34 Pros Reveal Their Top Strategies for Marketing Financial Services
The financial services industry is rife with challenges – which we discussed in a recent post – making marketing in this field particularly delicate. Trust is a key component of any marketing relationship, but in financial services, clients are entrusting companies with their retirement savings, investments, and the like, and a person’s financial stability and future is not something to be taken lightly.
Beyond establishing trust, the financial services consumer of today is changing. Financial services companies are now beginning to market to the millennial audience, helping the up-and-coming generation plan for a stable financial future, make wise investments, purchase homes, fund business ventures, and much more, and the millennial audience has vastly different attitudes and perceptions surrounding the world as a whole. Your company may also be marketing to retirees who want to stretch their savings further, families seeking ways to save for college for their children, and other audiences, making a one-size-fits-all approach to financial services marketing impractical at best and impossible at worst.
So what’s the best way to reach today’s financial services consumers? What strategies are the most effective at building trust? And how are today’s financial consumers, who are largely taking on a greater role in self-education about financial products and services, consuming information before making financial decisions?
To gain some insight into the tactics and approaches that are engaging today’s financial services consumers, we asked a panel of 34 financial services professionals and marketing experts to answer the following question:
“What’s the single most effective strategy for marketing financial services?”
Find out what our experts had to say below.
Meet Our Panel of Financial Services Pros and Marketing Experts:
Jason Hulott is Director of SpeedieConsulting, the internet marketing specialists. Visit the site now for more useful tips and articles aimed at Insurance and Finance Brokers who wish to use the Internet to take control of their revenue generation online.
“The most effective strategy for marketing financial services is…”
Consistency. Most financial products are not impulse buys, so brands and product providers need to nurture and have multiple contact points across different channels. You can only stay front of mind with consistent messaging and stay in touch until the customer is ready to purchase.
Jonathan Long is the founder and CEO of Market Domination Media, a Miami Beach-based SEO and online marketing consulting firm. Market Domination Media also offers SEO coaching programs for companies and individuals that want to learn how to build their brands online using search engine marketing.
“One of the most important aspects of a successful financial services marketing strategy is…”
Establishing trust. Every day we are inundated with stories in the media about identity theft and security breaches. Specifically, if you are marketing online, you need to really stand out as a trustworthy website.
I would advise every company marketing and selling any sort of financial-related service or product to, at the very least, convert their website to accommodate an extended validation SSL certificate. This will change the URL structure to begin with ‘https,’ and most browsers will display a green validation bar with the organization’s legal (and verified) business name. Other signals of trust, like a BBB Accreditation badge, can be displayed to build even more trust.
I’ve consulted for multiple financial service companies, and I found that many didn’t feel it was necessary to take these extra steps unless they were asking for payment information or personal identification information, such as a social security number. Anytime you are asking someone for information related to financial services, even if it’s just a name and email address, they are going to immediately think of all the negative press out there. To help them get over that hurdle, make your website as trustworthy as possible.
Megan Wenzl is the Content Marketing Specialist at ReviewTrackers. As a journalist, she is committed to finding useful information to help your business succeed.
“Marketing financial services depend, in part, on referrals, so it’s important to have loyal customers. With that said, an effective strategy for marketing financial services is to…”
Respond to every review written online and encourage current customers to leave reviews of your financial service. When customers are in the process of choosing a financial service – whether it’s is a bank, credit union, or mortgage service – they’ll want to know what customers have experienced while working with you. So if you work at a bank, for example, how do your employees handle customer concerns and questions? It’s important to hear that kind of feedback from the customer, so that you can make necessary changes and reassure potential customers that your financial service is the right choice for them.
Kacee Johnson, founder of Blue Ocean Principles, is a regular speaker and commentator at Technology, Business, Accounting, and Legal conferences nationwide.; focusing on business development, marketing, sales and Cloud technologies. Awarded the CPA Practice Advisor Magazines Top 40 Under 40 Award in 2012, 2013 and 2015, she is recognized as one of the young professionals leading businesses into the future. With her diverse management career marked by a demonstrated ability to create solid business plans, determine product needs, achieve revenue goals, build teams and achieve cross-functional business objectives.
“One of the most effective strategies for marketing financial services is…”
Messaging that revolves around the positive growth of financial services can be more beneficial, rather than the common scare tactics consumers are used to seeing, as well as focusing on credentials, specialty, and experience. People need to feel confident and secure in financial service providers when it comes to their money. Commonly if your Marketing Strategy sends out a message that you offer the experience along with the security that comes along in today’s technology world and the expertise to provide cutting edge financial services you’re more likely to attract clients.
Frank Klesitz is the CEO and Co-Founder of Vyral Marketing, a digital marketing and social media company based in Omaha, NE that specializes in creating marketing solutions for those in the Real Estate, Financial, and Professional Services industries. Frank is a graduate of the University of Nebraska.
“The single most effective strategy for marketing financial services is to…”
Create a video twice per month, put it out on social media AND most importantly email it to your existing database of customers and prospects. In your video, you should answer questions that are commonly asked about the financial sector that you work in, as well as questions your current customers and prospects have posed to you. Regular marketing efforts to your existing database is the best strategy for those in the financial services that want to grow their business.
Max is the Creative Strategy Director for Online Optimism, a marketing agency based out of New Orleans, Louisiana.
“One of the most effective strategies for marketing financial services is…”
Building relationships is the key to improving marketing efforts for financial services. One of the best ways to engage past, current, and potential clients is through an email newsletter. Through platforms like Emma or MailChimp, it has never been easier to handle create and distribute your own email newsletter. Financial services rely heavily on referrals; email newsletters are a great and simple way to interact with those who can give you referrals. You never know when a friend of a client is going to ask them for advice on a financial service. If you are in their inbox frequently, you will be the first person to come to their mind. Letting past, current, and potential clients know your activities including new features, speaking opportunities, great success stories, and even personal events like weddings, births and graduations is a great way to keep clients engaged.
Building trust and transparency is key to landing referrals. Simple relationship building can lead to a lot, both in the present and future. Because newsletters are a very direct method of communication compared to social media or blogging, two other strategies commonly used to build connections, they are more effective in building personal relationships. By connecting clients to the best financial services for them, they provide you a strong testimonial/referral opportunity. Overall, those in financial services must communicate their abilities to past, current, and potential clients to best increase their leads and referrals and improve their business.
Ibanrilin is an experienced Content Strategist and Marketer at Wise Calvin with four years of experience in Content Creation. While her full-time job calls on her skills to drive engagement and create branding strategies, her free time is spent in painting or blogging about anything under the sky. Her favorite quote is Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
“One key consideration in marketing financial services is…”
Millennials are the leading consumers today, and financial services should be prepared for this segment of the market. Millenials are tech-savvy and adventurous, and they want to participate in decision making.
So, marketers must incorporate creativity and technology into their marketing strategies for this generation. Mobile presence is key to capturing their attention, because they are mostly online and connected.
Known as the Small Business “Chief Marketing Officer,” Javed Khan is an accomplished and engaging speaker, and experienced voice over talent. He’s been a featured presenter at multiple professional association conferences, workshops, webinars, media outlets, and is a regular session host across many Canadian Chambers of Commerce.
“Having a strong background in financial services and working closely with financial advisors with their marketing efforts, I strongly believe the most effective strategy that can work in the long term is…”
The power of content marketing.
Content marketing continues to become the most popular strategy that not only will support a financial services professional’s awareness; it will also increase their search engine optimization (SEO). Yes, content marketing plays a key role in your SEO! The more relevant content that is created and posted, the stronger the SEO results it will generate.
To be clear, content can take more than the written form. It can be a series of videos, podcasts, images with headlines. The key is the content must be targeted and relevant to the particular audience. It’s not about selling, nor about themselves.
Why content marketing? There are three main reasons why content marketing is so effective:
1. People are moving away from traditional forms of marketing. Marketing is pretty simple in theory: you create something and then tell everyone about it. But what if people aren’t paying attention? Well, that’s where content marketing comes in.
2. With the advancement of technology, people love looking at content whether they’re at work or on the bus – so potential customers have never been so accessible.
3 Creating great content takes time, but it’s a very cost-effective strategy.
With this said, here are two content marketing ideas that financial services professionals can implement in their businesses:
Identify your target audience. What are their most common questions? What is keeping them up at night?
Create a list of their questions and use these answers to drive your content strategy.
Develop a short (3-5 questions) survey or poll and communicate it to a list of your top clients on your email list and social media channels. Ask them for their most pressing questions. Create a question of the week.
Farhad Divecha is the Director of AccuraCast, a London-based digital marketing agency.
“My agency does marketing for many financial services providers, and what we’ve found through years of experience is that the most effective strategy is…”
A multi-channel strategy. Let me explain.
Most financial services purchase are not immediate decisions. Customers tend to do a lot of research, find information from various sources, gather reviews from peers and compare competing services before making a decision. As a result, any brand that focuses on one channel or medium and ignores others risks losing customers to competitors who are present everywhere.
This often boils down to the zero moment of truth – the point when potential customers decide to share their details and become a lead or sale. That zero moment of truth may happen after they see favorable reviews, when they’re comparing services, or even when they’re reading detailed articles about the market. The zero moment of truth may happen on a PC at work or on a mobile device at home. Being present at that zero moment of truth is what determines whether the customer converts on your website or one of your competitors’.
Charlie Riley has over 15 years of well-rounded experience in multiple disciplines of marketing communications, advertising, public relations, and brand positioning. He currently leads all communications and marketing functions for a Top 100 Independent Insurance Agency headquartered in Buffalo, NY.
“I would have to say the most effective strategy for marketing financial services is to…”
Eliminate jargon and talk like a human, as simply as possible. It is easy to assume that the end user understands industry terms or acronyms, but they probably don’t. That is what they are hiring you as the expert. Communicating in the terminology they can understand and feel comfortable with – in a very simple manner – helps break down trust barriers.
Molly Jacobson is the owner of Jacobson Strategy, a national marketing and public relations firm headquartered in Tampa, Florida.
“In my experience, the most effective strategy for marketing financial services is…”
Positioning oneself/organization as an educational resource. Educating potential customers on taxes, savings, investments, etc., through digital and traditional media, situates a financial services provider as an industry expert. What’s more, this approach cultivates trust with consumers, allowing them to feel comfortable placing their trust in a particular financial services professional. Who would you trust to handle your hard-earned money?
Chad Kimball is an internet marketing expert, an entrepreneur, and the author of www.chaddo.com. He specializes in offering career advice for those who wish to spend more time living than working, in a society that often encourages a lifestyle that is the other way around.
“Financial services marketers need to…”
Expand their audience. There are 80 million millennials in this country, and 40 million of them have children. Not all of those people are wealthy or old enough to be targeted by the traditional marketing efforts the financial services industry utilizes, but they will all have a future! Financial services firms should be finding ways to make their products and services relevant to that generation now. One effective way to do that is to send the message that financial health is part of a person’s overall health and well-being. Health and well-being have proven to be topics of great interest for millennials, and that interest can be tapped into if it is made relevant for other markets.
Chris is the Content Marketing Manager at Brandpoint and has nearly a decade of professional writing experience. His previous roles include editor and copywriter, and most recently Chris was part of the marketing department at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
“The best strategy in financial services marketing is to…”
Make it relatable. When people hear finance, they think of Wall Street, hedge fund managers, and the DOW … right before they tune it out. Why? Because it’s not relatable. Your average reader doesn’t work on Wall Street, isn’t a hedge fund manager, and finds the DOW’s rapid ups and downs maddening. To make it relatable, tie your financial message into an experience your readers do know intimately. Start with a case of common financial stress – be it job loss, retirement, or outstanding debt – and then illustrate how your product, process, or improvement will help solve that problem. Turn your message into a real-world solution that your readers can act on, and they will be more receptive.
Lior Krolewicz is the Founder and CEO of Yael Consulting. He offers digital marketing services across both paid and organic search marketing.
“When it comes to marketing financial services, the key is to…”
Promote to benefits, not necessarily the features. Consumers search for financial services for a reason. They want to get money for college, purchase a home, or save for retirement. By selling the benefits, consumers better align your services with a solution to the financial problem they are looking to solve.
VP of Marketing of ManPow LLC (Sherman Bridge Lending, New Western Acquisitions, and MoneyBug) at 26 years old, Harrington is an experienced marketing, sales, and technology leader with a background in both in-house and agency-level advertising. She has proven results with companies of all sizes and has built successful campaigns and technologies that have led to a fast uptick in lead generation of over 500%.
“When marketing for a financial company, it can seem like a daunting and terribly boring idea…”
Of course, there are many laws and regulations, but that doesn’t mean that your website and marketing campaigns have to be as stiff as the numbers on the paper. I find that giving the site and content a little wave of fun can create a trusting environment that will build brand affinity. Additionally, many people see financial institutions – or anything similarly heavy – to be a difficult and daunting task. Automation and building technology that makes the task of creating accounts and applying for services simple will attract more potential customers that might be wary of the fine print and tech in general.
Jenko Kent is the Chief Creative Officer of Stage 6 Media, a marketing agency specializing in unique and effective video marketing campaigns that engage your target audience and motivate them to action.
“The way to approach financial services marketing is to remember that…”
Money is a fundamentally emotional issue for the average person, and we make ourselves vulnerable to the companies who we trust enough to bring into our financial worlds. If instead of lauding your facts, figures, success rates, and service offerings, you can connect with your customers on a human level, you’re going to have a much more substantial impact. The best way to do this is by telling heartfelt stories that demonstrate your genuine passion and determination to care for your customers. Whether it’s a print ad, a commercial, or even your website, if you anchor your message in a story your customer feels connected to, you have already begun to build a powerful relationship that typically turns into a much larger return on your marketing investment.
Kent Lewis is President & Founder of Anvil, a measurable marketing agency specializing in search engine and social media marketing. Based in Portland, OR, Anvil improves our world through creative problem solving for purpose-driven companies.
“The single most effective strategy for marketing financial services is to…”
Add value. Financial services can be intimidating and confusing. Educate your prospects by simplifying the concepts around the features, advantages, and benefits of your products or services. Creating multimedia assets like explainer videos, infographics, and editorial-style content is often more effective at catching the eye and engaging the reader. Work with your marketing resources to develop, optimize, syndicate, and promote unique, compelling, and insightful content that feels more like editorial than advertising.
Joseph Gravy Graves
Joseph Gravy Graves is the Owner of I Hate Buying Insurance and Don of ‘The Insurance Mafia.’ After 450,000 miles, visiting 700+ agencies, and serving 5,000+ people, he has discovered why most hate buying insurance. Serving both retail clients and wholesales to agents, his company leverages over 80 carriers to find the best value for each need.
“The single most effective marketing strategy for financial services is…”
Networking. When it comes to money management, either investments/securities or insurance, I believe most people want a TRUSTED advisor. Trust comes with interaction, conversation, and report – NOT from a billboard or a link on Facebook. That is the 10,000-foot answer.
Networking can be going to business specific networking events (usually after hours and with a large group of people). It can be a one-on-one meeting for coffee, lunch, or an evening beer. You’re going to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner anyway, so why not schedule it to enjoy it with someone else? If you leave it at that, you will spend a lot of money and make a few close friends (that’s not bad), yet you will not close business.
Networking has three stages. We’ve broken it down to Pre-Crowding, Crowding, and Post-Crowding.
What you do before and during an event is very important. Yet almost everyone I HAVE EVER MET drops the ball and screws up the Post-Crowding. In other words, follow up.
If you are going to network, have a plan!
- Who do you want to meet?
- How can you create referral partners from any interaction?
- Then the most important question: What will you put in place to follow up regularly?
I go to several events a month. By being honest and personable, I get asked almost at every event, by someone I’ve interacted with BEFORE, “Can I call you about…???”
Engage. Build trust. Follow up. Work referrals. ALMOST the only marketing I do – Building MY network.
Mike Scanlin is the CEO of Born To Sell, a web site dedicated to self-directed covered call investors. He has been trading covered calls for 35 years.
“Our single most effective strategy to market our financial services has been…”
Our affiliate network. We have over 1,300 websites that promote our services in exchange for earning a commission when we get a free trial user or paid subscriber from one of their leads. We use ShareASale.com to manage our affiliate program. They make it completely painless. They deal with signing up affiliates, handling link codes, generating traffic and commission reports, and sending out payments. Super easy.
If you want to know what’s not effective (things we’ve tried that didn’t pay for themselves) then don’t use (1) email sponsorships at high CPMs (pay for an ad in someone else’s newsletter, for example), (2) print advertising (for an online service), or (3) email list rentals at high CPMs (for so-called highly targeted audiences). None of those have worked for us, and we’ve tried each of them several times.
Lais Pontes is a Forbes 30 under 30, and the Founder and President of The Pontes Group, a leading marketing agency with offices in South Florida and Los Angeles. She believes in taking big risks to do big things and encourages her clients to do the same. Because at The Pontes Group, they don’t just think outside the box – they build new boxes every day.
“The most effective strategy to market financial services is to…”
Serve as a resource to the often financially misinformed society we live in. A great way to do this is through content marketing. We like to sit down with our clients and help them craft relatable and succinct advice to share with readers of popular media outlets. One of our clients, Joe Eppy from The Eppy Group, is a great proof of this. We have worked together to share some very valuable messages such as “What To Do With A Year End Bonus” with CNBC.
Alessandro Ravanetti is the Co-founder and CMO of Crowd Valley, a company providing Digital Back Office and public API that powers digital investing and lending applications such as crowd funding, peer-to-peer investing and lending, and real estate and alternative asset marketplaces for financial services professionals.
“The single most effective strategy for marketing financial services in my experience is to…”
Create awesome content that is valuable for your audience and grows your business.
It doesn’t matter what you want to do – it can be a well-written article for your blog, a white paper about the evolution of the industry you are part of, or a market report with interesting data to share – it’s key that you dedicate the right amount of time and importance to the creation of content assets, and then the promotion and the distribution of what you prepared.
You should not try to simply sell your product or services; instead, you should aim to teach and inspire with your content, with something that applies to the specific needs of your audience and something that can really help them.
Mike Ser is an Active Trader with over 17 years of trading experience. Together with his most successful student, Andy Man, Ser founded Ser Man Traders with the vision to mentor and help traders develop their own customized trading styles. He has shared his thoughts in Forbes, BBC, and Globe&Mail.
“The single most important strategy for marketing financial services is to…”
SHOW RESULTS. You can communicate the description of how a financial product or service works, but what people care about is how can it help them and the financial result of investing in or buying this financial product. Obviously, past results don’t guarantee future performance, but if you can communicate the past historical performance of your financial product/service and give people the confidence that this product/service can help them, then you have done your job.
David A. Johnson
David Johnson is a partner in Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP, one of the most well-known consulting and management companies in St. Croix. Along with his position at Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP, he is also a partner at the international consulting company, Strategic Link Consulting.
“Marketing financial services is all about…”
Building long-term relationships, growing with your customers to ensure you continue to provide them with what they need. That ties into marketing, because these days it’s the consumers who have the power. They write reviews on products and services, and they do their research to figure out the best bang for their buck. It’s essential to focus on connecting with people as individuals and meeting their needs, and in the end, they will do your marketing for you. Bottom line: today, you’ve got to earn customers, especially when we’re talking about marketing financial services. People need to trust you, so you need a marketing strategy that is genuine and focused on customer service.
Ryan Ruud is a digital marketing leader and entrepreneur. Ryan has led marketing for brands from startup to blue chip. As Founder and CEO of the digital marketing and business consulting firm, Lake One, Ryan led the development and launch of content marketing at the $6B Agstar Financial Services. His Credit Union Consulting Group partners with credit unions of all sizes to build, launch, and manage member acquisition and engagement programs.
“When it comes to marketing financial services…”
Financial services firms run into all sorts of marketing challenges. Not only do financial firms struggle with regulation, but consumer journeys are less mapped than those of shoppers for goods.
These hurdles make marketing in the financial industry both challenging and exciting.
As consumers turn more and more to multiple devices, researching and dropping financial needs breadcrumbs, the single best financial marketing strategy is for financial services firms to listen, be present, and be a resource.
This manifests itself in three steps along the strategy execution.
First firms need to create valuable content for consumers to discover in what Google calls micro-moments how do I what do I etc. these are the financial need breadcrumbs where consumers will be searching for things like what do I need to buy a new car or how do I roll over a 401k. Maybe even less specific, how do I save $100,000 in 5 years? Creating content that shares your expertise in these micro-moments creates a strong brand impression.
Second, financial services organizations need to be ready to take the relationship to the next level. Once a consumer who is searching in these micro-moments finds your branded content, they may not be ready to convert yet. Move them into a newsletter sign up by capturing their email. No newsletter? Leverage a remarketing tag or get them to follow your social media so you can continue to communicate with them as they move closer to the moment of decision.
Third and finally, once they’ve converted, continue engaging with them. Turning them into advocates who will share your story with their friends and family feeds your pipeline with more qualified opportunities.
The sum of this whole strategy is to move consumers from shopper to financial partner to advocate, starting early in their research phase.
Milan Malivuk is the Director of Marketing for itracMarketer, an email marketing and marketing automation company that counts Scotia Private Client Group, State Street, CI Investments, Mawer, and more among its clients. He’s an expert at sales and marketing funnels, with a specialization in digital, content, and inbound marketing, and he regularly teaches best practices to clients.
“We work with financial services companies every day, and the question about the most effective marketing strategies in this field is interesting because marketing for financial services is changing…”
Financial marketing used to be about brand marketing – basically, push marketing with information being pushed out from the bank to the public. Financial services, as an industry, has been slow to adapt to the changing marketing landscape. We can see this with Fintech (Financial Technology) startups that are implementing newer marketing techniques such as content and inbound marketing.
Inbound and content marketing are the way forward for financial services companies, and you’ll see that change over the next couple of years as these companies begin to focus on content marketing. The basic tenant behind content marketing is that if you produce high quality, relevant content for your audience you can establish a relationship of trust with them and then when they are ready to purchase you’ll be top of mind.
Content marketing is ideally positioned for financial services companies due to the fact that financial companies rely on trust more than most other industries, and what better way to build trust than to teach?
This inbound marketing approach, which lets clients pull information from the bank, is also more appealing as the old style of brand marketing made it difficult to measure the ROI in marketing. With digital marketing, we’re able to properly track and measure the results of different campaigns and precisely test a multitude of different components. Also, attribution is strong since you can track everything down to where each lead came from, which campaign, which offer, which wording, etc. The ROI is a lot clearer than the old approach of putting up a billboard with a bank’s name on it and having a fuzzy idea of the return.
Inbound and content marketing can seem intimidating to some of these financial services companies, but it doesn’t have to be. Here at itracMarketer, we’ve helped many of the leading financial services companies implement various aspects of this strategy into their marketing and while it is a change of approach we’re bullish on how it will benefit not just the marketing and sales sides of the banks, but the consumers as well. Typically our clients get their feet with some automated email marketing, but then there’s a whole world of content production that generates leads for sales teams and increases brand awareness as well.
Lidia Shong is the head of Marketing at aboutLife, a company that provides free online financial planning tools and services.
“There are some important things to consider when developing an effective strategy for marketing financial services…”
First, let’s make it clear what and who we’re marketing to:
What: Personal finance services, more specifically retirement planning services and guidance
Who: Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers
Our most successful marketing strategy starts by making an emotional connection between the customer and us. People’s finances are often a very emotional topic and something that they keep behind closed doors. The old strategy to appeal to people’s rational side (after all, we’re dealing with money!) through charts, graphs and mathematical models only works once you’ve won customers’ hearts. Before that, you must understand their emotional barriers and address them in a simple, transparent, and non-condescending way. In other words, you have to learn how to speak the same language as your customers do.
That principle has to be reflected in every interaction with the customer online and offline. And that’s why clear branding and content strategies are so critical to your success. Know who your customers are and have a consistent voice every time you communicate with them.
Marilyn Heywood Paige
Marilyn Heywood Paige is the Vice President of Marketing for FiG Advertising and Marketing, an integrated marketing agency in Denver. She has a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications, and before joining FiG, she owned and operated her own marketing consulting firm for seven years.
“The single most effective strategy for marketing financial services is…”
An integrated strategy, because there is no one silver bullet anymore. Your customers are online and offline; they are on social media, in search engines and opening email. They are listening to the radio, opening their snail mail, watching TV, and Youtube. It’s no longer about finding that one perfect tactic anymore. Marketing success is understanding all of the channels available and knowing which ones to invest in to maximize your ROI.
“Here’s the answer that people don’t want to hear: The single most effective strategy for marketing financial services is…”
Relentless, nonstop, never-give-up prospecting efforts. Financial services is a one-on-one business, so direct outreach is the way to go. For some people this is cold-calling, for others it’s LinkedIn groups/messages, for others it is social involvement through charities and other work.
Direct outreach through relentless prospecting is the SINGLE WAY to build a huge book of business. I spend my days teaching financial advisors how to get more business. I’ve found that most new advisors really struggle with cold calling. They try to tell me that they’re so much better at speaking/guest blogging/seminars, but I guarantee you that if you can sit down and make 100 calls or touches with actual, live human beings, you will build a business.
People want a human interaction in this business. They want to know that there’s someone behind the complex financial jargon. They want to take comfort in the fact that there’s a true steward, helping them with the fruits of their labor. That’s why direct outreach is so powerful.
If anyone tells you that inbound marketing is the best way to market financial services, this is only partly true. While it does educate consumers and drive targeted traffic, eventually there’s going to be a one-on-one conversation. Essentially, somewhere along the line, a direct outreach is GOING to happen.
Earl Wilcox started his career in advertising with a Wall Street Journal property and went on to eight years in senior management at Martin Williams Advertising in Minneapolis. In 1993, he started what was to become Plannerzone, a research firm that provides clients with important insights that inform their creative and strategic process. Earl has a BA in English and Philosophy from the University of Minnesota and an MBA in Marketing from the Carlson School of Management.
“In our work across financial categories including investing, banking, and insurance we have learned that…”
Consumers see very little differentiation between brands.
Brands in these categories are seen, for the most part, as interchangeable commodities. Often when there is a brand preference it operates at the level of service delivery, where a specific agent representing the brand is preferred over other agents of other brands.
The few brands that are truly successful at standing out are those that create a distinctive presence. This distinctiveness makes it easy for consumers to identify them among countless competitors.
Financial services companies use distinctive brands to make themselves both noticeable and memorable: Geico has the gecko, Aflac has the duck, Metlife has Snoopy. These characters create novel identities for the brands, making it easier for consumers to recognize and purchase the brand.
Another example of creating a distinctive presence is USAA. Their messaging strategy, which honors America’s fighting forces and their families, creates an emotional appeal for the brand that touches any consumer, whether they are in a military family or not. When it is time to shop the category, who wouldn’t give USAA a try?
In a time of consolidation where large faceless corporations take over well-loved community financial institutions, possessing a distinctive brand will be key to gain consumer engagement and win against competitors.
Kelly Edwards is the co-founder and CEO of Lawton Marketing Group, an Oklahoma-based marketing agency with financial and insurance industry clients in 45 states. Kelly graduated in 2002 from The University of North Texas with a degree in advertising and worked in corporate marketing for ten years before founding LMG.
“The most effective marketing vehicle for financial advisors is…”
Targeted social media ads, especially on Facebook and LinkedIn. Advisors can get specific messages in front of specific groups of people, and it works incredibly well. For example, you can do an ad about business succession planning and target it to business owners who live in your city, are over 55, and make more than $500,000 per year. Or you could do an ad about 401(k) rollovers targeted to people who have had a recent job change. This kind of marketing is extremely powerful and cost-effective. It’s been a game-changer for many of our clients.
Becky Livingston is the CEO of Penheel Marketing with more than 25 years’ experience in social media and digital marketing for small business owners and CPAs.
“The one tip I’d share for the most effective strategy for marketing a financial services firm is this…”
Define your target audience, down to the most finite details, and communicate – not market – with them on their platform of choice. Whether that’s email, a social media platform, conferences, ebooks, blogs, podcasts, video –whatever it is, speak with them. Share tips they can use. Provide them with solutions to their problems…even problems they don’t know they have. And be sincere.
Samuella Becker is the CEO & Founder of TigressPR, representing startups and small companies with big dreams. She’s also been the media spokesperson for America’s largest companies including CIT and Chase Manhattan Bank, as well as a Wall Street investment firm with 20 mutual funds. She has an MBA in Marketing and started her career as a journalist.
“When it comes to the most effective strategies for marketing financial services, there is one word that says it all…”
But to impress you will have to show that your mutual fund, investment advisor, etc. is more than a one-trick pony and has had a successful track record over a period of time – say at least three to five years – citing its Morningstar and/or USNews Rankings.
As the former communications director for a Wall Street investment firm with 20 mutual funds, a discount brokerage, S/L and pension management services, I often offered the portfolio managers as expert sources to reporters at consumer financial magazines such as Money to talk about trends and/or small-cap companies that wouldn’t typically be on a person’s radar. Then we’d send the article/feature it with the PM’s advice and the “As Seen in Money Magazine” headline.
The other piece of advice I can offer today is to know your prospective client and the stage of life they are in. Are they preparing for retirement or just starting out with dreams of a family/home ownership? Cookie-cutter, a.k.a. one-size-fits-all marketing, rarely works.
April Rudin is the founder of The Rudin Group, a wealth marketing firm that works exclusively in financial services. She founded the business in 2008 and works with many firms of all shapes and sizes.
“Vital to financial services marketing is…”
The development of a plan. Most approach marketing on an ad-hoc basis with a wide range of activities that they find don’t work, largely because they have no goals, follow-up, messaging, etc. Just as portfolios grow with an investment strategy, financial services firms need to invest in creating a marketing strategy and a road map to follow.
John Renaldo works with some of Blue Fountain Media‘s largest marketing clients. John began his career at Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) where he worked in sales and marketing in the consumer products division. John later became a Digital Marketing Strategist and eventually Manager of Digital Marketing Services at MedNet Technologies (Advice Media).
“In my experience in marketing for B2B financial services, the most effective strategy is…”
A healthy mix of knowing who your audience is, who the decision makers are, and understanding the type of messaging – and more importantly, the proper platform – through which to reach them. You need to know who these folks are and where they are spending their time digitally, where you can reach them with a tailored message that speaks specifically to their organizational roles and pain points. Demographic and advanced targeting play a large role in effectively reaching this audience because your typical blanket marketing mix won’t be efficient here.
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