While content marketing is not a new concept, it seems credit unions are just now beginning to see how beneficial developing a long-term content marketing strategy can be.
Content Marketing, defined as a type pf marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products and services.
For some, it’s hard to think in terms of spending time on creating content that does not result in short-term gains. But in today’s digital world, content marketing needs to be part of a well-rounded strategy to reach your consumers and it’s also proving to be more effective in building brand awareness.
It builds trust. Consumers, especially the sought-after millennial market, distrust traditional marketing. No one likes to feel like they are being sold to. So stop with the hard sell and start to story-tell instead. Content marketing allows you to draw a member in by giving them relevant information intended to guide and inform them in their decision-making. When you take your product out of it, and simply educate your consumer in a way that puts their interest above your own, you are building a rapport with them and setting yourself up as someone they can trust.
It’s Personal. Consumers today want to be able to connect to a brand on a personal level. Where traditional marketing is often impersonal and disruptive, content marketing, especially custom content honed to address your member’s biggest hurdles and challenges can help build loyal and lasting relationships with your members.
You become the expert. By consistently providing custom content that is timely, relevant and informative your members will begin to see you as the expert in all things financial.
It’s easy to see why a content marketing strategy makes sense, but it’s not as simple as creating some blog articles or social media posts. Simply providing good content is not enough. The content you create needs to not only align with your brand message or objective, it needs to engage the right audience. And to do that you have to spend some time researching who your target audiences are and then developing personas for those groups that will guide your content.
Figuring out WHO you are talking to is vital. Do you really know who your members are? First, you need to understand that personas are not demographics. A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, personas will help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your specific audience. Instead of identifying your members by their demographics (age, race, gender, etc.) start thinking about them as people. Then separate these individuals by their behaviors and find out what drives those behaviors. Bottom line: better understand who your members are and what questions they have.
Here is what you need to ask: Who is this person? What is their need? (Not why they need your product.) What are their goals and challenges? What are their values and fears? Why should they care about you? And, what unique value proposition can you offer this persona? Other important information you could gather is what hobbies do they have? Where do they get their news and what blogs to they read? All this information can help you create a persona for the each key segments of your membership.
So where do you get all this information? There are many sources to pull data, from the details in your website statistics to conversations with your own members.
Look at your site analytics. This information can tell you where your visitors are coming from, what keywords they are using to find you and how long they are spending on your site. This is key data for personas as it can tell you the desires that led someone to your site, and what tools they used to get there.
Do social media research. Actively listening on social media can help with persona development as well. What kind of questions are your potential members asking? Or what problems are they venting about and how can your products and services solve those issues?
Ask Your Members. No one knows your members better than themselves. Using customer service interactions to “interview” your members can provide deep insight into what it is that drives their buying decisions. Then follow up with the goals, values and pain points that will resonate most with them.
Make it a team effort. Develop a team of anyone who has interactions with your members, and your members’ data and share perspectives on what is driving their behaviors.
Once you truly understand your audience, you can better plan your communication strategy and make content marketing work for you. Just understand that in today’s environment, simple demographics are not enough. By developing marketing personas you can better identify with your audience and better solve their problems. The end result is a more engaged member.