Boss Digital provides a range of bespoke digital marketing services for ambitious Financial Service organisations who wish to transform their marketing.

Working with Boss is like having your own team of brand experts, copy writers, designers, developers, search marketing experts and data analysts, only with no overheads and a fraction the wage bill. We take complete ownership of your digital marketing and will work on-site where required.

Above all, we understand that the impact everything we do needs to be measured in pounds and pence. This is about results.

Contact us today for a free consultation via hello@boss-digital.co.uk or 01628 601713.

The financial services industry is changing. Trust has been through a state of constant flux for a decade, the political environment is febrile, and customers are demanding an ever improving experience to be delivered both online and off. In other words, it’s a terrifying time to be standing still, but a profoundly exciting one to be embracing change and doing things differently.

The challenge, therefore, is how does a financial services organisation develop a culture of innovation without losing touch with the very principles that have historically defined its success? And how should this be communicated to its audience in a way that keeps the proposition simple and easy to understand?

Without a clear identity defining the elements of the brand that can be flexed and those that must be protected at al costs, most FS firms will either develop communications strategies that are excessively rigid and unable to cut through the noise, or that are exciting but disjointed and don’t add up to one coherent and compelling story.

These are the questions that need to be asked before you even consider launching into your channel activity, particularly social media where iconic brands can completely unravel in the time it takes to type a tweet.

 

Before a single line of code is written or social post scheduled, it’s imperative that a clear identity exists that can filter down into this channel activity. For most large FS organisations this will all be clearly documented and understood, but for newer organisations it is often a process that we need to first work through.

As with any organisation, this all begins with an understanding of the brand’s core competence – what is that one thing that they will always be famous for and that needs to be the guiding light for all strategic decisions? Once that is defined it must then translate into a clear position, or in other words – What does the brand do and who does it do it for?

The next step is the articulation of a compelling purpose that is able to engage the interest of all stakeholders and audiences. This purpose should go beyond a simple description of what the organisation does, and dig into the underlying “why”. Few financial service organisations ever uncover this purpose, which is now a greater issue than ever as consumers are increasingly basing their purchase decisions on these emotive and ethical brand dimensions.

For those few FS firms that are able to successfully articulate their core competence, position and purpose, the brand identity must then expand into a broader architecture that explores the organisation’s values, the product and service features, and the brand’s tone of voice. Lastly, this rich organisational personality must be represented visually through a well defined colour palette, typeface and principles for user imagery.

Only once all of this exists is your FS firm ready to move to the next stage – content.

Fewer than half of all financial service organisations have a defined and documented content strategy, and consequently companies work far harder than they should have to, in order to achieve very mediocre results.

No matter what size your firm, a clear content strategy will ensure you are:

  • Telling a clear story
  • Aligned to the brand identity, both in messaging and visuals
  • Maximising your reach and engagement
  • Ensuring efficiency with the resources at your disposal

There is no silver bullet for the perfect content strategy, but within financial markets these are some of the key principles that just about all content strategies should adhere to:

  • Start with the customer in mind – as Dale Carnegie taught us 80 years ago, there is no better way to initiate a relationship than to begin the conversation on territory that the other person is comfortable with. Content marketing is no different. So if you’re a bank but a key audience you wish to target is small business owners, then what sort of information does a small business owner care about? Is it sales and marketing insight? Is it inspiration from other business owners? Perhaps it’s about how they can achieve greater balance in life? Before any content strategy is launched we need to map out these different categories and ensure that this makes up the bulk of our initial engagement content. Of course we also want to include details of what our bank does and how it can help them, but if we rush the journey and prioritise that promotional content too soon, we’re going to have a real challenge in maintaining their attention.
  • Always seek out efficiency – time is all we have as marketers, so we should be fiercely protective of it. That begins with ensuring our content strategy is largely channel agnostic. So yes, the content will need to be tweaked according to the channel and who/how it is interpreted will be partially determined by that channel (“The medium is the message!”, as Marshall Mclewin once said) but fundamentally the content should be consistent. Not only is this going to ensure you are delivering a consistent set of messages and overarching story, but it is going to save you an enormous amount of time! You also need to ensure you are prioritising content that has a long shelf life, so that it can continue working for your firm long after it’s first been promoted, and even republished again in the future.
  • Lead with a big idea – it may sound counter intuitive, but I promise you that the bigger your ambitions for your content strategy, the easier you’re going to find it is to achieve it, or at the very least do something remarkable. After all, the internet is drowning in financial institutions pumping out professional content, so if you’re merely adding to that ocean you’re going to have to work reallyy hard to achieve depressingly little. If, however, you aim higher then you will find it far easier to capture people’s imagination and secure their buy-in. And even if you only ever get half way towards achieving your goal, you will almost certainly done something far more interesting than anyone else in the industry.

Every business and market is unique, but for a financial services company their core channels are likely to include:

  • Organic search – whether your audience is business or consumer, the majority of purchase decisions are likely to begin with a simple search into Google. If you’re a leading brand then that search may be specific to your brand, and Google will understand there is only one legitimate organic result. However, the majority of searches will be entirely generic and brand-agnostic, so your ability to capture that traffic could be the difference between a healthy or empty pipeline.
  • LinkedIn – with a rapidly advancing advertising platform and highly engaged business community, LinkedIn continues to be a priority channel for financial service firms. At its most basic level, this may involve the promotion of your content to targeted audiences with the aim of enhancing reach of the brand and growing engagement. At its most sophisticated it could involve the development of a Cost Per Acquisition advertising campaign in which the FS firm has a defined maximum cost they are prepared to incur in the process of acquiring new customers, and then the activity is scaled within this figure. LinkedIn can offer a particularly profitable, targeted and scalable channel for this kind of aggressive lead gen strategy.
  • Email and webinars – your email list is one of only two digital assets you own (the other being your website) which is why it’s so vital for many FS organisations. Ultimately your presence on social media is borrowed, but your email list is yours, and your ability to use it to nurture your prospects and drive them towards offline events or webinars, could be a key factor in determining the value of your sales funnel. The key is to be clear on the objective behind your email strategy, and how exactly its performance will be measured. For this reason it’s highly likely you will need different content pillars and performance metrics for different objectives.

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