Complex financial information can be difficult for a lay person to sort out, and even people who feel like they want professional financial help may not know exactly what that help can do for them. Enter content marketing. A financial company with a good content marketing strategy can offer a unique approach to providing information and drawing in customers.
Sophia Bera, owner of Gen Y Planning, uses content to reach a wider audience. She says many prospective clients are embarrassed about their lack of financial knowledge, and if they can go to your website and find answers they’ll be more inclined to reach out to you for services. “When people find information, they think ‘if she’s willing to give all this away for free, I wonder what it’s like to be a client,’ ” Bera says.
Here are five reasons to use content marketing for financial services.
It Demonstrates Your Expertise
Customers want to feel confident that their financial services provider is truly an expert and can be trusted to offer solid advice. Research has shown that recommending a product or service that is targeted to the customer’s specific situation can actually strengthen their relationship with the provider. Demonstrating your expertise through your content will build your client’s confidence in you. It shows that not only do you have the knowledge but you can use it to help them.
For example: LearnVest uses its online Knowledge Center to post articles, videos, checklists and quizzes to help people answer their financial questions.
It Educates Your Market
Financial services has a reputation as a conservative industry, which means that innovations often move slowly. Content marketing can help you speed up the pace of adoption of your new products and tools. It’s also complex, which can make it tough to convey your message in a soundbite. Content marketing gives you the room you need to really explore and explain key issues.
“Financial education is a big part of what I do,” Bera says. “I give away a lot of free education because I realized that my target demographic was searching for this information on their own.”
For example: Mint, a personal budgeting and bill-paying app, runs a blog with articles, videos and Q&As full of advice on topics such as how to use its product or save for vacation. Mint also loads its Twitter feed with helpful infographics.
Another example: Fidelity Investments runs a regular podcast to inform listeners about topics such as health savings accounts, college savings and stock options.
It Reinforces Why You’re Special
Good content marketing can help differentiate you from the competition. Products, convenience and quality of service have been the most relied on points of differentiation in the financial services industry ever since location lost its stronghold. Those factors are important for sales and service, but engaging and connecting with customers through content marketing is important for relationship building and for positioning your company as a trusted adviser.
“The more approachable you are online, the more comfortable they are coming to you when they want a financial planner,” Bera says. “The more you can tell your story and who you want to work with, the better. Be extremely helpful to the people you want to be your clients, and eventually they’ll become clients.”
For example: Investment firm Wealthsimple engages clients with its online magazine by sharing individual stories and financial how-tos, infographics and celebrity stories.
It Allows You to Segment More Specifically
Most financial services providers have identified target segments — such as “mass affluent,” minority-owned businesses, medical practices or startups. The customizable nature of content marketing allows you to tailor your message to a variety of target audiences, whether you’re defining them based on demographics, industry, delivery channel or other factors.
“What are your current clients asking you that prospective clients might be interested in?” Bera says. Your insight into what a particular group is asking allows you to design content that will resonate with your target audience and draw them in.
For example: T. Rowe Price targets parents planning for their children’s college education through The College Savings Chillout, which features videos of people discussing their experiences with college planning.
It Strengthens Relationships
A well-planned content marketing strategy for financial services will target your audience, highlight your understanding and knowledge of their needs, engage them with information that demonstrates your expertise and set you apart by establishing your position as a trusted adviser. As you inform and engage your audience, you are building a relationship. You are also demonstrating the value that you bring to the partnership. As the relationship strengthens, it becomes less likely that your customers will leave you for a free set of bakeware or 15 basis points.
The getting-to-know-you phase may be longer than you realize, because part of it may happen before a prospective client reaches out to you. Bera discovered clients were reading her newsletter for three to six months before making the first call. Good content allows you to build relationships with people before you even meet them, so use it to show that you recognize their unique needs.
For example: Brittney Castro, a financial planner and owner of Financially Wise Women, posts regular videos on her website and maintains a YouTube channel to tell her audience about herself, her professional activities and her money management advice.
To get more reasons to use content marketing for financial service, see how financial service organizations are using content marketing and learn how to make content marketing work for your company, download our white paper:
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.