Financial services have got an uphill battle when it comes to creating customer appeal – but digital advertising is helping.
Since the financial collapse of 2008, banks and other financial organisations have become somewhat demonised; the image of the man behind the curtain is no longer a friendly bank manager – but instead, a bespoke-suit clad trader with algorithms and eye-wateringly large bonuses.
As such, communicating with customers has required a new angle, re-establishing an image of human interaction, local understanding and approachability. The platforms have changed too – the last ten years has seen social media, smart phones and fast paced internet connections become the norm.
Digital advertising and interaction has been a lifeline for the image of financial services, ten years ago we had harsh, money focused slogans like “What’s in Your Wallet?” – but now, on YouTube, Facebook and other digital platforms, you’re more likely to see singing sisters, cartoon characters and other family friendly, trust building branding.
We’ll take a look at the main digital mediums and platforms that are being used by the financial services, explain a little about each – and take a look at which organisations are using them to their highest potential…
2017 saw an interesting tipping point in the UK’s internet use statistics – we now officially spend more time browsing via our mobile devices than we do via our PCs.
This shift in online behavior has refocused financial services and their thoughts around what customers are looking for – there’s now no question about it; mobile comes first for companies such as Creditfix who are one of the UK’s leading personal insolvency companies, who continue to drive mobile adoption.
Where customers have traditionally chosen their bank, loan or finance provider based on what’s available locally, there’s now a shift toward people searching for a service that meets their specific mobile requirements. Searches for terms that hinge around ‘the best banking apps’ now far outweigh searches that point toward which banks are local to the individual.
So, advertising for the mobile market has to be done with a multi-pronged approach. A financial service’s Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising strategy has to be exactly right – ensuring that all-important search engine results page premium real estate – but ‘organic’ search engine optimisation has to be strong too – making sure that the first page of any Google results are locked down in their favour.
Of course, this is a never-ending task – and one that would be lost without a constant effort to ensure the right blend of design, technical analysis and appropriate site content across the brand.
When you consider that around 75% of financial services are advertising with a view to creating leads (customer information that can be used to retarget with follow up correspondence) then you realise that content is an absolutely vital part of the mobile marketing puzzle. A financial service that drives traffic toward their sites will quickly see lots of it disappear if the right kind of article or copy isn’t being seen upon arrival.
Content has to be value lead if you’re going to see traffic convert into leads – the Lloyds Bank site is a great place to see this in action – with articles that span everything from basic money advice to expert talks and Q&A sessions on complex financial topics.
Video presents a fantastic opportunity for financial services as it ticks two vitally important boxes when you’re looking to engage with customers.
Broadly speaking, the smarter a borrower is, the greater monetary opportunity that presents for a financial service. Savvy borrowers are more likely to apply for mortgages (of an increasing value) as well as savings accounts, loans and additional mortgages on second or buy-to-let properties.
The smarter a borrower is, the more they’re going to drill down into what the lender is offering – and they’ll do that by absorbing the content that’s sent in their direction. From late 2016 onward, people have shown a significant preference for video content – so it’s probably little surprise that you’ve seen an increasing amount of it across the sites and apps you use.
So, with video, financial services aren’t just getting in front of customers – they’re getting in front of the right customers – but that said, it still has to be the right message that’s seen.
Valuable content is a great way to build trust – and with video, that trust building can be done across almost all of the senses. American Express recently put together an exceptionally successful video campaign that focused on small business owners and how they’d set up. Barclays built bridges into the millennial market with some CV and careers advice for younger customers via video too.
Financial services using video in 2018 realise that value is the key – build trust first – and leave the hard-nosed sales call-to-action for a more appropriate and trusting time…
Around 45 million UK citizens use social media – so it would be criminal for a financial service to miss out on such a huge opportunity – however, if you step into the ring, you need to be very well prepared.
Social media is not a realm in which a financial service can deliver in a half-hearted manner. Listening and responding to your customer interactions needs to be done with speed and finesse – as studies show that ignored support requests will turn into a customer churn rate that 15% higher than the industry average. Online interaction makes it easier to contact financial organisations – but also much easier for a customer to vote with their feet.
Nearly 45% of customers expect to get a reply from their financial organisation within 60 minutes – and if they don’t, they edge closer toward taking their business elsewhere.
However, when a financial organisation does social media in the right way, they get a massive reward. The average UK resident spends nearly 2 hours on social media every day – compared to a matter of just seconds or minutes accessing financial service’s sites and apps.
Advertising in an individual’s newsfeed needs to be done very very carefully if you’re a financial organisation. In fact, the most effective companies do it in a manner that’s almost invisible – choosing the champion good causes and community initiatives, rather than pushing products and financial content at all. Customers are smart – and quick to unsubscribe – hence, it’s better to have just your organisation’s name there to feature in your customer’s mind further down the line – rather than nothing at all…