Make Bank With These 8 Financial Services Marketing Best Practices
Corny as it sounds, it’s all about the Benjamins in the financial services industry — and that goes for the marketing departments too. As in other industries, financial service marketers are responsible for creating content and campaigns that drive sales. But let’s be real: Banking and credit cards can be more complex — and at times drier — than travel and retail. Luxurious trips to tropical islands and cool new sneakers just tend to sound more fun than savings accounts.
But of course, the consumer needs money to purchase those things, and that’s where financial services come in. To be the brand at the top of consumers’ minds, financial service marketers need a concise and simplified message that demonstrates a clear understanding of consumers’ needs.
Persado VP of Strategic Group Dan Gingiss, who spent nearly 15 years in the financial services industry and now works with financial services companies to find marketing solutions, shared his top tips for creating marketing messages that make bank.
Quick, how much is 2% cash back on that $76.11 dinner you just had? There’s no shame in not being able to figure it out without in your head — just know potential customers are likely in the same boat. “Most people have a serious aversion to math, yet financial services companies often require those same people to get out a calculator to understand the value of a particular offer,” Gingiss said. Instead of overwhelming potential customers with complicated math and percentages, it’s best practice in financial services marketing to focus on the core value of the product and on simple, whole numbers.
Kill the Jargon
APR. ACH. Schumer Box. Financial services marketers may need to know these terms, but if Joe Bag-of-Donuts needs a dictionary to get through your message, you’re in trouble. A study of the four most commonly used terms in healthcare found that only 4% of Americans could correctly define all four. Yet many companies insist on using this language in marketing materials. “If you want people to respond, you have to speak their language,” Gingiss said. “If the lawyers require you to use complex terms, then insist on translating them for customers.”
There’s so much information available on customers and prospects, and it’s best practice for financial services marketers to leverage it just to keep up with the competition. “The more you know about a potential customer, the better you can personalize an offer to his or her needs,” Gingiss said. For example, a newly married couple may be interested in saving for a home, while parents with teenagers are more likely to need help financing a college education.
Make it Easy to Switch
“Most people stay with their bank or credit card because of inertia — it’s too burdensome to switch,” Gingiss said. In addition to the hassle of paperwork, changing a bank or credit card involves updating information with banks, bills, direct deposits, Apple Pay… it’s not as simple as switching from a pair of Nikes to New Balance running shoes. But if you remove those barriers, a potential customer just may give your brand a shot. If you’re a credit card company, try offering to help the customer identify and change all of his recurring bills such as cable and mobile phone service.
Find Your Point of Differentiation
The average 9-to-5 worker receives more than 120 emails per day. Couple this with the fact that financial services can be difficult to understand as it is, and you have a recipe for brand confusion. “Competing on price, interest rates or rewards is generally a loser’s game,” Gingiss said. “Remember when auto-financing was at a low, low rate of 9.99%? Now some are 0% for five or six years!” Take a different route. Customer experience is a good place to start, Gingiss said, because it is hard to copy. It’s best practice in any industry — but especially in financial services marketing, where the verbiage can be so complex —to have an easy-to-navigate website and to send out personalized content that speaks to a customer’s current situation (paying off student loans vs. financing a second home).
Although marketers often find consumer protection and privacy laws to be burdensome, Gingiss says that the underlying concepts behind them are actually very consumer-friendly. The challenge, he says, is when these laws include required language that if full of legalese. The answer is to provide a “translation” of sorts. In addition to the required language on your website’s Privacy Statement page, consider adding some bullets on the benefits of the policy to the consumer. And always treat every customer’s private information like you would your own.
Know Your Place
“Let’s face it: No one wakes up in the morning hoping to hear from their bank or credit card company,” Gingiss said. “They are already bombarded by offers in direct mall, email, social media and across the web.” More and more, it’s becoming best practice in financial services marketing to use segmentation data to ensure the right customers are being targeted at the right time. “When people feel like marketing is directed right at them instead of at a mass audience, they are more likely to forgive the disruption and consider the offer,” Gingiss said.
AI is becoming a best practice tool in the financial services industry. Companies like Persado use AI technology to deliver the right messages to the right consumers.