Why is content marketing right for financial services firms?

The potential benefits of content marketing are well documented:

  • Prove your value as a provider of relevant, useful information
  • Stay top of mind among your prospects
  • Improve your brand awareness and brand equity
  • Turn contacts into loyal advocates
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Improve new customer acquisition and existing client loyalty
  • Measurable return against relatively low out-the-door spend

Yet many firms in the financial services sector have not adopted a content marketing strategy.

In this blog, Steve Coleman, looks at the reasons why – and identify some of the benefits of taking the plunge.

Content challenges in a regulated industry

If you ask 100 financial services firms why they haven’t implemented a content marketing strategy, one word would probably dominate the answers.

Compliance.

Compliance is an ever-present issue for regulated firms – but it shouldn’t be a reason to stop you taking a content marketing approach.  You should be looking at ways you can adopt it within the compliance constraints you face, rather than using them as a reason not to reap the benefits.

The main benefits of content marketing

Investing in a content marketing strategy has many benefits – a few of them are outlined above. Here we look in more detail at five of these benefits – all good reasons why you shouldn’t let the issue of compliance put you off.

  • Content marketing has a high ROI One of the main advantages of content marketing is that you are not only reaching your own universe of contacts. Content is made to be shared. Sometimes – and certainly initially – this will be by you: added to your website; posted on your corporate social media accounts; emailed out to your clients and prospects; included in your newsletters. But the great thing about content is that it’s tailor-made for sharing by others. Strike the right note, and your content will resonate with an audience far wider than your own contact list. Shares on Twitter and Linkedin, blogs and articles linking to your website – all of these take your content to a whole new world of influencers and prospective clients. As a result, your brand awareness and reputation, website visitors, client engagement scores, retention rates and new client acquisitions have the potential to go through the roof. Content marketing amplifies the effort you put into creating content many times over, increasing your efficiency and the return on your investment.
  • It benefits your other marketing activity Because content marketing doesn’t take place in a vacuum, it has the potential to affect your other marketing activity. Greater brand visibility can drive increased traffic to your website via organic search. This has a knock-on effect on your SEO, making you more visible in future searches. Once you’ve written it, content can easily be repurposed, giving you material for newsletters, press releases, articles, email campaigns. Again, your efficiency is maximised.
  • It’s a way to compete on an even footing Although financial services firms aren’t early adopters of content marketing, you can be sure that some of your competitors are already off the starting blocks. They’ve found ways to work within the compliance limitations and are already reaping the benefits. One of the great things about content marketing is that it doesn’t necessarily need huge budgets or large marketing teams. Because content is so easily amplified and repurposed, content marketing is an option for any firm. In fact, smaller, more agile firms often jump on new approaches faster than their larger, more staid counterparts. Putting out great content doesn’t require a huge marketing budget. If you’re a smaller firm, it can help you compete on a more equal footing with larger competitors. If you haven’t yet put in place a content marketing strategy, now is a great time to start. Competitors who’ve already made the move will only get further ahead of you the longer you delay. And if they haven’t started yet – you’ll be at the front of the pack.
  • Content can be what you want it to be Content marketing isn’t all about writing. One of its benefits is the ability to tailor content to your audience and your abilities. More interested in telling stories visually? – infographics and videos make great content.  Webinar recordings, podcasts and video tutorials are other good ways to get content out there. With the range and diversity of media available, it’s easy to find a way of engaging that suits you and your audience. As long as it’s useful and informative for your audience, content marketing can take almost whatever form you like. Testing out a few different approaches will help you work out what delivers the best results in your market.
  • It generates increasing returns Many marketing activities have a fixed start and finish point. Print advertising, for instance. Once your campaign is over, your money is spent and – largely – your returns stop when the ads do. Content marketing isn’t like that. Once content is online, its footprint is there forever. People can link to, share, repost anything you have produced. The benefits of content marketing therefore increase, not diminish over time. Because Google and other search engines value quantity of high-quality content, and because it gets greater credibility the longer it has been online, the sooner you start building a library of content, the greater your returns will be. Not only does the amount of your content increase over time, the value of your existing content to Google increases in tandem. Another reason to get started!

Tackling the compliance challenge

And you shouldn’t let compliance challenges stand in your way. Work with your Compliance team to understand the constraints. Knowing what you can and cannot say is an essential start point. Get a feel for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) preferences and guidelines around financial promotions.

Then put your knowledge into practice by making it easy for Compliance to sign off content (this blog on How to write marketing copy your Compliance team will approve has more tips on this). This will help get material approved faster, with fewer changes.

There are specific requirements for social media – make sure you’re aware of these so your Tweets, Facebook and Linked in posts pass the Compliance test.

There’s no reason why financial services firms shouldn’t invest in – and benefit from – content marketing. Take a compliant approach, and the benefits of a content marketing strategy can be yours.

Being able to produce content fast is vital to content marketing. If you want to produce marketing materials more quickly, this video shows how a multi-reviewer tool has helped firms collaborate for faster content production.

And if you want a good grounding in what makes financial promotions compliant, you can download a Financial Promotions Checklist, which looks at the stages you need to follow to ensure your material complies with FCA requirements. The checklist is free, and you can download from Perivan Solutions website here.

Author: Steve Coleman – Perivan Solutions

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