In a highly technical sector filled with annuities and assets, bonds and budgets, debts, diversification, dividends and defined benefits, can content marketing really hope to win over customers?
The short answer is yes! The long answer is pretty much the rest of this article.
Coming up, I’ll explain why content marketing is a good fit for the financial sector and I’ll also touch on the key challenges financial marketers face.
Let’s get started.
In some industries, it pays to be the head honcho, the leader amongst sheep, the authoritah.
Finance is one of those industries.
Your customers want your advice to be better than the advice they could get elsewhere. They don’t just want you to be an expert, they want you to be the expert.
So, how do you convince strangers that you have more leadership credentials than fourteen Trumps?
You show them!
You create content — videos, blogs, infographics, eBooks, podcasts — that demonstrate your mastery of the industry.
You should share reactive commentary on current events, thoughtful analysis on general trends and recommendations for the future.
When a prospect reads one of your blogs, they should think: “This person knows their stuff!”
Establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry builds a huge amount of trust between you and your audience, making it easier to convert them into customers later down the line.
Whether or not you want to admit it, the financial sector is complicated. It’s opaque at the best of times, it’s packed with esoteric language and the services on offer are actually pretty technical.
That can produce real communication problems between people who are familiar with finance and those who aren’t.
However, if you can use the industry lingo without prefacing each snippet of jargon with an explanation, that makes your life easier.
If you can talk about services without pulling out a beginner’s guide, that makes your life easier.
If you can introduce new products and services that someone is already aware of, that makes your life easier.
Almost without exception, an educated customer who understands what you’re talking about makes your life easier.
Imagine you are an independent financial adviser (IFA) and want your audience to know about the new pension freedoms.
You could personally tell each person during your appointments with them. Or you could create an explainer piece of content.
A great piece of explainer content will — if you promote it correctly — reach a huge audience and do the educational job of one hundred copies of you. I know which option I prefer.
Content marketing gives you a space to explore and explain key issues in preparation for more effective conversations with more qualified leads further down the line.
The financial sector is — to borrow a word — bigly. At one extreme, there’s got hedge funds and venture capital syndicates. At the other extreme, you’ve got personal banking and annuities.
While few companies will deal with an audience that includes all extremes, most financial firms do have an exceptionally diverse audience.
Content marketing is great because it allows you to talk to specific segments of your audience, delivering a super targeted message to a super targeted demographic.
An IFA, for example, could use an explainer article to educate business owners on auto enrolment or use a case study to explain the pros and cons of defined benefit pension transfers to retirees.
With content marketing, your targeting is as wide or as tight as you want it to do because you choose what to write about.
Despite our glowing praise, content marketing isn’t a silver bullet for lead generation in the financial sector.
It’s very easy to misjudge or misunderstand the sector and end up with an ineffective or un-publishable campaign.
However, if you select the right marketing partner, you can use content marketing to effectively promote your business and generate new leads for your business.
Few sectors are regulated as heavily as finance. In this sector, saying the wrong thing — hell, even just saying something the wrong way — can land you and your business in hot water.
Long before any marketer (in-house, freelance, agency or other) puts pen to paper, they should have a solid grasp on what the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) expects of them.
If you know what you can and can’t say before you say it, you’ll save hours of back and forth with a compliance team.
Some promotional tactics are inherently more trackable than others. Google AdWords, for example, records every impression and every click. Once someone clicks through to your site, you can track exactly what they do and whether they call or phone you.
Each conversion can be attributed to a specific advert, which allow you to calculate an exceptionally granular ROI.
It’s much harder to track the effectiveness of content marketing.
I’m often asked which leads came from which pieces of content. Unfortunately, unless you’ve got some super powerful marketing framework like HubSpot behind your campaign, it’s often impossible to tell.
Many marketers struggle to find, establish and maintain an authoritative presence on behalf of their clients. After all, they’re writing for an industry that they don’t actually work in so it’s difficult to accumulate the necessary knowledge and experience.
Often agencies will churn out generic content to bulk out a blog and burn time. This, unsurprisingly, fails to deliver results.
Unless you back bad blogs with fat wads of cash, low-quality content rarely cuts through and generally gets lost in the noise.
This is especially true in the financial sector where the web is filled with self-proclaimed experts spouting opinions as if they were gospel.
The good news is that there’s a lot of ways round this problem.
We, for example, use a two-pronged approach. First, we’ve specialised in finance. It’s what we’re good at so it’s what we’ve focussed on. Second, we work closely with our clients to collaboratively create outstanding content.
When you’re investing in content marketing, it’s always better to go specialised than general.
So, that’s what content marketing can do for your business. To learn more about how content marketing (and inbound marketing more generally) works, 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.