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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jun 30 , 2021

There are many unique aspects to the financial services industry — how you approach SEO successfully is one of them.

Here, you’ll find:

  • The importance of YMYL and E-A-T
  • How to increase your site’s trustworthiness
  • Tops for successful finserv content
  • Why long-tail keywords matter

Got your mind on your money and your money on your mind?

That’s where the financial services industry, or finserv, comes in. These companies are all about helping people, businesses, and other organizations manage their dollars and cents.

Compared to other industries, finance players often take a unique approach when it comes to designing their digital marketing strategy. Often, this includes a heavy focus on search engine optimization, or SEO. 

With trust being the pillar of finserv marketing success, SEO can be a big part of helping people see your company as worthy of that trust. By taking actions like combining key aspects of technical SEO and committing to quality content, you can bring your website to the top of the SERPs while establishing your business as an industry leader.

hand holding dollar bills in front of a pink wall

When deciding how to rank a YMYL page, Google relies on its E-A-T standards. (Image via Rawpixel)

1. Understand YMYL and E-A-T

The majority of web pages for finserv companies fall into the YMYL category. YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life.” According to Google, these pages could affect the “happiness, health, financial stability or safety” of users.

For companies that offer financial services, YMYL pages can contain financial advice or information about:

  • Investments
  • Taxes
  • Retirement planning
  • Loans
  • Banking
  • Insurance

Pages that allow online purchases and money transfers also fall in this category. When deciding how to rank a YMYL page, Google relies on its E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) standards. E-A-T stands for:

  • Expertise: The content you share on the website should demonstrate expertise in the subject.
  • Authoritativeness: You should have relevant credentials (qualifications, experience) to give advice or share information on YMYL pages.
  • Trustworthiness: You need to show your business is reliable through things like providing reviews from real customers, having clear contact data, and having updated, accurate content.

While you can demonstrate E-A-T with various marketing tactics, content remains the most effective avenue. With this in mind, make sure each blog post and site page has been vetted carefully. Everything you post should provide value for your users, especially if the content can have an impact on their financial future.

2. Use content clusters

Whatever niche of the finserv industry you’re in, the information and advice you plan to share can sometimes be technical or complex. To make it easier for users to digest your content while increasing the appeal to search engines, consider implementing content clusters.

Content clusters consist of a pillar page and several supporting pages:

  • Pillar page: serve as a main subject overview with general information about the topic
  • Supporting pages: in-depth content on sub-topics covered in the pillar page with links to the pillar page

Besides simplifying the search for information on your website, content clusters allow you to employ a robust internal linking strategy, use a variety of keywords, and demonstrate your expertise.

3. Add visual content

When it comes to financial advice or data, infographics carry a high value. This type of shareable content can boost the traffic to your website tremendously. It can also simplify complex information you need to share and make it more digestible for your target audience.

Video marketing is another way to more easily explain confusing subjects while attracting your audience’s eyes and attention. Viewers claim they retain 95% of a message when obtained via video, according to Social Media Week.

Consider implementing different types of visual content, including:

  • Explainer or how-to videos
  • Case studies
  • Review videos
  • Webinar recordings
  • Tutorials
  • Q&A videos

Concise, informative videos tend to generate shares and can boost your backlinking efforts to boot.

Want more? Check out our webinar recording, Financial Services Marketing: 14 Proven Ways to Drive Revenue with PPC.

woman calculating receipts with smartphone

Particularly for financial topics, it’s crucial for the content on your site to be accurate, helpful, and up to date if you want your company to be seen as an authority. (Image via Rawpixel)

4. Repurpose old content

If your company and blog have been around a while, it’s likely that you already have at least a handful of existing content on your website. To improve your financial services SEO efforts, it may be time to give these posts another look. 

Here are some ways you can repurpose and refresh your current content:

  • Updates: The financial sector is highly volatile. A big chunk of your content can become outdated quickly. However, it doesn’t mean you need to create new content while letting the previous content languish. Simply update your old posts and articles to reflect changes. This will also help you build up page authority.
  • New audiences: You can repurpose old content to suit new segments of your target audience as well. For example, leave the core data intact but tweak or add to it to suit another audience segment. (This could look like adding in a reference that Gen Z would get.)
  • Formats: Got a well-performing blog post or webinar? Create a supplementary piece of content that you can internally link to the existing content to generate even more traffic.

Particularly for financial topics, it’s crucial for the content on your site to be accurate, helpful, and up to date if you want your company to be seen as an authority.

5. Take a smart approach to keywords

The finserv industry can be highly competitive. With multiple businesses vying for the same customers, the right approach to using keywords can be a game-changer.

Make sure you’re paying attention to long-tail keywords to catch customers closer to the middle of the sales funnel. Unsurprisingly, target audiences for financial service companies often browse numerous websites before making the purchase decision.

By employing long-tail keywords, you can attract those who have already done some research about the subject. These people may be more likely to convert than those who search using more general high-volume keywords.

6. Improve your trustworthiness

As mentioned above, trust is a key issue both for the consumers and search engines when it comes to financial services SEO. Because of that, keeping your brand’s trustworthiness top of mind should be an ongoing part of your efforts.

Effective ways to ensure you’re being seen as a trustworthy source include:

  • Adding clear contact info on relevant pages
  • Eliminating 404 errors
  • Using informative domain and URL names
  • Having strong site architecture and Schema markup
  • Creating an easy-to-navigate website
  • Displaying all accreditations, certifications, and other achievements
  • Adding reviews, success stories, and testimonials to relevant web pages

The takeaway

While search engine optimization for financial service companies is similar to other industries, some aspects need special attention. It’s imperative for finserv sector players to focus on the trustworthiness and high value of the posted content as well as the structure of their websites.

A strong financial services SEO campaign can help your company survive in the highly competitive industry and become a leader in your niche.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on May 20 , 2021

Creating a financial services marketing plan from scratch or refreshing an existing one? Here’s what you need to know.

Here you’ll learn:

  • Goals and KPIs for finserv organizations
  • How to run a competitive analysis
  • When to create a content plan
  • Key marketing tactics to consider

For financial services companies, the high competitiveness of the industry means the stakes for digital marketing are high.

After all, potential clients generally have somewhat of an understanding about what they need from financial sector players. The search for information drives them online, where companies fight for their eyeballs, clicks, and business.

From search engine optimization (SEO) to paid search ads, creating a thoughtful financial services marketing plan can help you steal market share and become an industry leader. 

Let’s take a closer look at where to start.

woman creating a financial services marketing plan

Marketers can use these KPIs to track campaigns and make adjustments along the way. (Image via Rawpixel)

1. Pinpoint your marketing goals

Your marketing strategy depends on your current goals — no surprise there. It’s wise to state these goals clearly in your plan. This way, you and your team can identify marketing channels, set the budget, and decide on the right tactics based on these goals. For the financial services (or finserv) sector, these goals may include:

  • Building trust with the clients
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating leads
  • Retaining existing clients

At different stages of your company’s journey, you may have different goals. When goals change, so does your marketing plan. On the plus side, many marketing tactics for financial services can help you achieve several goals at once.

When pinpointing your current goals, consider taking advantage of the popular SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) marketing goal system.

An example of such a goal would be: increase mortgage leads by 10% by Q3 2021.  This goal provides your marketing team a solid starting point for the campaign.

2. Identify KPIs

Knowing how to measure success is key to a successful marketing campaign. Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are another integral part of any strategy. The metrics and KPIs you set depend on the goals we mentioned above. They may include:

  • COA (cost of acquisition)
  • CLV or LTV (customer lifetime value)
  • NPS (net promoter score)
  • Conversion rate
  • CTR (click-through rate)
  • CPC (cost per click)
  • Website traffic
  • Social media engagement

Marketers can use these KPIs to track campaigns and make adjustments along the way. These are especially important if you decide to take an agile approach to marketing.

3. Create an audience persona

Hopefully, your organization already has a fleshed-out client persona for your target audiences. (Financial service companies often have more than one.) Your marketing plan should contain all audience personas that you want to target when achieving your marketing goals.

An example could look something like this:

  • Car loan Carl
  • Age: 35
  • Gender: Male
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing
  • Job title: Junior project director
  • Hobbies: traveling by car to explore the country
  • Annual income: $50,000
  • Goals: to purchase a large, reliable vehicle to support long-distance travel
  • Challenges: limited disposable income since he supports a large family

Be as specific as possible about your audience personas. The more you create, the easier it’ll be to create targeted campaigns.

Pro tip: For the financial sector, negative audience personas are just as important as positive ones. Along with who to target, you should know exactly who not to target. This can also come in handy for your finserv pay-per-click (PPC) marketing strategy.

man creating a financial services marketing plan

When it comes to the industry of financial services, trust is the key to success. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Study the competition

Analyzing the competition allows you to strategically adjust your marketing plan, iterate your tactics, set the proper budget, and more.

In the competitive financial services realm, standing out from the crowd requires more than a solid marketing strategy. You need to be able to capitalize on your competitors’ weaknesses if possible.

When running a competitive analysis, pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Type of content
  • Content strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Social media presence
  • Keywords they compete for
  • The technology used to achieve marketing goals
  • Market share
  • Pricing

You can also perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) on your competitors. From there, you can compare it to your organization’s SWOT analysis results to see where your strengths can triumph over their weaknesses and vice versa.

Want to learn more about financial services marketing? We’re here to help. 

5. Create a content plan

The content’s high-powered SEO status is especially true in the financial space. Since the majority of people aren’t always educated about the nitty gritty when it comes to money matters, the content you create can help you establish authority, convert leads, increase brand awareness, and much more.  

Industry pros are a wealth of knowledge (pun intended?) on all things finances. Sharing this valuable knowledge thoughtfully and strategically can bring about big returns. 

A solid finserv content plan should include:

  • A variety of content types (such as blogs, infographics, and whitepapers)
  • Content distribution channels (such as newsletters and social media)
  • Team members responsible for the content (to add legitimacy to the pieces)
  • Core content directions (pillar topics that are paired with more specifics posts)

When creating a marketing plan, designing a content calendar will help you stay organized and on track. Ideally, your calendar will feature a schedule that shows when, where, and how you plan to publish upcoming content.

Pro tip: You don’t need to create new content for each financial services marketing plan and goal. If you have existing content, you can conduct a content audit to identify opportunities to repurpose that content to suit your current and future needs.

6. Identify key marketing tactics

The financial service industry’s marketing tactics are similar to what marketers use in other industries. However, they must be adjusted to revolve around your specific goals. Consider exploring these strategies to outrun the competition:

  • Building trust by creating an exceptional digital experience, providing educational and valuable content, and even working with industry influencers
  • Taking advantage of PPC marketing opportunities on search engines and across key social media platforms
  • Providing relevant content across different channels to create a unified message and build authority
  • Turning your website into a comprehensive resource and a 24/7 assistant for your target audience

When it comes to the industry of financial services, trust is the key to success. While being undereducated about financial products, the target audience is usually extremely wary of anything a financial service organization has to offer.

Regardless of your marketing goals, a big part of your tactics should be aimed at building trust and providing value to the audience.

The takeaway

Building a marketing plan for your financial services company requires an in-depth understanding of your goals. Being extremely specific about what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it will be keys to your success.

A marketing plan can help you structure your marketing strategy, track your activities, catch errors, and make adjustments when needed. It allows you to focus on your current goals while achieving general marketing objectives like building brand awareness and establishing authority.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Jan 22 , 2020

Missed our live webinar? Or simply want to revisit?

Financial Services Marketing: 14 Proven Ways to Drive Revenue with PPC

This webinar covers 14 proven ways financial services companies can drive revenue with pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.

Steve Dang, HawkSEM’s Director of Digital Marketing and Strategy, walks us through his top tips for anyone in the financial services sector to drive maximum impact through PPC marketing in 2020 and beyond.

This webinar dives deep into recommendations like:

  • Increase engagement with a variety of content 
  • Start PPC slowly — and expect high costs per click
  • Focus on highly granular targeting

Steve provides actionable advice with tactical takeaways. Leave this webinar smiling — with a solid to-do list for you and your team.

Full webinar recording:

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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