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What Traditional Financial SMEs Can Learn From Fintech Startup

Traditional financial firms might hold the advantage of mountains of data, existing scale and pre-won trust but the friction-free digital economy is catching up — and fast!

What Traditional Financial SMEs Can Learn From Fintech Startup
The traditionally high entry barriers in the financial world are being demolished one line of code at a time. The most important assets in the 21st century are not financial assets but openness to new ideas, ingenuity, creativity. Throw in some access to intangible assets like human capital, brand and customer relations, and you’re on to a winner.

If you ask me, these developments are only good news.

Innovation is good and rivalry forces companies to find better, faster and cheaper ways to do things. It does, however, mean that traditional financial services have to fight a bit harder for their money and re-think the way they do certain things.

In this blog, I’ll have a look at a few things you can learn from fintech startups. So stop slouching, bookmark this blog and let’s get to work!

Lower the Friction

Fintech firms are surfing the friction-free wave and creating products designed for the 21st-century customer.

One of the major selling points of many fintech services is that they’re easy to use. By offering cloud-based services, for example, they can buy and use your service wherever they’ve got a browser and an internet connection.

Now, you may not be able port all your services online. I get that. But there are ways in which you can lower the friction and make your user journeys smoother.
Work on optimising and improving your products for your actual customers and not yourself. For example, do your users use mobile devices to access your website? If so, why is it not responsive? Or do your customers have deteriorating eyesight? Well, why are you using an eight point font? You want there to be literally no bumps on the road to choosing and using your product or service. None.

Hire employees like a startup

Startups often neither have the reputation or capital to hire high-profile, experienced professionals. And to be honest with you, that’s probably why some of them are doing so well!

If you look at a random tech startup, odds are that the majority of staff have not yet turned 30. A lot of them are fresh out of college or university and they all have one thing in common: They want to make a difference in the world.

Graduates do not have a four-page CV filled with industry experience (for obvious reasons) nor do they have ingrained ways of doing things. This is often a good thing.
If you’re wanting things to change in your company, you’ve got to take a step into unknown territory.

It’s hard to imagine change when you’ve been at the company since the beginning, but an outsider brings a fresh perspective and a different drive. Remember: New employees means new ideas.


Let’s talk inbound marketing. Inbound is traditional marketing turned upside down. Instead of throwing promotions and ads at your customers and target customers, inbound marketing is about attracting leads by offering solutions to pain points.

Fintech startups are great at this! And so are Everyday Loans, a traditional financial company. Everyday Loans struggled to come up with a strong content calendar until they started properly looking at why people used their products.

It became apparent that their products were often used to help finance ‘life events’ like weddings, babies and moving home. This revelation sparked an idea. Andrew Wayland, Head of Marketing explains all.

We decided to create a number of interactive content pieces that were very stylised to the publications we wanted them to feature in and appealed to the users to use them and share on social platforms – they were branded very subtly, on the last page of the tool. The wedding calculator was our most successful creative piece, achieving top tier placements with Closer and Hello! ”

Everyday Loan Wedding Calculator
The calculator developed by Everyday Loans instantly generates a wedding budget based on a bunch of multiple choice questions. The piece of content focused directly on sharing their expertise and helping their customers overcome one of their pain points.

We timed the launch to coincide with the beginning of the wedding season so it was a relevant piece of content, but is also evergreen. Overall, the pieces were incredibly successful and the social sharing element increased user engagement and gained far more traction” Andrew Wayland

Like Everyday Loans, you should be focusing on creating new and exciting content. You should be writing content that genuinely makes a difference and answers any question your customers might have.

Embrace social media

If you want to really give fresh-faced fintech firms a run for their money, then adapt to the environment and learn to use social media to your advantage.
Social media is a great way to build your brand and direct traction towards you amazing content that you’re writing. You are writing awesome content, right? You should be!

Teens are spending an astonishing nine hours online every day, 30 percent of which is spent on social media. If you want to reach generations to come, you need to talk to them where they are.

Social media has become an integral part of people’s lives, use your social media channels to build relations with them!

Be more customer centric

‘Fintech companies are succeeding because they put the customer at the center of the proposition, banks do not’ David Klein, CEO of CommonBoard

Your customers should be your utmost focus as, without them, your business is nothing. Fintech startups are spending incredible resources and time to conduct user research and optimising their services, products and buyer journeys for their users. With increased competition and choice, you need to find a way to stand out in order to keep your customers and win new ones.

Fintech companies are technology companies and, therefore, their resources are typically more freed up than the average traditional financial company. Fintech firms generally don’t have large amounts of money invested in on-premise solutions as their services are in the cloud. Some of that large sum they’re saving is blasted into making their products better and increasingly user-friendly. This can, at first glance, seem like an unfair advantage and perhaps it is but it is, nonetheless, the reality. If you want to be able to compete, you need to make sure your products and your landing pages are 100% optimised for your user. You need to care, and you need to show your customers that you care!

What’s next?

Hopefully, you’ve gotten a few ideas to what you can do to stay on course, maybe even grow your financial business. If you want to learn more about modern marketing techniques, why not download our free eBook on inbound marketing today? It covers all the basics and teaches you how to set up a marketing campaign that’s designed and built for the digital era.

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About The Author

With experience in tech, startup and the public sector, Sidse brings an unbelievable wealth of talent to the marketing team at Digital Impact. Sidse heads up the internal marketing team at Digital Impact and writes for a wide range of clients and niches.

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