Is marketing automation suitable for financial services businesses?

is-marketing-automation-suitable-for-financial-services-businesses

Is marketing automation suitable for financial services businesses?

Marketing automation is a common product used by many different businesses in a range of different sectors. But a question I often get asked “Is marketing automation suitable for financial services businesses?”

My answer, it’s perfect for it.

The use of marketing automation in financial services

So how do I adopt it and who is using it?

Research comes first

If you already have clients, think about using a survey application like Survey Monkey to ask questions about their buying decision if you don’t already have this recorded. Was it price, was it your customer service, was it a particular product or service you provide that is unique in your geographical location?

Find out what drove them to use you and position your marketing automation around that theme.

Buyer personas second

If you have an established business, you should know the relative characteristics of your ideal client. They would have come in many guises, both male and female or male or female, have an ideal spend budget or investment strategy, be of a certain professional position, Executive or C-suite or just be earning over and above a particular annual salary.

It could be any or a combination of the above but you should have a sweet spot of clients you’d like to build out on.

The reason I state this is before marketing automation can be effected, you have got to have built out your buyer persona or personas. These are the profiles of the ideal type of client or clients who would buy into or sign off the purchase of your products or services.

You can do this very easily using the buyer persona tool developed by Hubspot. It takes you through step by step online, then emails you a copy for your records.

For new businesses, use the tool to build out a picture of what your ideal client could look like. What would they need, or want to have, to buy your product or service? Figure out what troubles or pain points could be driving this decision or what circumstances.

Once you have the background of your ideal client and recognised pain points, you will now have the data you need to start looking at your content strategy.

Content comes third

So by now you have researched and analysed your customers buying decisions and you have built out your buyer personas and listed their pain points. So now what do you do?

You need to carefully look at creating a solid content strategy. You will need top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel content. But that isn’t all you need! After the BOF content, you need to maintain your marketing circle. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, let’s take a look at the Acme Investment Company, it’s a hypothetical Investment Company that retails low to medium risk investment products to the public. It has no affiliates, doesn’t distribute by IFA’s (Independent Financial Advisors) and relies on its cold calling and referral activities. You own the AIC.

The AIC has identified that its ideal personas are working to middle class singletons and couples who are looking for mid to long term, low to mid risk investment products. Usually with the aim of buying a house or looking longer term for a deposit for a bigger or second property or in the case of some couples financing for their children’s college tuition fees. These people range from their mid-twenties to early-forties.

AIC is adopting marketing automation through inbound marketing, in particular Hubspot. You have researched your clients buying decisions, built out your personas and now you need a content strategy to help nurture prospects down the funnel into your circle.

Top of the funnel content

This is the stage where you make your prospects aware of your business/company, product or service. Often referred to as the awareness stage. This is where your content doesn’t need to be too specific or rich content heavy.

Generic content about what you offer is typical at this stage and content types are often:

  • eBooks
  • Tip sheets
  • Whitepapers that educate
  • How-to video/webinar
  • How-to blog posts
  • Guest blog posts
  • Overview reports
  • Online articles
  • Infographics
  • FAQ pages
  • Resource pages
  • Social posts
  • Tip sheets
  • Whitepapers that educate
  • How-to video/webinar
  • How-to blog posts
  • Guest blog posts
  • Overview reports
  • Online articles
  • Infographics
  • FAQ pages
  • Resource pages
  • Social posts

At this stage of the funnel you can show buyers with limited knowledge a little of your expertise in the subject matter, but much from a laymens perspective.

Tip: Try and plan your content in stages of three, so top middle and bottom of the funnel content on the same subject matter.

Middle of the funnel content

Middle of the funnel content searches should be drawn to these main focuses of your content

  • Case Studies
  • Videos
  • Buyers Guides & Success Kits
  • Reviews & Testimonials
  • FAQ Pages

You have seen some of these in the top of the funnel content but here they are being used differently. Remember content must find all of your prospects, not all will be readers, some will like to watch video instead or have powerpoint slides.

Bottom of the funnel content

Bottom of the funnel content is conversion content. This means that the use of your media at this stage should all be designed to get your prospect to commit to the purchase of your product or services.

At this stage all content offers should be data driven and geared up specifically to talk to particular prospects who you want to buy a particular product or service. At this stage they will be qualified leads and you should know the Life Time Value of that lead should they purchase that service or product from you.

Check out this great infographic from kissmetrics.com

customer-lifetime-value

Content offers & Landing pages

Content offers and landing pages are integral to successful inbound marketing campaigns and therefore marketing automation, but see some great content from around the web here:

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/landing-page-examples-list

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/100-conversion-optimization-case-studies/

http://themarketinginsight.com/5-killer-examples-of-conversion-rate-optimization/

The sales circle

The sales circle!

For a long time in this post we have talked about a sales funnel, which I agree to point, but you need to get a longer term view on your sales cycles and as cycles tend to be circular we like to talk sales circles.

For a more indepth understanding of what a sales circle is and why you should be selling in them, check out our blog post Stop playing with pipelines and start selling in circles

Paul Sullivan
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