As a financial marketer, there are a few quotes I live by:
“Treat your customer as if they are a guest in your home.”
“When bogged down in details, go back to the objective.”
“We don’t sell checking accounts and loans, we sell TRUST.”
You can sell “trust” several different ways:
- Demonstrate that you understand your customer’s life stage and that you can positively affect their “pains.”
- Hire and train empathetic staff … then give them the parameters and freedom to do what’s right by the customer.
- Manage your institution to customer needs and not just bank bottom-line.
- Don’t focus on product, focus on value.
It’s this last point that I want to focus on today.
One of the best ways to focus on value is to talk TO your audience, not AT them. For the Marketing Department, this often means Content Marketing. It’s a great way to create awareness, educate, differentiate, engage your target, provide a benefit, position yourself as the expert and soft-sell.
“75% of marketers are increasing investment in content marketing.” (Curata)
If you’re going to do Content Marketing, focus less on the “CONTENT” and more on the “MARKETING.”
Content Marketing is NOT simply producing blogs, articles, podcasts, infographics and videos. It is:
“70 percent of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy.” (Altimeter)
You wouldn’t launch into digital marketing without a strategy. Don’t launch into content marketing without one. And, by the way … “We’ll occasionally write something cool,” is not a strategy.
- Why: How does your content help you succeed in the institution’s overall corporate and marketing goals?
- Who Reads: Understand who will most be impacted by your “cool stuff.”
- Who Creates: If you don’t assign accountabilities and responsibilities, nothing will get done.
- How: What will you do to get people to see and care about your content?
- Measurement: How will you know it’s successful?
What do you want your content effort to accomplish? It can:
- Attract attention
- Acquire new customers
- Engage people with your brand
Understand the purpose before you create the materials.
Just like creating advertising, you must create content to a specific audience. Before picking up the quill, know who you are writing to. What voice should you use? What is the target’s current knowledge level (don’t talk down to them or over their heads)? Can you tell jokes or should you be dry? How detailed do they need the information? What is their attention span (Are you still with me in this article?)
If an infographic falls on the web and no one is around to read it, does it make an impact?
You need a plan to drive your audience to your content.
- Create a product-specific microsite to house the content
- Regularly push content to targeted customers
- Use social media to try to make content viral
- Make sure your staff regularly reads the content so they can talk it up and recommend relevant material. Your content should be another tool for your sales team.
The point is, don’t just create stuff and expect people to show up.
Content marketing takes much more time than any other strategy.
Content is an opportunity for your bank or credit union to be seen as the expert. That said, it’s also an opportunity to highlight all the smart people that work for you.
Create a monthly, quarterly or annual content calendar and assign people to provide content on specific days. Even if they don’t actually write the article or script, they should provide the ideas. Make sure you allow plenty of deadline time and be prepared to send several reminders and hold hands … this will not be their number one priority.
“55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like.” (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
How do you measure success?
- Eyes on the materials: If awareness is your goal, this may be enough
- Content engagement: You can track clicks and comments, then remarket to engaged customers
- Traffic to ancillary or associated web pages: Sometimes, the content is merely breadcrumbs leading prospects to your web site. Once they are there, what do they do?
- Direct response: Do you provide forms, email links or phone numbers for people to contact you directly when they are interested in your material?
- Sales lift
Like social media, you shouldn’t enter into content marketing unless you have the time to dedicate to it. But, with proper planning and teamwork, you can make content marketing a lucrative and powerful aspect of your marketing plan.
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