, The Financialist is a legitimate financial news publication instead of a simple blog.

6. Work with Content Providers Who Understand Regulatory Challenges

As previously mentioned, the regulatory environment within which financial firms operate can pose its own challenges. Whether an institution’s activities are governed and overseen by the SEC, OCC, FCA, FINRA, state authorities, or other regulators, financial services organizations need to operate within a defined set of rules.

Of course, those rules are there for good reason and protect both the financial institution and customers. Financial products can be incredibly complex. Content that could potentially mislead the public or that inadvertently misrepresents a product’s risks or features could have disastrous consequences for everyone.

Working with content professionals who know where the guardrails are, who understand content marketing trends in the finance industry, and who can create compelling content within those guardrails, can help keep financial organizations on the right path while helping propel them toward their goals.

Using AI in Digital Marketing for Financial Services

In digital marketing for financial services, you must know who your target is and at what stage they are in their economic journey. A lead might fall into the right demographic, for example, but not be able to get a mortgage or put money in a CD account. 

Sometimes, a potential customer would benefit from a service they know nothing about, or a finance company might create a new, high-demand product. The question is, how can you tell? The answer is artificial intelligence or AI. 

Data management

Knowledge is everything, and that is what AI offers financial marketers. Leveraging AI allows marketers and brands to analyze and collate large amounts of data effortlessly. Not only does AI organize the data, it pulls out the helpful information from it. 

Creative design

The nice thing about AI is it doesn’t have an ego. It can spit out creative insights that might never occur to the human mind. Some might be quirky, but it only takes one or two good ideas to make it worth the time. 

Integration

Financial institutions like credit unions, banks, and investment firms often use AI in many ways. For example, they might have a chatbot on their websites. You can use those systems to improve your digital marketing. 

  • What questions come up the most? 
  • What products do customers look for? 
  • What trends exist? 

AI can take information from other AI-driven platforms and put a marketing spin on it. 

Channel Engagement

Using channels such as the various mainstream social media platforms is often repetitive. What you say on one social media page is similar to what you would say on the others. 

AI can take that repetitive task and automate it for maximum impact. It will also focus on the most likely target on each channel. If you post on LinkedIn, you are likely targeting business professionals. On Facebook, your focus is more on families. 

Financial institutions rarely deal with just one target audience. They may have products focusing on one specific niche, such as business loans. The same bank may also offer mortgages or investment accounts, though. 

Artificial intelligence can take core information and format it for the target audience. For example, suppose you hire a professional writer to create a blog about upcoming financial trends. In that case, AI can develop a marketing strategy for the blog that makes sense based on the channel’s demographic. The blog may apply to many different audiences. AI seamlessly creates marketing options for that blog that target the right demographic based on the channel. 

SEO Perfection

Digital marketing experts will tell you that SEO is the most critical aspect of creating content. Mastering SEO is a practice that can take years, though. 

AI takes the questions out of your SEO strategy. You can use artificial intelligence to find the most responsive keyword to drive website traffic and stimulate conversions. 

Proper SEO will also improve the brand’s rankings in both mobile and organic searches. That means the intent-based buyer who does a website search will see that brand’s pages near the top of the rankings. Studies indicate those first few positions are the most critical for clicks. 

Wrap Up

Ultimately, a successful financial services marketing strategy is about navigating the complicated landscape unique to the industry. Still, prospects in the market for new financial services have some things in common with other consumers, for instance:

  • They want to feel a personal connection to the brands they ultimately choose to trust with their money.
  • They care what other consumers think of the options they’re considering and want to see social proof that a service provider can measure up.
  • They need to feel their financial services provider is trustworthy, helpful, and reliable.
  • They have questions, obstacles, and pain points that need addressing before they make a final decision.
  • They want access to content and online experiences that make them feel informed, empowered, and entertained all at the same time.

Specifically targeted, financial services marketing content can give your audience all these things and more, so ensuring you’re investing in the right content is crucial. 

Start by getting to know your audience and brainstorming timely, engaging topics that get to the heart of your customers’ issues. Follow through by assembling a team of experienced writers who can deliver financial content that your customers will love reading and help you affordably scale your efforts.

Connect with some of the best and brightest specialist content writers when you sign up for your free 14-day WriterAccess trial today! You’ll love how easy it is with the right content team to meet your marketing goals.

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