Traditionally, financial services providers could passively wait for customers to come to them, but due to increased competition and the rise of digital marketing, that is no longer an option.
Expectations for digital-first experiences are increasing and therefore, digital can no longer be an afterthought – it must be a priority, and digital initiatives need to receive adequate funding. (Besides, the cost of acquisition for clients in this industry is high – something that digital methods reduce.)
Finally, regulations on the marketing of financial products and services also makes it challenging to reach customers and prospects.
With these factors in mind, this article reviews some key considerations that organisations should include in their financial services marketing strategy.
Relationship marketing is an approach that focuses on building long-term, meaningful relationships with customers.
In the financial services industry where trust and credibility are crucial, relationship marketing can be a powerful tool for attracting and retaining customers, especially those of high value. It aims to create a loyal customer base by providing them with personalised experiences and superior customer service, and consists of both digital and traditional marketing initiatives.
Some key aspects of relationship marketing are discussed below.
Customer Outreach for Financial Services Marketing
Customer outreach involves contacting potential and existing customers with the aim of raising awareness, generating leads, building relationships, and increasing engagement and retention. Methods of outreach may involve having account managers directly contact existing customers and prospects in order to offer support and upsell.
There is not always a specific objective in mind with each conversation; when the aim is to build relationships, a more general approach may be taken where the company will discuss the business’ current situation and plans, and aims to discover their needs.
Traditionally, financial services businesses would perform outreach and relationship building through in-person social activities and events and, while this is still perfectly valid, digital methods may have a greater ROI and are more suitable at-scale.
Other suggestions include offering free consultations and webinars, while less HR-intensive methods such as email marketing campaigns and offering free resources such as e-books are also recommended.
Personalisation is another important aspect of developing client relationships and includes tailored recommendations and personalised communication. Data-driven insights provide a strong basis for personalisation, but for companies targeting a smaller range of high-value accounts, Account Based Marketing (ABM) may be effective.
With ABM, marketing activities are tailored to each account and should demonstrate how the company can meet their individual needs. Gathering data on those accounts (their current financial situation, business objectives, pain points, and so on) is the first step and from there, marketing materials can be created that demonstrate how the business can be of further value to that particular client.
ABM is designed to increase Customer Lifetime Value and is therefore worth considering in any scenario where customer acquisition cost is high and the existing clients bring in significant revenue.
Another area in which personalisation has proven essential is insurance marketing. 88% of insurance customers expect more personalisation from providers yet 21% say that providers do not customise their experiences at all (Accenture).
Providing exceptional customer service is critical in this industry and is an important part of demonstrating trustworthiness. Customer service departments must be proactive in addressing customer needs and must provide the highest level of service at all times. In addition, it is worth making use of technology including CRM software and chatbots, as this will ensure customers receive prompt service around the clock.
FinTech Marketing: Provide a Knowledge Base
Introducing a knowledge base and/or forum can be a great way for FinTech companies to create a community around their products and services. This type of service may be designed to help customers troubleshoot issues with the software and may be a platform for users to share tips and best practices.
Personnel from technical support and customer service departments can be active on the forum, monitoring user activity and responding to questions and comments in a timely manner. This will help to create a sense of community, increase engagement, and elevate perceptions of the company’s customer support on the whole.
Once a platform is in place, content can be published; this might include step-by-step guides for using the software, answers to frequently asked questions, and troubleshooting tips.
User experience is something that any business should optimise and its importance goes without saying in FinTech marketing. When it comes to other financial services or bank marketing, customers will perceive a high-quality UX as a reflection of the company’s product/service quality, which is crucial in an industry where trust is so important. A positive UX can also help to build trust and credibility by demonstrating that companies are committed to providing a high level of service and meeting customer needs.
With insurance marketing, a good user experience makes it easy for customers to compare policies with clarity. (However, Accenture reports that almost 75% of customers that tried to purchase insurance policies online experienced problems).
A good UX can also help companies comply with regulatory requirements by ensuring that information is presented clearly and accurately, and that customers are able to understand the terms and conditions of financial products and services.
Content marketing is often used in this industry as a means to educate and inform about financial products and services, as well as trending industry topics.
Providing educational material also establishes authority and helps to raise awareness about the importance of the organisaton’s products and services.
It therefore goes without saying that long-form content is vital; companies may publish blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, e-books, and long-form audio and video content to establish thought leadership and build trust with potential customers.
Short-form content also has its place, with materials such as infographics that display data and insights providing a quick and easy way for prospects to perceive the brand’s expertise and authority.
Referral marketing is a powerful way to acquire new customers at a low cost through word-of-mouth recommendations. It also leverages the trust and influence of existing customers.
When used in a digital context, referral programmes typically work by providing existing customers with a unique referral code or link that they can share with their contacts. When someone uses the code or link to sign up for a financial product or service, both the referring customer and the new customer may receive a reward, such as a cash bonus, account credit, or other incentive.
Referral marketing requires careful management to ensure that it complies with regulations and does not lead to fraud or other unethical behaviour. Financial services companies must ensure that their referral marketing programs are transparent, fair, and compliant with all relevant laws.
Self-service is growing in popularity in many contexts, and financial services is no exception. Younger consumers tend to prefer options where they can have minimal contact with human agents and therefore, any company should endeavour to provide such options where relevant. Again, it all comes down to digitisation, an area in which the industry is still catching up.
Big data has many uses in finance, from predicting risk, detecting fraud, and informing investment decisions. When it comes to marketing, it enables organisations to target prospects in many ways, such as enabling accurate segmentation and personalisation.
For re-targeting in bank marketing, for example, institutions have access to behavioural data that can help anticipate customer needs, thus making re-targeting more effective. Banks may analyse factors such as spending patterns, saving patterns, and credit information in order to predict which financial products/services customers are most likely to need in the near future.
Strict regulation about the marketing of financial products and services makes it difficult for such organisations to get the most out of digital advertising. In the UK, for example, these standards are set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A few ways in which that manifests include:
- Ad content restrictions: Financial services companies are often limited in what they can say in their ads. For example, the FCA prohibits financial services companies from making false or misleading statements in their ads, and requires them to include certain disclosures and disclaimers.
- Ad targeting restrictions: Financial services companies may also face targeting restrictions. For example, some platforms may not allow financial services companies to target users based on sensitive information such as age, income, or credit score.
- Verification requirements: Companies may also be required to verify the identity and eligibility of users who click on their ads, which can add an extra layer of complexity to the advertising process.
Overall, these regulations can make it difficult for financial services companies to use PPC advertising in a way that is both effective and compliant. In addition, Google has its own restrictions on the advertising of certain financial products.
It is therefore necessary to work closely with legal and compliance teams in order to successfully reach customers through this medium while remaining compliant.
Finally, the cost-per-click of ads for financial products and services can be high with insurance keywords being some of the most costly, peaking at $50 per click (WordStream). Therefore, a lean, high-impact PPC strategy is required.
Digital marketing has become a crucial aspect of the marketing of financial services due to increased competition and customer expectations for digital-first experiences.
Financial services providers can benefit significantly from a relationship-based marketing approach that focuses on building long-term, meaningful relationships through customer outreach, personalisation, and superior customer service. FinTech companies may also benefit from creating a community around their offering that involves a knowledge base and forum.
Optimising the user experience on any channel is important for demonstrating the high quality of service, and providing self-service options will engage younger customers.
Content marketing is also a vital part of financial services marketing, helping to establish authority and build trust with prospects.
Finally, regulation can make marketing activities challenging; working closely with legal teams is necessary – as is developing a PPC strategy that ensures a good ROI, given the high cost per click that many financial services companies incur.
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