Foundry Digital have worked with a number of Financial Services companies in the past and have helped them to boost web traffic and awareness of their business online through Digital Marketing.
Whilst on many fronts Financial Services is one of the fastest developing industries in terms of being up-to-date with the latest technology and market trends, it has been slower than others to get involved with, and therefore benefit from, Digital Marketing. Perhaps this is because industry leaders didn’t see how it would work for their companies, or because they didn’t know how to use Digital Marketing strategies.
If it’s the former, then times are definitely changing as some of the world’s leading Financial Services companies have embraced Digital marketing and are consequently reaping the rewards. We’ll get to that towards the end of this article when we look at some FS Digital Marketing success stories, but for now the focus will be on the latter: how Financial Services companies can use Digital Marketing.
The advent of the digital age saw businesses clamour to get online as the trend for consumers to source services, products and advice rapidly moved onto the world wide web. Getting “found” online by their target markets was (and still is) the primary concern of website owners and the way to do this was with a solid search marketing strategy. Ensuring that their websites were keyword optimised and offered up to date and relevant content that targeted their niche of the market, these businesses ranked at the top of search engine results and received increasing amounts of web traffic.
For Financial Services companies, the benefits of being at the top of search engine results may not be as clear as the industry operated more on a referral basis. If this sounds like your business, you may be interested to know that according to TIS India, 40% of generation Y use Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to search for Financial Services.
That means that just under half of that entire demographic are looking but in many cases not finding the service that they’re looking for. For FS businesses looking to target the Gen Y age group, the importance of Search Marketing should now be a bit clearer. If their service isn’t positioned in an obvious location within search engines, how are their target market going to find them?
Your Search Marketing strategy is key for improving the online presence of your Financial Services business. The more people you present your service to the more chance you have of gaining more website traffic, new leads and eventually more customers. It’s simple but effective.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising is a method of reaching a focused segment of an otherwise wide or generic target audience, using specific keywords that when searched for trigger your ad to appear in search engine results. For Financial Services, it can be an incredibly powerful way to offer a niche service to a target market based on a specific set of data. As FS companies have access to huge amounts of customer data and insight, using a Search Advertising strategy is definitely worth considering to really make the most of this information.
For example, if a bank can deduce that people within a certain post code are worse at delivering mortgage payments on time, they could use an ad campaign offering payment support to individuals solely within that area. The high level of targeting used in a campaign like this makes it more likely that the ad will reach the right people, and more members of the right audience will click on the ad and arrive at the bank’s website.
Not only B2C FS companies benefit from PPC either. An investigation by Foundation Inc. at the start of this year found that 65% of B2B FS companies have acquired customers using LinkedIn’s ad platform. As more social media platforms jump on the advertising bandwagon, this number is only likely to increase, especially with corporate platforms like LinkedIn. Making these narrow-focused ads boosts conversion rates as you are filtering out the people who are unlikely to use your service at the earliest stage, leaving behind those for whom your service is more relevant.
Search Advertising is used across Google, Facebook and LinkedIn to name only the few most appropriate for Financial Services companies and is beginning to receive the reputation it deserves, as being one of the top methods of boosting acquisitions. PPC can be targeted in pretty much any which way you choose, making an ad campaign a likely success story.
Email strategies for the majority of Financial Services companies revolve around operational functions, delivering alerts and updates to every contact on a database. Whilst this is obviously a necessary use of email, Financial Services not using email to deliver communications and marketing updates are missing out.
For many businesses, Email Marketing has been avoided due to the risk of non-compliance and fear of losing customers through oversharing with their database, but this has only closed off a number of opportunities available. A strategically targeted and well-worded email can be just what a customer needs to remind them that your business offers a service that they need.
Unfortunately, it appears that many Financial Services companies are not taking advantage of this with a recent study showing that FS companies have one of the lowest average email to website click through rates of between 2-3%. Research suggests that this low number is mostly due to poor contact list segmentation ie. not make emails targeted enough. With the right investigation this is easily improved, and can have major benefits to the number of leads a business receives.
Email is a channel that despite technological advances in other communication methods, is not outdated and still has bags of potential. Finding the best way to use your database in a compliant manner isn’t tricky with the right guidance and can really help to boost your credibility as a Financial Services provider.
Social Media has already cropped up in this article, rather aptly reflecting its presence in most aspects of modern life. Using these channels in general is something that Financial Services companies have avoided simply because they are unable to recognise the value that social media marketing could bring. Well, as with email marketing, those companies not using social media are just missing out on a huge opportunity.
How a business presents itself online and promotes its services on social media can hugely influence what its customers think about it, and can hence either boost or destroy a reputation. As it is possible to post about anything, FS companies like all other online businesses need to make sure that they are striking the right balance between being too self-promotional and responding to customer needs. Content and timing are key.
According to WPromote, if Financial Services companies post on social media at the weekend, they will receive 32% more engagement from their customers. Engagement means interest and interest can be nurtured into purchase of a product or service. If an FS company isn’t already using social media then stats like this should be the necessary push to do so.
Using social media marketing is a great way to listen to what customers want, and then be able to offer it to them. In return, conversion rates are likely to increase and the trust that a social media audience has in a company will improve. It’s a win win for everyone.
As with the use of Digital Marketing strategy as a whole, considering a user’s experience on a website is something that is all too often ignored by Financial Services companies. It seems that for those offering an advisory service or one that doesn’t rely on the internet, their website is not a priority. But in the digital age, this most definitely is not the case as a user’s experience often dictates how they feel about the brand as a whole.
Ensuring an enjoyable and informative website to users is paramount. They need to be able to find the information they’re looking for in a functional and simple way that leaves them reassured that they have found the right FS company to help with their needs. More importantly, this information needs to be accessible anywhere and at any time, meaning that a website has be responsive, ie. look good on a mobile phone as well as a desktop.
PwC conducted a study revealing that 60% of smartphone users report using mobile banking in some way, up from 36% four years ago. That’s a massive jump that is set to increase as devices become more tailored to being complementary to other activities like watching TV or travelling to work.
The easier a business makes it for customers to learn and enquire about their service on their website, the more likely they are to do so and having a user-friendly website is key to this. Users that enjoy a website will have a more positive perception about a brand, something that Financial Services companies can really take advantage of.
Having discussed the many strategies that Digital Marketing offers to Financial Services businesses to reach their customers and nurture leads, the next helpful topic is success stories. Below are a couple of examples of Financial Services companies that have employed Digital Marketing strategies and have garnered success from doing so.
AMEX set up a video campaign on their social media channels targeting their “millennial” customers in which millennials were rewarded for reaching adult milestones, that the campaign called “adulting”. The campaign promoted the company’s Blue Cash Everyday AMEX card and resulted in 30 million views and a 20% lift in brand consideration for AMEX – who said social media marketing couldn’t be successful?
Using digital advertising, the Bank of America promoted their brand identity and values through clever placing of a Facebook ad supporting the Special Olympics. The ad didn’t mention the bank’s name but allowed viewers to get a sense of what they stand for and the affiliations they hold with other organisations. Over 1.2 million users viewed the article in the space of one month. A lesson can be learnt here on how to complete successful digital advertising!
When a company has learnt how to create a successful digital marketing strategy or have found an agency that can offer them digital marketing expertise, the results can be incredible and can really help to boost not only online presence, but also customer perception of a brand as well.
At Foundry Digital we know all about how to use Digital Marketing to position a brand online so that it can make the most out of its target audience and convert leads to sales, and though in the past Financial Services companies may not have believed in its value, Digital Marketing is definitely on their radars now! Especially after having read this article…
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