- Businesses in the financial sector face more pressure when it comes to marketing with more complicated buyer audiences than a lot of other spheres.
- This means that in order for marketing to deliver results for your financial business, you need to know what you're doing and excel at implementing that knowledge.
- Use email marketing, always measure the effectiveness of your efforts and use video testimonials - these are only a few of the most highly-efficient marketing tactics to live by.
Tyler Cowen received his PhD in economics from Harvard University. Now he is a Professor at George Mason University and The Economist named him one of the most influential economists of the last decade. He shines some light on the importance of marketing for financial businesses:
“Despite all the talk about STEM fields, I see marketing as the seminal sector for our future economy. A salesperson can use knowledge of computers or engineering to sell a complex technical product to a technically sophisticated user, and in fact, such knowledge might these days be required to sell effectively. That's based in some STEM skills, but it's also marketing. ... Again, it is about blending the cognitive strengths of humans and computers.”
While he references STEM, his statements are equally true when applied to the finance field. Those that will dominate the future finance industry will be those who can combine an expertise of technical finance skills with the ability to connect with people as part of their marketing program.
If you’re an Australian business in the finance industry, chances are your technical skills are excellent. Yet, many businesses find their marketing skills and programs don’t match up. This list of the 10 best marketing ideas for a financial business will help you improve your marketing and help you dominate the financial industry.
1. Measure Marketing ROI
The great management theorist Peter Drucker said it best, “What’s measured gets managed.” In the past marketers could hide behind terms like ‘branding’. Their activities couldn’t be measured.
Now, with so many marketing analytics available, every project’s ROI can be evaluated. So for any of the following tactics that you use — measure them. Then focus your resources on the tactics producing the highest ROI.
2. Email Remains Perennial
Ryan Holiday isn’t only a NYT best-selling author. He has his own marketing agency: Brass Check. In his book "Perennial Seller" he wrote, “If I could give a prospective creative only one piece of advice, it would be this: Build a list. Specifically, an email list.” His own list has over 80,000 loyal fans.
For an artist, 80,000 fans is exceptional. How about 35 million fans? Because that’s how many Twitter followers Kevin Hart has. While his Twitter helps him sell out stadiums today, it was his email list that helped him sell out comedy clubs in his early days. Whenever he performed at a club he would leave a card on the table. It read, “Kevin Hart needs to know who you are.”
Before everyone left, he would collect the cards. Then when he was performing in that city again he would send a personal email inviting them to see his show. One of the most successful comedy careers is built on a humble email list.
So Kevin Hart had a captive audience. He could personally approach them. But how can you collect email addresses online?
- Put a link to subscribe to your email list in the signature of your email.
- Export your followers from your social media accounts and send them a note asking them to join.
- Post online once a week asking your friends/ family/ coworkers to join your mailing list.
- Create a form for people to fill out at events (like Kevin Hart).
Once you build your email list, you must focus on retaining them. While in 2017 the Australian retailer Yellow Octopus saw their newsletter subscriber list double to over 52,300 customers, Founder Derek Sheen credits retention as being critical to financial growth, “Our focus on retention strategies has also led to the average transaction order value increasing by over 26 percent.” So along with building your list, remember to nurture your current subscribers.
3. Build Trust With Video Testimonials
Do you know why video testimonials are so powerful? These 3 statistics show us why:
1. Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. (SmallBizTrends)
2. After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online. (Hubspot)
3. The top three most effective types of video content are customer testimonials (51%), tutorial videos (50%), demonstration videos (49%). (Curata)
These statistics highlight the power of video. But why is it such a powerful marketing tool? Is it because seeing someone is persuasive? Actually, no. It’s not seeing someone that makes video such a powerful tool. It’s hearing them.
Nicholas Epley explained this phenomenon in his book Mindwise, “When the researchers calculated the volunteers' accuracy, they found that those who could only see the storyteller were significantly less accurate than those who could only hear the storyteller. That is, emotions were carried primarily on the speaker's voice. ... Body language speaks, but only in whispers.”
It’s the emotions in our voice that are persuasive. How does that affect our decision making? “We make emotional decisions first and rationalise after the fact,” wrote the writer, cartoonist, and entrepreneur Scott Adams. So connecting with prospects on an emotional level will lead to them evaluating us more positively on an analytical level.
The marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Jonah Berger, has one more reason that eliciting emotion is so beneficial to our content, “When we care, we share.”
4. Focus On LinkedIn & Forget Facebook
Facebook has more people on their platform. But LinkedIn has the right people. If you have a financial business, you’re most likely selling to a sophisticated consumer. More often than not, they’re like yourself — a professional.
The Business Administration professor, Dr Thomas Stanley describes a phenomenon; “The affluent have a very strong need to affiliate with others within their same discipline. All things being equal, they prefer or need to patronize those sales professionals, as in my case, who are perceived as integral parts of these affiliation groups.”
LinkedIn groups are exactly what he’s talking about. They’re affiliation groups.
Aside from being an excellent place to discover new prospects, posting your content in these LinkedIn groups allows you to position yourself as an influencer. In fact, compared to Facebook, a study by The Financial Times and Alpha Grid demonstrated that LinkedIn is more trustworthy. And we know how important trust is within the financial industry.
While finding prospects and building influence within your industry is most important, there’s one more benefit of posting content on LinkedIn. A study by Cision and George Washington University found two-thirds of journalists use LinkedIn to find stories. If your posts are popular, it may present you PR opportunities.
5. Increase Your Productivity Using Automation
Automation. Technology. Change. They can be intimidating. But whenever I hear someone claiming their business will survive without automation, I think of a quote by the economist Tyler Cowen;
“It might be called the age of genius machines, and it will be the people who work with them that will rise. One day soon we will look back and see that we produced two nations, a fantastically successful nation, working in the technologically dynamic sectors, and everyone else. Average is over.”
Like it or loathe it, to keep your business competitive you need to utilise automation. It makes your marketing more productive. It allows you to scale faster than you can hire new employees. It gives you more time to focus on relationships and your core product.
Here are some marketing processes you can automate:
- Lead generation: From AdWords, to SEO, to social media.
- Lead nurturing: Using email marketing.
- Lead scoring: Prioritise your most valuable leads.
- Sales funnel management: Automatically see where your prospects are sitting in the sales funnel.
- Content: Dynamic content is different for each of your segments.
6. Don’t Overspend With AdWords
Many marketers think AdWords is a program that does the work for you. Sure, it will test your ads and deliver viewers the one with the highest conversion, but that’s not enough. Despite the technology, the core of AdWords is still advertising. The science of AdWords analytics does not compensate for the art of advertising. You need both.
But before we get to how to utilise the principles of great advertising within AdWords, let’s first ensure you aren’t making a common and costly AdWords mistake.
Mistake #1: Not using enough negative keywords
You know what a Google keywords is: words or phrases describing your product or service that you choose to help determine when and where your ad can appear. But what’s a negative keyword? A negative keyword is a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Your ads aren’t shown to anyone who is searching for that phrase. If you aren’t using enough, you will find yourself paying for clicks from people who will never buy your product. It’s a waste of your resources.
Mistake #2: Optimising for CTR and not sales
It’s tempting to try to get as many people to click our ads as possible. We feel every click brings us a step closer to a sale. Or we rationalise chasing clicks as brand building. But again, it’s a waste of your resources. So don’t optimise your AdWords ads to get clicks, optimise for sales.
Now we’ve covered the two most common AdWords mistakes, let’s take a refresher course on writing great advertisements, which is exactly what AdWords lets us do.
In their communication bible "Made To Stick," Chip & Dan Heath wrote about the old advertising maxim that says you've got to spell out the benefit of the benefit; “People don't buy quarter-inch drill bits. They buy quarter-inch holes so they can hang their children's pictures.”
If you’re only focused on analytic arguments listing your features, you’re missing the art of emotional advertising.
Perhaps the most famous example is from 1925, when John Caples was assigned to write a headline for an advertisement promoting the correspondence music course offered by the U.S. School of Music. As Chip & Dan Heath described, “He sat at his typewriter and pecked out the most famous headline in print-advertising history: "They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano... But When I Started to Play!”
However, despite the benefits of AdWords, we must remember it is never the most effective marketing tactic of a great business. Word of mouth always outperforms paid advertising.
In Growth Hacker Marketing, Ryan Holiday wrote, “Referrals versus paid advertising is the kind of A/B test whose results are obvious to everyone. Referrals win. And today, 35 percent of Dropbox's customers come to it via referral.”
7. Use Paid Amplification For Your Best Content
The first rule of content marketing is to make great content. However, despite having great content, if you’re posting and hoping, it probably won’t get the coverage it deserves.
First, what exactly is paid content amplification?
It’s using social media sites from Twitter to Medium to get your content in front of more people and find more fans.
So, when should you use content amplification?
Whenever you have great content. How do you know it’s great? It’s providing you real business benefits such as people are linking to your website, prospects are signing up to your email list or it’s being organically shared on social media.
When your content has proven its business value you want to take full advantage of it. Great content deserves paid amplification.
8. Time Your Efforts
The most important factor in sales is the timing. But it’s not always being first that counts. As Willie Nelson sang,
“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
So when is the best time to target a prospect? When they’ve got cash to spend. For accountants, after tax season is the ideal time. But the best time to sell to other businesses can be harder to determine.
Thankfully, as Dr. Thomas Stanley reminds us, “Most often, a prospect will tell you if and when it is a good time to call.” If we contact them and it’s not a good time, we can ask when is a more appropriate time, then contact them at their convenience.
Dr. Stanley has one more piece of wisdom, “Most people view advertisements as offers to buy; Mr. Read views them as opportunities to sell to those whom he suspects are generating significant revenues.” What does he mean? When you notice somebody posting advertisements in prestigious papers or journals, you can trust they have plenty of cash on hand. If you have something valuable to offer, they’ll be receptive.
9. Make The Most Of Micro-Moments
Micro-moments are those instances when someone immediately pulls out their smartphone to search for something. It’s when a friend mentions how cryptocurrency will change the financial landscape and they pull out their phone to search for information. In fact, 96% of users reach for their smartphones to conduct research on the spot.
You make the most of these moments by providing the answers to their queries when they search.
When you’re there when prospects are searching for your help, you’ll be more likely to convert them to a customer.
10. Don’t Forget: Compliance Is King In Finance - Respect Privacy
You want to persuade, not mislead. You want to communicate, not manipulate. Don’t only follow the letter of the law, but the spirit in which it was intended. You want to do what’s right by your clients. When you always put your clients first, you never have to worry about your profits.
How many of these 10 ideas do you think will help your business? Because it’s essential to remember that it’s not knowledge that makes money, but acting on knowledge. The Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said it best,
“Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do one thousand times more damage in war than audacity.”