David Kidd Jul 21, 2014

Search Engine Optimization in Financial Services

Many industries struggle with developing a strong and efficient search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Marketers can’t find enough relevant industry topics to discuss at the level of depth required for effective SEO. They struggle with creating and cementing long-term, brand-loyal relationships with existing and potential customers online, creating a psychological barrier for content strategy.

Yet, those financial brands not leveraging an online marketing strategy are missing out. The barriers to entry for content marketing campaigns and SEO in financial services are low compared to other industries. Content marketing can be effective by utilizing the following SEO strategies:

Complicated explanations can convert. Every marketing and sales representative for a financial brand understands the burden of attempting to explain their products and services to a customer. It requires a long explanation, definitions for each of the many acronyms involved and a word count that often stretches resources.

However, this long, complicated content is an SEO gold mine for banking brands. It allows for the “in-depth” content Google loves and provides ample opportunities for keyword optimization. This type of information also entices the best visitors to a website – the kind who convert to customers. Because intensive content includes more long-tail keywords, most of these visitors are seeking very specific information and are more likely to act on the knowledge they gain once consuming the content.

Evolving content means additional content. The financial industry is constantly in motion. While this constant influx of information and consequent responsibility to relay it to audiences can seem taxing, it also provides a unique opportunity for marketers. An entire content marketing strategy can be built around delivering regular, informative and timely updates on regulations, market changes and industry insights.

Many other industries suffer from the burden of finding newsworthy topics on a regular basis. Marketers for financial brands, however, always have something new to write about, fresh information to pass on to their audiences. Even better, by acting quickly and efficiently, financial brands can quickly become the go-to source of updates and information, building a loyal network of existing and potential customers. 

Existing engaged audiences. Luckily for financial brands, their key audiences are already seeking information online. According to a recent study, 90% of the mass affluent are active on social media. This means they understand not only how to find specific information but also how to effectively leverage it by connecting with brands online.

Brands that don’t take advantage of this highly sought-after audience with an effective content marketing and digital marketing strategy are missing an incredible opportunity. By providing in-depth content on a regular basis, brands can gain a loyal mass following of the perfect type of customer: those with money who are ready to use it. All marketers have to do is find a way to reach them with quality content, conversion-focused social media strategies and compelling calls-to-action.

Digital branding expectations. Consumers today expect brands to have an online presence and often don’t trust those who haven’t taken the time to build an online identity. Almost half of social media users seek information and customer service from brands on their preferred networks. If your brand isn’t there, they just move on to your competitors.

Unfortunately, consumers aren’t interested in picking up the phone or email customer service representatives for an answer or more information any longer. They want, and expect, information on the platforms and at the pace that suits their needs.

While there’s a lot of red tape involved in social media within the financial industry, the opportunities for connectivity and audience touch points cannot be ignored. The effort is worth it. Don’t let your brand lose customers over all of the what-ifs.

Opportunities for cross selling. When a potential customer walks into a bank to access an account, they can pick up a brochure on mortgage services and walk out. This person may or may not return to find out about the bank’s savings account services, credit card options, financial planning services and more.

This isn’t an issue in the digital world. By constantly being in touch with customers through account access online or via a mobile app, financial brands have an incredible opportunity to promote and cross sell products and services. Linking strategies between products, services and other landing pages enables marketers to lead potential and existing customers from one offering to another, showcasing industry depth as well as expanding marketing opportunities.

Development of a long-term customer relationship. The road to customer conversion within the financial industry is a long and winding one. Consumers don’t make quick purchasing decisions about financial services as they might do with cookie brands. A solid level of trust must first be built, which can easily fall apart through one unsatisfactory brand experience.

Online marketing allows for a trusted brand customer relationship to be built over time through the supply of reliable, informative digital content. As a brand continues to provide answers to complicated financial questions, its audience becomes more and more loyal, setting them firmly on the road to customer conversion.

Mr. Kidd is the director of Online Marketing for St. Louis-based SteadyRain Inc., an online marketing, mobile development and digital strategy firm. He can be reached at David.Kidd@SteadyRain.com.

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