Digital marketing is a huge subject with so many different ways it can be used in financial services. How do you even get started? For new businesses, this can be a critical question to help ensure their survival and growth. For more established firms, digital marketing could make all the difference between growing your market share – or not.
In this article, our digital team here at MarketingAdviser offers some thoughts on how to start moving your business into the realm of online (digital) marketing. We hope you find this content useful, and invite you to get in touch if you’d like to discuss your own campaign with a member of our team.
Establish your assets
Similar to a financial planner helping a client take stock of their current financial situation, getting started in digital marketing requires taking a good look at the assets you already have under your belt. Here are some examples to consider:
- Your own financial services website.
- Brand assets (e.g. logo, colour scheme, fonts, styles, imagery, brochure, client folder).
- Client testimonies and reviews.
- Content such as PDF guides, articles, blog posts and landing pages.
- Videos – animated and “talking head”.
- Digital tools such as pension calculators and other interactive content.
- Social media accounts and content.
There are many other possible digital assets which you might have. Hopefully, this list inspires you to draw up your own! Once you have a clearer picture of your current asset base, however, this will help you determine which ones can be leveraged later in your campaigns. Some of them might need to be parked for the time being, “refurbished” or “re-purposed” before they can be deployed.
Review your current strategy
If you are just starting out as a financial firm, then you may not have a marketing strategy yet. However, assuming you do, what is it? Hopefully, it is written down clearly in an easy-accessible document which key decision-makers can refer to.
For many financial planners, their marketing strategy is fairly simple – provide an excellent service to existing clients and encourage them to refer wealthy friends, family members and colleagues to the business. This can work remarkably well for many companies, up to a point. In today’s digital world, however, businesses that take this approach are likely to be left behind. Across almost all verticals in 2021, consumers expect businesses to be visible online and to have a compelling web presence. Achieving this requires strategic thought, time and ongoing effort.
Determine your online audience
To ascertain the best digital strategy and tools for your business, it is crucial to ascertain who your target audience is – and where they congregate online. There is little use aggressively marketing on Instagram, for instance, if your audience largely comprises males over 60 years old. In 2021, the most prominent users of Instagram are 25-34 year-olds (31.5%) and 18-24 year-olds (22.9%) – with 56% of users being female.
Be careful not to shortcut your way to constructing your “buyer personas” (ideal client descriptions) or to make assumptions about them. For example, many financial planners assume that their clients are not active online much, at all. Yet this is usually not the case. Over-50s and over-60s tend to own smartphones like everyone else, use email and messaging services like WhatsApp, and look for content online using search engines like Google.
Consider how your audience seeks to solve the problems you can address when they are on the internet. Do they scrawl through forums looking for a solution to a pension problem? Do they consult friends and strangers on social media via groups?
Check your sales journey
How does someone in your target market come to arrive as a client? Most likely, they do not simply look at your website and instantly phone up asking to get onto your books (although, it could happen!). Rather, he/she needs to go through a journey before they are ready to sit down with you and trust you with their hard-earned wealth and finances.
To be effective, your digital marketing needs to meet your potential client at every step of this journey – knowing what to say, when to say it and how. If your first touch-point with a prospect is a hard sell (e.g. “Buy X Service for £1,000, today”) then you are likely to lose them. If lead with value, however, then you have a good chance of nurturing them closer to the meaningful action you want them to take – such as booking a free consultation. Leading with value in digital marketing typically involves offering your audience great content which is relevant and useful to them, helping them to solve their problems.
Weigh the channels in front of you
At this stage, you can start to think about which digital marketing channels might be a good fit for your financial firm. Organic search can be a good option for many businesses. Here, you engage in search engine optimisation (SEO) to gradually build your website’s natural position in your audience’s relevant search engine results. When he/she sees your link and sees that it could help meet the need they have, they are likely to click through and might take action on your website.
Other channels include PPC (pay per click advertising) and social media marketing. The former involves displaying adverts in Google search – and across the internet on other websites – to try and generate website traffic from your audience. Each time a user clicks on your advert, you pay Google or whichever platform you are using. The latter involves becoming more active on your business’s social media account(s) by liking, commenting and posting regularly – with the aim of building up a following from your target audience, who then might become a source of leads.