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Content marketing is a big idea for banks and financial institutions

Posted by Sheera Eby on June 11, 2014

Many banks, financial institutions and other financial service companies are faced with the challenge of building their brand. They are working to create differentiation in a market that is often commoditized in the customer’s mind. Financial institutions are challenged with creating more transactions and growing revenue, as well as diversifying their product portfolios, and ensuring their institution is offering and supporting current channels for banking and bill pay.


As a result, banks have an increasing number of challenges and priorities. Many institutions also have brand-building, education and thought leadership goals. They are seeking ways to leverage communications to solidify their position in the marketplace.

Content marketing may be the next biggest communications approach for bank marketers. Content marketing comprises blog articles, ebooks, checklists and downloads as well as other web content that supports search engine optimization and being in the right place at the right time. Content marketing isn’t just putting content up on a web page or utilizing email newsletters. Strong content marketing creates engagement and initiates a meaningful dialogue with current and prospective customers.


The reality is that choices regarding money are among the most critical decisions for many people. When was the last time you made an investment, banking or financial decision without doing any homework? Homework includes talking to people as well as conducting online searches, reading reviews and other kinds of investigation.


Being at the right place at the right time is the foundation of a solid content marketing program. This approach seems like a logical extension for financial institution’s marketing communications programs, given the deliberate nature both businesses and consumers manage money decisions. Content marketing can provide a means to provide consumers and businesses with educational and adoption information. I’d argue that banks are underutilizing content marketing today, in an industry where customers yearn for more educational information.


Here are 5 reasons why banks and financial institutions should consider leveraging content marketing.


1. Content marketing allows you to solve a problem.
Content marketing is all about being in the right place at the right time. Financial institutions can be there to provide information when users are searching for answers to their questions. This allows a myriad of banking products to be utilized as an entry point and lead generator for customer growth.


2. Content marketing provides solid reasons to communicate via social media.
Let’s face it: Outside of current rates and updates on site maintenance, most financial institutions don’t have many valid reasons to communicate with their users via social media. Yet many financial institutions have aspirations to use social media in their communications strategy. A proactive content marketing strategy can provide more communications options and content that engages customers.

In this case, social media is most effective when utilized as a teaser, leading users to a web page or additional source for more information. Content marketing is the perfect synergistic strategy to help social media have more depth and richness in building financial institutions’ customer relationships.


3. Content marketing can be utilized as a vehicle to collect email addresses.
Most financial institutions predominantly capture email addresses through online banking sign-up. Capturing email addresses and growing an email opt-in list are top goals for many marketers. Frequently business-to-business email contacts might not actually be decision makers (more likely billing or accounting contacts). And on the residential side, it is unlikely complete email address coverage exists across the entire universe.

Content marketing can be an extremely effective mechanism for financial institutions to capture email addresses. The first step in building an email opt-in list is to promote content and get visitors to your website. Now that the user has clicked through to learn more, it’s essential to make an exchange. We’ll provide you with more information if you provide us with your email address.

Once users get to a data capture landing page, entice them with a great content offer that relates to other pages they have visited. It’s essential to leverage other web behavior to target relevant and meaningful offers. Content can be tied directly to the top marketing priorities for your financial institution. Topics can range from advice on investment tips, differences in types of investments, considerations in getting a mortgage or tips on using mobile or online banking. Focus content on whatever is most critical to your institution.


4. Content marketing can help provide education and support brand building initiatives.
Content marketing has long been tied to public relations. I’d hypothesize, however, that when done correctly, content marketing most closely resembles direct marketing. It leverages analytics, data and behavior to generate meaningful engagements that deliver measurable results.

By strategically choosing topics, content marketing can also deliver on key brand-building goals. Content marketing can provide key proof points to support brand initiatives as well as leverage and further define a financial institution’s position in the marketplace.

Content marketing can also help fill marketing gaps. If goals are running behind in an area, these topics can be supported to drive additional education and engagement.


5. Content marketing is a smart investment and can be repurposed.
Many financial institutions maintain a presence in-branch and provide bankers as well as other frontline employees with collateral. Content marketing can provide a strong foundation for collateral series, in-branch education materials, email newsletters and a host of other purposes. Content marketing is an investment that can support a variety of initiatives and can be repackaged for a number of different channels.


Content marketing is an effective strategy that banking marketers should adopt to meet a number of different objectives.

Topics: Content Marketing, Financial Services

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