In today’s competitive financial services market, fintech companies need to invest in building a strategic content marketing plan that generates leads and drives conversions—or risk getting left behind.
Because in the world of financial services, content marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase brand visibility and drive audience engagement. Through relevant content, you can establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry while you provide your target audience with tangible value.
The latter is a crucial point that is often overlooked in the world of financial services—the content you produce (from articles, to emails, to social media posts) should meet the needs of your buyer personas as determined by the buyer’s journey.
That is to say, the content you produce and distribute at the start of buyer’s journey is going to be radically different from the content you produce and distribute at the end of the buyer’s journey.
Today, we’re going to take a look at top-of-funnel content (i.e. where the buyer’s journey begins). Let’s dive in.
The Buyer’s Journey: A Brief Overview
The buyer’s journey is a fundamental concept in financial services, detailing the process consumers (both B2C and B2B) undergo before deciding to purchase a product or service.
It’s a journey shaped by the dynamics of the marketplace and consumer behavior. At CSTMR, we divide this journey into four stages: awareness, attract, nurture, and convert.
The “Awareness” stage is the starting point of the buyer’s journey and where we will focus our attention today. It’s when potential customers first become conscious of a need or problem and begin looking for solutions. In this phase, marketers need to create top-of-the-funnel content (i.e., the focus of today’s article) that educates, inspires, and attracts their target audience’s attention.
With clients at this stage, we typically focus our content efforts on blog articles and social media posts.
The following stages are “Attract” and “Nurture”, where the aim is to generate interest and engagement among those who are aware of your brand. Content here should be informative and provide more details about the brand, services, or products, subtly steering potential customers toward conversion.
Finally, the “Convert” stage focuses on persuading the prospect to make a purchase decision. Here, personalized and highly targeted content is essential, helping the customer cross the line from prospect to client. Understanding these stages and tailoring content to each is key to a successful marketing strategy.
With that out of the way, let’s take a more detailed look at top-of-funnel content.
What Is Top-of-Funnel Content?
Building on our understanding of the buyer’s journey, let’s delve deeper into the start of the buyer’s journey: the Awareness stage.
ToFu content is essentially any content asset designed to capture the attention of potential customers. At this juncture, your potential buyers have just become aware of a problem or need they have, and they are beginning their search for solutions.
This is the ideal moment to educate, inspire, and drive their attention towards your brand.
However, it’s essential to remember that ToFu content should not be explicitly promotional. The goal here isn’t to sell your product or service directly but to inform and engage your audience, creating an initial spark of interest as you deliver tangible value. This can be achieved by creating content that is not only informative but also relatable (i.e., it matches your audience’s needs and concerns).
Remember, your audience has a problem, you are offering a solution and not asking for anything in return.
Again, at CSTMR we focus our ToFu content efforts on creating blog articles and social media posts that are then leveraged across different buyer persona touchpoints and traffic channels. Our distribution strategy casts a wide net as we lay the foundation for future engagement and try to give our buyer personas a reason to further explore our brand.
We have found success with content that is insightful, answers common questions, addresses relevant pain points, and establishes a foundation of trust.
Why ToFu Content Matters for Fintechs
Today’s audiences like to be informed. In fact, a recent Accenture survey highlighted that 94% of B2B buyers said they research online before purchasing a product or service for a business.
In today’s competitive global financial market, you can’t expect customers to find you without a strong online presence. The key to building this presence is ToFu content.
Here are five ways top-of-funnel content helps:
- ToFu content educates audiences and can influence their buying behavior over time. Each stage of your content strategy needs to help to facilitate the next stage/steps in your buyer’s journey.
- It seeks out quality and highly interested prospects that are coming to your brand because they’re already experiencing a problem that relates to your solution(s).
- It fosters trust among audiences in a sector that, for many, can seem complex or intimidating. There’s plenty of contradictory and misleading information online that can turn clients off. Establishing your brand as a trusted source for information means customers will instantly think of you when seeking fintech services.
- Helps you to differentiate your brand as an industry leader. Offering current, reliable, and fact-checked content can help establish your brand as the preferred resource for information in financial services.
- High quality content can help you secure valuable backlinks from other high authority websites. This is another great way to both expand your reach and fortify your subject matter expertise in the eyes of prospects.
5 Best Practices for Creating ToFu Content
The financial industry’s digital boom amid the pandemic is well documented.
And yet, only 40% of B2B marketers have a fully developed content marketing strategy ready to go—33% say they have a strategy, but it’s not documented, and 27% are just winging it, with no strategy whatsoever.
To keep your funnel continually flowing with convertible leads, it’s essential to spark and sustain interest at the top. Here are five best practices that we adhere to at CSTMR as we look to drive brand awareness and deliver value with ToFu content.
1. Know Your Audience
In the financial services sector, we’re not just selling a product or a brand, but solutions to problems. So, it’s paramount to understand your audience. Identify their challenges, the questions they may have, and the knowledge gaps you can fill.
If you can’t relate to your audience’s concerns or challenges at the top of the funnel, there’s a risk they may disconnect and stop engaging with your content (i.e., exit the funnel).
2. Deliver Value
Understanding your audience paves the way to providing the answers they seek. Quality ToFu content should not only be educational but also deliver value to the reader. By staying abreast of the latest fintech trends, industry news, and regulatory changes, you can offer fresh insights and data from reliable sources.
This approach positions your business as a financial services authority, setting the stage for transforming casual readers into loyal customers.
3. Leverage the Power of Social Media
Social media channels provide a fertile ground for content distribution, allowing your brand to reach a wide audience and interact with industry influencers. Today’s consumers appreciate easily digestible “bite-sized” content and engagement on social media platforms can forge stronger relationships.
A robust social media presence synergizes with organic content marketing and paid advertising, amplifying your brand’s visibility and providing a myriad of opportunities for lead generation.
4. Embrace the Power of Storytelling
Engaging your audience with compelling stories is an effective way to resonate on an emotional level, ensuring your brand stands out in a crowded market. Top-of-funnel content is not about making an immediate sale, but about starting a conversation, building relationships, and establishing credibility.
Storytelling gives your brand a voice and helps potential customers understand not just what you do, but why you do it. What’s your mission and vision? What do you value as a fintech? Incorporate all of it into your ToFu content.
5. Don’t Forget About SEO
Navigating the competitive SEO landscape for financial services can be challenging. With giant banks and other financial institutions vying for top spots in the Google SERPs, a fintech-specific SEO strategy for blog articles is vital to increasing your brand’s online visibility.
Effective optimization involves using relevant keywords, crafting engaging headings, writing compelling meta descriptions, integrating image alt tags, and ensuring a user-friendly experience. Remember, SEO isn’t only about boosting your rankings; it’s also about making your content more accessible to your target audience.
ToFu Content Example: “SEO for Financial Services”
All this discussion about funnels and optimization can feel a bit confusing at first, but it’s not so overwhelming once you see an example. In this section, we are going to take a look at a recent educational, awareness-driven blog post from CSTMR:
First, let’s consider who the audience is and what they’re seeking. The article begins:
“Fintech companies exist in one of the most competitive and noisy online marketplaces. Not only do startups compete on the same stage with billion-dollar brands—in a lot of cases, those behemoths are buying ad space on smaller brands and completely pricing you out of the game. So how do you get noticed in a noisy digital world?”
The author, Mark Perna (CSTMR’s Director of Paid Media and SEO) gets straight to the point (the pain point) by showing the reader he understands and empathizes with exactly why they’ve landed on the article—because they’ve either got an SEO strategy that isn’t working or, worse, none at all.
For Mark, it’s all about relating to the experience of the reader.
His language feels personable, conversational, and inviting.
Once you’ve shown your target audience that you understand their problem, it’s imperative to establish why you’re the authority they should trust and get their information from. In other words, why should the reader trust you?
Mark accomplishes this by not only covering the SEO basics that are likely to concern fintechs (e.g., what it is, the benefits, best practices, etc.), but he also provides the reader with a more technical section that covers how search engines work. He also answers some FAQs and links to a number of high-authority resources throughout the article.
And yet, what really sets this article up for ToFU success is the embedded video at the top of the article. Here, Mark is catering to the diverse range of content consumption preferences that CSTMR’s buyer personas are likely to have. Those who prefer text can read the article, those who prefer video can watch the author himself summarize the topic, and both can get a feel for Mark’s expertise and trustworthiness.
You’ll notice one thing missing from the article: a sales pitch.
Yes, there is a call to action at the end, but it is to learn more. Mark isn’t selling CSTMR’s SEO services, he’s extending an invitation for continuing education.
CSTMR: Your Partner In Fintech Marketing
Effectively navigating the world of digital marketing and financial services can be challenging. It’s a process of constant learning, adaptation, and understanding the ever-evolving needs of your audience.
At CSTMR, we’re more than just a digital marketing agency; we’re your partners in this journey.
If you found value in our guide on top-of-funnel content and wish to take a deeper dive into the world of fintech marketing, we invite you to explore more of our resources and insights. We’re here to support your growth in this dynamic industry.
If you want to discuss your situation and see how we can help, feel free to contact us today.