Show Me The Money: 3 Steps To A Winning Content Strategy For Banks
ERGO Interactive spends a lot of time specializing in helping blue chip brands with their B2B marketing to small- and medium-sized enterprises. A lot of those brands are financial institutions, and being a SME ourselves, we have a personal connection with this space. In our mission to better evolve the experience that each of these businesses has with our clients, we ask ourselves: What does this market really want from their financial institution—and how can the financial institution really add value towards their business?
According to the Bank Administration Institute’s recent small business research study, small businesses look to their primary financial institution to act as facilitators—from offering education classes on small businesses and how they work with them, to enabling contact with venture capital funds.
That starts with finding out what’s on their mind, not just on a broad level, but also by getting to know the individual business. No mean feat! From restaurants and medical practices to automotive companies and tech startups, each has specific needs according to their particular industry, business size and life stage. This has huge implications for the financial institution’s content marketing, which can no longer be one size fits all.
When marketing resources are short it’s a daunting task to even know where to begin. The following three steps are our recommended route to a content strategy that will provide the blueprint for a successful small-business-first marketing program.
1. Narrow the Focus
Every SME is different, but the financial institution doesn’t need to be an expert in every possible industry or topic. Rather, they should simply narrow their focus and go deep on that topic. One reasonable domain for ownable content marketing is cash flow, but not the superficial treatment of cash flow or the sentiment that the content is going to magically solve the SME’s day-to-day challenges. It doesn’t have to, and that’s okay. Instead, cash flow can be the thematic thread that stitches together broader topics like getting customers or planning for growth. And through this lens, each piece of content, event or add-on service becomes a part of one holistic offering that is of real use to the SME and their bottom line.
2. Make It Personal
Content is only of value to a small business if it is relevant to their direct situation, or to a situation that they are striving towards. A shift away from mass-distributed messages towards one-to-one conversations is needed. To implement this, the financial institution must first understand and be conversant in each SME’s industry and region. That could mean having dedicated industry experts available to talk to in branch, over the phone or via live chat. These one-to-one interactions glean deeper insights that can be saved to each SME’s individual data profile.
3. Watch and Learn
For some businesses there may only be very basic information on file, such as business name and location. For others, the profile may include business size, industry, growth history and financial needs. To enrich these profiles, many companies make the mistake of asking interruptive questions that the SME may find intrusive or, if the questions are answered but not actioned upon, a waste of their time. Instead, whatever the base level is for each business is where their content marketing journey should begin. Through the value of reciprocity and engagement monitoring, an authentic content strategy can be started and sustained.
These three steps not only lead to more mindful content that is actually of use to the SME, but also drive more relevant and timely product offers. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. This approach can not only lead to more mindful content that is actually useful to the SME, but also drive more relevant and timely product offers. There may not be fees associated with the journey in-between, and this may not immediately impact KPIs, but by giving the SME what they really, really want, the more the financial institution can drive highly adaptive brand-to–business owner conversations—leading to sustained retention and sustained growth.
Interested in brainstorming how this approach could apply to your business? Drop us an email to find out more.