Of course, there are many reasons why a financial website may not be getting the enquiries and leads it hopes to generate. Yet in our experience here at MarketingAdviser, there are at least one of two common reasons: making false assumptions about your target audience, and failing to understand their buyer journey.
In this article, we’ll be unpacking these two errors in more detail and offering some suggestions about how your financial firm can addresses them. We hope you find these thoughts helpful, and we invite you to get in touch to discuss your own financial marketing if you’re ready to start a conversation.
Financial marketing and false assumptions
There is a famous saying that “assumption is the mother of all f-ups”, and this holds true in financial marketing. Sadly, even very prestigious financial firms often fall into the trap of assuming things about their target audience that are not grounded in reality. As a result, poor marketing decisions are made which can result in lost time, effort and revenue.
Let’s start with a common one – assuming that your audience knows what you do. For instance, it is easy for managers of a financial firm to recognise the quality of the company’s work, its team and resources. You’re exposed to these every day and the value is, therefore, typically very obvious.
Yet this is not necessarily immediately apparent to your target audience. They may have never heard of your business before, or perhaps they heard incorrect things (true or false) about it from somewhere else. They may, therefore, have a whole set of false presumptions about what you do, how you do it and why – which you might need to dismantle and re-build before you can realistically make a sale.
This is where content marketing becomes very important – such as offering thought leadership to readers of your blog, newsletter or both. For instance, perhaps you are a financial planner looking to gain new clients who look to you for help with their pension and wider investments. It could be that they understand very little about how the financial world works. As such, approaching them with highly technical language (jargon) at the outset is likely to go over their heads and alienate them.
Therefore, you may wish to consider carefully the content on your website. After all, this is likely to be the first source of information where they read about you. Here, it will be important to strike a delicate balance with your financial copywriting. You will need to show that you “know your stuff” by using some industry/sector language on the one hand, whilst also keeping it accessible to ordinary folk on the other.
There are many other false assumptions that even the best financial firms can fall into, including:
- Assuming that your audience understands they have a financial problem (maybe they don’t)!
- Assuming that those who know they have such a problem know where to fix it.
- Assuming that people with knowledge of their financial problem (e.g. multiple pensions which are hard to manage) know about all possible solutions to it on the market. Or, perhaps you assume that they know less than they do.
- Assuming that the problem “hurts” the prospect more/less than it does (i.e. the question of urgency).
- Assuming that the nature and size of your target market is the same as it was when you last checked.
- Assuming that “X type” of client” only communicates” by post, email or some other form of communication when perhaps this has changed. For instance, older audiences have become a lot more comfortable using Zoom and other video conferencing in 2020 due to social distancing.
Financial marketing and poorly-conceived buyer journeys
As a financial marketing agency, we understand that many financial firms want to see marketing results quickly. This is often especially the case for startups – which are looking to bring on new clients rapidly to support the growth in their business. Yet the reality for many financial firms is that the typical “buyer journey” is usually a longer one compared to other industries. This means that it can take time to turn an initial website visitor into a client.
Think about another example – Amazon. When a customer visits the Amazon website they’re typically after a “lower value” item (e..g under £100). The stakes are thus lower, and the customer likely already has a high level of trust in Amazon that it will deliver the value they want (since it’s a well-known brand and they’ve used it before). Moreover, they can see reviews of the item quickly from other customers clearly on the sales page – allowing them to quickly judge whether it will be a “good purchase”.
With financial firms, however, the buyer journey is typically different (perhaps with the exception of banks – where customers can quickly open an account and close it again, for free). Take a financial planner selling pension advice as an example. Here, the stakes are very high for the customer – i.e. their life savings. They might have very little understanding of your “product” (compared to an Amazon product such as a TV). Moreover, there is lower customer trust from the outset which must be built up over time – you likely cannot immediately leverage the kind of brand authority available Amazon.
Given the barriers involved in this type of customer journey, you need to think carefully about how you can build trust, educate and attract the prospect over time. This will play a big role, for instance, in the calls to action (CTAs) you use on your financial website. Inviting them to “book a consultation” may be appropriate for some prospects who have become somewhat familiar with your financial brand and come to trust your thought leadership. Others, however, may be nearer the beginning of their journey and so may respond better to something softer – such as “Download our free pension transfer guide (no email required)”.