As products become more complex and technologically advanced, companies have the opportunity, and in some sense, the responsibility to educate and nurture consumers through research and acquisition cycles. As brands compete to communicate differentiators and target preferred customers, sharing relevant and ongoing information with consumers positions you as a trusted source, and according to Conductor Spotlight, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they consume educational content. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, four out of five U.S. adults say that they could use professional advice about basic financial issues, half lack confidence in their retirement savings, and almost a quarter do not pay all of their bills on time.
There are a plethora of frequently asked questions regarding financial planning at all stages of life. Your institution can respond with helpful information on topics including college savings options, car or homebuying financing tips, lower-cost alternatives to payday loans, and investing for retirement. You can provide educational material in a variety of easy-to-digest formats including:
- Short videos
- And more
Because there are so many options for distributing educational material, and you have finite resources, it’s important to know exactly where you should focus your efforts by getting smart about metrics and data. Track clicks and readership to determine which sources are most popular for receiving information, and allow a place where people can submit their questions for you to keep in your arsenal of topics to cover. Keep your social media feeds and stories updated regularly with key information, and submit polls to your followers so they can actively engage with you and tell you what they want to know.
In addition to print and digital distribution, you can offer free educational classes or seminars to your customers and prospective customers, remembering to cater to your community’s individual characteristics. For example, if your area has a significant Spanish-speaking population, classes offered in Spanish may be beneficial. Never assume that someone knows the definition of something—speak in universal terms that are easy to comprehend. Get creative, use metaphors, appeal to all of the senses, and most importantly, be consistent and targeted with your education strategy.
Education is the first step in marketing. You can push a product all day but what does that mean to your customer? Do they even know who you are? Educate them not just on what you do and what you can provide but who you are foundationally and in the community. If a consumer isn’t discovering information through you, they will find it elsewhere. Be that trusted advisor and you’ll continue building your business with more engaged, knowledgeable members.
Another benefit of the educated consumer is higher quality reviews. Consumer research indicates that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Knowing that 68% form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews, that extra level of service and solutions-based transparency you’re providing will make your financial institution—and its empowered members—stand out from the competition.
Need some inspiration? Click here for education topic ideas to get you started.