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How Paid Search Can Improve Your Financial Marketing Efforts

by Trenton Reed   |   Aug 01, 2019

As someone who lives and breathes financial marketing or sales, you know that competition is higher than ever before. Especially in the digital space. From mobile payments and apps, to digital currencies and blockchain technology, the banking landscape is driven by advances in technology.

However, as a Stanford Law research project posits, most of this progress occurs outside traditional banking systems. Why? Unlike traditional institutions, venture-backed financial technology (fintech) startups and other non-traditional players take advantage of looser (or non-existent) regulations. These upstarts also have the budget to hire digital teams and develop proprietary technology.

As a byproduct, fintechs enjoy advanced data analysis that influences strategic decision-making and product innovation. This evolution has put pressure on banks to embrace new technology and incorporate advanced data collection tactics.

Many small- to mid-sized banks may wonder, “How do we keep up?”

Digital marketing can do a majority of the heavy lifting. It’s true that most companies are adjusting their marketing strategies. According to the 2018 Guide to Financial Marketing, 17 percent of organizations now commit more than half of their marketing budget to digital media. This is a bellwether for the industry, as it shows the lasting value of digital media.

But it also makes it harder for banks to stand out. Everyone is online. So, how do you separate yourself from the pack? By making the most of your data—and your resources.

Financial marketing and big data

Earlier this year, I wrote about the importance of big data in the financial industry. Data has created a world of possibility for banks and other institutions by helping them better understand their customers and improve their decision-making processes. It also enables banks to access customers across an increasing number of touchpoints.

Data is the foundation of all digital technology. Banks that incorporate data-driven marketing campaigns and optimize their data collection strategies can stay competitive—even in an ever-evolving industry.

Most of this qualitative insight is provided by data science and/or digital marketing teams. For example, demographic data can help teams cater products based on life events such as graduations, marriages, and retirements. In turn, this enables marketing teams to personalize campaigns around specific consumers.

Let’s review two types of search marketing—organic and paid—how they differ, and which makes sense for your team.

Search engine marketing in the financial industry

Organic search helps hyper-specific consumers find your business and see your content. Organic SEO efforts such as content marketing help boost your rankings and sets the foundation for your search efforts. For example, optimizing content around relevant keywords “credit unions in Kansas City” or “best home mortgage lender in Denver” increases the likelihood that content is discovered in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEO is often a marathon, not a sprint. It takes concerted efforts across multiple departments to obtain and maintain the top position. Because so many banks are competing for the coveted first page is a job itself, it also requires attention to detail and current best practices. This means optimizing around trends like long-tail keywords and voice search.

Paid search marketing for your bank

While ranking high on the SERPs helps your brand reach a local audience searching for relevant topics, organic search does have its limitations. To a certain extent, organic results do not allow brands to control their messaging. What happens if customers in your market don’t recognize your brand in the first place? Or, what if you’re trying to expand into new markets?

Because potential customers are searching for your brand on Google, the first interaction they have with your brand is essential. Why is this? They’re at their most engaged. They’ve displayed intent. And unlike other forms of marketing—which can teeter on the brink of invasive—users are willingly searching for your goods or services online.

Non-branded searches—those that deal with queries based on products, services, or specific needs—do not deal with brands. Customers performing these searches may not know who you are. Nor will they know the details of your product offerings. Therefore, providing paid search users with relevant, targeted ads can help steer them in the right direction.

Targeting users with paid advertising ensures you’re there for them at the right time with the right offer. Customized landing pages designed around specific needs helps ensure that your branded content is delivered to prospects.

Paid search marketing is designed to make the most of your data. And digital marketing agencies can implement an effective data collection strategy so you get the most value from your current financial marketing efforts. By providing immediate, sustainable visibility, paid search can help banks and other financial institutions stay competitive.

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portrait of Trenton Reed

Trenton Reed

Trenton joined the Workshop Digital team in January 2019. After earning his B.A. in English from Virginia Commonwealth University, he moved to Denver, where he explored the Rocky Mountains and built a writing career that spanned the digital marketing, advertising, and journalism realms. Since relocating back to Richmond in late 2017, Trenton has freelanced with local agencies and national nonprofits. As our in-house writer, he’s in charge of maintaining our brand voice across all channels.