If your bank doesn't yet have a content marketing strategy that leverages a blog, this post is for you (or your boss). You've likely heard a lot of buzz about the power of inbound marketing, but is it really worth all the effort?
Consumer behavior is evolving rapidly; we’re really all millennials now. We have high expectations of companies we patronize, we want personalized experiences, demand mobile-friendly technology, and we consume information quickly – lots of information. It’s not surprising that 88% of consumers first go online to conduct their own research prior to opening a bank account (CA Web Stress Index).
Given the insatiable demand for useful information that we all have, especially in matters related to finance, blogs are a powerful asset that should be a foundation of bank digital marketing strategy. Here are just a few reasons to prioritize content marketing at your financial institution:
1. Blog content helps you deliver on your bank’s mission statement
If you look at most bank websites, you’ll likely find an “About Us” section with a mission statement that goes something like this, “Our bank empowers people, businesses, and communities to better their financial well-being.” You surely are doing this already through a combination of charitable donations, event sponsorship, educational events, and more. These activities certainly have value, but they also have limited reach. By leveraging the expertise of your employees, you can create educational content that can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime. Consider your customers’ needs when writing blog content – try to make your bank a resource that answers their questions and assists their research into banking and lending solutions. By doing this you are not only fulfilling your bank’s mission statement, but you are also demonstrating credibility and authority with potential customers.
2. Blog content converts prospects into customers
Once upon a time, the buyer journey for consumers and businesses was fairly linear. Today, the buyer’s journey is more akin to a spider web of micro-moments. In fact, Google recently conducted a study of customer journeys and found that no two journeys were exactly the same. Regardless of the path they take, your bank can be present throughout a prospect’s journey by creating useful content that addresses the concerns they have as they have them. With nearly everyone researching online prior to making a purchase decision, you can be sure that your customers and prospects are also searching online for financial answers. Wouldn’t you prefer they find answers on your website, and not from a competitor?
3. Blog content increases loyalty with existing customers
If you asked your customers where they go online for financial advice, news, and inspiration, would your website make the list? Sure, most people would prefer to see cats in their Facebook feed than Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, but where do they look when they have financial questions? When they are curious about down payment assistance programs, want to find local resources for starting a business, or need help creating a trust? Blog content can be created to educate and empower your customers financially, which helps build loyalty with customers. 79% of people think of their banks only as transactional entities, so differentiate by providing them with more than just free checks!
4. Blog content has cumulative benefits
The beauty of the bank blog is that its value only increases over time, unlike one-time campaigns like billboards, radio, direct mail, etc. As you produce original content each month, you create more and more “doorways” into your website. By making this content evergreen, you can ensure that new users will continue to find your blog as they are researching common questions about financial solutions. Each article you produce has the potential to be an ongoing resource for your brand. The cumulative effect of regularly publishing useful content will increase online visibility, website traffic, and leads.
Skeptical? Check out this chart of monthly blog visitors from one of our community bank clients that we’ve partnered with on content marketing over the past year:
The above traffic is completely non-paid, and the result of just a single blog post published each month. Once published, each content asset on your blog is working to increase the visibility of and engagement with your bank 24 hours a day.
5. Blog content fuels all other digital marketing efforts
Without great content, why would anyone follow your Facebook page or open your email newsletters? Content is the key to social media engagement, email opens, effective search engine optimization, online advertising that converts, and personalized marketing automation. If you want to stay top of mind with customers and local prospects, it all starts with providing value. Content isn’t the only way your community bank can provide value of course, but it’s a crucial part of an effective digital marketing strategy.
If you’re still on the fence about the value of a blog for your bank or credit union, contact us to start a conversation. We’re bank marketing experts/nerds who work with financial institutions across the country on inbound content. We’re always happy to take questions, share examples, or create a blog content strategy for your FI.