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In this post I’m going to show you how a financial institution, like yours, can extend their reach and increase their customer base using content marketing.
In this blog you’ll learn the what, why, and how of content marketing, including:
Let’s get started.
In this section, we’ll introduce content marketing and answer the following questions:
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Its purpose is to resolve people’s questions or problems while also attracting customers without overt sales tactics. But how do you do that?
The first step in producing great content is knowing who your ideal customer is. Knowing your ideal customer will help you figure out what kind of questions, problems, worries, and fears your customers and prospects are facing in their day-to-day lives. From there, you can brainstorm many different topics that are relevant to them and start producing content around those ideas
To give you a better idea of what content marketing is, here’s an example from the perspective of a prospect.
Let’s say I’m considering starting a small restaurant near a college campus. I have some great ideas, a little experience in the restaurant world, and I know my restaurant will be a big hit with the students.
I’m young, don’t have a ton of money in my savings account, and I’m not very knowledgeable about business loans. However, I do know that if I want to start my restaurant, I’ll most likely need to take out a business loan.
So what do I do to learn more? Google it, of course.
Here are some possible searches I might try:
As I’m scanning through the results, I spot a blog written by a local bank on the very topic I’m searching for. I click the result and start reading. As I read the blog, I’m impressed with all the insight it has. Plus it resolves most of the questions and concerns I had about business loans.
As a result, I trust the source and want to find out more. So I call the bank and schedule an appointment to talk about what kinds of opportunities they have available for me.
In this example, you can get a sense of the influential power content marketing can have on a person.
Remember, the main idea behind content marketing is to produce content that resolves people’s questions, fears, and so on. And by helping people, you build trust and credibility in the eyes of your customers and prospects—which, over time, results in more loyal customers.
When it comes to creating content, blogging might be the most common form that people think of. However, you can create content in a number of other ways as well.
Here’s a basic list to begin with:
When deciding what method to use, you should first establish a goal for the content. Here are some examples:
This is a very big topic to cover and should probably be a blog on its own, but I’ll introduce the basics.
First, think about your own experience when searching for something on the Web.
Let’s say you’re a bank president and you’re trying to figure out how to increase your deposits this year. So you go to Google and type in some variation of “how do I increase deposits at my bank?”
What do you see?
A lot of results that answer your question in a variety of ways.
So how did Google know to pull these results? A lot of ways, but here are some of the most common things Google and other search engines look for:
To learn more about each of these terms, check out this resource.
If you focus on these things and improve them over time, Google will recognize your efforts and reward you by moving you up through the ranks.
But just because you wrote and published something, that doesn’t always mean you’re going to rank well and get great results. You have to remember that people and businesses have been publishing and optimizing their content for years. And because of that, some topics and keywords are more difficult to rank for than others.
So if you don’t see instant results, don’t get discouraged. It can take quite a bit of optimization and time before you start to see the fruits of your labors. The key, though, is to not give up and keep publishing content.
And this is important: don’t just publish regurgitated content. Publish great content. Put some real thought and time into producing your content. If you do, eventually you’ll start to see some results.
And those results will do great things for your bank.
Now that you know what content marketing is, let’s take a look at why it’s critical to your success.
Have you ever heard the saying “Content is king”? It’s a popular phrase in the marketing world. It basically means that content is the most important aspect of marketing.
In this section of this blog, we’re going to discuss why content is king and why it’s still one of the best marketing strategies.
If you’re looking to invest in great employees, you might want to consider investing in content.
Why? Because content has a lot of characteristics that are far superior to humans:
When people first hear that content will save them time, they’re usually a little skeptical.
If anything, most people think it’ll make them busier because now they have to produce content as well as perform their normal work duties. But these people are missing the big picture.
Sure, you’ll have to spend a little more time in the beginning to produce the content, but once the content is created, you can repurpose it over and over again.
Here’s an example to help illustrate this point.
Let’s say your bank specializes in construction loans, and you get an email from a prospect asking a great question.
What do you do? You create a great response. And you soon realize it’s taken a lot longer than expected to answer the question.
But what if you already had the answer ready to go? How much time would that save you if you already had the answers to all of the most commonly asked questions?
The answer? A lot of time!
Instead, all you’d need to do is attach a link to the blog post, FAQ page, or video that answers the question(s) the prospect is asking.
Your email could look something like this
That’s a great question! In fact, we have a blog post that answers that exact question. Check it out and let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.
(link to the blog post)
Done! And this is just one example of how content can save you and your employees’ time.
Another example: Good content can qualify your buyers before they even interact with you.
By having answers to commonly asked questions readily available online, your prospects will likely find the answers themselves.
This way, when they reach out to you, most of their questions have already been answered, and you can focus on other things.
You have to keep pace with the competition. It’s easy to get left behind if you’re not constantly adapting to changes in security, technology, compliance, and so many other things.
That’s why it’s important that you and your employees stay up to date on all things going on in your industry.
But how do you and your employees stay up to date in your industry? By making content a priority. If you have to write about something, you have to learn about it first. It helps everyone stay informed.
In return, your institution will always be ahead of the competition because you and your employees are taking the time to learn and improve each day.
Implementing a content strategy at your institution can be a difficult task. That’s why in this section we’re going to talk about the common roadblocks companies face when trying to get the ball rolling.
Knowing these roadblocks will better prepare you for what’s to come so you won’t feel blindsided and frantic about what you should do next. Then, in part 4, we’ll talk about how to overcome them.
Resources and budgets are usually big problems that companies face when trying to start something new. It always comes back to the money.
Large institutions may have bigger budgets, but smaller ones may have to fight for approval on almost anything that’s going to cost the business more money, even if you believe it’s going to have a great ROI.
Bigger companies often have a team of writers who produce content every day. But what do you do if you don’t have the luxury of hiring content experts?
The answer to this question is in part 4, under the Insourcing section.
The workplace can be tricky at times. Sometimes departments are divided, teams don’t agree, and there’s not as much cooperation as you’d like.
This is a huge problem for getting content marketing to work effectively because employees need to collaborate to produce great content. Each employee knows and specializes in something that the others don't, so open communication is critical for getting all the information to create good content.
So how do you unify your employees? You help them understand the vision and get their buy-in.
We’ll go into this in more detail in part 4.
It’s likely that not everyone in your institution knows what content marketing is. And if you asked them to contribute, you’d likely get a response like this: “I’d love to help, but I’m very busy right now. I have more important things to worry about.”
Sound familiar? This has happened to me multiple times. If you haven’t experienced something like this yet, you will.
So how do you get employees to take this effort seriously and get them to contribute? Make it a requirement.
Part 4 gives you a more in-depth look at how to do this.
Did you relate with any of the roadblocks in part 3?
If you did, read on. In part 4, we’re going to talk about how to overcome these challenges and how you can make content marketing work at your institution.
If you’re limited by resources and budgets, insourcing is your solution.
Instead of hiring a team of writers or outsourcing your content, you should look inside your organization and take advantage of what you already have.
Right now, take a moment and think about who, within your institution, are the experts. Who can you rely on?
These are the people who should be producing the content, not a freelance writer who lives in a different state and doesn’t know your business or ideal customer.
Your current employees are your best source of knowledge because they’re the ones interacting with customers on a daily basis. They’re the ones who know your customers’ questions, worries, and fears better than anyone else. And they’re the ones who know how to resolve those concerns.
And remember, you’re not exempt from helping in this effort. If you want to do this right, you need to set the example and produce content alongside your employees.
So again, look inside your organization and form your own content team. Your team can be everyone within the organization, or an initial test group of a few employees and yourself.
Forming your team is the first step. Then the next step is also very important: Get buy-in.
Now that you have your internal content team of experts, it’s time to teach these people the what, why, and how of content marketing. Just like what we’re doing with you right now in this blog post.
This step is critical because it’s likely that some of the people on your team are also new to content marketing, and they might not know what it is. And frankly, many people just don’t like writing.
So for them to become fully invested in content marketing, you first have to teach them what it is, why it’s important, and how it works.
If you fail at this step, you’ll find it extremely difficult to get anyone involved and motivated, even if they accepted your call to be on the content team.
Again, people are happy to help, but they usually get caught up in their normal day-to-day tasks because they think what they’re doing is more important.
So you have to show them why content is crucial to the institution's success. Only then will you get people’s buy-in and involvement.
Keep in mind that, after all your efforts, you still might have some stragglers.
But if you consistently follow up with your team and set the example, eventually everyone will see the benefits of content marketing, and they’ll be more willing to contribute.
This step might sound a little heavy handed, but if you think about it, this is an easy way to get everyone involved.
Usually this is a lot easier to do if you’re a new business just starting out because you can set that expectation right from the beginning, and no one will know any difference.
But if you’ve been around for a while, it might be more challenging to get people to like the idea. That’s why teaching everyone the what, why, and how of content marketing is such a crucial step. You have to get their buy-in before you make it mandatory that everyone contribute to your content efforts.
And remember, you’re not making it mandatory just to resolve your prospects’ questions, problems, fears, etc. You’re doing it to help your employees and institution stay ahead of the competition. To save time and be more innovative and unified.
Now that you understand the what, why, and how of content marketing, it’s time to put these steps into action.
There are many reasons you should be doing content marketing. And if you get your entire organization to catch the vision and execute it, you’ll see some amazing results.
If you liked this blog post, be sure to leave a comment or share it with someone you think will benefit from it.
And finally, if you want to take your content marketing to the next level, check out this book: “They Ask You Answer”. This is a great resource that goes deeper into the concepts we talked about in this blog.
About the Author: Sean De Visser graduated in marking in 2016 and has worked in marketing ever since. Working for agencies and doing freelance projects in the past 5 years, Sean knows what it takes to see great success in marketing. email@example.com