A Guide For Digital Marketing For Financial Services

How do banks, investment firms, and insurance companies use digital marketing to grow their business? Find out in this guide for digital marketing for financial services.

image of DIGITAL MARKETING FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

 

Digital marketing is quite essential for financial services. The world is increasingly moving towards digital. Even traditional industries and companies in primitive sectors like agriculture and education have seen great innovation under the digital age. But for financial companies like banks, insurance companies, and investment firms, the government regulations make it tricky to promote their products as other companies do. 

 

More than three-fourths of financial services companies are planning to increase or have increased the share of digital marketing in their marketing budgets. This change reflects the increasing number of internet users and increasing transactions on digital media.

 

Digital marketing for financial services has made these companies shift away from cold marketing calls to contextual and data-driven marketing strategies. This has resulted in more relevant efforts and cost savings simultaneously.

 

Just 2 decades ago, people looked for solutions to their problems around themselves. They often asked their friends, family members, or colleagues for financial and investment advice. There was a lack of awareness about financial products. This left them only a few choices. 

 

Often their spending on financial products was similar to people they knew. Their sources of financial knowledge were limited to newspapers, television, and people around them. But this has totally changed in our digital age.

 

Today, a simple google search is more powerful than all the information sources people had 20 years ago, combined. The internet has made it simple and easy for consumers to find any kind of product for their needs. And this includes financial products too.

 

Search engines today provide a lot of information from various knowledgeable sources. A consumer can take advice from all these sources before taking any action. 

 

With just a quick Google search, consumers can find information on any financial product. There are many websites too where users can compare different schemes. 

 

But search engines have are not the same as they were 10 years ago. The search algorithms have become very advanced. It is not possible to trick the algorithm with black-hat techniques. today, only relevant and helpful content works.

 

The process of business and customer acquisition has changed rapidly. Digital marketing for financial services has made it very easy for financial companies to reach their target audience via the internet. Today, sales are not based on cold calls but are more based on actionable data and insights.

 

Digital marketing for financial services has many benefits over other forms of marketing. Let us know what are they:

  • Digital marketing is cost-effective. It can be done on any range of marketing budgets.
  • The return on investment is very high compared to other forms of marketing like print and television. This means that for every penny, digital marketing gives more benefits than traditional modes of marketing.
  • The reach of digital marketing modes is very high. It can reach anywhere there is the internet. It has much higher penetration in any market.
  • With the help of digital marketing, financial institutions can reach any demographic audience on the basis of age, gender, occupation, likes and dislikes, location, and so on. Digital tools have made it easy to target people according to their buyer profiles. This means the audience that is seeing your ad is more likely to respond compared to traditional advertising.
  • Digital marketing can be analyzed and modified for more optimization and efficiency. That too in real-time. The changes in the campaign produce results instantly.
  • The advertisements can be more creative and engaging than traditional advertising. 

All these benefits of digital marketing for financial services companies help them target the people who are much more likely to turn into customers. The conversion rate is high in digital marketing. This helps decrease in costs of digital marketing  

 

Financial companies like banks, investment firms, and insurance agencies can take advantage of digital marketing for the growth and expansion of their business. These companies can showcase a variety of products on their websites and various portals on the web.

 

Every business today needs to have a website. A website is a central location on the internet where all your online marketing efforts should lead to. It is essential to have an online presence in today’s digital world.

 

People are increasingly looking for businesses and products online. This includes mobile devices too. The Internet provides them a huge variety of options. They also get to read the reviews. So it is important to take advantage of online searches. 

 

There are mobile apps today that make buying financial products so easy and quick. You have apps where you can invest in various mutual funds. You have apps where you can compare various insurance schemes and even buy them online. There are apps where you can perform all banking transactions quickly and safely.

 

With these apps, users can simply select and buy the product from the comfort of their homes. Most of these searches are made from home and on mobile devices. Imagine if a company does not have an online presence and does not have the product listed on these apps. These online users would never know about it.

 

Even if they knew about it they would not be able to buy it. Consequently, the sales of that company would not be what they could potentially be. 

 

It is very easy to create a campaign for digital marketing for financial services.  Here are the characteristics of an effective marketing plan.

 

Marketing objective

 

Begin by first determining the long-term goal for your financial service. Do you want to increase the number of customers, or increase profit, or your purpose is just brand awareness.

 

This long-term goal should be based on conversations with mentors and advisors. This is a prerequisite to developing a detailed and specific marketing objective.

 

Once you have a long-term view of the growth of your financial services company, it is time to prepare a detailed marketing strategy. While developing a plan for digital marketing for financial services companies, keep the following points in mind.

 

First of all, while developing any marketing plan, we should remember the SMART framework for goal setting. Any marketing goal must follow all standards according to the SMART framework which stands for

 

S– Specific

M-Measurable

A-Achievable

R-Realistic

T-Time bound

 

It is necessary to have a specific and precise purpose for your marketing strategy. You need to select whether you want growth, or do you want raised revenue, increased profit, is your goal only brand awareness, or do you want to promote a new product line.

 

The next rule is to have measurable purposes. Increasing brand awareness is not a measurable goal but increasing profits by 18% is. If the goals are not measurable, you’d never know if you are achieving them or just wasting your money.

 

The next character of a valid goal is that it should be achievable. Aims must not be too lofty that they can’t even be envisioned properly by your team members.

 

It must be realistic too. It must be simple to imagine and broken into smaller goals if it is too big. Your financial services business should possess the means to achieve a target. If you demand a very high object from a small marketing budget, this just makes it hard for the team, and the marketing plan is unlikely to succeed.

 

One of the most important qualities of a goal is that there must be a time limit to when the goal should be achieved. There is not unlimited time. A goal without a time frame to achieve it makes no sense.

 

An example of a suitable objective that follows the SMART framework looks like this: “ increase online page views by 25% in a quarter.”

 

Mission statement

 

A plan for digital marketing for financial services must also contain the mission statement and the purpose of the company. What is it that your company does, what values does it support or preach, and how does it solve the problems of the audience.

 

Know your audience

 

Every financial service marketing plan must be specific about which audience they are trying to reach. Every product has a certain target audience. It is important to formulate your communication and marketing channels such that most of the communication is aimed at the target audience. The buyer profile must be clearly determined.

 

With digital marketing for the financial services business, you can target very specific demographics. This helps save the marketing budget and increase the effectiveness of the digital marketing campaign.

 

A vague targeting without a clear sense of the target audience will just be wasting money. This way the campaign will not be able to achieve the KPIs specified in the marketing plan.

 

Even inside a specific demographic, it is better to target individuals who are more likely to purchase products online. People who are only looking for information and have no history of buying products online are not good candidates. It is not good to waste marketing budget on unlikely buyers.

 

Some characteristics of a buyer persona include age, gender, location, purchasing power, interests, and preferences.

 

4 Ps of marketing

 

The 4 Ps of marketing are Price, placement, promotion, and packaging. While talking about a campaign for digital marketing for financial services, we often overlook the right pricing strategies.

 

Sometimes results from a digital marketing plan do not materialize while there is nothing wrong with the marketing campaign.

 

The product must be priced according to the target audience’s purchasing power and properly assessing the competition.

 

Product placement and positioning are also important factors. Any product must e positioned in such a way that its distinct qualities are portrayed. The audience must know that there is a difference between your product and the competitor’s product. If there is no difference why would be they buy a new product? They’d rather buy a trusted product.

 

These were the prerequisites of a good marketing plan for financial services businesses like banks and investment firms. 

 

It is important for a marketing campaign to stand out from others. People are becoming immune to advertisements everywhere. Their span of attention is decreasing and an ad often has only a few seconds to gather their attention.

 

In the case of financial institutions and services companies like insurance and investment firms, digital marketing is proving to be of huge benefit. There are many ways through which these companies can take advantage of digital marketing for financial services.

 

Conversion

 

You may be getting leads pretty easily but may find it hard to convert the leads into paying customers. This is a common problem with many financial services companies. Most businesses would want to increase their conversion rates. A low conversion just shows that even if your business is managing to get attention, you are still wasting your marketing money.

 

A low conversion rate is a sign of many problems. It could be that the leads are of low quality. This means that the leads have less preference for buying a product online even if they are interested. Another sign is that your communication is not persuasive enough to lead them further into the sales funnel.

 

So how do you turn more leads into paying customers and increase your conversion ratio? This is where the fundamentals of digital marketing will help you. You need to focus on targeted communication and customer experience. Customers today do not just want a transitional relationship with a bank or an investment firm. They want the financial service to give them advice as to their well-wisher and benefactor.

 

Customers of financial products expect a relationship between them and the financial institution. This would require a change in communication strategies on the part of the financial institution. In the context of digital marketing, this would require a strong digital presence.

 

Do you know that most millennials do research for financial products online? This is why the more you increase your digital efforts to create a compelling online presence, the more you can tap into this market. Customer experience is a strong factor in the conversion ratio and it is important to please customers since financial institutions are in the service sector.

 

Mobile devices

 

In 2018, for the first time, mobile searches surpassed searches from computers. With the rise in coverage of high-speed internet and upgrades in technology, smartphones have become the preferred choice for customers for daily applications.

 

Smartphones are fast, convenient, and always with the person. Advanced mobile apps have also made it simple to find financial products. Making digital marketing efforts mobile-friendly is one of the most important tasks in a plan for digital marketing for financial services. Most users make almost all their searches on their phones.

 

An average person spends about 3 hours on their phone. In order to take advantage of this, your digital marketing efforts must be directed towards smartphone users. The first step towards making your digital marketing efforts is to make your website responsive. It should provide a great user experience to even mobile users. All features must work on mobile devices too.

 

The website can use location and cookies to enhance the experience of the user. All the necessary information must be accessible with the minimum number of clicks. The website must also provide sharing options on various popular platforms. It should allow messaging between the financial institution and the customer.

 

It is necessary to hire a professional web developer to create your website. A professionally designed website can easily enhance the user experience and improve the efficiency of your message.

 

It can also help you get listed higher on search engine rankings. Getting a higher ranking on the results increases your visibility and gets you more leads. It is the best way of lead generation without spending any money.

 

Chatbots

 

Chatbots help in quick response and effective allocation of resources and personnel. Chatbots are just computer programs intended to replace some of the functions of customer care professionals. It appears as a small dialog box at the bottom of the website. Here customers can make queries and get their problems resolved quickly.

 

Chatbots have become very advanced in 2020. It drastically increases the retention rate of the website and resolves the problem of the customers, sometimes without any human intervention. As a customer, nothing annoys us more when our complaints are not heard and addressed quickly. Such a customer might leave your website after coming there, which is a huge loss of business.

 

With chatbots, customers can directly know many details about their account, details about a scheme or a product, status of product delivery, and so on. Chatbots have become a standard on many websites today. Customers expect the feature as essential. This should definitely be a part of a strategy of digital marketing for financial services.

 

Content is king

 

Content marketing generates three times more leads than conventional marketing. It is the key to convert leads into loyal customers.

 

A good content strategy has many benefits. It shows expertise and builds trust. Customers perceive the service as knowledgeable and expert and capable of solving their problems. Once the customers trust your abilities, it is much easier to convert them to loyal customers. Good content is extremely important in the case of financial services.

 

Good content helps distinguish your product from the competitors. It gives customers a detailed knowledge of your product. This reduces the possibility of doubts and questions in the minds of the customers. This also increases their likelihood of making a sale.

 

There are many forms of content that a financial service can use as part of its digital marketing strategy. Content may include blog articles, white papers, ebooks, analysis reports, case studies, e-mails, webinars, and so on. There are other media that are very promising that include videos on youtube, podcasts, and infomercials.

 

There is a lot of potential in the content strategy for financial services. Their area of work is not properly understood by the majority of people. This makes helpful and relevant content a primary means of educating a customer and, in the process, promoting your abilities and products. By creating original content that is often searched by users, financial institutions can take advantage.

 

Social media

 

There are more people on social media than in the most populous country in the world. Facebook, for example, has over 2.4 billion users, Twitter has about 400 million, and there are many other popular platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tiktok, and more.

 

Social media has made marketing effective and cheap. It is a myth that people on social media would not react favorably to ads and posts regarding financial products. This is because social media has all types of people. And it is simple to target them on the basis of their interests and preferences.

 

There are many people on social media who want to secure their money and are interested in investing. Today’s younger generation is much more financially responsible than previous generations. Many financial companies have found success by targeting their target audience on social media platforms.

 

With the help of social media, brands can tell stories. This can deepen the connection between the brand and the customers. Social media platforms have come a long way. Today, they are very effective targeting platforms for brands. The popular platforms provide great digital marketing tools that help brands design ad campaigns.

 

You can put parameters as per your preference. It is also possible to adjust the campaign by analyzing results and optimizing the plan. This can easily increase the return on investment and target users effectively. The platform tools also study your ad with the help of advanced AI tools and enhance lead conversion and user response.

 

Integrate your marketing 

 

Today, there are many channels of marketing. In the quest for trying to make the best of each channel, you should not lose the core message of your digital marketing campaign for financial services. All the communication in all the channels must be integrated, ie. they should be part of the same larger marketing campaign. Communication on two different channels must not communicate different messages.

 

But it is also important to incorporate traditional marketing channels in your marketing strategy. This could include print ads and mail orders. The message could contain a web link or a QR code that easily allows people to visit your website or any landing page. This way you can complement all the benefits of different channels for your marketing strategy.

 

 

As with any digital marketing campaign, there is no one method that works for everyone. A great thing about digital marketing is that marketers can learn from their campaigns and optimize them in real-time. This greatly reduces the waste of marketing money and increases the effectiveness of the campaign.

 

For more lessons on digital marketing for financial institutions, you can invest in a digital marketing course at IIM SKILLS.

 

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Gaurav is a Content Writer at IIM Skills. He has a B.Tech. degree but then he switched to the creative side by doing his master's in advertising and public relations. Gaurav is also a part-time blogger and graphic designer currently living in Mumbai

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