The financial services industry has changed immeasurably in the past few years thanks to digital transformation. While many financial institutions took some persuasion to even build a customer-facing website at all, the digital revolution dictates that merely having a web presence these days is not enough. No matter what part of the industry you are in, your audience wants to see user-friendly, dynamic websites with high-resolution graphics and eye-catching designs.
In many cases, asset management has been somewhat behind the curve when it comes to cutting-edge websites. However, this is beginning to change and we recently highlighted 50 of the best examples in the industry.
So – if you’ve just reached the stage where you’re creating a new website, we have some pointers for you here about paying close attention to user experience (UX). If you’ve already arrived at this point, how do you ensure that you are using your shiny new website to its full extent?
There’s little point in spending money on a new website if no one is going to visit it. If you aren’t giving your audience a compelling reason to keep coming back, then you might as well not have bothered. A clear content strategy is what is required if you want to win new clients and hang on to existing ones. Numerous studies have shown that companies that are good at content marketing are winning hearts and minds among their target audience. It generates more website traffic, boosts engagement, results in more leads than many other marketing activities and drives higher conversion rates.
So here’s our step-by-step guide to how asset managers can create great content for their shiny new websites.
Create a blog
This is by far the simplest way of ensuring that you have a platform within your digital channels for posting content regularly. You should have access to the website’s CMS (content management system) and a standardised template for creating articles quickly and easily. Of course, you need to be careful with how you provide access to your website’s back end – see our advice on passwords here – but you also need to ensure that anyone posting articles is clear about how to use it.
Be selective with your topics
Think about the various different topics that are relevant to your target audience and focus on these. Don’t be tempted to cast your net too wide – choose between five and 10 key areas and brainstorm the kind of articles you could write.
Craft a content calendar
Once you’ve figured out your key topic areas, work out a schedule of when you are going to publish articles. You could choose to focus on one theme each month, or mix them up so you cover a variety of different themes on a regular basis.
While it’s tempting to get as much content published as possible, think about what is actually going to be sustainable. A regular pattern is better than floods followed by droughts. It’s also a good idea to try and get as many different people within the organisation to contribute, though it is inevitable that some people may not be able to do so as consistently as others.
Think about SEO
When it actually comes to writing the articles, it is vital that you think about search engine optimisation (SEO). This is the key to creating content that people will find easily online when they are searching for articles around the topic areas that you have previously identified. We’ve written about SEO strategies for fund marketing before, but the key thing to do here is keyword research.
Keep it simple at the start
Asset management is a complex area, so it’s inevitable that some of your content is going to have to deal with difficult concepts and themes. However, you need to think about how you can present them in an accessible way, or you risk alienating your audience. We’ve written about some of the potential pitfalls in this article, but the key things to remember are to avoid jargon as much as possible; keep sentences short; and use active rather than passive voice.
And while your blog might not be the best place for dealing with complex subjects, think about other formats that might suit them better. For example, white papers are much better for deep investigations into a topic, although they will be more time-consuming to create.
Proofread and double-check
Your content strategy revolves around increasing engagement with existing clients and driving new leads, so it’s crucial to present yourself in your best light. You aren’t going to look great if articles are riddled with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. The more pairs of eyes that review each piece of content, the more likely you are to spot mistakes and correct them before publication. For example, you could put into place a process by which each blog post created should have a separate writer, proofreader and editor (the person who actually posts the content and makes it live). Never rely only on built-in spellcheckers.
While written articles are great, you can tell a story of 1,000 words with a single image. Creating infographics and using helpful data visualisations within text should be a regular activity. Not only do they engage and inform the reader, they are very easy to share on social media, where users typically have a much shorter attention span.
Speaking of social, it is important to make sure that you regularly share new content across your social channels to boost the number of people that will actually see it. Think about which channels are going to work best for your audience – Twitter and LinkedIn are the most obvious – and focus on these, but don’t be scared to experiment with networks such as Instagram and Pinterest.
Analyse your impact
With any marketing campaign you need to be able to assess the impact it is having in order to fine-tune your approach and get the best results. Content marketing is no different, so think about which kinds of articles are performing best, which aren’t performing so well, and which social networks are bringing in the most visitors. As well as raw numbers, it’s also important to figure out where the new business leads – especially the high value ones – are coming from. You might write an article about a niche topic that has very few readers in comparison to other articles, but if it drives quality leads then it’s obviously a subject area that is worth writing about again.
Having a decent content marketing strategy and executing it isn’t rocket science. By following the steps above, fund managers can ensure they get maximum ROI from their new websites.