The Financial Brand’s Bill Streeter opens a recent article with this declaration: “Content marketing works. That’s a fact almost no serious digital marketer can dispute.” And then, per the norm when talking about financial services, he qualifies the statement by saying that “nearly a decade after the content marketing revolution first started, financial marketers are still struggling to keep pace with new trends and best practices in content creation.”
We’ve definitely seen some great efforts from financial brands, including influencer marketing on Instagram, financial education content hubs, listicles, quizzes and sponsored content. But we agree with Streeter that “banks and credit unions wrestle with some fundamental questions. Can they produce helpful information with light marketing messages that gently hint at certain financial products and services? Or should they publish financial wellness materials that are purely educational? Where is the line between smart content marketing and thinly-veiled product promotions?”
Beyond these questions, Streeter cites a Brandpoint survey that identifies additional struggles for financial services brands, such as generation of quality content, measurement of ROI and lack of strategy. It’s important to note that these are the same struggles all brands encounter when creating content marketing plans that both support business goals and include the metrics to show it. They tackle these challenges, however, because “content marketing works.”
So we’re back at the beginning.
This is not to diminish the persistent – and reasonable – need for financial services marketers to rely on tactics that get results. The instinct to seek ROI is in our DNA.
Just as central to our financial services marketing approach, however, is an emphasis on relationships and value propositions. Now imagine a strategy for 2019 that hits the trifecta: it builds relationships, it provides customers with clear value and it offers measurable ROI. There’s a good chance that winning strategy is a content marketing strategy.
According to this from content expert Michael Brenner, “Content marketing at its best will draw you in without you even realizing what hit you.” And so that’s the object: deploy content as a natural, authentic extension of your brand while delivering and demonstrating value.
Here are just some of the possibilities:
Content marketing to enhance the customer experience
“Consumers want quick answers, dynamic and personalized solutions, and extreme convenience. Content marketing can provide all of these things for financial brands. Good content marketing enhances the customer experience and helps your customers and prospects feel more connected to your brand.” (SOURCE: Brandpoint’s 3 Ways Financial Marketers Create Value With Content)
Content marketing to establish trust
“We, as consumers, need to be reassured that whatever we’re paying for is going to deliver on its promises. Integrity is at the heart of this. But you can’t just say you have integrity – you have to show it. Content is one way to demonstrate your brand’s integrity and, in turn, help your audience trust you.” (SOURCE: The Content Marketing Institute’s How to Use Content to Get Your Audience to Trust You)
Content marketing to equip customers for success
“Customer success refers to the ways companies help customers get the most value from products and services. It’s no longer enough to make the sale, move on to the next one and handle complaints as they arise. Now, companies need customers to get maximum value from their purchases to encourage word-of-mouth marketing and develop stronger relationships. In this pursuit, content helps companies equip their customers for success.” (SOURCE: 5 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019)
Content marketing to stand out from the competition
“In our survey, respondents indicated that brands that don’t produce good content are ‘out of touch,’ ‘slimy,’ ‘dated,’ and ‘lost.’ If you create helpful content, however, people will think you’re knowledgeable. If you create enough helpful content, they’ll value you as a resource and respect your brand. If they repeatedly come to you as a resource and have a need for your product, then they’ll think of you before your competitors.” (SOURCE: Convince & Convert’s Is Content Marketing Really Worth It?)
Content marketing to answer (search engine) questions
“Only brands that consistently produce quality content will earn trust and attention. Quality content also helps you win with search engines – for similar reasons. Search engines are built to serve people the best content, from credible sources, that answers users’ questions.” (SOURCE: Newscred)
As you can see, there are many roles for content in a marketing strategy, especially content that adds value for the customer. By answering consumer questions and sharing helpful information – through the lens of your financial services expertise – content marketing also provides value to your brand.