Shifting Financial Marketing into Gear
How Financial Firms Can Leverage Their Blog as a Sales and Marketing Tool
Your blog is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. It’s a way to answer your customer’s questions, position yourself as a subject matter expert, and encourage engagements on social media. It drives traffic to your site and has a measurable effect on SEO rank, and they are a great way for potential customers to learn about your products and find out more about your brand.
Granted, starting or maintaining a blog might sound like a lot of work. It’s not easy coming up with fresh new ideas or finding ways to make financial topics more interesting. And how effective are blogs, anyway? If you’re going to spend time blogging, you probably want to know that your efforts are going to pay off.
How Likely Are People To Buy Based on Blog Articles?
To answer this eternal question once and for all, HubSpot surveyed about 300 consumers to find out whether they had ever bought anything based on a company’s blog post.
That’s right – 56% of the people they surveyed said they had bought a product or service based on what they’d learned from a company’s blog post.
As a digital marketer, this statistic should be of great interest—especially considering the size of the target group and the popularity of other digital content marketing strategies, like video marketing and podcasting.
But just because you’re engaged in numerous other types of marketing doesn’t mean you have to abandon them in favor of blogging. Visual and audio marketing strategies work very well, but blogs tend to fill in the gaps.
Here are a few stats that support that statement. Companies that blog:
- Get 55% more web traffic
- See 13 times better ROI than those that don’t
- Produce 67% more leads
- See a 434% increase in indexed pages
Blogs also allow you to dive deeper into a topic, and you can link out to landing pages where the reader can buy instantly. Additionally, you can promote other marketing content in your blog, either by embedding images or video or linking out to your podcast.
Why Consumers Trust Blog Posts
Blogs can solve your customers’ pain points, answer their burning questions, or lead them to a solution that makes their lives easier. All things considered, if you’re hitting those marks, they are far more likely to convert than they would be from seeing an image or a video on social or a review site.
Ultimately, trust and authority are the two main goals of a blog. When it’s done well, the format lends itself well to simplifying advanced concepts and delivering value without selling them anything. Of course, the goal is to convince them to buy—but not in a sales-y way. The idea is to offer value and inform, to show the reader you have what they need to solve their problems. From that knowing comes trust, and that’s where the magic is.
Good, solid advice builds trust and lends credibility. If the reader trusts your advice and resonates with your message, they’re more likely to purchase from you over a competitor.
Financial Services Blog Best Practices
Like your writing teacher used to tell you in college: show, don’t tell. Your blog is the platform for you to do that, to tell a story that leads them to their own conclusion, which could be to learn more (awareness), sign up for a trial, book a call, or open an account.
Outside of gaining your internal compliance approval on your blog content prior to posting, ensure you’re getting the best possible results from your blogging efforts. Here is a list of blogging best practices you can apply to every post:
1. Branding your blog as its own “mini brand” will make it memorable and stand out. Your blog is a way for you to establish a voice and niche in your market, which can become a mini-brand of its own, separate from the main focus of your business. You will start to build a whole new audience as you become known for what you offer.
2. Use large, high-quality featured images. Images catch the eye and make your blog more likely to be read. Use striking, high-quality images, and avoid using free stock photos as they’re seen everywhere.
3. Make your blog a cumulative “learning center” with clearly categorized information. Make it easy for your site visitors to find what they’re after. Ensure your titles make it easy to understand what’s inside. Build blog content around longer pillar posts that link out to micro-topics.
4. Include article quick-summary boxes. Essentially, a summary box is a table of contents where you’ll list your blog headings (if it’s a list or tip sheet), but it could also be an opening paragraph that sums up the topic in a few sentences. This strategy is especially critical for longer posts as your reader wants to make sure the information they need is actually in the article. Try to answer their questions up-front before you dive into the deep end.
5. Use a blog card layout to make it easily scannable. On your blog page, display high-level information about the blog in “cards” to make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for. A typical card layout includes an image, the blog title, author, date, category, share links, and a brief meta description, followed by a READ MORE button.
6. Use a narrow grid layout to improve readability. Too wide of a visual field makes it difficult to read, meaning you’ll lose people quickly.
7. Use easy-to-read fonts. Use web fonts and make them large enough to read comfortably without zooming.
8. Use brief, descriptive headings and subheadings. Break up long blocks of text with headings that describe what’s coming up. People tend to skim, so this is an excellent way to let them know what’s coming up.
9. Include compelling CTAs (Calls to Action) within each blog post to direct the reader to the desired action. You don’t have to wait until the end of the article to do so, either. HubSpot suggests using at least three related CTAs per post: a text CTA near the top, a banner at the bottom, and a slide-in CTA in the middle, like an invitation to try a mortgage calculator to see how much house they can afford.
10. Cross-link judiciously. Link from one blog to others, to webpages, service pages, or landing pages, whatever makes sense.
11. Enable social sharing. To encourage engagement, be sure to include social sharing links at the top and bottom of your post or on the navigation, so they stay with the reader as they scroll.
12. Include links to related articles the reader may also be interested in at the bottom of the page.
13. Highlight the author. People like to know who they’re engaging with. It humanizes the online experience and puts a face to the name—but it also celebrates the hard work your writers do.
14. Estimated read time is always a nice touch. Busy people might bounce if it’s too long (hence the acronym TLDR – “Too Long Didn’t Read”), and you might never get them back. But, if you let them know up front, they’ll love you for it.
Your company blog is an integral part of your content marketing strategy. It’s an effective way to build trust, gain search engine visibility, and strengthen your brand around your topics of expertise.
If your business blog needs a refresh or you need help getting started, we’re here to talk it out and see how we can help.
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