How can financial education content be used to enhance my website?
With most financial product research beginning online, financial websites are often the first opportunity that providers have to engage consumers in a meaningful way. But financial product research is often more than assessing the different features and benefits offered for different account or loan options. There is financial education, needs analysis and a 'best for me' assessment that is often part of the process. That's where financial education content comes in.
Financial websites need to support the decision process of financial consumers as they journey through the consideration process. That means that both product information and educational information be available so that potential customers can both review options and assess their needs.
Helping financial consumers assess their needs and determine what is 'best for me' is a key part of the financial consideration process. Making that process engaging with financial education content that is visually accessible and easy to understand will stimulate the discovery and exploration process that needs to be completed before a potential customer is willing to hit that 'apply now' button or walk into a branch to open an account or complete a transaction.
How can I use financial education content in social media?
Customers that have welcomed you into their social circles by 'liking' you on Facebook or following you on Twitter do so with the understanding that it isn't an invitation to a continuous sales pitch, but an opportunity for you to share information that they might find meaningful.
Social channels are about helping, not selling. So more than any other marketing channel, your Facebook page or Twitter feed should be focused on providing information and educational content that keeps your customers informed and knowledgable about their financial life.
If you follow the basic tenets of the social channels and provide content that is engaging, informational and educational, you'll build an audience as well as advocates for your brand. A strong social audience will help you grow share of wallet and retain existing customers. But it will take a good sized library of meaningful content to drive that engine.
How can I use financial education content in my marketing communications?
Your marketing outreach initiatives, either via direct mail, email, or outbound call center or branch associate calls need to build relationship value as well as yield sales results. Effectiveness in these channels will create cross-sell opportunities and improve customer retention.
Including financial education content in your outbound marketing campaigns that is meaningful and engaging to your customers will encourage discovery and exploration and make it more likely that your sales pitch will succeed. Marketing messages that contain helpful educational content will be more well-received, allowing you to communicate with higher frequency.
New account onboarding campaigns help customers get the most out of their financial products. Including additional related financial education content that encourages customers to become more knowledgeable on their finances can help them get greater value from those products. They also make the customer more open to cross-sell opportunities.
How can I leverage financial education content for search marketing?
Search engine users often search directly for specific financial products using terms that will find your product information. But other times, users will use educational, need, goal or problem based language in their search that will get answered by listings focused on financial education rather than specific product offerings.
Search engines are a valuable tool in helping banks and credit unions acquire new customers. But since most banks and credit unions offer similar products, relying on product keywords to drive website traffic will yield limited results because of the competitive environment for listings.
A differentiating approach to receive search engine traffic is to host educational content that draws users who use problem or goal based terminology in their search entries. This is a less competitive space that only financial providers who provide a wide-range of educational and personal finance oriented content can play in.
How can financial education content be used in my branches?
While transactions have slowly migrated out of the branch to online and mobile and other electronic channels, customers still prefer to come into a branch to open accounts, finalize loans or start a financial relationship. So instead of being asked to perform routine tasks, branch associates are increasingly expected to be more consultative and helpful when closing new business.
Before finalizing their decisions, financial consumers prefer to replace doubt with certainty and make sure they have a good understanding of how a product will impact their finances. Being able to share knowledge through available educational content or demonstrate the impact of a financial decision via a financial calculator can help consumers get past all remaining sales obstacles and be ready to move forward with their decision.
It's difficult enough to have subject matter experts in each branch for all of the products that a bank or credit union offers. Making them experts on all matters of personal finance would add to that challenge. But leveraging a strong library of educational content on personal finance that can be shared and reviewed by branch associates based on their relation to specific products can help them build credibility with new customers and give them information they can share when questions are raised.
Knowing which financial calculators can provide a good example of how a product might work for a new customer, such as a car, mortgage or home equity loan can allow them to use those tools to answer key questions as well.