People are increasingly relying on their financial institutions for financial guidance and education. According to J.D. Power, 78% of consumers are interested in receiving financial advice or guidance from their financial institution.
Meeting that need in way that builds customer loyalty and satisfaction, and also leads to deposit growth requires banks and credit unions to do two things: Elevate their content marketing capabilities and develop rich customer personas. This article presents practical guidance to help financial institutions do both and deliver great content to the right audiences at the right time.
The Four Essentials of an Effective Content Marketing Program
1. Strategy first. The most effective content marketing programs start with a strategy. Begin by deciding your content goals, whether you’re hoping to focus on brand loyalty, raise brand awareness or promote a product.
Then, it’s important ask key questions, including:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are their financial challenges and goals?
- What are the best marketing channels to leverage to reach them?
- What are the key actions you want them to take?
- What key metrics will measure the impact and effectiveness of your content?
Understanding the answers to these questions will help you develop a focused, effective and customer-centric content marketing strategy.
2. Develop a plan. Have an editorial calendar and plan for content development and curation. Typically, editorial calendars are developed quarterly to allow for topic flexibility based on industry and market changes. Many calendars also design schedules that assigns dates to each of the key phases of content development: research, creation, subject matter expert review, legal and compliance approval.
Having an editorial calendar can help ensure you and your teams stay on task as you build out your financial education resources.
3. Gather input. Consider all resources for content development. The tellers in your branches and call center have their pulse on what’s important to customers. Inquire with your call center to understand the types of questions they are asking and consider tailoring your messaging to proactively address their questions – and potentially reduce call volume.
4. Reuse and repurpose. Consider all the ways new content could be used. If you’re writing an email, could portions of it be repurposed for a blog post? Do you have a library of articles or educational materials available on your website?
Consider repurposing this information and integrating it into social media posts, which will link to your website.
You can also repurpose articles into individual emails or monthly e-newsletters. It’s an effective way to leverage your content across multiple channels and touchpoints.
Why Do You Need Customer Personas?
Personas can help you target the right audience, with the right message, via the right channels, at the right time in the buying journey.
An effective way to advance your marketing and communication strategies is through the development of rich customer personas. Personas are proxy representations of your consumer base and/or target prospects you are trying to attract. Personas are built on insights from qualitative and quantitative data.
The analysis of this data reveals the types of accounts your consumers use, their financial habits, goals and opportunities to serve them better. These insights can then be used to personalize your marketing and communications to prospects with similar characteristics.
3 Ways Personas Improve Financial Institution Marketing
1. Drive Deposit and Loan Growth with Personalized Messaging
Millennials are a key example of why personas and personalized messaging are essential. Millennials currently range in age from about 24 to 31 — and have different financial needs based on their age and life stage.
Younger millennials may have recently graduated from college or are starting to establish their careers as they simultaneously try to build their credit and manage their student loan debt. Financial products and services that are likely to resonate with them are credit cards, consolidated loans and retirement accounts — very different from those of older Millennials.
Consumers falling in the older range of Millennials are likely more established in their careers, focusing on their growing family. Maybe they want to purchase or improve their home. They may be building out their emergency savings, their children’s education or retirement funds. The financial accounts your bank or credit union should be promoting with the older millennials are home loans, IRAs, 529 college savings plans and other savings accounts.
If you are treating millennials as a broad cohort with “one-size-fits-all” messaging, you will miss the opportunity to attract specific sub-segments. Marketers who leverage personas will be able to drive deposit and loan growth by promoting the right products and financial solutions to people based on their life stage.
2. Maximize Your Return-on-Investment
As marketers, we have a variety of channels we can use to reach our prospects and customers, with certain marketing channels being more effective than others depending on the segment.
Through the persona development process, you’ll uncover targeting insights and characteristics to drive engagement and conversions in the right channels by customer segment — and maximize the return on your marketing investments.
Digital marketing is the most effective channel to leverage your personas and drive maximum return on your investment. Using the demographic and behavioral insights of your personas, you can create look-alike audiences and target those individuals who have similar characteristics and profiles to your current consumer base.
Create distinct campaigns with personalized messaging, landing pages and calls to action to optimize your conversion rates across all persona segments. You can receive rich and immediate analytical data from these highly addressable channels to see how well your campaigns are performing and then quickly refine the message.
Traditional media channels — such as direct mail, radio and billboard — leverage the value of personas through similar characteristics and broader profiles. Due to the wide reach of these tactics and the limited personalized targeting capabilities, it’s important to identify similar demographic and behavioral characteristics across all your personas and use them to inform your messaging.
3. Improve Retention and Satisfaction
Once you have acquired a new consumer, it’s important to continue communicating with them on a regular basis. Using the demographic and product information acquired during the account opening process and matching it with your personas, you can tailor your onboarding communications to highlight additional products and services that would be of most interest.
Use the personas to emphasize online and mobile banking services that are most relevant to that individual.
What You Can Do:
Develop a personalized newsletter based on your personas to continue engaging and educating your consumers. If you don’t have the budget or resources to create different versions, you can re-sequence content based on the audience segment and their unique personas.
These ongoing communications and targeted, personalized messages demonstrate that you are committed to consumers’ financial success with the products and services they need to manage, save and invest their money. This will also increase satisfaction and retention.