Win Over Audiences with Effective Finance Content Marketing

Financial literacy is in short supply. Brands who lean into an education-first finance content marketing strategy can build lasting customer relationships, when done right. 

Consumers are making a substantial investment when they choose to work with your financial institution. Outside of the financial commitment, the decision of which company to work with also requires a significant amount of time and research. This is true whether selecting an institution for banking, loans, or retirement funds. 

As a marketer, it’s important to be proactive in answering key consumer questions to win their trust and business. Some questions our financial services clients are regularly addressing include:

  • Which business offers the best rates? 
  • Can I solve all my financial needs in one place? 
  • What accounts and funds are best for me? 

But, these questions are truly just scratching the surface. To win over audiences, you must build a robust, flexible finance content marketing strategy that:

  • Simplifies communication between the business and consumers 
  • Delivers useful content in the most opportune areas  
  • Leans into innovation, fearlessly breaking the mold 

Building a line of communication with finance content marketing

To persuade consumers to trust and invest in your financial services, you must understand their motivations, financial literacy and relationship with your brand. But don’t stop there. 

Go more in-depth to find out what their research process looks like, understanding what and who impacts their financial decisions. Additionally, discover what channels they use to formulate an opinion about your financial brand. Are they watching financial channels on YouTube? Searching on Google to see if you’re on a list of top local banks? Reading brochures on the benefits of opening certain accounts? 

47% of consumers worldwide turn to their wealth manager or investment adviser when making important financial decisions, followed by educational resources from financial institutions (41%), whereas friends and family as well as social media are only at 25%. Yet, when it comes to making overall financial decisions, Gen-Z is turning to video while Millennials and Gen-X continue to first turn to search engines.

Financial Education Sources by Generation

Figure out which channels your target demographics are turning to, create a unique communications strategy by product, and meet them where they are. Formulate a financial customer journey with your marketing to help answer their questions and ultimately persuade them to call, email, or fill out a contact form.

Leading with quality content

Depending on the risk of the financial decision, consumers may need a lot of time in the consideration phase. They’re weighing their options, researching and consulting with trusted sources. Regardless of the product or service line, sharing high quality educational content is your opportunity to show up early in the consumer journey.

Even if you’re just trying to get a consumer to open a checking account, taking the time to produce a high quality digital brochure or a video ad explaining your value creates an opportunity to build high lifetime value. The average consumer retains the same checking account for an average of 17 years.

Establish yourself as a helpful guide throughout the financial decision-making process, featuring your organization’s subject matter experts as authorities in the financial industry. Also, use consumer intel as the foundation for your content marketing strategy. Then create informative, empowering content personalized for your target audiences that addresses those top of mind questions and helps them feel in control of their finances. 

Educating financial advisors vs end users

The process of creating and distributing content becomes slightly more complicated in a B2B2C marketing model. If a third-party business or individual is responsible for the final sale, you must arm them with information to best represent your value. With B2B content, you can be more technical and include common industry jargon. However, your B2C consumers need different materials. Lean into high-level content, providing enough information where the consumer understands the benefits without being overwhelmed or intimidated. 

Link these two paths by creating a series of content around the most important topics for explaining your product and service value. This allows the consumer to interact with multiple, digestible pieces of content that guide their research and discovery process.

Then, create a two-pronged advertising strategy to amplify content in key channels that make sense to each respective audience. With financial advisers, perhaps it’s serving amplified content alongside well-known financial journals, television programs, and LinkedIn, whereas content amplified for consumers could appear on YouTube, Google, or even TikTok. Either way, it’s critical to create an omnichannel experience with multiple touchpoints that keep your brand top of mind. 

Identifying the greatest opportunities

Even though you should be implementing an omnichannel experience, that doesn’t mean your strategy should be throwing dollars at the wall hoping something sticks. That’s especially true in terms of marketing channels and tactics. Use measurement tools, such as media mix modeling, to understand the channels driving the highest return in your campaigns. Then, align your most valuable, informative content with highly trusted channels. And finally, determine unique KPIs to define success and keep your marketing accountable. 

Breaking the mold

It’s easy to get into a rhythm of what’s comfortable and familiar in your marketing. But, it’s important to consistently keep a pulse on what’s happening across the finance spectrum.

  • What trends are impacting marketing execution?
  • What matters to your customers today? 

Based on these learnings, test a variety of content marketing executions. This can vary from your standard display banners to custom articles, podcast placements, email marketing – you name it. Begin building reach with expanded target audiences (achieving sufficient scale is key!) by using adjacent topics to your typical content. This will position your brand as a helpful thought leader.

Financial literacy is still lacking across much of the population, especially younger generations. Brands have a major opportunity to drive finance consumer leads through education – a pivotal, but often overlooked, part of the consumer journey. 

For tips on how to incorporate a financial content strategy into a full-funnel digital marketing, view our Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing.

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 Drive D2C Sales with Digital Marketing

Brands of all sizes are exploring how to drive CPG product sales through a D2C model. This is no surprise as US D2C sales will surpass $151B, with a rapid trajectory in 2022. While this only accounts for 2.5% of all retail sales, brands cannot ignore this emerging growth channel. For ecommerce specifically, D2C accounts for 1 in 7 dollars spent.

D2C models offer immense value for brands beyond just profitable sales due to the opportunity to collect consumer data and establish brand loyalty. 

However, with convenience as a leading factor driving purchase decisions, how can you steer your audience away from mass retailers as the default and generate interest in your direct-to-consumer site? The key is to add value with a seamless, personalized, and memorable shopping experience. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a successful D2C commerce experience by optimizing your omnichannel strategy at each stage of the purchase funnel.

Maximize The Shortened Purchase Funnel

28% of US adults plan to make up to 19% of their purchases from D2C brands in 2022, according to e-Marketer. How can you make sure those individuals are finding your brand and, once they have, ensure they complete the purchase? 

Understand the purchase funnel is becoming shorter as information is available at our fingertips. Consumers can search for a product, read reviews, compare brands, and make an informed purchase in a matter of minutes. Take Carvana for example – they transformed the lengthy process of purchasing a new car into a quick, digital transaction. 

Knowing this, marketers need to create compact omnichannel marketing campaigns that align with the user journey and product life cycle. A well-tailored digital media strategy accounting for each stage of the consumer journey is paramount to driving D2C sales. Let’s explore how to accomplish this for your brand. 

Create Brand Awareness And Product Consideration

We start at awareness – testing and amplifying messaging within well-researched prospecting audiences. Then, by activating a flexible, omni-channel approach, we can learn who our best audience is. We’ll also learn what channels we can reach them on and what messaging resonates best with them.   

An important part of establishing awareness for D2C brands is using SEO and PPC to show up in product search. Combine PPC search ads with organic SEO to optimize your efforts. Once you’ve reached users in the discovery phase, deploy smart retargeting to stay top of mind until purchase. 

Move Seamlessly From Consideration To Sales Conversion

As a consumer nears purchase, machine learning and algorithms need to get to work. Use AI to predict and serve the right messaging at the right time. Also, use technology like dynamic creative optimization to tailor messaging to complement previous touchpoints (e.g. add to cart or don’t forget the items in your cart for abandoners). 

At Coegi, we bring together over 20 technology integrations, alongside certified experts on all digital platforms, to deploy advanced retargeting focused on recency and frequency analysis. As a result, we are able to deliver more efficient results, creating greater ROI for brands. 

Establish D2C Brand Loyalty

To build loyalty, find ways to delight users with unexpected incentives, promotions, or gifts. Utilize the first party data collected from their initial purchase to re-message in a personalized fashion. Email marketing is a strong tactic to keep that ongoing pulse without fatiguing your customers with ads. But, serving ads for complementary items to previous purchases can be effective with sufficient buffer time post-purchase. 

Ironically, if you hyper-focus on selling, you’ll miss out on sales opportunities. Instead of constantly pushing for purchases, also explore ways to create conversations through your marketing. Engage with your audience and establish a brand community. This authentic relationship is what creates loyalists who will continue to support your brand for years to come. 

To learn more about how to create a successful omnichannel digital marketing strategy, view our CPG Digital Marketing Playbook here

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