To the average consumer, learning about mutual funds, interest rates and IRAs, CDs and HELOCs can be a dry read, no matter how big the impact on their lives, according to a white paper from Customer Communications Group (CCG), which offers banks and financial services marketers some useful ideas to make sure they are providing marketing content that keeps customers interested. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The paper, entitled 'Creating Your Content Marketing Plan', concluded that bank and FSI marketers face a common and difficult challenge: packaging information on important topics into content that makes customers want to read and respond.

Consequently, the company has put forward what it considers to be the five key elements of financial customer engagement, to help make sure that financial services marketing content has what it takes to keep customers interested, as follows:

  1. Match It Up
    Is the level and tone appropriate? The approach, lingo and the complexity of the content must match the audience. Is it for high-wealth customers with advanced knowledge of financial topics? Dumbing it down will make them feel that their needs aren't understood - or respected. Writing for the average consumer who would benefit from the basics? Keep it simple or you'll lose their attention - and leave them confused.
  2. Tackle What Counts
    Are you solving a problem? Whether it's, "How will I afford my daughter's college tuition?" or, "Can I afford to retire?" or simply, "What's the right checking account for my needs?" your content should offer answers to your customers' burning questions. Readers should come away feeling better informed to make decisions about their financial life.
  3. Make It About Them
    It's true that marketing is meant to build brand awareness and generate leads that turn into conversions. But a self-directed pitch is as much of a turn-off in content marketing as it is in the dating world. Don't exceed 30 to 40% of the content to talk directly about your company, products and services. That includes special offers. The remaining 60% - 70% should be content that brings value to their lives. A soft-sell call to action can work, as long as it's related to the content and presented as a benefit or solution.
  4. Variety is the Spice of Content
    Are you offering variety? Not all of your customers absorb information the same way, so mix up your delivery. That doesn't mean just the channels you use, but also the formats you try. Consider quizzes, Q&As and checklists. Add interest with photos, charts, infographics and other visuals. And today, it's hard to go wrong tossing video and podcasts into the mix.
  5. Make it Quick
    Is it inviting and scannable? People today are in a rush - they often don't have the time to sit and thoroughly read, watch or listen to your communication. Make it easy skim through and still get the main message. Use different size and weight fonts to make key points stand out. Use bullet lists, subheads, callouts and sidebars to break up text blocks, provide multiple entry points to the content and make the text more scannable. In video, use plenty of graphics and keep the pace lively, but not frantic. Keep videos and podcasts under five minutes, which may mean breaking larger topics into a series.