It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of social media, it was the age of spammy marketing...
The internet is noisy... okay, it's deafening with marketing messages. Every minute on Facebook 50,000 links are posted and 243,055 photos are uploaded. Attention is a finite resource and lazy marketers have responded to this competition by increasing their volume of output.
But you know better.
You know the way to get consumers' attention is not to hit them over the head with more ads, more tweets, or more posts about your newest rate.
You win the battle for attention through relevance.
To do this, you must create a data-driven content strategy
Crafting Relevant Content with a Data-Driven Content Strategy
Who are you talking to?
If you don't know then you can forget about being relevant. Understanding your target persona is the critical first step to crafting an effective piece of content and planning for its distribution.
Community banks and credit unions have an especially tricky task because they are usually trying to talk to many different groups: different cities, different generations, different education, different income. The list goes on and on. These are big and important differences because we know that demand for financial products is largely driven by life events.
How can you get a quick understanding of these audiences? Data.
Leveraging Demographic Data
Let's pretend that Zeeland, MI is one of the communities my institution serves. My Market Insight Report shows me the following:
The most common age range in Zeeland, MI is 0 to 4 (7.7%) which reveals an important story about this community. It's growing with young families. They will soon be facing major financial decisions for the first time. This is enough information to draw some assumptions about topics this audience will be most interested in:
- Saving for College
- Teaching Kids about Money
- Purchasing a Home
- Local Children's Activities
I can also compare this to demographic data with social media user statistics. My research shows me that Pinterest is the most popular social media channel for women, especially those aged 18 - 49.
Even this little bit of information is enough to get me started with content. Some Pinterest pieces I would prioritize would be:
- An infographic about 529 plans
- A monthly calendar of kid-friendly local events
- A post that outlines 10 things to to do before you apply for a home loan
Perhaps I could even host a class on saving for college and provide a babysitter so moms could bring their young children. Not only would this build goodwill with the community, but I could turn this event into content by taking photos, videos, and capturing testimonials. If I accepted RSVP's for the event through a Facebook event, that would create even more virality in my community.
A Very Different City
Contrast that with the data I have about East Lansing, MI, another community my imaginary institution serves. This is clearly a college town (just check out how disproportionate the concentration is of those aged 15 to 24) and the topics that I outline for Zeeland would be seen as irrelevant, boring, or annoying to this audience. They are at a very different life stage and are making many different financial choices. More appropriate topics would be finding the right accounts, basic personal finance, and how to negotiate your first salary.
In Zeeland, it appeared that Pinterest would be a great platform to leverage. If I did the same in East Lansing, I would completely miss my audience. This demographic prefers Instagram.
Instagram is an image and influencer-driven platform, so I would change the type of content I'm considering. I still like the topic of negotiating your first salary, but rather than create a blog post, I might create a campaign that features video of recent MSU alumni sharing a tip they used in successfully negotiating right out of college.
Targeting Ads for Banking Products
When I drill further into the Market Insights Report, I can see that East Lansing has a high number of residents with non-interest checking accounts and high ATM usage.
This looks like the ideal community for ads promoting the ATM refunds and rewards of a Kasasa account. I've already established Instagram as my go-to platform to reach this demographic. Using the knowledge that most of my target audience was in college, I would design creative that speaks specifically to this audience and only run this campaign from March to June, right when students are thinking most about graduating and before they leave town for summer.
Market Insights Report on SEO
Where do you go when you want to find something? If you're like the vast majority of us the answer is "Google."
Our Market Insights Report includes my institution's local rankings for high-intent search terms.
You might be thinking that ranking number 10 for free checking is pretty good, but look at the dramatic difference in the percent of traffic a page gets depending on its ranking.
Imagine how invisible you are to consumers if you are ranking 32nd, 78th, or even 121st?
Your content strategy (and to some degree, your social media) can have a dramatic impact on your SEO rankings. Using your ranking information and understanding which product opportunities best fit with local demographics, you can craft content that will more closely align with how your desired audience is searching.
Using the college town of East Lansing as the example, a blog post called "Best Free Checking for Retirees" will probably not do as well as "Best Free Checking Account for College Freshmen."
Get Your Own Market Insights Report
If you think your social media and content strategy could benefit from this kind of data, then go ahead and request your own Market Insights Report. It's completely free and includes segmentation, competitive analysis, competitive marketing spend, and retail best practices.