Finance content: plant the seed and watch customers grow

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It won't happen overnight
By Jacqueline Malafiej, contributor. 14 December, 2017
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The marketing mix in financial services has shifted from a bricks-and-mortar to a clicks-and-mortar approach, and the more interruptive marketing – those wrong place, wrong time messages across TVCs and homepage takeovers – have been replaced with strategic content.

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Content marketing as a term has been misappropriated, and at times, misrepresented – particularly to the c-suite. It’s not the marketing messiah, delivering an abundance of leads and rapid conversions, all at a lower cost because it’s delivered via a suite of online channels. And it’s not a strategy that should be used in place of traditional marketing, but rather, as part of it.

The golden rule of content is that it is brand storytelling at its best. It must provide value, entertainment and information to the consumer, instead of interrupting them. A content strategy is a long game. It plants the seed so that when a consumer is ready to buy, they will seriously consider you, so long as you’ve properly watered that seed along the way.

Why patience is a virtue in content marketing

The concept of attribution vs incrementally has never been more important. There are so many financial services organisations building content communities, but there is an expectation that these will convert to instant sales. In reality, only 3% of the available market is ready to "buy now", according to the sales book,  The Ultimate Sales Machine, 17% are in information gathering mode, 20% are problem aware and the remaining 50% aren't actively researching or problem aware. That means that 97 out of every 100 people you target aren’t tuned in to what you are saying. Unfortunately, some c-suite and lead marketers expect content to treat every lead as the 3% that are ready to buy. This is simply not the case.

In reality, only 3% of the available market is ready to "buy now".

When you start to stack the numbers on this it can be alarming. When only 20% of your target market is ready to buy or actively researching, factoring in web traffic, bounce rates, engagement and conversion metrics at 1-3% of traffic, it can seem like ROI is unattainable. Crunching the numbers further, it means that for every 1000 you target, somewhere between 30 - 200 may come to visit, and with 3% ready to buy (30), that means somewhere in the vicinity of 0.3 - 1 out of every 1000 people will convert. Don’t be dismayed, if you’re a savvy marketer who knows your lifetime customer value numbers and can interpret and implement empirical data, you can Moneyball a content strategy across your organisation, with a real sense of purpose.

Nurture and tend to customer's needs

Forget the power of the brand.
Talk is cheap.

Selective viewing and media consumption mean consumers are now in control. And for this reason, it’s never been more critical to be authentic and build content that puts your customer, not your brand, first. This content doesn’t involve an exhaustive list of product features and reasons why customers should buy, and buy now, but rather it acknowledges their distractedness in a busy world, the confusion of choice, the complexity of making significant financial decisions, and of course, offers genuine guidance and help. Consumers decide the rules; the where, when and how they are going to interact with your brand, so you need to ensure you’re giving them what they want, not just in the immediate sense, but for the long-term.

The importance of tailoring your content to the platforms cannot be underrated. SugarMamma.TV's Canna Campbell, a financial advisor with a global reach, leverages her blog and YouTube channel to atomise content with authenticity, sincerity and real value. Her $1000 project is a terrific example of showing, not just telling, as she puts herself through the paces of building passive income.

Remarketing is another important way to nurture the seed and capture the attention of visitors who aren’t yet ready to make a commitment to your brand. Often these pools can be quite small, but they do offer a potential opportunity that’s not to be missed. Drop a cookie to serve display; invite them to subscribe; ensure your online capture forms are brief, and more importantly, that they work! Use your data to know which content is working hardest for you; what type of devices it’s being viewed on, and when it is consumed.

Building a steady library of relevant content and knowing your numbers will improve your ability to emphasise the importance of a holistic marketing plan, of which content is one of the sum of parts. It will ensure that no one is under any illusion of what role content plays in your broader marketing strategy, and strengthens the argument in favour of investing long-term.

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Jacqueline started her working life in advertising, though has spent most of her career in marketing. Her work with world-renowned blue chip brands has spanned the entire marketing mix, from brand and content strategy, channel development, and CX, to digital and social programs. Jacqueline’s passion lies in the science of combining creativity with commerce, and her expertise is focused on balancing creative integrity whilst ensuring measurable, commercial outcomes. Struck by wanderlust, Jacqueline is a keen traveller, photographer and writer.