Finance brands are hot on content marketing. Or at least they were in 2017, when Tearsheet wrote this...
"Firms from Chase to Acorns to Bond Street are on a mission to educate customers and promote financial literacy through content marketing — something previously done, for the most part, by employees of the bank — to keep up with customers’ increasing need for control and self-service. It’s clear they’re trying to keep emotional ties with customers strong, since most opt to manage their money digitally now, through a banking app or roboadvisor.
“They don’t want people to park their money and go,” said April Rudin, chief executive and founder of wealth marketing strategy firm The Rudin Group. “Content is one way to make people return back to their site to add more money, to add value… The problem is there’s no one-size-fits-all advice for customers, and the majority of the firms haven’t figured out how to serve up content that’s not one-size-fits-all.”
Good advice — and content — will ensure people will return back to their site to see new updates, buy new products and invest more money. Many of the accounts being targeted in the content are on the lower asset level, but to keep business running, firms need more investors, larger investors and ultimately to grow their assets under management.
“Content marketing is not a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have, but it costs money,” said one conference goer at the Digiday Content Marketing Summit this week. “Where is that money supposed to come from? A sale makes it easier to justify, but you can’t always be selling. That’s a huge turnoff.”
Put another way, content marketing allows financial services firms -- particularly fintechs -- to connect with their customers in a non-salesy way to keep their products and services top of mind when it comes time to sell. It's not any different than what other industries use content for, but it's particularly effective in finance where you're selling complex (and expensive) products to a largely inexperienced crowd of buyers. Everyone needs financial services to some degree, and that means your audience is going to ran the gamut from very sanny to not at all familiar with even the basics.
Good content marketing helps finance bridge that gap.
But what does that look like in action? In my experience, there are 3 angles that financial services firms should take in their content marketing to effectively connect with buyers and build goodwill.
Finance is, by definition, complicated. And most people just don't get it.
Even at the most basic levels, research has shown that U.S. financial literacy is shockingly low, with only 57% of U.S. adults having an average grasp of the topic. Only 30% of Americans were able to answer three simple financial questions about inflation, interest compounding and risk diversification in one 2015 study, and that was down from 42% in 2009.
That's the bad news. The good news is that this reality opens the door to plenty of education content from financial services companies themselves, both to inform their potential users as well as attract new, engaged traffic to their platforms.
A generation ago, many people made major financial decisions with the help of their personal financial advisor. But, as those relationships have faded (75% of Americans currently manage their money on their own, with only 17% working with an advisor), there is more of a need now for informed, helpful advice on financial matters.
For providers, this is another great opportunity to build rapport with their customers and potential clients. There is a fine line, however, between offering sound financial advice and plugging your own products. There is a time and place for the latter, but it usually isn't in your content marketing.
As financial relationships have moved away from personal and brick-and-mortar, the onus for staying informed about the vagaries of the financial markets has moved from institutions to their customers. This has proven problematic (see that financial literacy number above).
For financial services companies, providing content that shares informed, timely commentary on the markets and what's happening in the world at large can be a valuable resource for their customers. It doesn't have to be opinionated or controversial (two words that don't work in finance) but something as simple as pointing out what happens to certain assets, such as bond funds, when interest rates rise could prove valuable and popular. The sky's the limit when it comes to sharing useful information.
Questions? Thoughts? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about what a thoughtful, effective content strategy could mean for your business.