When it comes to marketing strategy, the finance industry is one of the most challenging sectors to crack. However, finance giants, global investment firms, and fintech startups are all turning to direct to consumer marketing strategy (DTC) to build on customer relationships and create new ones.
How is the financial sector using direct to consumer marketing strategy?
Content marketing is leading the way in direct to consumer marketing strategy. After all, content is one of the most effective methods for consumer education. And when it comes to finances, consumer education is critical.
To attract customers, financial brands use content marketing to create both helpful and informative content without being overly sales-y. Let's discuss how to develop effective content for the finance industry and the consumer marketing strategy behind it.
How Can Direct To Consumer Marketing Strategy Help Financial Brands?
In a world where people are overloaded with advertising messages, it can be difficult to stand out from the noise. That's where direct to consumer marketing strategy comes in.
While the retail industry has dominated DTC marketing for years, the finance industry is quickly catching up. And there's a good reason for it. Direct to consumer marketing strategy helps you build a relationship with your customers by first understanding them (through first-party data) and from there you’ll then tailor your messaging based on those insights. Rather than hard-selling your product, you're creating an emotional connection with a potential customer that will hopefully lead to a sale.
There are key benefits to pursuing direct to consumer marketing strategy, including:
Control brand messaging
When you create your own content, you have complete control over the message you're sending. This is especially crucial in finance, an industry that is the least trusted among global consumers.
In traditional advertising, you're at the mercy of whatever media outlet agrees to carry your ad. But, with direct to consumer marketing strategy, you can create your own content and distribute it however you want. By owning your message, you can build a strong brand identity and ensure that your tone is consistent across all channels.
Direct access to customers and data
Traditionally, financial institutions relied on their brand name and industry recognition. But customers today demand more than that. They want to know that you understand their needs and are invested in helping them reach their goals.
How can financial institutions keep a pulse on what consumers want?
Direct to consumer marketing strategy allows you to leverage your direct line to consumers by developing an intimate understanding of consumer needs through data and then delivering services based on those insights. Take, for example, the financial app Square.
Square Spearheads Change Across Small Business Payments
Square launched over a decade ago as a scrappy app to help small businesses accept credit card payments on their smartphones. Today, Square (corporate name Block) has grown into a $50 billion-dollar company.
What's driving this growth? An unwavering focus on consumer needs.
When Square launched, it was difficult for small businesses to process credit card payments. The company's founders identified this gap and built an app to help businesses accept credit card payments quickly and easily.
But Square didn't stop there. It evolved its products to meet the changing needs of small businesses—such as an FDIC-insured bank, a Cash App, business loans, and even a cryptocurrency platform.
How'd Square know what products to launch? It wasn't a lucky guess—it was consumer research and data.
Like other online platforms, Square collects consumer data. But, they didn't just sit on that information—instead, the company uses the data to meet the needs of its customers. Now, Square has positioned itself as a one-stop-shop for small businesses. And that's why the company is seeing such incredible growth.
Create brand loyalty through excellent customer experience
Over 97% of consumers expect an excellent customer experience from their financial institution. So, creating a great customer experience should be a top priority for any financial company looking to build brand loyalty. With a direct to consumer marketing strategy, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your target consumer which in turn will help you create a better customer experience. These insights can help you provide personalized content and recommendations that will add value to their experience.
Direct to Consumer Marketing Strategy For Your Financial Institution
Now that we've discussed the benefits of DTC marketing, let's dive into specific ways to reach your target consumer.
User-generated Content Brings Value
What is user-generated content? User-generated content (also called UGC) is any content—text, videos, images, etc.—that has been created and published on social media by someone other than your brand. UGC is original and trustworthy because it comes from a real person rather than a company account which may be self-promoting.
UGC is valuable for financial institutions because consumers value authentic brand storytelling and, in turn, they will trust the brand that's highlighted. In an industry struggling to regain consumer trust, user-generated content can be a powerful tool. SoFi is an example of a financial institution that has seen a boost in revenue with valuable user-generated content.
Influencers Help SoFi Soar
SoFi's financial services segment saw a huge boost in revenue in the third quarter of 2021, due in no small part to their investment in UGC marketing and influencer relationships. In October 2021, SoFi launched a five-week TikTok and Instagram Reel campaign #SoFiMoneyMoves. To incentivize participants, SoFi would give away $25,000 to the creator of the best video using a branded hashtag, audio, and campaign hashtag. SoFi also incentivized downloads of the SoFi app as a way to win additional prizes.
The results of this UGC campaign? Over 8.5 billion views on TikTok and a 49% increase in Android app downloads of the SoFi app.
Get Personal with Segmented Email Messaging
"Marketers who use segmented email messaging note as much as a 760% increase in revenue." - Hubspot
Email marketing can be an effective direct-to-consumer marketing strategy, but only when it's done correctly. Nothing sends an email to the trash quicker than a canned response.
Segmenting your list is one way to ensure your email marketing is effective. Segmented email lists can help you send targeted messages to consumers who are more likely to engage with your brand.
How are financial brands using segmented emails?
Fintech company, Acorns, sends weekly emails with news and guidance on how to invest, save, and budget money. By sending segmented email messages, Acorns keeps consumers engaged with the brand and provides valuable content that helps them in their financial journey. These segmented email messages include personal finance tips, relevant articles, and other content that interests their target consumer.
Financial brands also use segmented messages for onboarding new customers, sending reminders about products and services, and cross-selling/upselling other products. By segmenting your email messages, you can ensure that you're sending the right message to the right consumer at the right time.
Use Social Media To Connect with Your Target Audience
Digital marketing for financial services is not complete without a social media strategy. Financial brands use social media to connect with their target audience, build relationships, and create a community of engaged consumers. In fact, a study by Greenwich Associates found that 80% of institutional investors use social media as part of their workflow when making investment decisions.
When launching a social media engagement strategy, there are a few things to be aware of:
Be consistent with your brand voice and messaging across all channels.
Share content that is relevant and interesting to your target consumer.
Experiment with different types of content—videos, images, infographics, etc.—to see what resonates best with your audience.
Understand compliance: The compliance department should be involved in the social media strategy from the beginning to avoid any potential legal issues.
BNY Mellons Shares Stories to Connect With Customers
BNY Mellon developed a campaign featuring video interviews and beautiful portraits of clients to highlight the success and charitable influence of their high-net-worth clients. The #DoWellBetter campaign showed how sound money management and investing from BNY Mellon helped them create the resources necessary to positively impact the world.
Telling client success stories on social media is a great way for financial organizations to build a personal connection with their customers.
Analyze Customer Feedback
"The goal of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself." - Peter Drucker, management consultant and author.
Consumer trends change—to stay in lockstep with your customers, financial brands constantly need to adapt to their needs. A leading way to outpace the competition is to analyze customer feedback.
How can you learn about your customers?
Financial companies can use various methods to collect customer feedback, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, and social media listening. Once you've gathered these consumer insights, it's important to take the time to analyze them and understand what it is your customers are really saying.
Future-proof your business by analyzing customer feedback, understanding what consumers are looking for, and adjusting your direct to consumer marketing strategy accordingly.
Develop Content That Attracts Customers
Across the financial services industry, marketing is changing because customers are changing. The one-size-fits-all approach to content is no longer practical because customers want content tailored to their needs. To develop content that is attractive to your target consumer, it's critical that banks, insurers, advisors, and all finance sector companies have a customer-centric financial services content marketing strategy. Here are a few things to consider when developing engaging content.
Content marketing is a slow-burn brand and acquisition strategy
First, with content marketing, don't expect results overnight. To succeed, you must commit to developing quality content regularly and recognize that it may take time to see results. It's a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort and a willingness to experiment.
So, be patient. Most marketers report seeing results in their content marketing efforts around 6-9 months later. Rather than focusing on the results, focus on the quality of your content and the engagement you're seeing from your audience. Your results will follow.
Create content that adds value
Your target consumer should always be at the forefront of your mind when creating content. Ask yourself, "What does my target consumer want to know? What type of content will be helpful for them?"
Your content should always intend to add value for the consumer. Whether providing helpful savings tips, breaking down complex investment topics, or simply creating entertainment, your content should always serve a purpose.
Connect the UX to your content
Align your content with your user experience (UX) goals. To guarantee that your content strategy aligns with your UX goals, start by thinking about the consumer's journey. What type of content will they need at each stage of the journey?
Remember that your content should always be working to move the consumer closer to a conversion. It should be helpful, relevant, and engaging. If it's not, then it's not doing its job.
Your voice matters—be conversational
In the financial services industry, it's often too easy to be caught in business jargon and "financial speak." But, if you want to connect with your customer, it's essential to use language that's easy for them to digest.
How can you speak plainly?
Write how you speak. Use contractions and colloquialisms, and don't be afraid to show some personality. After all, people like to do business with people—not companies.
When in doubt, keep it simple. Ditch the jargon and be approachable.
Keep it short
The average human attention span is only 8 seconds. That's not a lot of time to make a lasting impression. So, when it comes to your content, less is more. Be clear and direct in your writing, and get to the point as quickly as possible. Your readers will thank you for it.
Need Insights on Consumer Trends?
Direct to consumer marketing strategy depends on knowing your audience. And when it comes to the finance industry, you need to be up-to-date on the latest consumer trends and market research. That's where we can help. Using strategy and consumer research, we'll find truths in places you wouldn't expect. We're up for it if you are.
In the meantime, for more insights into consumer behaviors around finances, Download our free financial industry Trend Report.