Bit of an awkward starting point, I know, but it’s something you need to hear. Your marketing is broken and it’s making your financial firm look like an outdated relic.
I’m not just saying this to be snippy, either. I don’t want this to be another finger-pointing listicle. I think there’s genuinely something broken in the financial sector and it’s setting quality firms up for failure.
Here’s my theory.
Some industries are brand new. Barely out of nappies new. Wearable tech has only been around for a couple of years and we’re still not even sure what it is.
Other industries are more established and have found a niche in the world. Automotive companies have been around for a century and have become a core part of the economic landscape.
Some industries, however, are positively primordial.
The financial industry has existed for as long as people had money. Nowadays it’s more like a part of our society than it is a sector of the economy.
And after two or three millennia in business, it’s hard to maintain a drive for innovation. It’s hard to stay ahead of the curve. It’s hard to stay relevant.
I think it’s fair to say that a lot of traditional firms have taken their foot off the accelerator and with the influx of digitally astute fintech brands they’re being shown up big time.
In this article, I’m going to show you why your marketing isn’t fit for the digital era and share some tips and tricks to get you back on track.
There’s no follow-up
Financial buying decisions are not spur-of-the-moment, impulse buys. Deciding whether to accept an enhanced transfer value for your defined benefit pension is about as far as you can get from picking up a bottle of wine from a vineyard you’ve never of heard of.
Financial decisions are big and weighty and they tend to stick with you for the rest of your life.
The importance of such decisions means that sales cycles tend to be a lot longer. And longer sales cycles require substantially more client contact.
During any long sales cycle, you’ve to prod and poke your prospects, keeping your proposition at the front of their head. That could mean emailing them out new blog posts or following up on the phone or giving them a shot out on social media.
The important thing is that you continue to interact with your leads to nurture a long-term relationship.
You write irrelevant content
Much like a picture of a llama in a blog about financial services marketing, irrelevant content won’t do you much good. Unfortunately, a lot of budding marketers believe that if they write it, customers will come.
While that marketing formula might have worked in Field of Dreams, the financial sector is a completely different ball game. (Pun very much intended!)
Sitting down at your computer and rattling out blog after blog on irrelevant subjects isn’t going to earn you a super committed following and it isn’t going to result in a steady stream of qualified leads.
When you’re writing content, always think about the purpose of your content. Why are you writing this? Will a potential customer actually want to read it? Will they benefit in any way? Does it add value? Or is it just fluff?
You think your user experience is awesome
The idea of good customer service arrived pretty late to the financial sector. And when it did arrive, it was lukewarm, awkward and generally a bit weird.
Unfortunately, most people working within the finance industry don’t seem to realise this.
They think that they do deliver an outstanding customer experience.
(Spoiler alert: They don’t!)
According to IBM, almost two-thirds of retail banking executives say they deliver an excellent customer experience.
Barely one-third of customers agreed.
The other two-thirds found their service lacking and were wholly unimpressed with their experience.
Part of the problem is that financial services firms tend to judge their service against other financial services firms.
If you measure yourself against something that’s bad then, of course, you’re going to look better than you are!
(I mean, I’m a shit hot sprinter compared to the Queen!)
What you need to do is look outside the financial sector, investigate what other businesses are doing and measure yourself against the very best of the bunch.
Have they developed an app? Do they provide out of hours support? How is their sales team set up? Do they provide value over and above their base service? Is there aftercare? Are they maintaining contact after a lead has converted?
It’s only once you’ve found a proper yardstick that you discover how you actually stack up.
Your message is diffuse
The best tool for measuring the effectiveness of your communication is called the Decision Simplicity Index.
The SDI is basically a measure for how easily consumers can find information about your brand, how much they can trust that information and how easily they can compare their options.
If, for example, you offer three different services, they’re hosted on three separate pages and described using radically different language, you’re going to have a poor SDI score.
To compare your services, someone has to open three different tabs, pick apart three different descriptions, work out why the three different services sound so different and finally decide which is best for them.
That is not a simple decision.
You should try and make the structure and the language of your marketing as easy to use and digest as possible.
Whether we’re talking websites, social media, presentations, brochure, white papers, leaflets or advertising, my advice is the same: Keep it simple.
If you simplify your message and make your content super easy to consume, you’re 86% more likely to convert leads.
So, that’s what’s wrong with your marketing. To see how you should market a business in the digital, consumer-first era, download a free copy of our Intro to Inbound eBook. It covers everything you need to know to turn your business into a lean, mean, lead-generating machine.