You probably know how it feels. The frustration of writing a blog post you thought would go viral, only to watch a big fat “0” over the next 2 weeks in your Google Analytics visits for the web page. Unfortunately for you (and you are not alone in doing this), your finance marketing fantasy was just that. A fantasy.
So what went wrong? In finance marketing – in fact, in virtually any industry – marketers are vulnerable to the overconfidence effect. As IFAs, wealth managers or financial planners, people think that as experts in their field they know what will work with their target audience. We think we can accurately predict marketing campaign performance, which often leads us to relying on our “gut feeling” about what content will work, rather than basing our decisions on hard data.
As much as we might like to blog on what interests us, or about our personal tastes or preferences, we need to let our users’ preferences and tastes guide our decisions about what we write about. Otherwise, our finance marketing efforts end up in vain, with lots of time and money lost along the way.
Assessing your users’ behaviour and data before you write is the crucial first step prior to content creation. Here are five steps which can help you along this road:
#1 Look At What’s Already Working For Your Finance Marketing
Possibly the best source of data for your users’ preferences and behaviour is your own database of metrics, such as your Google Analytics account. Make sure you gather your blog posts by topic (categorisation), and compare their performance.
Do certain categories display longer readership times, or lower bounce rates? Do they show users viewing multiple articles per session, or do they drop off after just one? Do certain categories show higher rates of returning visitors, or higher conversion rates (e.g. downloads of a free guide you’re offering, or filling out your content form)?
The data you choose to focus on and measure will depend on your specific goals. Knowing your goals is crucial for your finance marketing, especially if you’re thinking about outsourcing the work to a marketing partner. For us here at MarketingAdviser, PageViews are usually the main standard we use to measure the success of our content.
Be careful, however, not to overlook the true interests of your target audience. For example, let’s say you have blog posts about Brexit, others on final salary pensions, and some others on the residence nil rate band. Suppose your users spend, on average, equal time on each of these pieces of content. On the surface, it seems like your users like all of the topics equally. But that might not be the full story.
Let’s suppose you publish posts on the residence nil rate band twice as often as you do for the other categories. That would mean that your nil rate band posts are only half as effective as the other two blog categories. It takes twice as many posts to produce the same volume of traffic. So, by publishing more on the other two topics, you’d actually be tailoring your finance marketing content more to your readers’ needs and preferences.
#2 Take A Peek At Your Competitors
The chances are, your direct competition has a very similar target market to you. What works well for them, therefore, could also potentially work very well for you.
For instance, you can use a tool like BuzzSumo to ascertain what your competitors’ most shared posts are, to see what’s most popular amongst their users. Once you unearth some answers, ask yourself how you could improve upon their content. It’s not a problem to cover the same ground as they’ve covered, provided you’re offering a unique perspective which offer additional value.
#3 Read Users’ Comments & Questions Online
If you are getting comments on your own blog posts, then that’s fantastic. You should of course be paying attention to them, as they can provide useful clues as to where your finance marketing content is resonating with your target audience, and where it is not.
Many IFAs, however, do not have a comments section on their blog. In which case, it’s important to check other websites which talk about the same topics as you do, to your target audience. An example might be the comments section in articles posted on the Daily Telegraph, or Financial Times.
Another useful resource is the Google “People Also Ask” box, which often pops up in search results beneath your search term. For instance, the search term” Should I cash in my pension” shows that people also ask Google the following questions:
Google shows these questions because they’re in high demand. If you then enter the question into Google and see little content on the subject (or you could clearly do a better job), then that’s potentially a great opportunity for your finance marketing efforts to focus on.
#5 Do A Subscriber Survey
If you have an email list of thousands, hundreds or even dozens of subscribers, what better way to investigate what works for your content than to ask your readers directly what they want?
Just be aware, not all of your subscribers will pounce on the opportunity to tell you what they think. People are busy, and they need an incentive. Some good ideas include offering a prize for participation, such as a voucher or a limited-time-only discount.
Phil Teale is the Sales & Marketing Manager at MarketingAdviser, an agency specialising in marketing for financial services – and especially for financial advisers. Along with our sister company, CreativeAdviser, we also provide bespoke website design, branding, graphic design and video production services to financial clients.
Contact us on 01923 232840 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org