Guest writer Jolene Nicotina explores how an investment in consistency yields compounding benefits for growing financial services brands.
Finance companies face many of the same marketing challenges as their cousins in other industries. Think increasing digitization, or constant change, or customers no longer responding to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
But one hurdle that especially affects the industry is a lack of trust. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, the general population has only 57% percent trust in financial services—making it the least-trusted sector among the eight that are measured.
What can the industry do?
We know that consistency and transparency breed trust, and marketers have an opportunity to achieve this through ongoing content marketing and repeatable messaging.
A one-off campaign might help your audience get to know you. But knowing a brand is different from trusting a brand. Here’s how three financial companies are taking this approach.
Mint: Building a Massive Audience by Reimagining the Personal Finance Blog
Personal finance app Mint scaled to success seemingly overnight. It launched in 2007 and was bought by Intuit for $170 million just two years later. Of course, they had a great product, but it was their content marketing strategy that played a large part in their growth.
Mint started by launching a personal finance blog that actually felt personal. They spoke in simple, relatable language to a wide audience. And they weren’t afraid to have a little fun, adding features like“What’s in Your Wallet?”, where tech and finance CEOs could share the cards and banks they use. Mint scaled their publishing to include infographics, which were widely shared on Reddit. With consistent publishing and quality, the blog reached the top of Reddit’s personal finance chart.
Now for the juicy stuff. The blog built up a list of 20-30,000 potential Mint users, and led to 550 press interviews for founder Aaron Patzer. Mint also collaborated with other personal finance bloggers for backlinks, boosting SEO. At the time of launch, in short, Mint had more traffic than all its competitors combined.
The takeaway: Scaling your content marketing like Mint can help you quickly reach a wider audience. They can get to know you, trust you—and eventually, buy from you.
LendingFront: Gaining Buy-In for Bold Ideas
Frequently, publishing content isn’t just effective for a B2C audience: B2B has much to gain as well. LendingFront’s technology improves how small business loans are underwritten, making it easier and quicker to close them. As a result, lenders realize more revenue, small businesses receive more capital, and more jobs get created. However, this was a big shift for an industry used to the manual (and extensive) commercial loan process.
To gain the trust of banks and other lenders—and challenge preconceptions about automation—LendingFront crafted a series of blog posts that provoked change, including “Consumers Use Fintech Apps Every Day—Why Can’t Small Business Owners?” and “The Widespread Lending Problem That Created LendingFront.” These twice-weekly blogs led to organic inbound leads and revenue. They even had a sales meeting with a $2 billion lender after one of the posts was forwarded to his boss.
The takeaway: Trust takes on even more importance when you’re trying to change the way people have done things for decades. But LendingFront is proof it’s more than possible— by starting an engaged and frank conversation with your audience.
MarketSmiths Case Study: TrendSpider
A data platform for financial traders, TrendSpider used clever AI technology to boost performance and make day trading more effective. Unfortunately, its old website buried the platform’s true value in industry jargon. Unfazed, MarketSmiths dove headfirst into the industry specifics. We combined targeted questions with platform demos, research, and even a brief foray into day trading. All this hard work soon paid off. TrendSpider’s finished website threads wit through reason, enticing visitors to explore all the platform has to offer—while its ingenious use of AI gets traders to return time and time again.
Bank of West: A Sustainable Sustainability Campaign
Earning trust from your audience is just the start. Maintaining that trust requires behaving in a way that’s consistent with your company’s beliefs and values. In other words, your brand needs to walk the talk. Bank of West is doing just that with their new ‘1% For the Planet’ checking account.
The account shows customers the carbon footprint of their purchases, so they can measure the impact their spending has on the environment. For example, someone buying gas would have a heavier carbon footprint than someone buying a subway ticket. This makes it easy for customers to align their purchases with companies dedicated to sustainability.
More than just a finance product, 1% for the Planet is an initiative Bank of West is fully behind. They pledge to donate 1% of their net revenue from the account to Protect our Winters, a climate change-fighting nonprofit. Not only that. They also refuse to finance Arctic drilling or other sectors that are harmful to the planet. No detail is too small—even the debit card is compostable.
The takeaway: It’s not enough to say you stand for a cause, you have to act on it—consistently. Instead of a one-time sustainability marketing campaign, Bank of West succeeds by making an ongoing commitment to the environment that’s embedded in its product design and its financing policies. It’s a sustainable campaign in more ways than one.
The financial services industry may have the added challenge of gaining consumer trust, but the good news is that the solution doesn’t require any tricks or gimmicks. Quite the opposite. By showing up for your audience on a regular basis, and consistently delivering your message in fresh ways, you can draw in an ever-wider community of leads.
It’s no secret that getting your content strategy off the ground, or scaling the one you have, takes resources. MarketSmiths is ready to get the job done. Find out how we can help.