Five common digital marketing problems for the finance sector - and how to overcome them

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Hannah Ward of Run2.

When it comes to digital marketing for the finance sector, it’s a competitive world out there. You’re competing with everything from high street banks to aggregators such as MoneySupermarket. On top of that, you have the red tape around compliance and transparency, meaning there are restrictions and limitations to the kind of content you can put out there.

Run2 works on behalf of a number of finance clients, so we asked our digital marketing team about the most common obstacles they face and how to overcome them.

There’s a lot of red tape

When creating content for the finance sector, compliance and transparency are crucial. Small print will always be necessary and you’ve got to balance regulations with creative and intriguing copy.

It can be difficult to create eye-catching and creative content which is also compliant, which is maybe why Revolut app recently missed the mark with their Spotify spoof ads. Inspired by Spotify’s data-driven creative, the campaign certainly garnered a lot of attention after making claims about user habits on the app. But when it came to light that the user data in the ads was completely fake, Revolut was referred to the Financial Conduct Authority for fabricating user spending data in its advertising.

It helps to work with clients from the beginning to ensure the team working on the account are all up to speed with compliance and what they can and can’t say. Giving clients sight of all content before it goes live is also very common in the finance sector.

There's a lack of trust in the sector

Trust is a major issue for the finance sector, especially after the recession and the negativity around the actions of banks. In digital marketing this is something we’re always trying to overcome.

Beth Cunniffe, content manager at Run2, believes that when it comes to financial matters, people are looking for genuine and honest advice.

Beth recently wrote about how First Direct Bank are helping to counteract negativity by building their brand upon an exceptional customer experience, focusing on the customer’s needs and concerns. These are lessons we try to apply to our finance clients’ accounts, always taking a 'customer first' approach.

When working on finance clients, Dan Ockerby, PPC Manager at RUN2, finds that people are rightfully cautious with their money/personal details, especially when using companies that just operate online. He says: “The best way to build trust is by using customer reviews and testimonials from third-party sites like Trustpilot. Using statistics and USPs can also help to build trust too.”

Finance isn’t the most 'social' industry

As an industry, finance has a reputation for being quite serious, traditional and difficult to market on social.

Dave Nicoll, head of social at Run2, recommends linking finances to relatable and positive experiences rather than just talking data. He says: “Rather than telling the audience to save a particular amount before they retire, talk about what they need to do so they can retire by a certain age. It’s all about linking finances to positive experiences.”

Steer clear of cliched images of men in suits and instead lean towards empowering imagery that is lifestyle and family-friendly. Audience segmentation is another important factor: you can't use the same messaging for somebody approaching retirement and someone at the start of their career, so a clear understanding of each audience really helps.

Dave also advises that remarketing can work well for the finance sector. If you're looking at investing your money or taking out a mortgage, it's not an instant purchase decision. There's quite a long research phase, so plan for this accordingly.

PPC is expensive

Jack Bennett, PPC manager at Run2, is well-versed in the finance sector having worked with loans, debt management, and banking clients.

A major obstacle for PPC in the finance sector is the high cost per click. He says: “Avoid chasing position one and getting into a bidding war with someone who may be more established as this can result in being priced out of the market. Instead, test, test, test. Identify which long tail keywords work as soon as possible. Give these their own campaigns and be aggressive. They might not drive hundreds of leads, but focus on quality over quantity and they are likely to be cheaper.

“We also work hard to understand lead quality, tracking leads back to campaigns with both online and call tracking. We then feed this information back into the campaigns. This may mean we spend less on the account because some keywords that got lots of traffic aren't actually turning a profit.”

Dan Ockerby advises making the sign up process as simple as possible. Referencing one of our mortgage clients, he explains: “Signing up for anything financial can often mean long complicated forms that include lots of personal questions. We defined clear USPs and presented them straight away on the landing page, as well as cutting the length of the form down. Conversion rate increased from an average of 5 - 7% to 13 - 15%”.

You’re contending with the ‘Money Taboo’

Today, money is less of a taboo subject than it once was; more people are open to chatting about their finances and breaking that awkward 'money taboo'. However, over half of UK adults still never or rarely talk about their finances, which can be an obstacle when it comes to digital marketing, as people's reluctance to talk about money makes them less likely to interact with your content publicly. It’s something that people can be wary of engaging in. For example, liking or sharing a post about money can still be seen as embarrassing, too personal, or distasteful.

Jenni Hill is a content executive at RUN2 and runs her own finance blog. She believes it’s important that finance companies understand the line between the type of data people are comfortable with brands sharing vs the data they’d rather be kept a secret.

Jenni gives the example of Monzo, who ran a 'Year in Monzo' campaign where they shared a summary of people's spending habits and it was well received.

But when Revolut ran an advert joking about single people spending money on lone takeaways, people angrily accused the brand of 'single-shaming' and being far too intrusive into people’s private spending.

For marketers, the key to tackling the ‘money taboo’ is finding a balance where content piques users’ interest without crossing the line into ‘too personal’.

Hannah Ward is operations director at Run 2

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