Content is king.
Bill Gates immortalised the saying back in 1996, but it has never been more relevant than in our current information age.
With the veritable flood of high quality content and the growth of channels through which said content can be promoted, businesses are now able to reach a vast range of demographics. Industries big and small spend their time working on how their online presence and content marketing can translate to sales, while the rest wrestle for attention.
Then there’s the financial services industry.
Let’s not call them reluctant to employ content marketing schemes – let’s call them cautious. We reckon that’s fair. Content marketing’s dynamics, and the regulations and channels it exists within are constantly changing. These changes, not to mention the general caution around content and advertising in the financial services industry, in particular, means that certain companies are frightened to publish certain pieces, even if the content is great.
Ignore these restrictions. While it may seem easier to walk away from online content, chances are your competition is looking for ways to effectively market online. There are plenty of ways financial services firms can attract and engage their target audience through their site’s content, and we guarantee it’s stress-free.
Here are some ways financial services firms can build a strategy and get started on content marketing while still adhering to the regulations.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are three of the best social media services for financial services firms can promote their content. It’s easy and your audience chooses whether or not they want to opt in to your promotions. A large percentage of internet savvy potential clients are on social media – particularly LinkedIn – making it a great way to both find them, and make them aware of your firm. It’s also a great tool to respond to quick questions from the audience on, regardless of whether it’s a direct answer they want, or a link to the appropriate webpage on your site. Not only is this an effective way to share your content, but it shows people you’re competent and willing to help.
Please note, this doesn’t mean content you make people pay for! By premium content, we mean content that’s more than your average blog post. This means white papers market research and instructional guides. As with every business, we can guarantee that your potential clients have a lot of questions about what you can offer them. Why not create a F.A.Q? It will help the people who wouldn’t normally contact you to ask a question, and also show your expertise. It also shows that you want to help people by giving them answers up front. If you’re giving away helpful advice, people will assume you keep the really good advice for paying customers. The long and short of it is, in creating premium content, you can address multiple different concerns in one fell swoop and potentially attract even more readers.
Whether it’s via newsletter or RSS feed, subscriptions update your readers about new content on your site. An opt-in form on your business’ landing page or blog reminds readers that they can subscribe anytime. Make sure you send out reminders at reasonable intervals, but don’t feel obligated to email them once a day. Over time you’ll see how many people are opening your emails (and any subsequent emails), so you can tweak the frequency accordingly. Note that flooding your subscribers inboxes with messages is definitely frowned upon – the goal of the emails is to remind them you’re around and to let them know what you have to offer.
Showcase your expertise through the use of case studies. This content could be in a separate area on your website, or placed alongside the premium content. A thorough dissection of each case also gives your prospective clients a clue of how you handle certain cases, and will back up your claim of proficiency while you’re at it. If nothing else, it’s a good process for you to get used to documenting for your own records – sharing it with your customers will show the care and professionalism you use in your own documentation, so they know that you will afford them the same time and care.
Like case studies, webinars also exhibit the expertise you possess in your field. The difference is that a webinar’s a hell of a lot more interesting than reading text and charts on the screen. It lends a face and a voice to your company, and it also shows your audience that you understand that there’s more than one way to present information. As content marketing seeks to establish a relationship with prospective clients, webinars are a personable way of showing how well your firm can handle the needs of different clients. There are lots of ways you can integrate video into your marketing strategy; these webinars don’t need to be very long, and they can be created right in your firm’s headquarters with a good quality video camera, a microphone and some basic video editing skills. Make sure to include your business’ branding as a watermark somewhere on the video, so if it gets shared people know how to find you.
Blog posts are shorter and more specific than premium content, but they tend to be more frequent. As an added bonus, most of the content on your business’ site can be repurposed into a blog. They’re also great for leading readers to your premium content, because one topic can lead them to another, to another – and then they’ll find themselves midway through purchasing something or booking a service, with your words as reassurance of the product’s quality. A word to the wise on creating blog posts: make sure you use SEO and trim each post down to about 500-1000 words. Popping in graphics when it’s relevant will do your text a favour, too. Screens don’t lend themselves well to prolonged reading, so breaking it up a little will stop readers from getting bored.
Great content’s been the key to cultivating an online presence for many a business. Financial services firms should be no different!
“But the topic’s as dry as ninety percent of Australia!” we hear you say.
Not necessarily. Create and promote content that you know your potential clients will find interesting – and find new ways to say it, or spin it. If you want to share a theory, think of a funny example. If you’re dealing with confusing numbers or ideas, think about how you can make it easier to understand. Done right, you’ll be able to bridge any distance and conquer any attention span.