Financial technology, Fintech, has only become possible since the adoption of digital technology. The term and concept entered the mainstream after the 2008 financial crash. Traditional institutions had failed, and the market was ripe for new technology-driven products.
Big Data and AI may sound like buzz-words, but they have a role to play in the development and marketing of Fintech products.
Challenger banks and other Fintech startups don’t have a branch network where comfortable, authoritative people can explain why their products are suitable.
Customers are now engaged, and most have a device in their pocket with access to the total of human knowledge (and cat videos). Millennials and the rising Generation Z are used to running their lives via mobile devices, and your marketing needs to reflect that preference.
Before dismissing them as “kids”, the oldest Millennials are approaching 40, with jobs, sometimes several – they rent, and need loans and accounts that fit the way they live.
One of the biggest mistakes a Fintech brand can make is to assume that a good desktop website is automatically a good mobile site. The younger generations want to access their accounts via smartphones or, less frequently, tablets.
They need to check their balance, extend their overdraft or apply for a loan there and then, rather than when they get home to the desktop PC they probably don’t own.
Traditional high street banks looking to get in on the Fintech market put a lot of effort into developing their desktop front ends, under the assumption that finance is a process that users will do in a situation designed to mirror the branch experience.
These sites contained pop-ups plugging extra services and long, wordy menu options with small text – fine on a large monitor but disastrous, slow and annoying on a 6” screen burning through mobile data allowance.
Optimising your site for mobile devices is probably the second most useful thing you can do for your customers. The most useful is to create your own app where you have full control of precisely what it’s doing instead of relying upon a browser where a customer might have multiple tabs open.
At the current rate of uptake, by 2020, you can expect 2 billion users to be interacting with their finances via mobile apps (Juniper Research). A friendly, chunky, uncluttered interface with clear iconography is just good manners at this point.
The first thing many people do when starting their own research is to visit Google. If you are marketing a Fintech startup, you are unlikely to rank, at least initially, on brand name searches because potential customers don’t know you exist yet.
Your Fintech marketing strategy needs to run alongside your content and engagement strategies. A mobile-responsive website is a great place to start for improving your rankings on mobile browsers.
Financial products can be seen as scary and obscure to the public. They rarely touch personal finances in schools, but they are an essential part of everyday life.
Make sure your site answers the questions that customers are asking, through in-depth articles, explainer videos or really well thought out FAQs.
Some of these are obvious:
It’s not just a matter of slinging the right keywords onto your pages and expecting them to bring you traffic: be useful.
Valuable content is the gold standard for SEO and educating your target audience. Long-tail keywords are the queries that users are typing into the search engine. Identifying those means you can optimise your content to answer them directly. Your content might take the form of an FAQ, formal articles, blog posts, infographics or videos.
There’s no need to focus on one to the exclusion of others, use the right medium for the information you need to convey. Your target audience can also play a factor here as you will need to deliver content on a platform or in a way they what to consume it. The journey is client-led. But we will get to that …
A picture being worth a thousand words is a massive cliche. It’s also true. Fintech concepts can be complicated, there’s no real way around that, and you don’t want to dumb down your explanations to the point of uselessness.
Infographics on your website can clarify your processes to potential customers. If they can better understand your offering, you’re more likely to make sales.
Humans are a very visual species. The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than the written word. If you want to explain how your product works a 2-minute explainer video can cover the salient points more efficiently than reams of documentation. And that viewer will keep that information more effectively than if they’d just read it.
Videos play straight to the Millennial and Generation Z demographics. Although not the only place to host video content, YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine after Google. It has 2 billion users, consuming a billion hours of video a day, over half on mobile devices.
YouTube is also the second-largest social media site in the world, and it’s where your potential customers come when they want to know something.
Make your videos bright, exciting and useful to appeal to your audience. Make the most of the tags for each video and use relevant keywords in the title and description to improve your ranking by answering the questions they are asking. Once you’ve made your videos live, keep an eye on them, read the comments and, answer any questions that arise.
Fintech marketing is geared towards tech-savvy people, so make sure you are where they can see you. More than half of Fintech customers use social media to research providers before they buy. Having a presence on all the major platforms, posting regularly, and engaging with users lets you gather data on what they need to know and want from your service. Use this data to tailor the content of both your own site and your social media offering to improve your rankings.
Listening to questions and responding to problems with something other than an obvious template makes you appear more trustworthy and engaging. They may not want to visit branches, but users may still want a human touch when dealing with their finances.
Being transparent, polite and helpful wins you ‘mentions’ and shares from satisfied visitors, boosting your profile. This isn’t the platform for a hard sell but to improve your visibility to future customers.
If a Fintech can identify a gap in the offering of one of the established financial companies, then a partnership can be of benefit to both sides. The famously risk-averse world of traditional finance can take advantage of the fast-moving and agile startup to expand its service. You tend to find some of the most prominent investors in Fintech startups are Banks.
The Fintech provider gets the economy of scale, customer access and weight of an established name behind them if the partnership is a good fit.
A company reluctant to invest in their own innovative technology can partner with a Fintech provider with the capability to expand their market. For example, a mortgage provider might partner with the designers of a data-driven app cutting conveyancing time in the use of Land Registry data. Property management companies could find a service to allow repair and inspection bookings through a chat engine to be of value.
To determine if a partnership is right for your business, you need to decide where you want to be. A focus on B2B might see you providing your product in a white box format across a sector, but that wouldn’t gain you public visibility in a B2C context. In that case, the choice might be to only work with one established company but to maintain a discrete identity for your product.
Sometimes the benefit for the Fintech could be a huge distribution opportunity by working with an established player.
A referral scheme benefits your customer whenever they share a trackable link for someone to sign up to your services. This potentially makes any customer a marketer for your business, as it’s in their interest to get as many new people as possible signed up to you.
Referral schemes can boost your engagement with customers, which is an integral part of any Fintech marketing strategy, but they need to be deployed with caution. The referral reward needs to be balanced against the frequency of sign-ups.
Too many cash bonuses in a short space of time can impact the cash-flow of a small business. For a model making use of individual purchases, smaller immediate rewards might be right, where contract or subscription models work well with more significant credit bonuses.
These are another form of reward programme, but that does not solely rely upon your customer base to spread the word for you. A business pays an affiliate for sales, traffic or registrations generated by clicks from their site or online activity. This can be a fixed payment or figured as a percentage of the resulting sale. The affiliate site puts up ads or links in their content to the host and cookies track the visitor’s clicks.
It can be a cost-effective form of marketing as the onus is on the person hosting the ads to encourage people to click through to you, and if they don’t do enough, then it costs you nothing.
You can code your own affiliate programme from scratch. Make use of plugins on your site to handle the affiliate traffic or use a network, which can promote your programme to qualifying members. You can also join other affiliate programmes for related non-competitive sites while running your own.
These programmes work most effectively when the service is on a site within the correct niche. A scattergun approach wastes your time sending setup information to anyone who applies.
You want your links placed on reputable, authoritative sites to improve your ability to received relevant traffic and sales.
A financial review site that’s considered highly trustworthy will benefit you more than something only vaguely connected, or that hosts banks of ads with no real content.
Email has been around for a long time, and it’s tempting to count it as part of a traditional marketing strategy. Relevancy is the key when using promotional emails, along with understanding how your target market wants to use it. You already know that the people you are aiming at want to use mobile-friendly, technology-driven solutions. Apply that to your email strategy.
Most people access their personal email through their smartphones on iPhone or the Gmail app. Design your emails accordingly to include short subject lines to avoid overrunning the screen width. Don’t include excessive pictures or auto-playing video, which will eat data allowances and make sure the text is concise and legible.
Get your offering to your target market in a format they can easily read through their chosen platform. Getting too elaborate won’t gain you sales or make them well-disposed towards you.
While Fintech is blazing a trail across multiple industries, the ways to market them successfully still rely on tried and tested techniques. Online there are a considerable number of opportunities to drive traffic. We have not covered half of them here, but hopefully, this will give you some food for thought.
Distribution sometimes gets left behind in a rush to build the business. Make sure it becomes a cornerstone of your development as, without users, Fintech and Insurtech businesses can’t do the very task they set out to.