3 best content marketing examples from finance and fintech companies


#content marketing #marketing #success stories

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

-Henry Ford

Little did Henry Ford know that one day, educating customers, especially in banking and finance, would become indispensable for companies.

He said this in 1922. A time when market was different, companies were different, and most importantly, the audience was not so enlightened.

If you’re a sceptic, the combination of two might seem odd to you. What can a bank educate its customers about? Is it even worthwhile? Why take the hassle to put some perspectives into their mind?

A December 2012 survey by IMN found that 75% of financial services marketers had separate content strategies in place for each marketing channel, the highest percentage of all industries polled. Fifty percent of financial services marketers had an editorial calendar in place’again, tops across all industries.

If you don’t know, all major finance players including Citi, American Express, Barclays, Mint’the most popular finance app, iShares, Blackrock, and Schwab are investing in content marketing. Even Indian players like Kotak, Axis, and ICICI understand the value of investing in content.

I can either go on talking about why you should do this or I can simply show you some best content marketing examples from financial service sector.

I choose the latter and here are the 4 examples of content marketing in financial service sector.

1. American Express

American Express has been publishing content since they entered into travel business in 1915. They have been printing journals, hand book, and magazines about travel. But among the financial companies, they are the early adopters of content.

The OPEN Forum

In the recession of 2008, around 60% of small business in America had been washed out. It is this particular arena which Amex wanted to capture. So when the world was preparing to cope with the worst economic decline, American Express launched OPEN Forum‘a place for live events where small business owners could connect and learn from each other.

However, by 2008, it was apparent that this was going nowhere. So Amex transformed OPEN Forum into a digital magazine which offers analysis, insights, and resources exclusively for small business owners.

In 2009, they also added a social component to OPEN Forum, Connectodox’a networking platform for small business owners. It was for Amex OPEN Cardmembers enabling them to find right vendors, market their business, and build relationships.

Be it a blog or a doctor, you always want the advice from the best. Amex kept this fact into account with most of the content coming from industry experts. It gave magazine high credibility.

By March 2010, the website had over one million visitors. The website had attracted over 5 million visitors in the first quarter of 2011 of which 80% traffic was organic.

From content to selling

American Express content team also knows how to turn selling into telling which eventually leads to more selling. They tell the stories of real American Express customers and how they’ve found success for their business with the help of their credit card to which most people can relate to.

Recently, American Express partnered with the Global Business Travel Association to create a research report on the satisfaction of business travel, the goal-to educate companies and suppliers about expense management and technology using blogs, info-graphics, and other interesting content.

American Express is a perfect example to show how combining intriguing content with targeted audience works out perfect.

2. Barclays

Now what is common between Barclays and Citi group is that both of them are banks. Just kidding!

What is common between them in US proved the potential that lies in catering specifically to women.

Citi did it with Women and Co, Barclays with Smart Women. Barclays in UK realized the power of Female Economy and came up with Smart Women, a magazine to educate women about female economy.

Though Barclays content was very conventional and regular but their approach was interesting.

For instance, when a user landed on the homepage, Barbara-Ann King, the Head of the Female Client Group at Barclays Wealth, directly communicated with them:

Women don’t hesitate to make financial decisions when running successful businesses and households, yet we still lag behind men when it comes to planning our personal finances. We want you to join our community and help change this.

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Sounds like a message from FMCG brand, doesn’t it? The only difference is; it comes from a leader. A women leader, to be specific!

Engaging…the kids!

Moreover, any financial services which are online need to create a sense of trust and faith with their customers in order to increase their reach. Barclay’s has done it well by reaching out every customer segment, even kids.

Code Playground is a website dedicated for children to learn coding. With intriguing animation and cute characters, it is a fun and interactive way to help children code. I wish we had such websites in our childhood.

It is indeed confusing (even outrageous for some) to find a bank trying to engage kids’with coding! But here’s the subtle touch, it’s not just coding, it is child education. What this simple activity achieves is parents’ trust. The brand is automatically trustworthy when they even give children such importance.

Something for adults too

If Code Playground was for kids, Barclays has Digital Eagles for adults. Now the problem with the financial services company coming online is that most of their customers don’t know how to properly use it which makes them feel unsafe to be online.

So Barclays took the initiative to educate and inform not just their customers but anyone who did not know how to use the online financial services.

Barclays also started Business Resource. It is similar to Open Forum except for it works for all business owners and not just for small businesses. It provides all in one solution at each step in the journey of a business owner.

Using videos for education

Barclays also came up with video tutorials as they advanced. Its YouTube channel offers enriching knowledge and real world advice in finance.

Barclays is a perfect example of how content can be used in different departments to make marketing effective’and of course, get more business.

3. Mint

The marketing plan of Mint was extremely simple.

Whatever we can do, basically, for cheap or for free.

-Aaron Pater, Founder of Mint

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When Mint launched the app in 2006, it had several competitors. Wesabe and Quicken to name a few. But what made Mint the leader of this industry is its approach.

Usually, financial services or even Fintech companies start of traditionally with their marketing approach. Find leads. Nurture them. Follow up. And then convert them into paying customers.

We’re talking about the first decade of the 21st century’a new era in marketing. And Mr. Patzer understood it.

The power of blogging

They started off with a personal finance blog. That’s basically sums up 99% of its marketing efforts. (No doubt it took Patzer some serious time to find an investor!)

We focused on building out a unique personal finance blog, very content-rich, that spoke to a young professional crowd that we felt was being neglected. Eventually the blog became #1 in personal finance, and drove traffic to the app. Our app didn’t have a high viral coefficient but we had content that was. Our infographics and popular articles became regular hits on Digg, Reddit, etc.

-Jason Putorti, the Lead Designer at Mint

The main reason behind its instant popularity was unique and fresh article. A tone and voice sharpened for the millennials. Unlike most finance companies, who drown their customer in finance jargon, the Fintech company talked in a way the millennials listen to in their day-to-day life.

And for months, they did blogging religiously until they were the most popular site in personal finance niche.

The result?

Within 8-9 months, they had 20,000 email subscriptions.
They also gave VIP access to people who embedded a badge called I want mint on their social media page and hence, letting their page get free advertising on 600 different blogs and an SEO boost due to links pointing to Mint.com.

A Fintech company, which might not have been able to cut above the noise, was sold at $170 million within 2 years of its launch.

Conclusion

What the article covers is just tip of the ice berg in terms of what finance, and especially Fintech, companies are doing in content marketing.

I did mention big Indian finance names in the beginning but if you will scrutinize the market closely, startups are more willing to invest in the content marketing’probably because of the tinge of newness and ability to adapt to change. Many big startups including Policy Bazaar, Bank Bazaar, Vistaar, Capital Float, and Zerodha (to name a VERY FEW) are investing time, effort, and money in content marketing.

This is the high time for financial and Fintech companies to understand the needs of their customers and pain points…not just from a product perspective but from a content perspective. And solve them with right content following the buyer’s journey.

What other finance or Fintech companies are taking content seriously? It would be nice to hear your views in the comment section below.

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