Marketing in the finance world can be a tough job, especially if you're marketing financial services. Younger customers are wary of traditional banks, inexperienced when it comes to investing, and unimpressed by insurance. But all is not lost. If you're determined to connect with potential customers, here's what to keep in mind.
Marketing a Financial Service vs. a Product
There's a world of difference in marketing a service as opposed to a product. Below are some of the critical differentiators - and how they might affect your marketing efforts.
- Products are discrete and tangible; services aren't. With a product, your customers can see exactly what they're getting, making it easier to craft a campaign that sells. Services providers need to go that extra mile to define the features, benefits, and differentiators of their offer. What sets you apart from other insurers or credit unions?
- Products fill a need; services are about relationships. While services also meet needs or solve problems, they hinge upon long-lasting relationships. Services providers need to show the value of that relationship and what it can deliver to the customer or client - and need to do so beyond that initial commitment. What do you offer that will foster loyalty?
- Products are manifold; services are few. It's much easier to build a large product line than it is a large service line. As a service provider, you need to highlight exactly why you're the one to deliver this service, which means doubling down on expertise, experience, trustworthiness, and customer service.
- Products can be "returned"; services can't. If a product isn't to someone's liking, it's easy enough to reverse the purchase - and to encourage the customer to buy something else. On the other hand, if a customer is unhappy with a service, they're more likely to walk away for good. Financial services firms, therefore, need to ensure they keep existing customers happy, and if they're not, make them aware of other related services that might suit their needs instead.
How to Market Your Financial Services
While we don't have room to take you deep into the weeds of a powerful financial services marketing campaign, we can offer some broad tips for making potential customers receptive to your offer. Try these on for size.
- Build trust. Some 92% of millennials don't trust banks, with 68% reporting that banks don't understand their needs. Customer outreach, relationship building, and branding aligned with customer values are critical to overcoming this. Hyper-local bank Homewood Federal Savings Bank does a great job of aligning with its customers' needs.
- Get social. With 84% of millennials neither liking nor trusting traditional advertising, financial services companies need to rethink the traditional print and radio spots. A strong social media presence can help reach these customers - while also offering an opportunity to answer questions, gauge interest, and gather feedback, all of which are vital to building trust. Speaking of trust, recruiting social media influencers to help deliver your message can help give you a boost in this regard.
- Be informative. Only 24% of millennials are financially literate, but that doesn't mean they don't want to learn. Financial services providers can win over this audience with a content strategy featuring concise, conversational, but informative blogs, how-tos, and guides. Financial literacy and planning events, workshops, and panels are another way to showcase the value of your services while meeting a vital need. Upli's Knowledge Center and Columbia Credit Union's busy events calendar are great examples.
- Make it seamless. Your target customer probably feels out of depth at the very mention of financial services. Make it as easy as possible for them to get the information they need, and ensure that the experience is consistent, pain-free, and straightforward. Ensure that your campaigns and content work across platforms and that you've optimized for mobile. Oh, and use their name!
Customers are wary about what they don't know, so meet them where they are. Double down on your relationship-building, and make an effort to speak the language of your customers. If you can make them feel confident, supported, and looked after, you may just have a customer who's with you all the way from 529 to 401K.