Web sites are not created in stone. There will come a time when “the old look” doesn’t work anymore or that your site isn’t effectively meeting its overall objectives. If your site looks outdated, you’re not communicating a clear message to potential customers and consequently your company’s value is diminished in their minds. Similarly, you’re not exemplifying a strong web presence if your website lacks the type of information that your customers are looking to you to provide. By implementing a content marketing strategy into your next redesign, the outcome can prove to be very rewarding and effective for your company’s growth.
What is Content Marketing?
You may be familiar with the phrase “content is king.” Without content and clear information, a website will lack an essential element of online marketing regardless of how nice or elegant the design of the site is. For instance, online customers are increasingly utilizing online content to make financial decisions. In a recent Forrester Research report entitled “Online-Influenced Sales Exceed Direct Sales In Financial Services“, it was found that “63% of US online adults who researched financial services products did so online.” Another study sponsored by Powered, found that online consumer education produces ROI nearly 300% higher than traditional campaigns. Can you really expect to attract customers to your site when the information they were hoping to read simply doesn’t exist?
Since a considerable portion of your online brand image and web presence are a direct reflection of your business’s website, the site design becomes crucial – a website might be the face of your brand online but it is also the marketing engine. Many bank websites are still built around the traditional marketing style which generally consists of your company’s background information, brief summaries of the products they offer, current rates, etc. Unfortunately this philosophy is no longer as effective as it used to be.
Content marketing represents a paradigm shift in bank marketing methods in the sense that the center of your attention should begin to focus more on what the customer wants and helping them get it. As social media expert Chris Brogan asserts in a recent comment, “Let’s say your goal is lead generation. A good chunk of marketing effort and attention seems to be shifting in this direction (content marketing), especially for products and services with a complex sell.”
For a bank that offers so many different financial products and services, it’s important that a portion of their marketing efforts revolve around distribution of suitable relevant information. If you know what your customers or prospective customers are interested in learning about and you give them focused and useful information, you are building trust for your brand and all the products and services you offer. By empowering your customers with the knowledge and freedom to make their own decisions, you are creating the foundation for your future business relationships and positioning your institution as a trusted resource.
Why is content marketing important for your website?
In respect to your website design, your site should adhere to a consistent means of facilitating content distribution that is relevant and valuable to your customers. The more complex the products or services are, the more important it becomes to break down and simplify relevant information effectively. Instead of bombarding your customers with the usual marketing information about your products or services, present them with the information that is useful to them and invite them to explore more. Content marketing is still marketing, but is far more subtle and less direct than the traditional ways of the past.
There are many types of content distribution that you can choose to incorporate into your bank’s marketing strategy. Besides actual product pages, there are blogs, forums, newsletters, ebooks, white papers, podcasts and videos. These are just some of the many ways you can enhance your online footprint. Think of some ways you could change your customers experience to make it more interesting or helpful to the point that others would want to link to your website or share it within their networks.
- Does your current website provide enough content to educate your customers about all the financial questions they may have?
- How might you change your current website to be more customer-centric?
- Are you doing your best to leverage your content by offering it to your customers in creative and interesting ways?
Technological developments have enabled banks to market themselves in ways that didn’t exist a few years ago. Mashable.com, a popular website for social media related news featured an article not too long ago titled “5 Ways Banks Are Using Social Media“. The article highlights five institutions that had begun to use social networking and social media to promote their products, enhance their web presence and show brand loyalty using the right content. Being that it is a fairly new trend, very few financial institutions have begun to tap into a resource that is becoming more and more commonplace in the bank marketing world. At the same time these online communities also provide another venue to reach your customers and provide them with useful content that’s educational in nature.
Updating your website can be a daunting task. Whether you’re simply looking for some ways to enhance your current website or your institution is considering doing a complete overhaul of your current website, content marketing should seriously be considered to compliment your current bank marketing strategy. An enhanced web presence, increased brand loyalty, more efficient lead generation, and improved customer retention are just a few of the rewards that will come from simply adding helpful and informational content to your website.