Financial Services Marketing: Definition, Benefits and Best Practices for Small Businesses

Growing a business can be challenging if you’re a small financial services company. Especially with the evolution of digital transformation causing an industry-wide shakeup in the financial sector, digital-savvy customers are expecting more from financial services companies. How can small financial services companies survive—and thrive—in this volatile environment? 

Only using traditional marketing methods won’t bring the best result for your business—try financial services marketing instead. But what is financial services marketing, actually? In this article, we’ll walk you through this term, from the definition, types of businesses that can take advantage of it, and the five best financial services marketing strategies for financial service providers. 

What is financial services marketing?

Financial services marketing is several marketing methods that employ special strategies and techniques to generate brand awareness or drive conversions to a financial firm. By using custom-made marketing strategies for financial services, business owners can turn obstacles into advantages and grow their business effectively.

What kind of businesses can benefit from financial services marketing?

The financial services sector includes many different niches and segments. Here are the main types of financial companies that can benefit from financial services marketing:

  • Auto finance firms
  • Brokerage firms
  • Credit unions
  • Commercial banks
  • Retail banks
  • Credit card companies
  • Insurance companies
  • CPA firms
  • Wealth management firms
  • Accounting firms

However, these financial institutions are subject to different laws and regulations, which are beyond the scope of this article. Before you consider and implement the following marketing strategies, keep in mind to refer to standard practices and regulations specific to your field. 

Two major challenges of financial services marketing

  • It’s hard to gain customers’ trust

This is perhaps the most common issue for financial-service marketers. Money is a personal topic, and customers must trust their financial institutions before purchasing more services.

The Covid-19 recession negatively affected most people, and only recently are customers becoming more comfortable with their financial positions. This means they are very cautious about investing money in products and services they don’t know thoroughly or are uncertain whether they are necessary. 

  • Customers are unaware of financial services marketing’s benefits 

A potential car buyer can immediately judge quality based on objective factors like appearance, gas mileage, and price. They can read quantifiable figures about each vehicle to make comparisons and discuss them in a public forum to pick the most suitable one. 

However, people looking for a financial service are less inclined to publicize their demands. This means product attributes are vague, which can increase customers’ skepticism. This problem is not easy to overcome, especially because most people consider financial services uninteresting.

Five best practice marketing strategies for financial services

Now that we have identified the challenges of financial services marketing, let’s go into the details of the most effective financial services marketing strategies that will help you attract more leads and convert them into loyal customers.

1. Host educational webinars

Webinars are an effective channel to generate leads, especially for B2B businesses. According to Findstack, around 73% of B2B professional marketers think they can get high-quality leads from webinars. Additionally, the use of webinars has increased rapidly since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Webinars continue to be the first choice for many marketers because they offer an effective way to build authority and trust among your brand’s audience base. Unlike other marketing strategies, a webinar session allows financial institutions to reveal a more human aspect, which is a huge plus since most people perceive financial companies as impersonal, formal, and unfriendly.

Webinars are an effective approach to generating leads because they promise more value than most other marketing methods. If your webinar attracts a prospect’s attention, they will be more likely to fill out their information in your webinar sign-up form.

Additionally, hosting a webinar is a golden opportunity to understand your audience. It’s the best thing next to having face-to-face conversations, making potential customers comfortable enough to bring up questions or concerns that they wouldn’t have raised in any other environment or platform.

2. Publish case studies

Broadcasting case studies can be the best way to tell your audience that you have a solution for their financial problem. Why’s this true? It’s because case studies allow you to demonstrate to your prospective customers that your product or services are effective Case studies tell a story and show how successful a product or service is. And if there’s one thing potential customers are looking for, it’s a story that promises a good ending.

Case studies are also based on evidence and are backed by real numbers. For example, if you tell a story of how you were able to help a struggling company increase their annual revenue by 200% and then back it up with statistics, you’re showing that you’re trustworthy and that you can live up to your promises.

3. Build social media presence

Statistics show that roughly 7-in-10 Americans use social media, and they spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes surfing the internet per day. That means that most of your customers (both potential and existing) are on social media.

Social media is where conversations and discussions happen, making it an ideal place to develop your financial brand’s authority and trust. What’s more, on many platforms social media users are not only there to interact with their friends but also with brands. 

Business blog Oberlo’s research about social media statistics has also proved it: 

  • 54% of internet users use social media platforms to research products or services.
  • 71% of customers who have had a good experience with a brand on social media will recommend it to their family and friends.
  • 49% of customers are likely to buy something if it was recommended by a social media influencer.

In other words, if you’re not focusing on building your social media presence, you’re leaving money on the table.

4. Implement PPC advertising to generate financial leads

When growing a financial services business, neglecting PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is a huge waste. After all, financial services companies largely rely on lead generation. PPC advertising is the way to go when it comes to generating leads.

PPC advertising offers the following benefits:

  • Helps you rank faster for strategic keywords.
  • Brings you prompt traffic.
  • Attracts highly targeted visitors to your website.
  • Contributes to your search advertising, display advertising, retargeting strategies.

5. Publish high-quality blog posts

Blogging has changed radically over the years. In general, most people will do a Google search to find answers to their financial problems or dilemmas. That’s why publishing high-quality blog content is still an effective strategy for growing a financial brand (or any brand for that matter). 

Like a PPC strategy, you can start by doing keyword research. However, unlike PPC, you have a new metric to consider with SEO keyword research: keyword difficulty. This gives you a comprehensive insight into a keyword or topic, its volume (which indicates how many people search for the keyword), and how easy or hard it is to rank for a keyword. You can use keyword research software like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, or Semrush. If you’re just starting out, try focusing on keywords with lower difficulty to start earning initial search traffic.

Investing in a blog can benefit your financial services business in the following ways:

  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Boost brand awareness via SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Generate leads for your email database 
  • Build trust and authority in your niche
  • Grow a social media presence (when sharing a high-quality blog post on social media)

The bottom line

So now you have it—the five most effective financial services marketing strategies that can help boost your financial firm. You can now consider the pick the best method(s) for your company to increase your brand awareness and generate conversions. 

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Don’t forget to sign up for the Shoeboxed blog if you’d like more information on how Shoeboxed has helped our clients with their financial challenges and other engaging stories about entrepreneurship, staying organized, DIY accounting, together with the latest Shoeboxed’s product updates.

4 Free PR Tools No Small Business Owner Should Live Without

Good PR has the potential to become a significant source of brand recognition and act as a primary sales reference funnel. And unlike advertising or marketing campaigns, which usually require you to spend up to thousands of dollars, PR is free. Here are few tools to successfully implement a PR strategy for your small business.

Running a small business is one of the most exciting ways to earn a living. But with so many hats to wear at once, it can become easy to overlook important tasks that help drive the growth of your business.

Public relations – or in other words, press relations – is a prime example. Good PR has the potential to become a significant source of brand recognition and act as a primary sales reference funnel. And unlike advertising or marketing campaigns, which usually require you to spend up to thousands of dollars, PR is free.

With the right tools, you can successfully implement a PR strategy for your business with no budget and minimal time and effort. Here’s how:

HARO, abbreviated for “Help A Reporter Out”, is just that – a tool that lets you (literally) help a reporter out. But it can be used to help out your own business as well. An online service that sends out media queries via email up to 3 times a day, HARO gives businesses opportunities to connect with journalists looking for specific sources on upcoming stories. All you have to do is sign up to receive their daily email queries. An easy way to think of the service is like reverse story pitching: reporters ask for subject-matter help, and in return they give businesses a window to pitch their service or product if the subject-matter is relevant enough. Some tips for using HARO:

  • Keep your pitches brief, but informative. Remember that reporters are on tight deadlines. Be helpful, but don’t send them 5 paragraphs of marketing jargon. Instead, answer their query requests as concisely as possible (and skip the BS).
  • Don’t send attachments. HARO responses are sent through a separate third party portal, and attachments can fill inbox storage very quickly. If you want to provide additional content, include a link in the body of the email instead.
  • An example of what a HARO query looks like:

Example of HARO query

Social media can be very time-consuming, especially when there are multiple accounts to manage at once. And we all know that regardless of business size or industry, there’s no escaping social media marketing. Cue Hootsuite, a social media scheduling platform that lets you create and manage editorial calendars in one centralized place. You can link up any of your business’s social media accounts and see engagement and content feeds in a single dashboard. There’s no reason why any small business owner should be spending more than a couple hours a week managing social media, and tools like Hootsuite make that possible. Some tips for using Hootsuite:

  • Promoting an article or content your business is already mentioned in through social media is a great way to generate even more buzz. Remember the 80-20 rule of content and press strategy: 20% is the actual content, 80% is distributing the content.
  • Social media is not just a channel to promote your product; it’s also a way to educate your users and inform them about relevant news in your industry as a thought leader. Keep social content balanced between company news, product updates, and relevant topics your customers will find helpful. This is also a good way to gain their trust.
  • Use the “Suggestions” tool to post links from around the web that are relevant to your industry (without the hassle of doing the research). All you have to do is type in keywords related to your industry, and Hootsuite does the rest.
  • Use Hootsuite’s URL shorteners when linking out, and then use the URL click stats tool to track which links are being clicked on. This will help you figure out what kind of content receives positive engagement from your readers.

Small Business PR Tool Hootsuite

Mention is a digital media monitoring tool that helps businesses track when and where their business is being written about. It can also be used for social media monitoring, brand tracking and influencer research. Mention monitors billions of sources across the web in over 40 languages in real time, meaning you always know when your company is being talked about. Good PR isn’t just about getting your business name out in the public; it’s about joining the conversation your business is already a part of, and Mention enables you to do just that. Some tips on how to best use Mention:

  • Use the Favorites tool to filter out which mentions are worth responding to. Once you have gone through and selected relevant mentions, join the conversation by either adding valuable content in the comments section or continuing the dialogue by sending a friendly email to the author. Remember that a very important part of PR is building relationships.
  • Create an organized system for compiling media mentions you receive through Mention. At the end of the month, take a look at the report and see if you can find any patterns related to the type of content and publication that your business is being written in. Use that insight to help craft a press strategy based on what you know already works.

Google Analytics
The benefits of using Google Analytics are endless for small business owners on a budget. You can track marketing campaigns, optimize sales funnels from acquisition to retention, and even learn about customer demographics through segmentation sequences. The true benefit of Google Analytics for PR purposes, though, lies in its ability to track referral traffic. Any website or publication that links to your business will show up as a referral source, and from there you can look at page sessions, bounce rates, conversion rates and more. This insight provides invaluable information about where your potential customers are coming from, which means you can hone in on your PR messaging and target audience using actionable data. Google Analytics can be a bit tricky to set up, especially if you want to track traffic behavior coming into your site. Luckily, Google has tons of resources and support pages to guide you through everything.

Using these free tools can help you automate and streamline your PR strategy to help get your business that buzz that it deserves.

3 Spooky Marketing Buzzwords That Small Businesses Shouldn’t Fear

Don’t be scared of the big, bad marketing buzzwords! In this post, our friends from BoostSuite shed some light on these not-so-spooky phrases so you can market your small business effectively.

This guest post is brought to you by BoostSuite, the easiest way to build more website traffic and get more marketing conversions.

First off, Happy Halloween! I hope you have an awesome costume planned. Are you going scary or funny? I personally like ironic, funny costumes because I’m easily terrified and not afraid to admit it.

As small business marketers, there are a lot of things that scare us. We’re afraid that no one will ever read or share our amazing content. We’re afraid that our calls to action aren’t converting as many visitors to customers as they should be. We’re really afraid that we’re using the wrong keywords to optimize our website copy with.

There are a lot of spooky buzzwords being tossed around in the internet marketing community. These buzzwords send chills up and down our spines. They may sound scary, but it’s the threat of the unknown that’s most frightening.  As marketers, knowledge is power. The more we know, the easier it is for us to do our jobs, and do them well.

Today I’m going to explain three of these spooky buzzwords, and why you shouldn’t be so scared of them.

1. Encrypted Keywords

Whenever I hear the word “encrypt,” I always think about that gross, rotting corpse of a TV show host, the Crypt Keeper. Remember that dude? He was freaky looking.

This buzzword doesn’t have anything to do with keeping your keywords somewhere beneath the church from a Dan Brown novel. It’s referring to Google’s decision to stop providing third-party keyword tools with organic search data. This means that you won’t be able to use your favorite keyword tools to find out what your visitors are searching for to find your website. You won’t even be able to use Google’s trusty keyword tool anymore unless you have an AdWords account with them.

The good news is there is a way to use Google Webmaster Tools to find your cumulative keyword data, or all of the keywords that any page on your entire website has ever ranked for (even if no one clicked on your listing and visited your website). This includes way more keywords and gives you a more complete picture of the keyword authority that you’ve earned in Google’s eyes. This is way more valuable than individual visitor keyword data.

Once you have your cumulative keyword data, you can add it to your BoostSuite account so you won’t have to pump the brakes on your content marketing strategy worrying about encrypted keywords.

2. Curator

Here’s another buzzword that puts an image in my head of a lonely old man who’s a cemetery caretaker, walking through the rows of graves on a dark, chilly Fall night, with only an old lantern lighting his way. He’s completely oblivious of what may be lurking in the shadows just a few feet away.

Even though that’s way off from what the word actually means, it still sounds a little spooky. In fact, a curator, in the sense of a content curator, is a web user who ingests, analyzes and contextualizes content onto a platform or into a format the mainstream can understand.

Put it this way, if you’re on Tumblr or Twitter, you’re a curator. If you’re a small business marketer who reads an article, then writes a rebuttal article imparting your expertise to contradict and disprove the original article, congrats, you’re a curator too.

Curating content is a great way to get ideas for your blog posts via organic search. You are blogging on a weekly basis, right? (cue creepy music)

3. Engagement

I know, this one isn’t really Halloween themed. But, this buzzword can still be more frightening to bachelors and men in relationships considering “dropping the question” to their girlfriends than the previous two I’ve mentioned! :)

From my own personal experience, getting engaged was a bit scary. Not because I was second guessing my decision, but because I had planned an over-the-top proposal with a bunch of moving parts that luckily, all fell into place at the right times, resulting in one of the happiest moments of my life.

Engagement, from a small business marketing perspective, is online consumer actions, including likes, shares, and comments. We often create engagement strategies in our content marketing campaigns to foster relationships with our communities (very similar to a real engagement). Engaging your audience is a must if you plan on having a successful content marketing campaign.

That Wasn’t So Scary, Was It?

You can uncover your eyes now. The worst is over!

Small business marketers don’t need to be afraid of these buzzwords that go bump in the night. They’re really not that scary now that we know what they mean and how to leverage them in our marketing campaigns.

Encrypted keywords doesn’t mean the death of keyword research and SEO. Curators are continually repurposing content to offer valuable insights, and more small business marketers are focusing on engagement to bolster their online communities and spread the word about their products and services.

Do you know of any other spooky marketing buzzwords that small businesses are afraid of? Let’s hear them in the comments!

ryan kettlerAbout the Author

Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite. Ryan is an internet marketing zealot, sports fanatic, devoted runner, avid golfer, beer connoisseur, and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found running 5ks, sampling IPAs, and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Image via Flickr