If financial professionals know one thing, it's the importance of a good investment. Strong investments help you reach your short-term and long-term goals while minimizing losses.
You can check all those boxes with content marketing for financial services. Content helps you grow your audiences and ultimately build a broader client base while earning existing clients' loyalty. It's undeniably an investment, but it can pay off exponentially with the right strategy.
The Importance of Content Marketing for Financial Services
You wouldn't invest in a financial product without knowing its advantages, and content is a significant investment. To boost your trust in content marketing, here are three of its most important benefits.
Increase Brand Awareness and Trust
According to a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of marketers drive awareness through marketing content. Almost as many — 77% — use content to build trust with customers.
Trust and awareness are the two most important stepping stones to a financial services relationship. Awareness brings a client to your door instead of the door of a big-name competitor, and trust convinces them to stay.
Content drives awareness by connecting a business to potential customers. A consumer researches a financial issue on Google or YouTube, where they find relevant content from a related business. That content introduces them to a service provider they probably didn't know existed.
Trust comes next. Consumers are grateful for financial content that's consumer-friendly and authoritative — a combination that's not always easy to find. Finance content marketing checks both boxes and, in doing so, encourages audiences to take the next step.
Inform and Engage the Target Audience
Today's financial professionals serve the most informed and savvy audiences in history, and those audiences get information in unexpected ways. A new Forbes survey shows that most adults under 42 look for financial advice from social media.
Sites such as Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube have made financial discussions more accessible and less taboo than ever. According to Forbes, almost 80% of millennials and Gen Z consumers have sought advice on sites like these. About a third have used Google and other search engines, while just 11% use financial advisors.
Content marketing allows financial professionals to bridge the gap and reach these connected audiences. The audience is already out there searching, and they need advice they can trust. Financial services firms can offer a great deal of value — and earn long-term loyalty — by providing accessible insights directly from verified professionals.
Acquire New Leads and Customers
Education is the first step to conversion in the financial services industry. Another survey from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), showed that one in six consumers doesn't know how to pick an advisor, and 16% believe their retirement is in trouble because they've relied on unqualified advice.
Financial service content marketing directs consumers to credible professionals. Unlike consumer-to-consumer online advice, which provides readers with zero support, finance content sets the stage for a service relationship.
The key is for content to include a call-to-action, such as a link to a services page or an invitation to sign up and receive financial tips via email. Those connections turn prospects into leads and, eventually, customers.
Common Challenges of Creating Content for Financial Services
Despite the many benefits of content marketing for financial services, many businesses resist the initial investment. The barriers are valid, though they're surmountable with the right strategy.
Difficulty Ranking in a Highly Regulated Niche
Financial services content may be under-utilized, but there's still plenty of competition. That competition exists alongside complex industry regulations and strict search engine guidelines that suppress false information.
The result is a high barrier to entry. Marketers and businesses have to learn what strong financial content looks like and how to present it in a way that earns Google's and consumers' trust.
Vetting Financial Experts Who Are Also Skilled Writers
Expertise is a must-have in financial content services. Prospective clients and search engines need to know that content creators understand the complex topics they write about.
Professionals with real-world experience usually have the best and most nuanced understanding of financial topics, but they don't always have the writing skills to back it up. Finding someone with both qualifications can take time, which marketers don't always have in spades.
Keeping Up With Financial Trends To Ensure Accuracy
Maintaining subject matter expertise isn't easy in a field as changeable as finance, and the past few years have been particularly unstable. Interest rates, investment returns, and available financial products have shifted frequently, and often dramatically.
Staying current with those shifts is the only way to create successful finance content. If a content creator lacks professional expertise or isn't on top of the latest changes, the content won't be as reliable.
Lack of Time and Resources Needed To Manage Content
If topic accuracy wasn't challenging enough, there's also the need to create and manage a digital content strategy.
To get the most from your content, you need to do more than write and publish. You also need to manage workflows, maintain a brand voice, keep a consistent publishing schedule, and much more. Financial services businesses don't always have the staff time available to do all of that — though outsourcing takes that problem off the table fairly quickly.
Content Compliance With Regulations and Policies
Editing and fact-checking is a particularly crucial component of content marketing in financial services. Other industries can get away with an error or two in published content, but the law requires 100% accuracy in financial marketing materials.
There are also strict regulations when it comes to direct financial recommendations in digital marketing content. Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act, any such content is subject to federal consumer finance protections.
These rules can intimidate financial service providers away from publishing content online.
Top 6 Tips for Financial Content Marketing
Successful content marketing for financial institutions hinges on a well-thought-out plan. Whether you're new to content or refining your content strategy, these tips will help you get the most out of your investment.
1. Create E-E-A-T Blog Posts
Content performs best when it ranks highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). Google processes 88.5% of searches in the US, prioritizing reliable and helpful content.
Google defines helpful content using the guidelines for E-E-A-T, which stands for:
- Experience: Direct, hands-on interaction with the topic
- Expertise: Proven subject matter knowledge
- Authoritativeness: A solid reputation among other subject matter experts
- Trustworthiness: The reliability that comes from high levels of expertise, experience, and authoritativeness, backed by the page's overall reputation
E-E-A-T content is essential in content marketing for banks and other financial services providers.
Content marketers refer to these topics as "your money, your life," or YMYL. These are topics that can have a serious impact on people's finances or well-being. According to Google's quality guidelines:
Mild inaccuracies or content from less reliable sources could significantly impact someone's health, financial stability, or safety, or impact society, for topics like: symptoms of a heart attack, [or] how to invest money.
The best way to ensure that your YMYL content meets E-E-A-T standards is to check it against Google's helpful content guidelines. These remind you to provide valuable content from reliable sources, including expert writers and cited literature.
2. Include SME Reviews
A subject matter expert (SME) review is an effective way to boost your YMYL content's trustworthiness. SME reviews put another pair of expert eyes — and an expert name and credentials — on your content, adding to the piece's authoritativeness.
Take content marketing for financial advisors, for instance. A writer might choose an investment topic via keyword research and conduct preliminary research to ensure they can write about it coherently. Verifiable sources, such as statistics from the National Stock Exchange, help to earn the reader's trust.
Adding an SME review from a credentialed investor adds credibility to the mix. SMEs can fact-check an article's content and its tone, ensuring it comes across as expertly written. Meanwhile, having a credentialed expert listed as an SME reviewer helps Google read the piece as high-quality.
3. Publish eBooks and White Papers
Financial services concepts are typically complex and nuanced. While it's possible to offer an overview of these complex topics in a blog post or video, many potential clients will want to know more. More in-depth content pieces, such as e-books and white papers, provide those deep dives.
E-books are versatile and appropriate for almost any audience. They work well as gated assets, meaning a reader must submit an email address or other contact details to download the material.
For example, a bank's content marketing strategy might target new potential customers with an article about how to budget. The report could include actionable tips that even a new budgeter could immediately implement.
At the end of the article, readers could click to join the bank's email list and receive a detailed ebook on personalizing their budget. The bank would then get new leads, and potential customers would receive a valuable and trustworthy resource.
The same funnel works for other financial services providers as well. Here are some ideas for different types of financial institutions:
- Banks and credit unions: Saving for college or retirement, choosing the correct account type
- Accounting firms: Tax saving strategies, starting your first business
- Mortgage lenders and brokers: Buying your first home, how to choose a home loan
- Investment banking: How to start investing, the value of working with an advisor
- Credit card companies: Getting out of credit card debt, strengthening your credit score
White papers work similarly but are more formal and geared to an informed audience. They're most common in business-to-business (B2B) marketing but work well in more complex business-to-consumer (B2C) industries, including financial services.
For example, an investment banking firm might write a technical white paper about how securities analytics software helps balance client portfolios. Or, a bank's content marketing strategy could include a white paper about trends in consumer banking, while a wealth manager could discuss the effects of interest rates on estate planning. Not all white papers have to be technical.
White paper writing is an under-utilized way to offer more value to your more knowledgeable clients. It's also a specialized skill in the content writing and copywriting field, and quality writing makes all the difference when explaining complex topics. Consider working with a professional on these projects.
4. Share Financial Tools and Calculators
When people make financial decisions, hard numbers matter. Someone who searches for the cost of a monthly mortgage needs to know what it will cost for them, not what the average consumer pays.
Interactive tools and calculators are the perfect solution. They offer valuable personalized information without triggering penalties — assuming you use the right disclosure language, of course.
Plus, they integrate perfectly into a marketing plan for financial services. New research shows interactive content gets 52.6% more engagement than static content, such as a blog post or article.
You can build a financial calculator using an online builder tool or assign the task to a web developer. Your online calculator could be focused on:
- How much to save monthly to reach a set goal
- How a savings or investment plan might pay off over time
- How costly a house someone can afford based on their income
- How long it would take to pay off debts for different monthly payment levels
- How much to budget each month for needs, wants, and savings
Embed the calculator into a piece of content that explains the topic in more detail. For example, a budget calculator might go into a post about how a high-yield savings account can help someone maximize their savings budget, or a debt relief calculator could transition into a guide for responsible credit card use.
Whatever your topic, be sure to include at least one call to action. Invite the reader to click to learn more or make an appointment with an advisor. They'll want to take that information and do something with it, and you want them to move forward with your or your client's services.
5. Make Complex Concepts Accessible With Videos
Financial services topics intimidate many potential clients. Some will be wary of any written explanation, no matter how clear it is. These consumers are often more receptive to video-based learning, which is more engaging and less taxing for the brain.
Video lets you gently guide consumers through the basics of a complex idea, such as how interest rates work or the differences between stocks and bonds.
Like interactive content, videos draw people in and earn their trust, encouraging them to stay. Plus, it's highly shareable, which means it's more likely to generate additional business when people send your videos to friends and family.
6. Gain Valuable Insights From Big Data and Analytics
Marketing data is more accessible than ever, and it has significantly improved the process of content marketing in finance. Thanks to available analytics tools and consumer information, marketers can optimize marketing spend and maximize return on investment (ROI).
One major advantage is the diversity of data available. Examples include:
- Consumer data: What your audiences have in common and how they interact with your content
- Marketing investment data: The cost of a marketing campaign versus the number of leads or new clients generated
- Content performance data: The effect of content on click-through rates, page views, search rankings, and more
Take banking content marketing, for example. Banking customers have a wide variety of needs, from minimizing fees to maximizing interest returns. You can create stronger and more resonant content by gathering as much data as possible about your audience.
How To Measure Your Financial Content Marketing Strategy
Whether you're marketing for a bank, wealth management firm, lender, or any other financial services firm, you need to track the success of your strategy. Audience response data will tell you which types of content perform best and which don't strike a chord with your audiences. From there, you can adjust your strategy and do more of what works.
Fortunately, contemporary web analytics tools make it easy to track useful content marketing metrics. There are dozens of key performance indicators (KPIs) you can track, such as:
- Inbound links: More links to your website mean your content is reaching more people and earning a high level of trust.
- Click-through rate: Valuable content encourages more people to click and learn more from you.
- Page views: More successful content will generate more traffic to your website.
- Social engagement: Shares, likes, and comments tell you which pieces of content resonate best with your target audience.
- Conversion rate: Measuring the ratio of people who took a desired action, such as appointment booking or mailing list sign-ups, helps you measure progress toward your goals.
Start with the most relevant metrics to your strategy. For instance, within a content marketing strategy for banking, you might aim to increase the number of phone calls between potential clients and in-house bankers. To do so, you might publish a landing page that encourages readers to call you.
Conversion rate would be your most important metric, but page views can show you're on the right track. If you have plenty of traffic but no one's calling, editing your landing page might be the next step.
Benefit From Compose.ly's Expertise in Financial Content
In content marketing for financial services, every organization's strategy is different. Each firm has its own goals, target audiences, and subject matter expertise. But one thing is consistent across strategies: the need for quality content.
Effective finance content strategies can be time-consuming to develop and execute, especially considering the need for expert verification and YMYL-level quality.
Compose.ly can help you fill in the gaps with high-quality, expert-written content. Our vetted writers have financial industry expertise and a proven history of producing content that converts. We also offer rigorous accuracy testing and editing, so you can confidently present our content to your audience.
Learn more today, and get ready to take your financial services content to the next level.