A number of years ago, you may not have heard of the term ‘digital marketing’. Today, the digital marketing industry is in full swing, with businesses of all kinds working hard to perfect their strategies.
And if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has only pushed digital finance to new heights. When the world was put on pause during lockdown, individuals and businesses around the world turned to digital methods to access their finances. Despite the fact that this has created a massive market for the finance sector, many companies specialising in financial services are still lagging behind.
We understand that updating your digital marketing strategy can be daunting. But creating a well-built strategy is simply about ensuring that your leads convert, improving your brand’s visibility, increasing customer engagement and, most importantly, staying ahead of the competition. That’s got to be worth a second thought.
Read on to learn more about why digital marketing for financial services is so important, as well as how your business can improve its digital marketing strategy and excel.
No one said that marketing financial services was easy. There are many hurdles that you may have to overcome before encouraging customers to spend their money. Chief among these will be managing your brand’s reputation and building trust with your customers.
People work hard for their money. Understandably, they will want to choose a bank, insurer or credit card provider that they can put their confidence in to look after their hard-earned cash. However, the financial industry is not short of scandals.
Even a decade from the financial crisis of 2007, public confidence in the financial services sector has not quite yet recovered. In an effort to find out what consumers really think, a 2017 consumer survey presented by the Telegraph found that only 45% of consumers trust financial services. We guess not all press is good press, after all.
So, how can you break the barriers and build a loyal consumer base in today’s financial landscape? In a time when technology is taking over, digital marketing for financial services is the answer. Gone are the days when brands could advertise their way back into consumers’ hearts. Although traditional marketing is still alive and kicking, a traditional marketing strategy in isolation will not deliver the results you’re looking for.
TV advertisements are no longer a consumer’s first introduction to a brand, or even second or third, for that matter. Studies show that, in 2017, TV advertisements only reached 35% of the market, with advertisers spending more money on digital in order to give their campaigns a fighting chance at success.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, change in the financial services sector is moving at a near breakneck pace. When the pandemic first hit, just 10% of financial services companies said they had the necessary technological infrastructure to keep up with their customers’ evolving digital needs. In particular, sales and marketing departments struggled to adapt quickly and generate more buzz around their products and the services on offer. Since then, we have seen a boom in digital marketing for financial services.
But let’s face it, we have been heading in this direction for quite some time. With more and more businesses offering financial services, the environment for insurance, banking, and mortgages are now more competitive than ever. 1 in 4 Brits hold current accounts with more than one bank for one reason or another, so the competition is stiff.
Digital marketing for financial services has the power to revolutionise your brand’s image. The only way to stay ahead is to jump on the bandwagon before it’s too late.
On the surface, the financial services sector is pretty transactional. However, consumers today are looking for more than a simple transactional service. In order to thrive, your brand needs to get in front of customers long before they are ready to make a purchase. When all of this involves finances, leading customers through their journey to convert can become even more difficult.
A recent survey commissioned for the Financial Times from Ipos Mori shockingly revealed that many Brits lack financial literacy. 90% of those surveyed said that they learned little to nothing about finance during their time at school and, as a result, struggle to make effective financial decisions as an adult.
Patrik Jenkins, Deputy Editor at the Finacial Times, says, “financial literacy is a passport to financial freedom.” That’s why it’s important for financial companies to ensure that they drive clear product communication.
Of course, building a relationship with your customers may take time and effort to nurture, as all relationships do. So, which digital marketing strategies can you employ to hit the ground running?
Often, your company’s website will be the first impression that potential customers get of your business. And arguably, there is no other sector where website user experience (UX) is more important than in financial services. When investing in a finance business, customers want to feel confident that it will improve their lives and finances. But good branding goes beyond the services and products on offer.
Good usability can improve the performance of your website and increase your chances of converting visitors into customers. It starts with how long your website actually takes to load. If your website takes too long to load, users won’t hesitate to hit the back button and find a competitor with a better website UX. After all, if a website can’t perform correctly, should the company be trusted with the customer’s cash?
What’s more, page speed is a direct ranking factor for search engines. Google doesn’t want to display poorly performing websites to its users. Surprisingly, just a few seconds can really make a lot of difference. Bounce rate can increase by 90% when page load time goes from one second to five seconds. It’s advisable to aim for a mobile loading speed of 50+ and a desktop loading speed of 80+. You can check the speed of your website via page speed insights, which will also offer recommendations to help you improve the user experience.
Ensure that your website is easy to navigate. Users will probably be looking to learn more about your services, so sign-post them to this information clearly and easily. You should also consider the communication touch-points. Are you displaying your phone number at the top of every page? Do you have a clear call to action (CTAs)?
You should also consider adding a chatbot to your page. Nearly 40% of users would rather interact with a chatbot than wait for a virtual agent. Adding a chatbot could be the difference between securing a new customer and a user leaving your website to find help elsewhere.
To learn more on this subject, head over to our blog to find our top UX tips for financial services.
If you’ve been in the digital marketing game for a while now, then you’ll know that one of the things Google loves to see on every website is pages with lots of relevant and valuable content. So, what does good content look like to Google?
Here at Assisted, we conducted a study into the perfect financial services landing page. We found that the wordcount sweet-spot for a landing page sits at around 2000 words, split up by plenty of heading 2, 3 and 4 tags, lifestyle imagery and trust signals such as third-party logos, Trustpilot reviews, accreditations and awards… And although Google likes a lot of copy, it also really cares about what this copy is trying to say.
Most financial services websites will contain what Google categorises as ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) content. This typically covers advice on topics such as loans, mortgages, insurance and investments. It’s really important to make sure that this kind of information is up to date, accurate, truthful and not deceptive. Google takes this type of content very seriously, as the information that you are giving could potentially influence people’s livelihoods.
It’s also imperative that YMYL pages have the highest levels of E-A-T, (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). Google uses these factors to determine page quality.
If you’re looking to rank well on search engines, every page must have a purpose that benefits users and have the right expertise behind it. That’s what makes good content in the eyes of Google.
Improve your chances of gaining the trust of prospective customers by implementing an SEO strategy. With poor SEO comes poor visibility, which in this day and age can really damage a financial company’s reputation – which can be the kiss of death in the financial services industry.
Sure, a lot of your customers may come from referrals in the financial services sector. People like to know what they are buying into, and a word from someone they trust goes a long way. However, today’s generation prefers to do their own research rather than simply rely on hearsay – and Google is their number one resource.
A good SEO strategy will ensure that when a prospective customer searches for something relevant to your business, Google will serve your website as high on the rankings as possible. The results listed on page one of a Google search are generally regarded as the most credible, so it’s a very important place to be seen.
There’s a LOT that goes into an SEO strategy. Keeping up with the industry giants on page one can be a very difficult feat. However, it’s arguably one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. Be aware that Rome wasn’t built in a day. SEO is a long game and consistency is key.
Although we should be thinking about our finances on a regular basis, many don’t. This can make it extremely difficult for financial services to start building relationships with customers. But thankfully, PPC (pay-per-click) marketing can give your digital marketing strategy the boost it needs.
In 2020, search advertising accounted for 51% of digital spending in the UK and generated a whopping £8.4 billion. It’s easy to see why PPC marketing is a firm favourite among marketers and CMOs – even for those with high ranking sites.
Even with a high organic ranking, a brand may be below a user’s initial impression, as financial services have highly competitive search markets. This is because your competitors may already be showing ads for similar search terms. To get to the top of search engine results pages, PPC ads are essential. Paid search can help boost the credibility of organic rankings and vice versa. The organic ranking below the ads at the top of the results pages will boost the credibility of the paid ad, showing they are reliable. This ultimately increases the chances of achieving a click.
But the benefits of PPC marketing don’t end there. If you’re not familiar with paid search, it can take a while to wrap your head around the basics. Luckily, with machine learning, you can generate better leads, as machine learning has been improved to the point where intent and past searches now play a part in whether a user is shown an ad. This helps improve the quality of traffic and increases the conversion rate on your website.
Plus, PPC smart bidding allows you to automate bids for each auction instead of keeping static bidding throughout the day. This means that when other competitors are bidding, it will automatically increase bids to achieve your campaign goals – whether it’s to increase visibility on SERPs, to generate more clicks, or to show ads more prominently to those who are lower down the search funnel and therefore have higher intent. Equally, at times where there is less competition, your bids will be lowered so that overall performance is more efficient and you don’t blow through your marketing budget.
Google has reaffirmed that 15% of searches are new and never searched before. This includes new searches in the financial services sphere, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of PPC and Google Ads. After all, you want to make sure that your business shows relevant ads for all these new searches, which is something that organic search results can’t always guarantee.
If you’re looking to learn more about PPC marketing, read our guide on the perfect PPC landing page.
Finances can be pretty complicated. It’s unlikely that your customers are going to be experts in the subject. That’s what they’ll be coming to your website for! Position yourself as a thought leader in your sector with a strong content marketing strategy. Remember we mentioned E-A-T? Creating great content gives you a level of authority on the subjects at the core of your business and positions you as a thought leader within your industry.
Writing high-quality content for your website and audience – be that blog posts, research studies, e-books or videos – not only signals to users that you are an industry resource that really knows their stuff, but it can also help you build your brand and establish your tone of voice (TOV).
Having a clear tone of voice in financial services is really important because it goes back to that all-important factor – trust. A strong and consistent tone of voice brings a sense of familiarity to your customers that will make them feel at ease. Producing plenty of content is an opportunity to really help reinforce this.
When content marketing is done correctly, it is also instrumental in enforcing your SEO efforts and keyword rankings. Creating lots of relevant content that supports your keyword strategy lets Google know that you know your stuff.
Email marketing is one of the more well known digital marketing strategies for financial services. It is designed to foster communication between brands and their customers. Email marketing provides another channel on which to create and distribute your content, as well as enforce your TOV. Not to mention, it can also be used to make customers aware of your new products, promotions and other services.
Email marketing isn’t slowing down anytime soon and remains a firm favourite among marketers – and for good reason. Between 2018 and 2019, 78% of marketers reported an increase in email engagement, with return on investment skyrocketing as a result.
Email marketing has the unique ability to target specific audiences and personalise your messaging. Personalising customer experiences can help strengthen your relationship with new and existing customers – be it onboarding new customers, notifying existing customers about changes to their account or policy or sharing the latest achievements of your business. In fact, when segmented email campaigns are done well, businesses can expect to see up to a 760% increase in revenue.
74% think that email is the most personal channel to communicate with the brands they love. With this in mind, consistent communication is crucial to retaining customers, as opposed to never contacting them again after they’ve used your services.
Believe it or not, an empty and inactive social media channel for a business can be damaging to your reputation. The number of UK social media users is set to reach nearly 51 million by 2025, with a market penetration rate of 73.5%. If you don’t start building a strong social media presence now, then you may miss out on the potential to reach thousands or, in some cases, millions of prospective customers.
Understandably, it can be difficult for businesses to know what to say on social media, but creating content for social media is all about reinforcing your TOV and brand image – all while interacting and engaging with customers on a more personal level.
Your social media channels should merely be an extension of your customer service, brand image and thought leader content. Treat it as a space to communicate with your customers and build trust. Make sure you monitor and respond to any questions and mentions about your company. That way, you should start to see good levels of engagement and you may even gain further insight into how consumers view your brand.
Remember, social media can also help drive traffic to your website. Allow customers to navigate from your social channels to your website and vice versa by including direct links to relevant landing pages. It’s also wise to provide users with easy contact action, such as your company phone number or a ‘book now’ button.
In the UK, the number of active smartphone users is projected to reach 64.89 million. The good news for the financial services sector is that Brits aren’t just using their smartphones to keep up with the people and things they love.
Take mobile banking, for example. In 2018, 48% of British adults used mobile banking. By 2024, this number is expected to rise to 71%. Given the sheer amount of people who use smartphones to access financial services, it’s super important to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. That way, you can keep up with the competition.
In 2020, 66% of all site visits came from mobile devices, highlighting that Website UX should now be mobile-first. When designing a website, design first for a small mobile screen and then update to suit larger screens. You can check whether your website is up to scratch via the mobile-friendly test.
You can never have too many trust signals, especially in financial services. 51% of UK consumers are confident that they can trust online review sites. For this reason alone, it’s important to emphasise your Trustpilot reviews and Trustpilot rating as much as possible – whether it’s on social media, on your homepage, or on landing page footers.
Case studies can help take online reviews to the next level and can formulate as a part of your content marketing strategy on your blog and social media channels. Case studies help brands build a story around their products and services. More importantly, they provide the opportunity to showcase your work and get more in-depth about the services on offer – all while keeping the benefit to the customer at the heart of the content.
Even if you provide better offerings than your competitors, none of this will matter if you’re unable to reach your intended audience. Digital marketing for financial services can not only help you improve your visibility, but also establish your place as a thought leader in the industry. At the end of the day, it’s all about building trust. If you can provide your customers with content that benefits them, everything else should start to fall into place.
Ready to ride the digital wave? We can help you construct your digital marketing strategy today. We work with brands throughout financial services and help them build marketing strategies that get results.
Get in touch today and see why we are specialists when it comes to digital marketing for financial services.