First up, I must declare an interest. I’m an advocate of Content Marketing. I believe it works. So much so that what you’re reading now is part of my own Content Marketing strategy.
What is Content Marketing?
It’s a new(ish) name for a style of marketing many companies have been happily doing for years, without giving it a name. Your business may already be doing it.
It’s a sharing of ideas, expertise and knowledge about your industry, your product or your service directly with consumers and the wider fintech community. Done well, it integrates with your media relation’s strategy, providing additional content through social media, web or third parties, such as forums, press and publications.
Wait, what? You want me to share my secrets with the people who I want to spend money with me buying those secrets? You’re crazy! I’m happy to share my ideas with other fintechs, but beyond that? Steady on!
It’s true, the fintech community is already ahead of the game, with a fantastic collaborative approach to business. Many great fintechs were invented to solve social or legacy issues, they’re designed to make a difference and shake up the status quo. Reach out beyond the tech world, to ordinary people, bring them into your world, show them how you can make a difference to theirs.
Why share secrets with your customers?
We all know the old saying, you must KNOW, LIKE and TRUST a company before you make a purchase. Content Marketing builds that all important TRUST, because you feel like you KNOW and LIKE the company.
Additionally, for fintechs to take their new product or service beyond the early adopters and out into a wider marketplace, the focus may need to be on explaining what the problem is before outlining how your solution solves it. By proving to potential customers you know what you’re talking about, they’re more likely to purchase from you.
In today’s sceptical world, we’re looking for authenticity. We love brands that tell a story, that tap into the lifestyle we either live, or want to live and who take the time to understand our needs. But we need more than just a sales pitch.
David Hieatt, Co Founder of Hiut Denim Co, based in Wales, explained it best when he talked about how you have two mates who call you constantly. One calls only to ask for your help. The other calls to tell you about a film they’ve seen, a book they’ve read, an insight they want to share and, sometimes, to ask for your help.
When the phone rings, who’s call do you answer? Who are you more likely to help?
If you constantly just send out social media posts and adverts telling people how great your product is, eventually they will switch off.
Tell them about how technology is going to save the planet (or their wallet), how being a disrupter in an industry shaped your business thinking, how you’ve found inspiration in nature, how your product will change the future of finance and how your brightest sparks come up with ideas, and suddenly you’ve got fascinated early adopters waiting for your next update.
Take a look at petrolprices.com or moneysupermarket.com as examples. Not only do they claim to save consumers money and time, their articles are informative, entertaining and cleverly tailored to provide more than just a sales pitch.
But won’t my competitors copy me and steal my ideas?
Maybe. But aren’t you pushing boundaries with your developments? Aren’t you leading while they follow?
When was the last time you ran a competitor analysis? How many of your competitors are already following this strategy? Be careful it’s not you being left behind.
OK, I’m nearly convinced but isn’t this expensive?
Marketing is an investment in the future of the business. How much time and budget are you currently investing?
The general rule is 10% of turnover should be reinvested in marketing. This could be higher for a start up or new product.
What’s slightly different for Content Marketing is it does need an investment of time.
Time to be creative.
Time to find great topics.
Time to develop key personnel in the business to self-generate content.
Time to test new ideas and shake up the traditional marketing techniques.
Time to see results. This isn’t something that will generate business after just a month.
But how? What’s different about Content Marketing techniques?
Content Marketing is based on interactive channels rather than simple advertising. It can be on or offline and the channel greatly depends on your target customer. As with the ‘know your audience’ toolkit, you need to understand your end audience:
Are you selling to a business or a consumer?
Are you talking to the end user, the decision maker or the influencer?
Where do your customers go for their knowledge or experiences?
Which social media channels do they use?
Do they read specialist magazines or visit specialist websites?
Do they listen to the radio or are they into podcasts?
Do they watch news channels or documentaries?
Do they attend events or networking groups?
Once you’ve answered those questions, then start thinking about how you use these channels to your advantage. Videos, case studies, articles, e-books, press releases, events, training sessions, social media posts, podcasts (or being a guest on one)… the list is endless!
If you need inspiration for topics, ask your customers what interests them. It’s easy to run polls on social media feeds, via websites or with simple questionnaires tagged onto e-newsletters. Why not ask people you know with similar traits to your target market, you don’t even have to be obvious. If your accountant has similar demographics and aspirations as your potential customer, simply sit and listen to them chatter, follow their interests on twitter or LinkedIn..
Alternatively use technology, websites such as answerthepublic.com, trends.google.com, semrush.com are all useful, as are social media feeds - what’s trending on Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn. Google can be your friend here too. Start typing your product into a search – Google will pre-populate the sentence with the most popular searches. Bingo! That’s what your customers are searching too!
What’s your best advice?
Make a content plan, dedicate the time and resources to the plan and make it happen.
Schedule posts in advance, build an email database or social media community.
Select key personnel within your organisation to be the voice of the company. Use their strengths and build their connection with your customer base.
Invest in your brand. Content Marketing, done well, should capture the essence of your company and project it to the world.
Don’t hide your light under a bush, you want to disrupt the industry, go shine bright!
Catherine Bowyer has over 25 years of practical marketing experience, built over many years, including in financial services. Sasa Marketing provides advice and support to businesses looking to expand their marketing presence.
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