Gain Finance Consumer Trust with Thought Leadership

You’re often asking your finance consumers to make major decisions – getting a mortgage, opening a child’s college fund, investing in their future… the list goes on. While the majority of financial consumer touchpoints have moved to digital formats to create convenience, it can also create more confusion. Less human interaction with financial advisors and customer representatives means the online content has to work even harder to gain finance consumer trust and influence decision making

That’s where thought leadership comes in. 

Thought leadership is any form of content shared by a subject expert with their audience to build credibility, trust, and loyalty. Some of the core benefits of thought leadership for finance brands are: 

  • Greater online visibility – For example, SEO ranking for long form content addressing top consumer banking questions and concerns
  • Competitive differentiation – Providing new insights, opinions, or research to stand out from other finance brands
  • Increased customer lifetime value – High value content establishes relationship building that keeps your brand top of mind

Build a reputation

Having a well-crafted and regularly updated blog on your website is a fantastic place to start building an organic reputation. To further increase your thought leadership efforts, establish publisher content partnerships to create a name for yourself in the industry. Look at high value placements your audience over indexes for, such as Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, etc.

Then, use these three factors to evaluate publishers: 

  1. Audience: Does the demographic match your core audience? Will your content be relevant to these readers?  
  2. Content Quality: Is this a highly reputable and trusted source? 
  3. Distribution: Does the readership number align with your target reach as well as budget? 

Find a sweet spot of high reach and high composition to drive the best results.

Think outside the box

Premium placements do come with price tags for the brand value and readership volume. However, there are other lesser utilized channels brands can find success in. Some great examples are Reddit and Quora. Both of these channels are informal, but trusted resources for people searching for answers to specific questions. You can show up in a more casual way on these channels, but still provide high quality information and build rapport with niche finance audiences. 

To really hone in on thought leadership at your financial organization, consider video and audio. Visual and audio content formats are supreme when it comes to engagement, recall, and retention. Consider alternative forms of content such as: 

  • Podcasts – starting your own, or appearing on others 
  • Informational videos on YouTube 
  • Live-streamed videos on LinkedIn

Humanize your finance brand

Thought leadership content humanizes brands in an industry that can seem cold and impersonal. Through content, you can guide your customers through their finance journey. 

That said, you must not lose focus of what’s most important: the customer, not highlighting your brand. Relay empathy – show an authentic understanding of your customer. Let them know you understand the topics they need more information on and the hurdles they are facing when it comes to financial decision making and planning. 

Walk in your customer’s shoes

Before you start touting what you think are the most important benefits your brand offers, stop to listen and learn about what your customer really desires. Is it financial freedom? Business success? Peace of mind? Security in their child’s future? 

Think about where your customer is now and where they want to be. Then, use your thought leadership and creative messaging to facilitate that transformation. 

Support your customers’ needs and concerns

As a financial brand, you undoubtedly have a large range of consumers with an even larger range of needs. From commercial and retail banking to financial services and advising to retirement planning and investing – there are ample opportunities to share information and gain finance consumer trust, ultimately growing your business. 

To understand these needs, make sure you stay on top of trends. Understand what is likely top of mind for your core consumers:

  • Is there an impending recession making older adults rethink retirement? 
  • Is there a housing market boom driving a demand for mortgages? 
  • Are there global crises affecting the stock market and investment decisions? 

Whatever is going on externally, use challenges as a way to serve as a trusted resource and help them navigate what can be overwhelming financial decisions. 

This is not a sales pitch

Wherever you are posting thought leadership, share your knowledge and expertise, not your sales sheet. The content you create should be relevant to a specific consumer issue that is tangential to the solutions or services you provide. Once you’ve established credibility and authority, you no longer have to sell yourself. The consumer will be convinced already – and if not, they were unlikely to ever convert. 

So whether your goal is to improve industry recognition, differentiate from competitors, or enhance customer lifetime value, give thought leadership a try. And remember these keys to gain finance consumer trust through your content: 

  • Use publishers with the right reach and audience composition
  • Be creative with your content formats
  • Keep your content authentic and readable
  • Understand customer needs and concerns 
  • Avoid giving a sales pitch

For more strategic insights to improve your financial marketing strategy, view our Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing.

Boost Customer Lifetime Value with Awareness Marketing

Brands, especially those in the ecommerce space, often feel tempted to skip over building awareness and consideration with their marketing efforts and jump straight to conversion-based advertising campaigns. However, brand awareness is a key marketing component to fill the sales funnel that should not be ignored. Keep reading to learn how to optimize awareness campaigns to establish customer lifetime value.  

Start At The Beginning

If your core business goal is to drive sales, you still have to do the work to introduce your brand to new customers and convince them why your offering is worth their money. 

Even on commerce channels like Amazon, Instacart or Shopify storefronts, you must establish baseline awareness before a consumer will be receptive to your product. 

Forrester’s 2021 CPG Digital Go-To Market Review found, “35% of surveyed global CPG marketing decision-makers cite brand awareness as an important metric…brand metrics rank high because CPG/FMCG products are typically low consideration, making it critical for the brand to be top of mind in a category.” So before you begin investing all of your marketing dollars into ROAS focused tactics, put yourself in the consumers’ shoes and consider the information you would want from a brand to take the next steps.

Understand The Customer Journey

To understand how much of your efforts should be allocated across awareness vs consideration vs conversion tactics, look to the purchase journey for guidance. 

  • What is the average timespan from initial awareness to purchase? 
  • How many touchpoints are needed to reach the point of consideration? 
  • How much time does the average consumer spend in the consideration phase? 

If your consumers move from consideration to conversion very quickly while in store or on digital retail platforms, the greatest chance to reach them is within the awareness phase. The media objective in this case is to ensure a consumer recognizes your brand when searching for products in your category.

If they spend longer in the consideration phase, you can nurture leads longer with educational content and community building.  But it all comes down to understanding how your product or service fits in with their behaviors and routines. 

Establish Awareness With An Omni-Channel Media Strategy

Ensure your awareness campaign has broad reach by strategically combining various digital and physical channels. If done right, this will also create a seamless user experience across channels, even with the fragmented media landscape.

How do you know which channel mix will reach your ideal audience? 

  • Leverage syndicated research to understand their media consumption habits
  • Use channels whose userbases broadly match your target demographic
  • Select channels where the typical user behavior aligns with the desired action

Use Branding Campaigns To Create Lifetime Value

Once you’ve established awareness, the value of brand campaigns does not end. Awareness marketing aids in fostering an ongoing relationship that we fondly refer to as the loyalty loop. It initially introduces your product to new users, but then continues to establish lifetime customer value after a purchase is made.  

To establish this loyalty loop, develop a clear path for your customer. Put yourself in their shoes and understand the timing they need before making a repeat or complementary purchase. 

  • Is your product a one-time purchase that typically lasts a lifetime? 
  • Is your product a weekly or monthly staple that is consumed and repurchased? 
  • What products make sense to recommend based on previous purchases? 

Don’t waste money promoting the same product a user has already purchased and is unlikely to purchase again for several years. Instead, remarket them with ads and experiences that reinforce their positive experience with the brand and keep them interested in future purchases. For example: 

  • Personalized ads and email marketing with recommended products 
  • Branding campaigns to reinforce brand loyalty and affinity
  • Special discount codes and alerts about new product drops or sales

Set Clear Expectations With Measurement

We know advertising works, but success doesn’t typically happen over night. Instead, there is a gradual impact on business results that can be tied to marketing initiatives.. It can be especially difficult to see clear and instantaneous results from awareness campaigns. However, there are strategic ways to understand your progress and ensure you’re moving the needle.  

Tracking Short Term Brand Awareness

The primary goal for short-term awareness campaigns is to reach the highest volume of unique users at an effective frequency. Our general understanding is that 2-12 exposures are needed to drive action, which varies depending on effectiveness of creative and the relevancy of the brand. Balance this exposure while being mindful of over saturation

Metrics to track that indicate brand awareness results: 

  • Reach: The number of unique users reached, reported by channel and by campaign. 
  • Frequency: The amount of times a user is exposed to an ad, commonly reported as impressions/reach. 
  • CPM: The cost of serving ads.

Measuring Long Term Brand Awareness

When media metrics do not answer your business questions, the next step is to incorporate third party studies that show media impact on business results and consumers’ perceptions. These studies show the true incremental impact of awareness campaigns on business goals – whether in driving brand affinity, site traffic or sales. 

These are not attribution tools, but rather studies that show correlation. The two most impactful studies for e-commerce based brands are: 

  • Brand Lift: Difference between control vs exposed survey responses
  • Sales Lift: Post campaign analysis comparing media activity to sales data sets

Use both short and long term measurement tactics to craft a story using a mix of KPIs that show media efficiency and channel effectiveness in combination with monitoring sales overtime.

Key Takeaways

  • Awareness must come first 
  • Let the consumer inform your strategy 
  • Build your brand to increase customer loyalty
  • Establish a clear measurement plan to create accountability with branding campaigns

How to Create an Effective Display Advertising Campaign

You’re often asking your finance consumers to make major decisions – getting a mortgage, opening a child’s college fund, investing in their future… the list goes on. While the majority of financial consumer touchpoints have moved to digital formats to create convenience, it can also create more confusion. Less human interaction with financial advisors and customer representatives means the online content has to work even harder to gain finance consumer trust and influence decision making

That’s where thought leadership comes in. 

Thought leadership is any form of content shared by a subject expert with their audience to build credibility, trust, and loyalty. Some of the core benefits of thought leadership for finance brands are: 

  • Greater online visibility – For example, SEO ranking for long form content addressing top consumer banking questions and concerns
  • Competitive differentiation – Providing new insights, opinions, or research to stand out from other finance brands
  • Increased customer lifetime value – High value content establishes relationship building that keeps your brand top of mind

Build a reputation

Having a well-crafted and regularly updated blog on your website is a fantastic place to start building an organic reputation. To further increase your thought leadership efforts, establish publisher content partnerships to create a name for yourself in the industry. Look at high value placements your audience over indexes for, such as Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, etc.

Then, use these three factors to evaluate publishers: 

  1. Audience: Does the demographic match your core audience? Will your content be relevant to these readers?  
  2. Content Quality: Is this a highly reputable and trusted source? 
  3. Distribution: Does the readership number align with your target reach as well as budget? 

Find a sweet spot of high reach and high composition to drive the best results.

Think outside the box

Premium placements do come with price tags for the brand value and readership volume. However, there are other lesser utilized channels brands can find success in. Some great examples are Reddit and Quora. Both of these channels are informal, but trusted resources for people searching for answers to specific questions. You can show up in a more casual way on these channels, but still provide high quality information and build rapport with niche finance audiences. 

To really hone in on thought leadership at your financial organization, consider video and audio. Visual and audio content formats are supreme when it comes to engagement, recall, and retention. Consider alternative forms of content such as: 

  • Podcasts – starting your own, or appearing on others 
  • Informational videos on YouTube 
  • Live-streamed videos on LinkedIn

Humanize your finance brand

Thought leadership content humanizes brands in an industry that can seem cold and impersonal. Through content, you can guide your customers through their finance journey. 

That said, you must not lose focus of what’s most important: the customer, not highlighting your brand. Relay empathy – show an authentic understanding of your customer. Let them know you understand the topics they need more information on and the hurdles they are facing when it comes to financial decision making and planning. 

Walk in your customer’s shoes

Before you start touting what you think are the most important benefits your brand offers, stop to listen and learn about what your customer really desires. Is it financial freedom? Business success? Peace of mind? Security in their child’s future? 

Think about where your customer is now and where they want to be. Then, use your thought leadership and creative messaging to facilitate that transformation. 

Support your customers’ needs and concerns

As a financial brand, you undoubtedly have a large range of consumers with an even larger range of needs. From commercial and retail banking to financial services and advising to retirement planning and investing – there are ample opportunities to share information and gain finance consumer trust, ultimately growing your business. 

To understand these needs, make sure you stay on top of trends. Understand what is likely top of mind for your core consumers:

  • Is there an impending recession making older adults rethink retirement? 
  • Is there a housing market boom driving a demand for mortgages? 
  • Are there global crises affecting the stock market and investment decisions? 

Whatever is going on externally, use challenges as a way to serve as a trusted resource and help them navigate what can be overwhelming financial decisions. 

This is not a sales pitch

Wherever you are posting thought leadership, share your knowledge and expertise, not your sales sheet. The content you create should be relevant to a specific consumer issue that is tangential to the solutions or services you provide. Once you’ve established credibility and authority, you no longer have to sell yourself. The consumer will be convinced already – and if not, they were unlikely to ever convert. 

So whether your goal is to improve industry recognition, differentiate from competitors, or enhance customer lifetime value, give thought leadership a try. And remember these keys to gain finance consumer trust through your content: 

  • Use publishers with the right reach and audience composition
  • Be creative with your content formats
  • Keep your content authentic and readable
  • Understand customer needs and concerns 
  • Avoid giving a sales pitch

For more strategic insights to improve your financial marketing strategy, view our Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing.

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