How Can Financial Literacy Become a Powerful Marketing Tool?

The US is presently in the midst of a financial illiteracy epidemic. People are more worried than ever about money and many feel they lack the appropriate knowledge to manage it effectively.

According to recent research by the National Financial Educators Council, only 16% of 18-26-year olds are optimistic about their financial future, with 54 percent worried about paying back student loans. 5.2% of Americans surveyed said they had been refused a job because of a lack of financial knowledge. Perhaps more interestingly, when 18-24-year olds were asked which high-school level course they felt would benefit them the most had it been available, a massive 51.4% responded with money management.

The statistics clearly indicate a real desire for financial literacy education and bank brands can leverage this thirst for knowledge as part of their content marketing strategy.

Financial Literacy

Banks may not have considered the power of financial literacy content before, preferring to focus their marketing strategy on topics which have a more direct sales pitch attached to them. However, 18% of customers who have been offered financial literacy content by their bank have stated they would be more likely to return with additional business, according to recent research by Raddon Research Insights.

Also, while only 16% of Raddon's respondents currently participate in a financial literacy program, those that do are more likely to be valuable customers.

"Five sources of information appeal to that 16%," reports Target Marketing. "No.1 is their primary financial institution (55%) - online sources come in at No.2 (45%) - and even though that adds up to 100%, the study respondents clearly visit other programs. Family and friends help them (39%) - financial planners and advisors see 34% of participants - and only 7% bother with TV programs like CNBC and Fox Business."

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This shows that financial literacy content engenders trust in those who participate in it, and those who do are more likely to turn to their bank for help and advice in making important financial decisions - opening the door for additional business opportunities.

Content Marketing

What is it that makes financial literacy programs such a powerful content marketing tool?

Well, people generally don't like being bombarded with advertising, but they do like learning from experts, especially on the subjects which directly impact their lives, such as finance. This strikes right to the very heart of content marketing, which has always had the goal of informing while avoiding a hard sell, building trust between the audience and the brand.

Financial literacy content can help your brand gain new qualified leads. However, it must be considered strategically, with marketers carefully considering all aspects of their audience's experiences. What financial literacy issues may prevent a customer from moving through your sales funnel? How can you adjust your content marketing strategy to best assist them on these pain points?

Use financial literacy content in the first level of the sales funnel to raise audience awareness. Topics around the benefits of saving for a child's college fund, for example, are a great way to get your customers informed on financial considerations they may not be aware of. Once their awareness of the problem has been nurtured, the next step is to educate them on all the financial products which can help them solve it. Finally, you can provide content which gently nudges them to make a decision, laying out the reasons why your brand is the best one to help them.

When people first begin thinking about buying a home, for example, they may wonder if they can afford it, and, if so, how much can they afford. Financial literacy topics which can help during this stage include whether someone should buy or rent, first-time homebuyer FAQs, and how to calculate how big a property they can afford.

People generally don't engage with banks for fun and many find the world of finance confusing and frustrating. That's why it's important to craft financial literacy content to provide the necessary information in an easy-to-understand and accessible fashion. Infographics, video content, tutorials, etc. are a great way to deliver key information in a manner which people won't feel overwhelmed by.

Final Thoughts

By tackling the financial literacy issue with educational content, bank brands can not only help consumers become more informed about managing their money but also build trust and help drive new business opportunities.

Financial literacy content marketing is set to be a hot topic at Future Branches 2019, taking place this November at the Hilton Austin, Austin, TX.

Download the agenda for more information and insights.

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