The very term “financial services” suggests gravitas. Indeed, it’s the business of money — it is serious, and so it makes people think of big banks and people in suits conducting complex transactions.
It doesn’t commonly conjure up visions of slick email campaigns or a surprise-and-delight piece of video content. Those kinds of things are only for huge consumer sectors like fashion or travel, right?
Nope. It’s just as relevant. The financial industry is as enormous as other consumer verticals, even if it doesn’t have the same curb appeal as a cool clothing line or luxury hotel brand. Almost everyone has some kind of relationship with a bank or other financial services business: nearly 95% of U.S. households are “banked,” according to the FDIC, which simply means that at least one person in the household has a checking or savings account.
That doesn’t even include the huge variety of other financial products and services, from mortgages and auto loans to investment accounts to credit cards and more. Financial marketers have a big job — and big opportunity — to connect with enormous potential audiences across diverse portfolios of products and services. And like so many other industries, the best marketers are increasingly using data to create the best possible campaigns and customer experiences.
In banking and financial services, this can raise eyebrows because of the inherently sensitive nature of data, including customer information. Security and compliance are huge priorities — as they should be. The best marketing technologies and companies today understand this and can support these priorities. If you connect directly to your data from your email service provider and other martech tools so that it always stays behind your firewall, you can absolutely use that data safely and securely to connect with consumers in meaningful ways to create long-term business value.
But it’s not always obvious — even to banking and finance pros — how data can be used for consumer marketing in this unique space. Here are three examples of ways financial marketers are already using data to educate and illuminate customers.
1. Email reminders to complete a form.
The financial industry is full of forms, from mortgage applications to 401(k) enrollment paperwork to new account openings to countless other transaction processes and workflows — virtually all of them available online or via mobile app.
Just like in the world of e-commerce, these various transaction flows — whether a simple form or a multi-step application — are easily paused or forgotten about for any number of reasons. It’s the financial world’s version of the abandoned shopping cart in e-commerce.
With the right data, you can set up and automate friendly email reminders to complete the process — a credit card application, for example — or ways to get help from a human.
Abandoned cart email campaigns are highly effective. One industry report from Klayvio pegged the open rate for abandoned cart emails at 41.18% and click-through rates at 9.5%. They also found conversion rates of 4-5% (for businesses with average order values ranging between $100-500) for abandoned cart campaigns.
These are phenomenal numbers. Financial marketers should be applying the same principle — it will very likely boost overall completion and conversion rates. In fact, we’re seeing a growing number of fintech companies leveraging these kinds of campaigns for their products and services.
2. Context-based communications and recommendations.
Financial firms can use customer information such as location to send event-based or other contextual communications — without having to blast messages to all customers, regardless of relevance.
For example, if an area is impacted by a natural disaster that likely affects customers and/or employees and services in that area, financial companies can send timely messages offering important information and resources to that audience — and that audience only.
Location can also help create audience segments for things like tax forms or tax resources, since state and local taxes vary. Taxation offers another segment that isn’t location specific: Self-employment. If you want to send a campaign or resources to customers who are self-employed or own a business, you can do that, too.
Audience segmentation is a relatively untapped opportunity in this industry. Even basic data can go a long way here — set up segments that ensure people get information that’s relevant to them and their particular financial needs.
3. Useful content based on website behavior.
As in other industries, financial services firms have lots of first-party data about consumers that they can collect and appropriately use — the best examples being how people use their websites and mobile apps. The two big categories here are what people search for and what they click.
This information can be analyzed and used to create and trigger campaigns that educate customers based on their interests and digital browsing. Doing this work requires not only the right data but the right content — videos, webinars, blog posts, online classes — that will educate people on topics that you know they need help with.
If someone has been searching or browsing for information on buying or selling a home, or opening an investment account, or any other relevant category, you can automatically send them a follow-up email with links to helpful content and resources. This helps them learn more or connect with the right people if needed — and builds your brand as a trusted resource.
It’s about more than just encouraging an application or a transaction. If the content is good, it’s going to keep your audiences coming back for more information on other financial topics when they need it. It’s the kind of authentically helpful marketing that can build credibility and trust — which are both invaluable for financial brands.
By Will Devlin, MessageGears