Stepping into the world of marketing for financial services can feel overwhelming – especially with all of the jargon involved.
This can make it difficult for financial firms to approach an external agency for help. After all, it can feel like some of them are speaking a foreign language to you when talking about SEO, PPC and other unfamiliar words.
Fortunately, you can make everything easier for yourself by learning a handful of key concepts. These will also stand you in good stead for life, which is increasingly becoming more digitised. Below, we offer 10 that we believe you should know if you work in financial services.
We hope this list is useful and we invite you to get in touch if you’d like to discuss your own marketing campaign with us.
#1 Marketing strategy
In marketing, your strategy is the overall plan that your financial firm will follow to achieve its marketing goals.
It is important not to confuse this with marketing tactics – or tools – such as Facebook Ads. Rather, think of it in military terms.
Here, your strategy might be to beat the enemy using total war (attrition). Or, perhaps you aim to cause their withdrawal from your lands by wearing them down through guerilla warfare.
With financial marketing, your strategy might be to increase your market share in a specific customer segment (e.g. over-65s in Oxfordshire). Or, maybe you have already dominated that market and want to move on to another one.
#2 Marketing tactics
These are the marketing channels and tools you will use to achieve your strategy.
When engaging in digital marketing, for instance, these might include search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC) or email marketing. Depending on your strategy, you might concentrate on just one or two of these – or, something completely different.
There is a lot of data in digital marketing. Your PPC campaigns, for instance, will involve looking at data concerning how many people saw your adverts in a given timeframe (impressions) and how many people clicked on them.
“Analytics” is the process used to sift through this data and come to actionable conclusions. For instance, why did more people click on one advert and not another? Could it be due to the title, the images or accompanying descriptive text?
Once you think you have an answer, you could try running with the “better” advert to increase your performance.
#4 Buyer persona
Who are you looking to target with your marketing?
A “buyer persona” is an ideal description of your ideal target client or customer. You might have one or more of them depending on your audience, marketing goals and priorities.
It is important not to simply list your target’s demographics (e.g. age, income and gender). You should also include their psychographics – i.e. what they value, what they fear and aspire to etc.
#5 Customer journey
Very few people instantly become a client of a financial firm. Rather, it takes time and usually follows a typical process.
Your customer journey lists the common anticipated steps that a potential client will take before they come onto your books. The duration and nature of this process will differ depending on your niche and business model.
For instance, a financial planner might need several months to onboard a new client. However, a retail business might be able to close a sale within 5 minutes depending on the product and how keen the customer is.
The customer journey is sometimes also called the “sales funnel”.
A prospect is simply a contact who might become a lead.
Another name for them, therefore, is “prospective lead”. To confirm their interest in what you offer, they need to indicate this by taking some kind of meaningful action (e.g. on your website).
For instance, someone who downloads your PDF guide on pension consolidation may not be a lead yet. However, they could be classed as a prospective lead – since they have clearly shown some level of interest.
Prospective leads sit at the beginning of the customer journey. Leads sit somewhere along the way.
Clients are those who finish the journey!
#7 Return on marketing investment
Sometimes abbreviated to ROMI, return on marketing investment refers to how much “profit” you make from your marketing campaigns after all of their associated expenses are subtracted (e.g. Google Ad spending).
Naturally, you will want to get a return on any marketing investment. However, it can take time for some digital marketing channels to bear fruit. SEO, for instance, can take months or even years to get your website on the top pages of Google.
However, the results can be well worth it. So, make sure you don’t dismiss a “slow-burning” approach out of hand.
#8 Sustainable competitive advantage
What makes your financial firm different from any other one? Will this differentiator stand the test of time?
A competitive advantage sets you apart clearly from rivals as an attractive option to your audience. If this can be sustained over a long period of time (e.g because it is hard for other businesses to emulate), then it is “sustainable”.
This puts financial firms in a tremendously strong position for acquiring new business and keeping current clients.
#9 Inbound marketing
Broadly speaking, there are two main ways to market any business – including financial firms.
Firstly, you can be “interruptive” by broadcasting in front of your audience whilst they are doing something else (e.g. TV ads). This traditional approach has its merits, but can also be off-putting for many people.
Inbound marketing, by contrast, involves positioning your business in front of people who are already looking for what you offer. An ideal example is SEO, since this places your website in front of people who are looking for services like yours.
#10 Value proposition
What is it that makes your business attractive to customers?
Perhaps it is your branding and the “look and feel” of your offices. It might be your experience in dealing with people like the customer.
Whatever it is, make sure you take time to communicate your value proposition in your website and other online content.