content-is-king

5 steps to custom content engagement

As a financial services marketer, you’re producing more and more content. It’s important you avoid creating a one-hit wonder that your team publishes and soon forgets.

You need to think strategically about content in order to create a positive user experience. The challenge is figuring out what content can do this, and then how to produce it effectively and efficiently.

Custom content – content you create in-house vs. curated content – is fundamental to engaging people. So, what’s custom content and what does it achieve?

  • The creation of tailored content for your readers, clients and prospects
  • It builds an affinity with your existing audience
  • And reinforces your brand, communicates your value and creates new opportunities

Five steps of engagement

The five steps of custom content engagement are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Education
  3. Research and evaluation
  4. Decision-making
  5. Advocacy

Let’s explore the intricacies of these five steps and how they will inform your custom content initiatives, driving your readers forward toward specific goals.

But, before we get going, remember this: none of your content should be about your firm – it’s about your readers! The examples we provide below are just that, examples. Depending on your strategy and capabilities, you may want to choose a different path. What matters most is that you think of these as a path to deeper engagement.

1. Awareness – your blog

Custom content starts with awareness. Your firm always starts as an unknown entity. Before a prospect asks whether they can trust your company, they need to know your company exists.

A warm introduction that’s engaging and positive is essential – with all the competition out there, the reality is people can walk away from your products and services and they’d be just fine.

Action: the first step is to craft a blog article on “Will I have enough income in retirement?” You should start it off with content that truly matters. In the financial services industry, it may seem cliché, but a comfortable retirement is a great place to begin. It’s always a top financial concern, and your readers want to know what they can do to ensure theirs is excellent.

2. Education – your one-pager

Now that your readers know who you are, it’s time to prove your worth. It’s time to start helping them.

Begin to show your expertise by offering a solid educational experience. At the education stage of custom content engagement, you’re likely going to answer “What?” questions.

Action: next, create a one-pager on “Understanding equity vs. fixed income investments.” Marketers are in an important position at financial services firms. More so than any other group, the marketing team – with their access to writers, editors, graphic designers and web designers – can educate and inform. You can help investors and advisors invest better.

More so than any other group, the marketing team – with their access to writers, editors, graphic designers and web designers – can educate and inform.

3. Research/evaluation – your case study

After you’ve told people who you are and you’ve helped them improve their financial knowledge, you’ll then want to direct them toward content that they can use to go deeper. This is where things get really interesting.

At the research and evaluation stage, you’re answering “How?” questions for your readers. These are personal questions about a current or future situation.

Action: now produce a case study on “The impact of different asset allocations.” Why are case studies so useful? Because you show people themselves, an essential aspect of engagement. Don’t forget to include a call to action to contact someone for a worksheet, which takes us to our next step in custom content engagement.

4. Decision-making – your worksheet

As you’ve noticed, the type of content that you produce gets more complex as you progress through your readers’ experience. Part of the reason for that is you’re getting more involved in the realities of your readers’ financial lives.

Become a part of your prospects’ and clients’ decision-making process by providing a tool to help them achieve a goal.

Action: finally, develop a worksheet on “Assessing your retirement income needs.” This should include questions that get your reader to think about what they want out of life. Remember that you don’t want a worksheet to sit isolated on a website. Guide your clients to it instead.

5. Advocate – your relationship

Your readers have made it to the end of their custom content experience. They know who you are, you’ve helped them learn something new, you’ve helped them dig a little deeper into their own situation and now you have them on track to achieve a goal.

Once individuals see how you’ve helped them, they’ll be more likely to advocate on your behalf. This could happen in a number of different ways, from forwarding your content to peers and sharing your articles on social media to providing outright referrals to you.

The results are clear

Thinking strategically about custom content is necessary for financial services marketers. Here’s why:

  • By answering common questions, you set your business apart as a helpful, authoritative resource
  • Readers trust you, your brand – and trust is a crucial component of consumer psychology
  • Useful custom content has a direct impact on sales and conversion rates

To learn more about how your firm can improve its marketing results with custom content, read Let’s explore the value of custom content.

Make engaging your clients with custom content a priority. Content us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or info@ext-marketing.com.

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