Financial Services Marketing: Best Digital Practices Guide 2021
Financial services marketing presents both challenges and opportunities to businesses in the industry. Success or failure relies on an ability to rise to those challenges while seizing the opportunities with a marketing plan that stays ahead of the curve. You do not just have to find new customers and strengthen your relationships with current ones. Trust must also be established with new and old customers alike, and that trust must be maintained.
A solid marketing plan for financial services companies will take those factors into account, as well as the constantly evolving digital landscape, to maximize the potential in every interaction.
In this article, we will take a look at the top digital practices that all financial marketers should know about. We will also glimpse into the future of digital marketing for financial services to help you stay one step ahead of your competition.
Why Do Financial Institutions Need Marketing?
The financial industry, which encompasses a wide range of businesses dealing with lending, investing, insuring, money management, and more, has always been a major contributor to the global economy. That global economy is changing and growing constantly, as well are the technologies that people use in order to interact with it. In the past, different financial institutions offered essentially the same services to the same customers, and they had little reason to worry about competition. Digital disruption has changed that.
Accenture research found that 17 percent of industry players in 2017 entered the industry over the last 13 years. “These newcomers have grabbed one-third of revenue growth in Europe, and in markets like the U.K., the combination of high numbers of new entrants and material revenue migration indicates a high level of disruption already taking place,” stated Accenture.
The new players integrate technology into traditional financial services, changing the rules of the game by redefining product and service delivery. Customers, whose trust in financial institutions has never been lower, have developed an appetite for services that speak directly to their needs in a way that they are ready to hear. This makes financial services marketing one of the most important activities in the industry.
This influx of new players and new technologies have made it more important than ever to invest in digital marketing for financial services. Competition is fierce and you need to be able to reach every potential customer you can, and you need to do it while navigating the regulations that govern the industry. A good marketing plan is essential to success, and a full service digital marketing agency such as ComboApp can help you develop and execute a plan that will get the best results.
8 Tips For Marketing Financial Services
One of the biggest questions you face when starting your company on its digital marketing journey is how to market financial services in 2021. The most effective financial services marketing practices reflect the disruptive effect of fintech startups and the ongoing shift of focus of financial institutions from products to customers. A product first approach no longer works like it used to, and you must be prepared to meet the customers where they are. Customer focused financial institution marketing is the key to making the most of your efforts to grow your business.
1. Build Trust
Fact: 92 percent of Millennials don’t trust banks at all.
Trust is one of the biggest challenges of marketing financial services in 2021. All customers—and Millennials in particular—want to do business with companies they consider trustworthy. Unfortunately, companies in the financial industry are not perceived as trustworthy by the vast majority of Millennials. The media is filled with stories of data breaches, various crises, and financial institutions misdeeds; which combined with the perception of the needs of their whole demographic having been ignored, has fueled this distrust.
To improve this alarming statistic, financial companies need to learn how to market financial services to build social proof and promote values that speak directly to their customers. Younger generations want to see companies put their words into action, and they especially want companies to listen to their feedback and put it to good use.
Personalization is one way that you can build trust with your potential customers. Any sales professional will tell you that building a rapport with your customer gets your foot in the door with them. Finance is incredibly personal to people, so it needs a personal touch. Focus on targeted marketing to each segment of your market, letting them know that you care about their needs. The more you make the customer feel like you want to understand them, the more willing they will be to trust you with their finances.
Another key tool to build trust for a financial services company is leveraging an existing customer base. Generating reviews and referrals from your current customers allows you to show potential leads that you are trustworthy. The more places these can be encountered the better. Having reviews on social media, review sites, and on the company website is essential. These can be solicited from customers as part of your outreach.
Financial services email marketing can also be used to encourage customers to refer their friends and family. This turns the trust they have in the referring customer into a method of establishing trust for you.
Best Practice to Build Trust: Be Security Focused
Proper data security is one way your company can build that trust with customers. People want to know that their money and data is safe, and the tech-savvy younger generations are more apt to know what is secure and what isn’t. Many banks are still allowing customers to use weak passwords or only implement weaker forms of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) like security questions or SMS. Having a mobile app gives you a built-in way to implement an app based form of MFA that is more secure and adds an extra layer of trust. Your website should also be secure as well. Google ranks sites that use HTTPS over insecure sites that only use HTTP and browsers now label sites without SSL security certificates as “Not Secure”. This causes a one two punch effect of both hurting your ranking, while also having what amounts to a digital scarlet letter in the browser address bar. 82% of people won’t use a site with a “not secure” warning, so make sure you have your site in top security shape.
2. Embrace Mobile
Fact: The average US adult spent 4 hours, 16 minutes per day with mobile in 2020.
A lot has been said and written about the importance of mobile marketing in 2021. No longer is simply being “mobile friendly” good enough of an approach to designing your company website. Now, “Mobile-First” is the design key that will keep you ahead of the competition. As Google moved to a mobile first approach to ranking sites, it is now vital that your online presence is one that fits perfectly in your customers pocket.
This also works into the idea of reaching your customers where they are. Millions of Gen Z consumers have grown up with mobile devices and have become used to their immediacy and convenience. When it comes to digital marketing for financial services, mobile provides an excellent opportunity for personalized communication, user engagement, and immediate transactions.
A mobile-first website is a must, but that is just the tip of the mobile iceberg. Financial companies can develop branded mobile apps that attract users by providing real value. A good example is Bank of America and its Face Retirement app, which visually demonstrates retirement to users and generated 8.8 million impressions on Facebook and Twitter.
Your mobile website needs to be SEO optimized and fast too. A site should take no more than 3 seconds to load and the longer it takes the more likely your user is to leave and visit another site.
Apps are also an opportunity to provide convenience and security to your customers. More and more, people rarely even go to the physical locations of their financial institutions. In fact, many only go once or twice a year. Having an app where people can manage their accounts without having to visit a location or website is vital to your financial services digital marketing plan.
2021 Trend: Voice Search Optimization
In 2021, an increasing percentage of all searches are being done by voice. Financial marketers cannot afford to ignore this growing trend, making now the right time to start incorporating voice search in their financial services marketing strategies, if they haven’t done so already. Voice search optimization includes keyword research for voice search, structured data optimization, focus on using conversational, long-tail keyword phrases, and more.
3. Use Social Media
Fact: Social media platforms are used by one-in-three people in the world, and more than two-thirds of all internet users.
Nearly everyone is on social media today. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, social media sites have taken the world by storm, and it’s not just consumers who use them. Companies across all industries have utilized social media marketing as a way to directly connect with customers and create brand awareness. For example, LinkedIn Polls, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts are the trending activities on these social media platforms.
Social media marketing for financial services should revolve around meaningful content, consistency, storytelling, and willingness to provide value to customers. Humor is optional, but a positive attitude is a must. This is your chance to introduce yourself to new customers, and interact with the ones you already have.
Engaging with customers on social media opens up worlds of opportunities for fruitful interactions. The content you make can captivate them, plant seeds of new ideas, and even educate them on services they did not know about. In fact, social media provides an amazing avenue for educating customers on products and services.
Social media is more than just making relatable posts from your brand or trying to get viral traction on a tweet. Interactive marketing opportunities are abundant and give you ways to not only give information to customers, but get it from them as well. A poll or quiz asking people their thoughts or knowledge on services you offer is a great way to engage them while also generating leads. Video content can be made to discuss your products or even tell a story that allows for an emotional connection with the viewer. There is a wealth of options at your disposal to access a diverse range of individuals in order to speak to them in ways that appeal to their interests and desires.
Social media can be an incredibly rewarding place to focus a portion of your financial services advertising spend.
Case Study: Chase Bank’s Foray Into Social Media
Banking giant Chase Bank has turned their social media channels into an amazing asset to educate people about finances as well as build their brand. From using Instagram Live to broadcast content, to offering up Q&A videos on Facebook where experts answer questions from commenters they are using this medium to its fullest. They even broadcast concerts on their Facebook page. This has helped them build a recognized digital brand and become the most liked U.S. bank on social media. They have developed a following and racked up millions of likes across their social channels, as well as becoming one of the top choices for banking among Millennials.
4. Produce Great Content
Fact: 72 percent of marketers have reported that content marketing has quantitatively improved prospect engagement.
Content is king. That is the catchphrase that dominates digital marketing, and it does so because it is true. Great content continues to be the essence of all successful marketing campaigns, and when it comes to marketing finance in a digital space it is especially important. To produce content that stands out, financial companies must have an in-depth understanding of their audience and know how to engage with them in an impactful manner.
“Getting the right message to [customers], the right piece of content, at the time when it’s on their mind is critical,” says Hoe Corriero, head of digital marketing at Merrill Lynch. Indeed, content marketing is one of the most powerful ways how financial companies can capture key audiences. It can be delivered through a variety of channels, including blogs, social media sites, and financial services apps, and take on many forms, such as interviews, explainer articles, long features, and much more.
Financial services content marketing efforts should start with research and end with a comprehensive content marketing plan for financial services. To keep customers coming back for more, make sure to publish new content regularly and frequently.
The quality of content is important as well. Every piece of content published needs to provide value to your potential and current customers while also adding value to your brand. When it comes to financial services branding, a company’s content is where they will establish who they are and the values they represent the most. Sales and marketing teams should work together to establish these brand strategies to maximize their value.
The content should be relatable to your target audience. With Millennials, for example, you need to know what kinds of services they use and are seeking. They want digital services like online banking and the ability to send money from a mobile app. Millennials also say that if their primary financial institution offers services to improve their financial health, they are far more likely to be satisfied with them.
Financial services content marketing relies on having a strong strategy that takes advantage of all the tools available. Through this article we have discussed and will discuss everything from video content, educational content, interactive content, and more. What works for your company will vary, and partnering with a full cycle financial services marketing agency like ComboApp is essential to establishing a strong content strategy for your brand.
2021 Trend: Personalized Video Content
If a single picture says a thousand words, then a short video is worth a thousand pictures. The explosion of video content on the internet clearly indicates its power to grab attention and convey a strong message. Marketing research revealed that visitors spend 88 percent more time on websites with video content than on websites with text and images only. Companies that provide financial services can produce personalized video content to explain the value their services offer or demonstrate how they work.
5. Leverage Influencers
Fact: 89 percent say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.
Social media influencers have turned out not to be the passing fad most marketing experts assumed them to be. Influencers can be extremely effective when it comes to targeting younger people, who are generally more inclined to listen to their peers than brands. Having an influencer who can speak directly to their generational peers about a product or service is a great way to keep one step ahead in the marketing game and further develop your financial services branding strategy.
One way fintech marketing can include influencers is awareness building. It turns out that only 24 percent of Millennials claim to have a basic understanding of financial concepts. Most would much rather take financial advice from someone they follow on YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram than a large financial institution. This also ties into our previous point about building trust, as an influencer does just that with their audience. You get to tap into the trust that they have built and convert it into trust in your company.
Influencers synergize well across the digital marketing stack and can be utilized to add value to almost any of the other techniques we discuss in this article. They are already integrated into social media, they have trust with their audience, and producing great content is exactly what they do. Having an influencer promoting your brand is yet another tool that is important to integrate into your marketing plan for financial services products.
Partnering with a full cycle agency such as ComboApp can help you connect with influencers to leverage as part of your financial services digital marketing plan.
2021 Trend: Omnichannel Marketing
Financial companies must present a unified image across all marketing channels to reach the minds of potential customers. If they market their services as approachable and user-friendly, they cannot afford to deliver clunky and outdated mobile and web experience with limited integration between the two platforms. The customer experience must be completely seamless and integrated from the first touch-point to the very last. Building an omnichannel approach to digital marketing for financial services can be a real challenge, but the effort is well worth it thanks to its ability to cultivate long-lasting personal relationships with customers.
6. Master Pay Per Click Advertising
Fact: 92 percent of all adults use Google or other search engines.
Pay-per-click advertising remains an essential component of financial services advertising because of its ability to micro-target consumers in a very cost-effective way. It can be used to boost the visibility of a website, promote new products and services, or increase brand awareness.
A PPC advertising campaign can extend across multiple platforms, including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, and several others. Mobile devices have made it possible to target ads so they only appear to customers in a certain location, or set of locations, allowing marketers to make the most efficient use of their limited advertising budgets.
Advertising online takes many forms in 2021, and a diverse ad strategy that fits the needs of a company is vital to growth and success. Advertising should be targeted to each market segment a company is trying to reach. While Google search result ads still provide an excellent ROI, reaching out into more interactive advertising allows companies to get the customer engaged with the ad.
How PPC advertising is different from SEO
There are 5 main types of paid ads that can be used as part of a financial services advertising PPC strategy:
- Display Ads – Banner and image ads that appear on websites. The original form of online advertising.
- Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all the social sites offer opportunities for paid advertisement. These can be everything from boosted posts to interactive content.
- Native Ads – These are the recommendations that show up in your feeds on various sites and apps. Targeted based on interests and behavior.
- Search – Google search result ads are the ubiquitous monolith in this department, though competitors such as Bing also provide value. These are ads that show on search pages as paid results based on keywords.
- Video Ads – Alongside social ads, these can be some of the most content rich advertising opportunities. Great for educating potential customers as well as adding an emotional element.
Each of these ads has its own pros and cons that will vary from campaign to campaign. Analyzing what works best for your company based on your needs and the needs of your target audiences is an important part of managing these campaigns.
A financial digital marketing strategy that uses PPC ads should be an indispensable part of any marketing budget spending in 2021.
2021 Trend: AI For Analytics And Chatbots Experienced marketers know that generating marketing data is the easy part. The difficult part is making sense of the data, and that’s where AI analytics comes in. Using artificial intelligence algorithms to detect anomalies and recognize trends in their infancy, marketers can create more effective marketing campaigns and tailor them for each audience segment. Financial companies are in a great position to embrace AI analytics because their budgets are sufficiently large to hire AI experts with the ability to develop bespoke AI analytics tools for them.
AI is also useful for communication too. The same type of data algorithms that make AI useful for analyzing data serves to power online chatbots. Many financial companies are already using chatbots to answer frequently asked questions, but conversational chatbots can also become an important part of marketing in finance industry segments. They can recommend specific financial products and services, collect customer data, and even sell directly without the requirement of some human touch. In 2021, chatbots have become even easier to create and implement, which will lead to more companies adopting them.
7. SEO Gets You Found
It doesn’t matter if a company is large or small, if the customer cannot find them then they will lose out on business. Comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is important to making sure that you not only show up at the top of search results, but in the local stack as well. Your content and website need to be designed to take advantage of Google’s algorithm and get you ranking high.
75% of users never click beyond the first page of a Google search. This means that if you are not on the first page you may as well not exist to 3/4ths of people searching. Keeping in mind the previously stated importance of creating a mobile-first website, you also need to ensure that your site follows such practices as:
- Performing mobile page speed optimization and using Accelerated Mobile Page HTML code options.
- Ensuring that your website’s technical SEO is solid so search engine crawlers can index it properly.
- Researching target keywords for your market.
- Creating and optimizing your website content.
- SEO-friendly meta tags.
- Making sure your site is optimized properly for voice search.
- Link-building in order to establish, maintain, and increase authority.
- Press releases and other forms of outreach to media outlets.
- Proper schema markup for financial services.
8. Partner with Financial Services Marketing Agency
Fact: More than 50 percent of banks either don’t measure ROI at all or measure it in less than 25 percent of their campaigns.
It turns out that most financial companies are not that good at financial services marketing. Not only are they not aware of the latest fintech marketing trends, such as financial apps and influencer marketing, but they often don’t even measure ROI at all.
It isn’t just the big names who can benefit from an agency either. Small banks, credit unions, and other local institutions that do not have big marketing departments benefit greatly from teaming up with someone experienced in finance marketing.
Financial advisors and investment firms can benefit from new ways to connect with customers too. As can groups that help educate customers in stock trading and offer retirement plans to those who might not have a pension or 401k from an employer. An agency that offers financial advisor marketing services can help you build a strong brand in your community.
Fortunately, there are full-cycle digital marketing agencies like ComboApp, that provide digital marketing for financial services. ComboApp has a proven track record of helping financial companies develop and market mobile banking solutions that increase online transactions, encourage loyalty, and enable a better user experience. This makes ComboApp a great partner for those financial companies that would rather avoid making rookie mistakes so they can instantly outpace their competition.
2021 Trend: Personalization
Personalization has been a top financial marketing trend for some time now, and it is definitely not going away in 2021—quite the opposite. Artificial intelligence (AI) capable of extracting useful insights from massive collections of customer data is expected to usher in the era of hyper-personalization. Already, 33 percent of customers are ready to abandon a company if they are unable to provide them with relevant content and services, making generalized communication a thing of the past. Analyzing how customers engage with your online presence, from keywords to the pages they visit, is one just tool in the digital marketing kit that will help you personalize and target your efforts effectively. A financial services marketing agency such as ComboApp can help you develop a data driven approach to personalized content and build strong relationships with customers.
Digital marketing for financial services is always evolving. In 2021, companies are expected to focus even more on customer-centric fintech marketing initiatives while leveraging cutting-edge technologies. Hopefully this article has served to answer the essential questions of how to market financial services in 2021 and beyond.
Successful digital marketing for financial services helps build trust with customers and promote specific financial services through customers’ preferred communication channels. When executed correctly, the return on investment of financial services marketing can be enormous, which is why it pays off to partner with a full-cycle digital marketing agency like ComboApp and not leave anything to chance.
Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Services Marketing
1. What is financial services marketing?
Financial services marketing is the practice of using diverse digital tools to advertise and bring customer attention to financial service companies. This can consist of targeted content, referrals, and paid advertising among other options.
2. What marketing techniques are available for the finance industry?
When it comes to marketing financial services, a robust and diverse strategy will be well-rounded. This can consist of building trust with potential clients using personalized content, customer referrals, mobile-first web design, social media, producing great content for all channels, influencer marketing, Pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), and partnering with an agency.
3. When is the best time to hire a financial services marketing agency?
Immediately. Having a financial services marketing agency from the start of your efforts allows you to make sure your budgets are going to the right places and maximizing your potential ROI.
4. How do you market financial services to Millennials?
Marketing to Millennials means building trust with them and connecting with them in the places they spend their time, such as on social media. You also need to offer them relevant services such as online banking and digital payments, as well as catering to their needs as far as building financial health. Influencer marketing can leverage the trust they have in their peers to turn it into trust in a financial services institution.
5. How can you develop the marketing for banks and financial institutions?
Marketing for banks and financial institutions is best developed with a customer-first approach focusing on the needs of the customer base. This then allows you to build content that reflects and speaks to those needs.