If your business operates in the financial sector providing loans, credit cards and insurance products your going to be fairly familiar seeing the big four* comparison websites dominate the search results both from a paid and organic perspective.
*The big four; Money Super Market, Compare The Market, Go Compare and Confused.com
Often this leaves you in a position of reliance on these companies to provide leads to your business on either an acquisition based commission or cost per click basis. This then means your margin is reduced, your business has an increased risk and your affiliate marketing costs are extremely high.
So, with the authority of these sites taking up the organic positions and their mega budgets dominating the paid results, how do you start to compete, reduce risk and drive sales from a variety of sources?
The answer is to ensure you implement the our simple four step strategy to ensure you maximise any spend you invest in search, social or affiliate marketing.
Step One: Remarketing to Existing Audiences
Remarketing is the process of targeting customers who have already interacted with your website or brand previously. If someone visits your website and shows an expression of interest in your products and services, you want to a chance to re-target them in the future if they didn’t convert into a lead or sale.
We’ve all been remarketed to at some point, you might just not know it. There are two platforms we’d recommend to start with; Google Adwords and Facebook.
Google Adwords – Firstly you’ll need to setup a remarketing audience to capture users visiting your website, this is a piece of code embedded on your website. If you don’t have access to your site yourself, get your development company to help out, you can find the details for the installation here: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2476688?hl=en-GB
Once the remarketing tag is installed and tracking correctly you can start to think about the message you’d like to display to them based on their interaction. You can refine the content of your ads based on which part of the process they got to, even encourage them to return and finish their application.
There are two key ways to re-market to users from Google; The search network (Traditional text ads) or the Display network (Banners on third party websites inc Youtube).
Remarketing lists for search ads (RSLA)-
“When people leave your site without buying anything, for example, remarketing lists for search ads help you to connect with these potential customers when they continue looking for what they need using Google Search. You can set your bids, create ads or select keywords, bearing in mind that these customers have previously visited your website. Remarketing lists for search ads use remarketing lists for these customisations.” – https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2701222?hl=en-GB
Display Remarketing –
“Remarketing lets you show ads to people who have visited your website or used your mobile app. When people leave your website without buying anything, for example, remarketing helps you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads across their different devices” – https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2453998?hl=en-GB
To give you an idea of some real benefits, over the last year on average ASSISTED.’s customers paid 60% less for a click from their RSLA campaign and 97% less for a display remarketing click on Google’s Adwords.
It’s also worth noting that any traffic generated from any other marketing channels (PR, affiliate marketing, social etc) will also fall into the Adwords remarketing list, meaning you have a second, third and fourth time to try and convert them into a lead or sale.
Facebook Remarketing – Similarly to Adwords, you can create an audience to remarket too on Facebook, using news feeds, sidebars, Instagram and 3rd party networks Facebook have access too. In this case you’ll need to add the ‘Facebook Pixel’ to your site, you can find out how to install the Facebook pixel here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/952192354843755
“If someone visits your website after clicking on a Facebook Ad, they may not always complete an action like making a purchase or giving you their contact information. One great way to remarket to them is by using your Facebook pixel, formerly known as the Custom Audience pixel, to create a Custom Audience from your website.” – https://www.facebook.com/business/a/online-sales/custom-audiences-website
Facebook remarketing allows you to tailor message for social channels, increase brand awareness and ultimately drive clicks to your site at a much more acceptable price that traditional paid advertising such as Adwords. On average ASSISTED.’s customer pay 90% less for a click from Facebook than Google’s Adwords.
Step Two: Niche, Branded & Long Tail Searches.
If you company has a particular speciality or USP there may be search volume surrounding related phrases where the competition is less, meaning you have more chance of meeting an acceptable CPA with paid search and ranking organically with less domain authority than the big four*.
An simple example could be, Instead of targeting ‘phone insurance’ – Estimated CPC (March 17) of £3.12 you could target, build content and optimise for a longer tail or niche phrase such as ‘samsung galaxy insurance’ – Estimated CPC (March 17) of £1.90.
The search volume of course will be less, however you would expect the conversion to be higher due to nature of the more refined search. The principle would be compete for a range of ‘less competitive’ phrases avoiding the costly PPC auctions and expensive SEO routes, acquiring customers searching at a slightly more educated level.
Also consider phrases such as ‘buy’, ‘online’, ‘compare’, ‘best’ and ‘cheap’ to reduce your click spend and SEO competition while still driving strong traffic volumes.
The final element in step two, is branded searches. Often neglected, paying for a click on your own brand name or company search can make you feel pretty hard done by, but the alternatives worse.
Clicks, enquiries and sales coming from customers searching your brand are going convert the highest due to the affiliation they already have with your brand. Even if you rank organically, not all customers differentiate between the paid and organic results, with circa 30% + likely to click the paid results regardless.
Due to the high relevance of the search terms and website, any branded ad campaigns should be fairly cheap on a cost per click basis. So rather than letting your competition take customers from under your nose, make sure you maximise your brand presence.
In some cases, businesses make the decision not to bid, allowing their affiliates to bid on their brand. British airways have made the decision to not bid for their own brand, meaning the likes of Expedia, Netflights and Ememactravel cover the top spots.
British airways should still benefit as they’ll make the sale through the affiliate anyway, however they could do it without having to pay a commission to the affiliate and pass that saving onto the customer ;).
Step Three – Timing is Everything
With most insurance policies renewing annually, credit card terms and loans payments being completed on certain dates, most companies know when customers are ready to buy again or indeed have a need.
This means that we can use your internal CRM data to target customers to increase the possibility of repeat business and retention of customers.
Some companies have the ability to automatically contact existing customers for renewals and even use this data to promote new products and services, but how do you stop your customers going back to comparison website to get the best price?
One possible method is creating customer audiences in Facebook:
A Custom Audience from a customer list is a type of audience you can create made up of your existing customers. You can target ads to the audience you’ve created on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network. – https://www.facebook.com/business/help/341425252616329
Similarly to re-marketing you can use your existing customers segmented by date of purchase to create custom audiences on both Facebook. You can then create a unique set of ads that promotes your brand, providing a call to action to renew their policy or to get another quote.
The key is to make the process as easy as possible for your customer, ensure your competitive with you pricing and remind them about why you’re the best company for them to renew their policy with.
Step Four – Multi-channel Integrated Campaigns
Remarketing, Niche searches and Timings all combine to give your business the best chance of making a return on investment from digital marketing, but the real secret is running all these elements alongside each other.
The term integrated digital marketing is something we live by at ASSISTED with all our clients investing money in different elements of digital, but combining effort to maximise each investment.
We will also try and target customers at different stages of their buying cycles to not only drive direct sales, but also improve brand awareness, retention, repeat business and visibility within your industry. Find how more information on our integrated campaigns.