In the first half of 2012, Amazon reportedly spent $54 million and the University of Phoenix $37.9 million on pay-per-click advertising. With Google advertising costs going through the roof, community banks have a tough time competing with the larger banks. Instead, they’re faced with the reality of how easy it is to run out of advertising funds extremely quickly.
Fortunately, content marketing offers a low-cost solution to this dilemma. With such drastically rising costs bearing down on your marketing budget, why not build your own network, with your own traffic and with your own ads all the time? No more bidding and no more competing for ad-space.
From the times of David Ogilvy to the present day, not much has changed in regard to advertising. While the products we sell and the advertisements we create are different, the overall ideology – that you are selling a feeling rather than a product – has stayed the same.
Consider, for example, Ogilvy’s “The Man in The Hathaway Shirt” campaign. His focus wasn’t on the size, the thread count, or the colors, but rather the idea of what you could become in that shirt. Including the eye-patch gave men the feeling that they could be sophisticated and still maintain their edge when wearing this shirt.
That brings us to today. Procter & Gamble created a campaign called “Proud Sponsor of Moms” that was initially released on YouTube. While the outlet in which it was distributed is new, the overall idea of selling a feeling over a product stayed the same. P&G didn’t sell paper towels or other such household items, but rather the idea of a mother’s love. This campaign proved to be the brand’s most profitable advertising effort to date.
So, if creative content is what gets people’s attention, why pay others to post ads on their content when we can create our own? Display ads work well when on a website or blog that provides very relevant and engaging information. But instead of auctioning for a spot on a valuable website, why not build your own valuable blog and advertise on it?
When I mention this to most banks, they think this means creating content on fraud protection, mortgage-related posts and so on. The problem is that there are already hundreds of other major sites that already provide this information, sites with which banks will have to compete.
So, the most logical step is for banks to create content that deeply connects to human emotions. Doing so will get consumers to love your brand and will, in turn, get people to react to your ads more effectively. The trick is consistency. You want to create the right content, create it frequently and create it for a significant period of time.
Here are three ways to do that:
Create powerful content. Consumers will be drawn to things that interest them. If you effectively figure out what they enjoy reading about and you post about it, they will want to read it.
Become an authority of that content. Beyond providing content, you also must then put an interesting angle on it to make yourself an authority. Anyone can read about a dog that fell down a well last week but that’s no use to your bank. However, maybe your bank is working with a charity that does pet adoptions. You could talk about the sad news story and relate it to an animal that needs adopting at the charity’s shelter, thus giving your readers a reason to listen to you over someone else.
Build the right ads and calls to action. Once you establish that you are getting the correct traffic to your blog, you can begin to advertise. You own the space so you can place ads there for whatever products and services you are trying to sell.
Banks that have control over their blogs can control who visits them and what affects their conversion rates. In a world where funds can be spent in the blink of an eye, wouldn’t your bank rather cut costs and create its own advertising machine?
Mr. Siracusa is the president and CEO of Fort Lee, N.J.-based mOSa Marketing. He can be reached at email@example.com.