Marketing for financial institutions has always been an ever-changing, fast-paced challenge. Evolving technology and customer habits have shaped marketing strategies for those working in the financial services industry for as long as there have been banks.
We’ve taken a look at emerging trends that have been shaking up the marketing world and how those in the financial services industry can apply them to their strategies.
1. Providing a personalized and data-driven customer experience is the key to earning trust and reaching the right customers at the right place
Data & Analytics
As with marketing for any industry, putting a focus on analyzing your audience data will only lead to more effective tactics down the road. Aside from benchmarking your performance, regularly tracking certain KPIs will shape your strategy.
Some questions to consider:
- What keywords do people use to find your site?
- Which pages do browsers spend the most time on?
- What gated assets are your visitors downloading most often?
- What type of device are people using to visit your page?
Using the data you find, you’ll be able to start creating your list of buyer personas.
Personalizing your customer’s experience is a non-negotiable in present-day marketing. Those who work in financial services know more than anyone that one of the most important ways to gain trust and credibility is by meeting your customers where they’re at.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that customers are savvy, and they know when they’re being marketed to in a broad, impersonal way. And that means that when customers ARE communicated to in a helpful and genuine way, tailored to their specific needs, they’ll think a lot more highly of the company.
Keep in mind your various audience personas and what type of messaging they’d like to hear on each step of their buyer’s journey, whether you’re constructing your email campaign plan, creating audiences for social ads or planning out your content calendar.
2. Financial service marketers need to continue evolving with technology, including with voice search optimization, mobile marketing and AI
Voice Search Optimization
Siri, Alexa, “Hey Google” … chances are that you’ve asked a machine to do a search for you recently. Whether you were driving (and lost) or in the kitchen with your hands covered in flour, voice-activated search assistants are extremely handy and becoming more and more prevalent.
They’re also completely changing the SEO landscape.
Optimizing your page to better match the way that people are searching will only lead to more SEO success in the future. (Note: near future … voice search is set to account for 50% of all searches by 2020.)
When you’re writing your content and developing your strategy, keep in mind the types of queries your customers will have while visiting your site. Blog posts and on-page copy should include conversational types of answers to common questions (i.e., Who, What, Where, When and How).
Mobile Marketing and Optimization
Creating mobile-friendly content can no longer be a second priority. If your website isn’t mobile-compatible in 2019, you’re running the risk of falling way behind your competitors. In fact, just being compatible isn’t good enough — your content, interface and entire online presence should be built to excel on smartphones and tablets.
Financial service institutions also have a unique opportunity for the types of apps they develop. A study completed by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that people visit a bank’s physical location only once or twice a year, but instead interact with the institution on their mobile device — sometimes up to 30 times a month.
Upgrading your tech offerings can help you meet your customers where they are — whether you’re helping them transfer funds to cover rent, checking their credit score or helping them stick to their monthly budget.
Source: You Need a Budget
The budgeting software company You Need a Budget gives their clients a few ways to interact with their product. There’s the standard browser version of their budget tracking program, as well as apps for multiple devices (phones, tablets, even Alexa) that seamlessly integrate with the user’s account.
Importance of Chatbots & AI
Utilizing AI to power chatbots in your financial services company is one more way to make direct communication between the client and company easier.
- You’re able to provide customer service via on-page pop-up or through social media to give answers to common questions
- Chatbots will use AI to continue to learn from the way visitors ask questions to become more efficient and to gather data
- Customers are able to interact with chatbots 24/7 and get answers immediately
- In a field like financial services, compliance and federal regulations are incredibly important — chatbots would be able to be programmed to only give answers that are compliant
3. Content marketing is only growing in importance at financial service institutions
Video marketing remains important
The majority of financial marketers say that video is the most effective content type they use, and 72% of customers say they’d prefer to learn about a product or service by watching a video.
Incorporating video into your financial service marketing strategy can help with a few things:
- You’ll be able to break down complex concepts for your visitors
- Videos can help introduce a more human element to your brand, lending to credibility and trust
- Google will notice — pages with video content are prioritized to rank higher than ones without
In this video posted on Bank of America’s Instagram page, they use customer testimonials to promote the bank’s business loans and their work with the Tory Burch Foundation. It’s one thing to write a bullet point list of what types of businesses take loans from Bank of America, but it’s a lot more impactful to show the type of entrepreneurs who are clients of the company and highlight their unique stories.
Source: Bank of America
Align departments for stronger content
As with our agency’s mission to promote sales and marketing alignment within our organization, the financial industry should also look toward breaking down walls between departments.
While so many areas of a business are separate — all running with different goals and projects and timelines — they all have one common denominator: the customer. Without a happy client, there would be no company.
Encouraging communication and collaboration between marketing, sales, data analysts and customer service will help to develop a content marketing strategy that truly reflects what a company’s specific customer wants and needs.
Working with an agency can be vital for content creation
Coming up with a plan is all well and good, but not all financial organizations are equipped to create all the content needed to be effective.
On the other hand, some companies within the industry still run in a more old-fashioned way. A small-town local bank might not have the same digital priorities as a huge company like Wells Fargo, which may lead to small marketing departments.
How can banks and credit unions solve a lack of resources like this?
56% of financial service institutions look to agencies to help. At Brandpoint, we work with companies of all sizes to help plan and execute marketing strategies, including content creation and distribution.
Include content directed at Generation Z
Gen Z is just about to hit the working world, with the oldest in the age group sitting at around 22 years old. A lot of these customers are just starting to worry about issues that financial institutions are there to solve, like paying back student loans, earning credit, learning what a 401(k) is and buying a home.
Tailoring your content and using marketing tactics that appeal to this age group will become just as prevalent as the ever-blogged-about millennial.
Influencer marketing, creating memorable micro-moments in an overwhelming digital landscape and prioritizing any new platforms and channels are all ways that marketers can stay on top of the trends for this generation.
Whether you need help with content marketing strategy or content creation, Brandpoint offers packages that fit for every client’s situation. Feel free to contact us so we can learn about your financial services company and what stories you want to tell your customers.