Online marketing for financial services has changed drastically in the past 2 years, influenced by the ever-changing Google algorithm. This massive change was already in effect prior to Covid -19’s impact on the economy and lending.
In less than one decade, Google has become the leading actor in determining whether or not businesses reach their desired customer base online.
Writing long-form articles packed with keywords and backlinks used to be the best way to rank high. Today, these SEO tactics are less effective, and can even do damage. It seems like only companies that invest top dollar in paid search ads can reach customers.
But what if you don’t have an $18K a month marketing budget?
This would appear to leave some smaller marketers at a big disadvantage.
There is however an alternative approach businesses can take.
There is one simple fact that marketers should never forget: Google is a business too. That’s right. At the end of the day, even Google CEO Sundar Pichai has business objectives to attain.
And he certainly has attained them with great success.
The internet is saturated with about 1.6 to 1.9 billion websites out there. That’s just 1 website per 4 people in this world
And they’re all dependent on Google’s rankings.
So what does Google do to serve such a large client base and keep the revenue graph going upwards? And how can you implement those methods into your own marketing strategy?
Googleize Your Financial Services Business Marketing Strategy
Let’s examine what the people behind the Google algorithm do to cater to billions of customers.
It’s pretty intuitive. All successful search engines turn customer needs, wants, and desires into a commodity; a user searches for something—they find it—the search engine wins. It’s pretty straightforward.
All Google does is to put customer needs, wants, and desires first.
And financial services businesses should do the same.
If you’ve been working in digital marketing for a while, you are probably familiar with the term intent marketing (or user intent). In a few words, whenever you type in a search query you have a specific goal in mind—that goal is your user intent. Savvy marketers who can detect this goal and translate it to a sales opportunity, practice intent marketing.
However, “intent” can be difficult to determine. How do you detect and leverage someone’s “intent?”
Here’s an example:
Janet, 36 years old, is in the market for a mortgage loan for a new condo she intends to buy. So, her first Google search might be: “mortgage loan.”
Here’s what the search yields:
Janet is not satisfied. She wasn’t looking for information. She needs offers, price comparisons, bottom lines. Janet is a high-intent customer.
So her second Google query will probably be “best mortgage loans for 2020”:
“That’s more like it,” thinks Janet. And on she goes to compare and sign with the firm or bank that will offer her the best terms.
The majority of mortgage loan seekers today run searches similar to Janet’s query, according to research by Natural Intelligence. And that’s precisely where your focus should be.
How to Turn Intent Marketing Into a Winning Strategy
Marketing financial services is becoming more competitive with time. Despite the pandemic-induced financial downturn, volumes are large, making the arena appealing for new players to enter the sector. Each one offers flashier deals, more benefits and better technology.
So how can financial services businesses stand out?
Just like Google does.
As I mentioned before, for years, we have been taught (by Google) that content that is dense with keywords ranks high. That’s not true anymore. Google’s algorithm is now smart enough to tell what your content is truly about and how to match it with search queries. It’s up to you to analyze your potential client’s intent and provide them with content that helps them to accomplish their goal.
Be like Google; focus on user intent, not on keywords, and you can outdo your competitors.
How to Analyze User Intent and Drive More Sales
To make that shift from focusing on keywords to concentrating on intent, we must rethink and rewire our content strategy.
If you want your page to rank higher than what the competitors have already put out there, short, fluffy pieces will simply not suffice.
You need to address real user problems—and then solve them.
But how can you find out what your potential client is struggling with?
The answer is—ask Google.
Let’s go back to Janet’s mortgage loan dilemma.
Type ‘best mortgage loans in 2020’ and scroll down a bit.
Here’s what you’ll find:
Now that’s like finding gold in marketing terms.
All that’s left for you to do is write an engaging, thorough piece about the benefits of applying for a loan at a mortgage company (as opposed to seeking the bank’s help), add on a mortgage calculator, finish with a strong CTA—and you’re on your way to the top of the results page.
Plus, you helped a potential buyer to solve a problem. And they’ll love you forever for that.
It’s also important to understand where exactly in the conversion funnel your user actually is right now, and create appropriate content for each of these stages: awareness, interest, consideration, conversion, retention, and advocacy.
But more on that on our next blog posts.
What about you? Do you use intent marketing in your strategy? Contact our marketing specialists for more tips on how to optimize for high-intent users and increase your traffic and ROI.Contact our specialists