Financial institutions, brace yourselves. The biggest and wealthiest generation in U.S. history — the baby boomers — will transfer roughly $30 trillion in assets to their Generation X and millennial children in the coming years, according to CNBC. Are you ready to engage these younger customers by taking your marketing strategy to the next level?
Educational, Compelling Content Is the Answer
Millennials have been bombarded with traditional ads their whole lives — especially online — and as a result, they know how to tune them out and parse quickly the good from the bad. Instead, to effectively reach young adults today, marketers must create meaningful, engaging content that builds trust.
Content marketing is the golden ticket to this mutually beneficial relationship: According to a 2014 NewsCred study, 62 percent of millennials feel that this kind of immersive content drives their loyalty to a brand.
They Want Your Help
- A recent study from Investments and Wealth found that seven out of 10 millennials have no formal financial education at all.
- “[Sixty-seven] percent of respondents said they’re interested in receiving advice about saving; other areas of interest: learning how to reach financial goals (63%), budgeting (56%) and investing (40%),” according to the same study.
- 55 percent of respondents to a NewsCred survey said that they trust a bank more when it offers them helpful, useful content.
- More than a third of respondents to the NewsCred survey said they would spend more time on their bank’s website if they provided interesting content.
Avoid the Rookie Mistakes
The issue with financial services’ marketing isn’t necessarily a lack of content: 78 percent of financial institutions already use content marketing. However, only 25 percent of them find it to be effective.
- Not targeting the right audience. Many financial services marketers continue to target people over the age of 50 with high net worth. Though this remains an important audience, don’t underestimate the importance of also building relationships with future clients such as millennials.
- Alienating language. The topic of money is a broad and complicated one. Financial institutions that do use content marketing often have difficulty creating useful, approachable content. Instead, they get caught up using overcomplicated, jargon-packed language that can be hard to digest — in fact, the Financial Conduct Authority recently warned finance firms against “excessively complicated technical language which customers cannot possibly be expected to understand.” Check out this list of loathed investment jargon from financial experts themselves — and remember that plain, clear language is the key to successful communication.
- Fear of regulations. Social media has evolved into a comprehensive advertising channel, and the advertising regulations that come along with electronic communication can be intimidating. (There’s actually a set of rules specifically for financial services. Here’s a guide that’ll help you understand how to navigate them as you create an effective social media strategy.)
- Dry subject matter. Many people see finance as a complicated and bland topic — but it doesn’t have to be.
A Financial Services Success Story: Mint
Launched in 2007, the personal finance software company Mint is a shining example of overnight success thanks in part to a strategic content marketing approach. In 2009 (when it was purchased by Intuit), it had 1 million users; just four years later, it boasted 10 million.
According to founder Aaron Patzer, Mint’s initial marketing plan spawned from his own frustration with managing his finances. “I decided there [had] to be a better way, an easier way, a faster way to manage your finances [rather] than spend an hour every Sunday afternoon doing it. I [wanted] a tool where people could get in and out in five minutes a week or less. … And that was the genesis of Mint.”
An important component to the company’s simplified, user-friendly approach to personal finance is a blog called MintLife, which Patzer and his team initiated months before even releasing the software that Mint is known for. The blog aims to help young professionals more easily navigate the world of finances.
For example, MintLife published an original series called Train Wreck Tuesdays, featuring tales of financial disasters and how to avoid them (it even has customers write in to tell of their own financial nightmares). The blog also includes Q&As with personal financial bloggers and myriad stories on helpful, relevant topics, like “How-to Guide: Paying for College” and “Home Budget: Affordable and Cheap Dates.” It even has popular financial bloggers write posts as contributors — a powerful win-win in expanding audiences and post reaches.
“By the time we launched, we had more traffic to our personal finance blog than our competitors who had beat us to the market, who had launched before us, who actually had their entire websites,” Patzer says.
Follow Mint’s Lead
Mint’s model for success was pretty simple. A few things to learn:
- Target an audience that others in your industry are leaving out (again, think millennials).
- Then, spend some time getting to know them. Who are they, and what do they want to read?
- Take complicated topics and simplify them to terms a financial beginner could understand. Create printable lists of budgeting tips. Write a blog about what first-time homebuyers need to know.
- Don’t underestimate the power of influencers. It’s a great way to build trust and build your audience.
- Try pushing the boundary with your content — sometimes, it pays to play. Don’t forget to consider new platforms, too: Have you tried live videos? What about virtual reality? When you explore with your audience, your options for creative, engaging marketing become endless.
Stay on the Cutting Edge of FinTech
FinTech, or financial technology, has established itself as not just another fleeting business buzzword. The ability to make payments and manage assets and more from your smartphone or computer is a form of digital disruption that customers continue to welcome: As this Forbes article puts it, “Consumers are now so used to being able to access data and information anywhere and everywhere, that it seems natural to them to want to be able to adjust their investment portfolio or deposit a check while waiting for the bus.”
To retain and attract new business, it’s critical to stay on the cutting edge of the shift to digital — particularly when you’re aiming to build an audience of tech-savvy, hyper-connected millennials.
Don’t Miss Out on Social Media
Mint has a strong social media game, and your company should too. Social media has become one of the biggest playgrounds for marketers because it not only allows you to reach a highly targeted audience, but also allows you to actively engage with them. Engagement builds trust — which is paramount in the financial services industry — and it forges a real, lasting relationship between the brand and customers.
However, the numbers suggest that your financial services company might be missing out on this valuable opportunity. Seventy-three percent of retail and consumer goods companies have acquired a customer through Facebook, compared to 33 percent for banking and financial companies.
And it’s no secret that social media is a powerful way to reach millennials. When they want to read customer reviews, gain access to personalized discounts, and keep up with the latest financial news, chances are your company’s social media is where they’re headed.
Success in the financial services industry means serving your current customers while reaching to include a new generation of millennials. To earn their continued business, you must build meaningful mutual relationships. One of the best ways to do that is by providing trusted, valuable content. Just ask Mint how a successful content marketing plan can elevate your business — or better yet, ask us.