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An integrated approach to marketing for personal finance brands

14.07.20

With a recession looming and unemployment on the rise, the post-COVID world may look uncertain for many personal finance brands. While there are certainly challenges out there, there are also plenty of opportunities to carve out space in our new normal. Consumers are looking for brands and organisations who recognise their struggles and who are there to support them – they are looking for a brand they can trust. 

In personal finance, a consistent online presence is an important part of building trust in your community. From your PR and blog content to social media and branding, all of these tactics can help but only if they’re working together.

Why you need an integrated approach

When it comes to personal matters, such as money, customers want clear, consistent messaging. Before you start talking to customers online, it’s important that you first review your current brand strategy and approach. This will set the basis for all communications.  

Now is not the time to go for an aggressive growth strategy. We know that generating leads and sign-ups is an important part of your digital strategy but you should put your goals in context. Read the room and understand your audience. It’s much more important to focus on supporting your customers (and potential customers) at this time. 

With research showing that consumers are tightening their purse strings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to demonstrate an understanding of your audience’s needs. Start by taking a look at your brand’s current tone of voice. Is it still appropriate for customers who are heading into a recession and potential unemployment? If not, adapt it and make sure the change is communicated across all departments. This way you can ensure consistent messaging from the outset. 

Improving reputation risk with PR

Now is the time to focus on building trust with your target audience. Without building that trust when consumers need it most, brands are at a huge risk of damaging their image. You only need to take a look back at the financial crash of 2008 to learn lessons from the banks who took a massive hit to their reputation post-crisis.

With a heightened risk of negative brand perception during this crisis, it’s important that you include a succinct PR and crisis management plan in your marketing strategy. With a clear plan of action, you can be confident and agile if and when PR emergencies arise.

One of the ways that personal finance brands can utilise PR to build trust is by demonstrating responsibility and financial resilience. This can be communicated through profiling pieces of your senior management team, such as setting up interviews and Q&A pieces with journalists in industry publications like Money Marketing or thought leadership pieces to showcase your expertise and authority in your field. 

PR  is a great way to increase brand awareness amongst your target audience.  It also gives you the opportunity to share key messaging with consumers and help influence brand perception.

Demonstrating support to customers with digital tactics

With a recent YouGov survey showing that nearly half of consumers (46 per cent) are concerned about their personal finances over the next 12 months, it’s up to finance brands to show as much support and reassurance as possible. 

Blogs and social media are brilliant digital tactics to offer tangible, instructional support to your audience at this time – here’s how you can use them more effectively:

Utilising social media to build up brand loyalty

Try to spot common themes in the questions customers are asking. If the same ones keep coming up, why not write a blog and upload it to your website? 

For example, if you’re a solicitor specialising in financial mis-selling and you keep getting questions about a specific case, now is the perfect time to write an update and share across your social channels.

Having a steady stream of blog content with tips and advice for your customers is key if you want to drive traffic to your website from social and search engines. If you’re answering questions you know customers are already asking, you’ll have a better chance of your target audience clicking through.

Allow your customers to inform your blog content

Try to spot common themes in the questions customers are asking. If the same ones keep coming up, why not write a blog and upload it to your website? 

For example, if you’re a solicitor specialising in financial mis-selling and you keep getting questions about a specific case, now is the perfect time to write an update and share across your social channels.

Having a steady stream of blog content with tips and advice for your customers is key if you want to drive traffic to your website from social and search engines. If you’re answering questions you know customers are already asking, you’ll have a better chance of your target audience clicking through.

Adapt your social media content in line with your audience’s needs

Review your current social media content. How are your customers reacting to it? Has their behaviour changed since lockdown? Remember that consumer habits are changing and if you want to stay relevant you have to keep up. Look at your engagement metrics on social media on different types of content. See what works best and adapt your content to ensure you’re focusing on what you know is important to your audience.

Personalise your audience’s social media experience

Take a look at your current customers and utilise your knowledge to create targeted campaigns based on the demographic and interests of your audience. If you want to find out more about the demographic of your social media followers, all the major platforms have great audience insight and analytics tools.

Paid advertising features on channels like Facebook also allow you to create custom audiences and adverts so you can target individual customer groups. 

For example, you might be releasing a new e-account product. You want to target 18-35s with the account’s ‘travel money’ feature, but feel the ‘24 hour support’ may be more relevant for the 35-50s. You can create tailored ads for each audience and use Facebook’s paid features to individually serve each demographic. That way you can post only the most relevant information to your followers without clogging up your page with lots of different messages.

If you can portray a personalised experience which is based on what you know is important to your audience, this can be so much more effective in encouraging new leads.

Providing a user-friendly experience with your website to increase clicks

Once users are on your website, your work isn’t done. You need to make sure your website is clear, easy to navigate and information is right at the forefront. When it comes to your services, take an information-focused approach but ensure you’ve conducted thorough keyword research to understand what users are searching for to influence the copy on your website.

For example, if you’re an insurance provider specialising in ‘high risk life insurance’, you can use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to better understand how users search for your products. It might be that while you class your product as ‘high- risk insurance’ users are more likely to search based on their specific needs, such as ‘extreme sports insurance’ or ‘heart disease insurance’.

During the current crisis, have your COVID-19 statement in clear view and highlight the ways you are supporting customers. Be as honest and transparent as you can, and you will reap the benefits of brand loyalty in the long-term. 

While we understand that budgets are stretched for everyone right now, it’s more important than ever for finance brands to approach all of their communications holistically. It’s great to utilise tactics like blogs, PR, social media and a website but only if they’re all working together towards a common goal.

Do you need support with implementing and managing an integrated strategy for your brand? We’ve worked with the likes of Argos Pet Insurance and APJ Solicitors, providing integrated strategies that include PR, social media, blogs and website and brand development. Get in touch via the form below and we’ll be in contact.

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