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The following guest post is courtesy of Bart Burggraaf, Managing Director and Partner, MediaGroup London.
For years brokers and banks have relied on research and commentary as a tool to get clients to trade more and earn their trust. In the internet era, that quickly evolved to fulfil acquisition purposes as well. Financial services companies became publishers and started to put this content on their website as well as cooperating with various industry media to ensure maximum reach among the target audience.
This move from just advertising to focusing on content as well has happened in most major industries, with the difference that they are ahead of the curve compared to most financial companies. So we can see that something interesting happened with those companies that focused on content that hasn’t really happened with financial services firms. As more and more companies started to do content marketing, good content became a commodity, and the content was getting lost. So companies started to advertise their content. Advertisers that became Publishers, now became Advertisers again. Of course most companies never stopped advertising, content is just an additional way for them to get in front of the right target audience, gain their trust and thus get new customers.
But the move is clearly visible. Companies started to do sponsored editorial, native ads and promoting their content with regular advertising in order to get it in front of a wider audience. They do this because they figured out that, in this changed marketing environment where people want value from a company before they trust it, an acquisition journey that focuses just on hard selling product features is not always as effective as one that focuses on trust, awareness and likability first (the soft sell) and then moves on to convert people.
This journey that people mentally undertake from awareness to trust to conversion is common knowledge, yet the application of content in the earlier stages of the conversion process is something that a lot of companies don’t do. So practically, brokers should – in parallel with their current campaigns – test a conversion process that starts with advertising content, then when people have read this high quality content (without commercial information, just value) they try and convert them by advertising alongside that content and when they click on that ad they are led to a tight landing page with a form on it to get more information. They are then a highly qualified lead, ready to convert into a client.