What comes to mind when you think about doing your taxes or managing your finances? For me, a headache comes to mind. Let’s face it – finance is not the most marketable industry. Yes, finances are something that every responsible adult needs to think about, but that doesn’t make it a sexy topic. This fact is just one of the many challenges that marketers and advertisers in the finance industry face.
Nowadays marketing a bank or financial company comes with even more challenges. “Responding to 21st century problems in an industry still heavily reliant on 20th century processes is a daily challenge for financial marketers,” says Lucas Jones from Decibel Insight.
With history not on their side, one of the biggest challenges for financial marketers is gaining trust. According to research from PwC, only 32% of people say they have confidence in banks!
So, what can financial marketers do to overcome these challenges? Investing in a Google AdWords strategy to ensure their organizations are discoverable in the search results is one way to grow in the industry. “Search is 100% crucial to keeping loan and mortgage prospects engaged,” says WordStream’s Senior Paid Search Strategist Chris Panetta.
Chris has been running the AdWords strategy for 30+ organizations in the financial/banking space over the course of the last five years. From payday and specialty loans, to mortgages, banking, and more, Chris knows this space well. I recently dove into some of the main learnings Chris has collected over the years, so without further ado let’s jump into his top eight tips to outshine your financial competition with Google AdWords.
#1. Create Unique Offers and Calls-to-Action
In a crowded landscape, how can financial marketers stand out on the SERP? Chris recommended boasting about your perks within your ad copy. “You need to have unique offers and calls to action; focus on benefits like ‘free airline miles,’” says Chris.
So, what sets you apart? Perhaps you give a free hour-long financial consultation for new clients? Or maybe you charge no annual fee, and offer X times more cash back than similar companies in your niche? Write a list of your most intriguing perks and benefits and include them in your ad copy. Make sure to use features like ad extensions to help add more offers to your copy.
Check out the great example from Chase Bank below.
In just one AdWords ad they were able to include all of these benefits!
- Cash back and rewards
- Pre-qualified offers
- 24/7 customer service
- Chip-enabled rewards
- 50,000 bonus point
- 2X points on Travel and Dining
- $ 0 intro balance transfer free for 60 days
- No annual fee
#2. Prioritize Competitor Targeting
Finance is an industry where the competition simply can’t be ignored. Why? Because sales cycles are much longer in the banking industry.
Remember when we talked about gaining trust a few minutes ago? This is something that takes time for prospects, and a lot of that time is spent researching your competition. So rather than letting your competitors steal these ripe prospects, you need to outbid them on the SERPs. This requires dedicating a chunk of your budget to bidding on competitor keywords.
Chris informed me that competitive targeting makes up 75% of spend each month for one of his current financial clients. “You need to beat your competition in quantity and price to win these prospects over,” says Chris. If you’re not familiar with competitive bidding on Google, check out this helpful post for tips on what and what not to do.
#3. Leverage Demographic and Income Targeting
Looking back on the history of AdWords, it’s always been a bit challenging to match an ad with a user’s search intent, even with keyword match types and negative keywords. This is likely why in September of 2016, Google announced that they were letting advertisers have more control over their audience. Similar to targeting options on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, advertisers can now layer on targeting options like age, gender, and parental status to pursue their audience of interest.
According to Chris, this is a feature that financial marketers should absolutely be using. “I always leverage demographic and income targeting to target management-level people more readily,” says Chris.
With this feature you have the options of making bid adjustments for certain audiences or just excluding audiences to focus in on your target age ranges and incomes. Don’t waste money on an audience that is not likely to use your services, and use these features to find more relevant leads.
#4. Customize Your Landing Pages
While having customized landing pages for your ads might seem like common sense, it’s something that is often overlooked by busy marketers. While this is totally understandable, taking the time out of your busy schedule to make customized landing pages based on your ad groups and keywords can make a huge difference when it comes to lead conversion rates.
Just think about a time when you have searched for something on Google, and ended up on an unhelpful landing page. Did you stay on that website, and search around for what you were looking for? No, you probably hit the back button to choose the ad above or below the one you clicked on.
“It’s important to be as relevant as possible,” says Chris. “Have tailored pages for each product – for instance, have pages for business checks vs. business manual checks vs. business laser checks.”
#5. Use All Available Call Features
Call-only campaigns, call extensions, mobile bid-adjustments, and call tracking – these are just a few of the AdWords features that the financial marketer should be prioritizing. Phone calls are common and important within this industry, and phone leads are easier to turn into sales.
“Phones call are crucial!” says Chris. “My client loves phone calls and can usually convert them at a higher rate, and for higher values, than his website can.”
Here’s a run down of the various options I mentioned above:
- Call-only campaigns: With call-only campaigns your bidding and paying to get a call rather then a visit to your website. It’s important to realize that your strategy need to be different for these compared to a regular search campaign. Check out this post for some tips on doing these right.
- Call extensions: Call extensions are a bit different then call-only campaigns since the option to visit your website is still there, but now you can also add an extension to allow for phone calls. You can also schedule these to only show during business hours, when people are available to answer the phone, which is pretty neat.
- Mobile bid-adjustments: Where are people most likely to call from? Their cells phones, duh. Luckily, Google allows you to adjust your mobile bids, so you can make sure to bid higher on mobile traffic to bring in more rings.
- Call tracking: Lastly, it’s critical to track your calls in order to understand where your ROI is coming from. For more on call tracking, check out this post.
While optimizing your campaigns for phone calls might sound like a lot of work, it will be well worth the effort once your phones start ringing off the hook.
#6. Open Your Wallet
While we all know that advertising involves a budget, for those in the financial space this budget may need to be a tad bit higher than the average industry.
Why? Well, financial keywords are competitive, and these types of companies can usually afford to spend a bit more for higher rankings. We all know that ads below the fold do not get as much traction, and if you are on the second page just forget about it… Sadly, the second page of search results may as well be a deserted island.
Chris explained that this industry has much higher costs per click (CPC’s), which is one of the challenges that comes with managing accounts of this nature. “Unfortunately, don’t think you can have success with a small budget,” says Chris. “Depending on your niche, CPCs can range from five to one hundred dollars per click.”
Finance and banking related keywords are among the most expensive in AdWords
On the plus side, new clients typically bring in enough revenue to offset acquisition costs. Use the tip below to control your budget, and ensure ROI is being yielded before you throw away any dough.
#7. Start Slow on Search
Whether you’re new to AdWords or have been using the platform for some time now, ensuring you are only running successful campaigns is critical. This is why Chris recommends starting out slow so you can truly measure results, and spend your budget where ROI is being yielded.
“Start with one to three campaigns, and scale spend in those campaigns,” Chris says. “If you have a small budget ABSOLUTELY do not spread it out. Find a core group of four to ten keywords and work to dominate the impression share on those.”
This strategy will not only ensure your money isn’t being wasted, but it will help you grow and measure your success more effectively.
#8. Remarket, Remarket, Remarket!
Remarketing is basically giving your leads a gentle reminder about your services by popping up on their screens again after they’ve already shown interest.
While it might sound like a creepy process, we’re all constantly being remarketed to, and this strategy can actually work quite well – this audience has already searched for and expressed some type of interest in your product or service. So you know they’re in market and aware of your brand, and they might just need a little push.
There are many reasons why remarketing in the banking/financial industry is so critical. For one, it’s a competitive space, so reminding your leads about why they should choose you over your competition is key. And then there’s the longer sales cycles that come into play…
“The average sales cycle for a home loan and mortgage is 6 months, and these people will be doing multiple research cycles,” says Chris. “Staying in front of them with search, remarketing, and RLSA is the only way to try and ensure they end up using your client and not a competitor.”
If you’re new to remarketing check out this awesome guide to get started.
We all know financial marketers know a thing or two about money, so make sure to use these tips to spend wisely on your advertising and reach your highest ROI potentials.