When you are running a credit union, it goes without saying that attracting more members to your brand is paramount. The chart below shows the top marketing challenges facing financial institutions today, and generating traffic is number one.
To this end, many banks and credit unions have begun to recognize the importance of digital marketing.
Harnessing the power of social media platforms and creating a blog is now becoming standard practice. Yet not all blogs are equal. So, how can you ensure your blog readers aren’t just engaging with your material and then moving on elsewhere? How can you turn those readers into paying customers?
Inbound traffic is invaluable to any financial institution. Potential customers find you when they carry out an online search because they’ve got a problem they need to solve. But you need to play your part in this equation.
You can’t expect readers to immediately become paying customers just because they have found your blog. They need to click on your post and get the answers they need. More than that, they also need to see you’re an expert and have what they need to solve their issues.
To do this, you need to know how to create highly converting blog posts. With this in mind, here are nine top tips to help you to maximize the potential of your institution’s blog.
- Understand Your Audience
The audience that you are creating your blog for will dictate the style and topics that will drive conversions. Yet, institutions create blog content to appeal in subject matter and language style to those running financial institutions. This will not appeal to their target audiences.
So, how do you choose the right subject matter for your blog so you can convert readers to customers? The key is to find out more about the pain points of your potential customers.
The above chart shows some research carried out into the pain points of banking customers. These would be a good place to begin when seeking blog content that would be valuable to readers.
Essentially, you need to know what potential customers need from your institution. How can you solve their problems and make a positive impact on them? To do this, you need to thoroughly understand the kind of person who will act after reading your content. Creating a “buyer persona” is the best way forward.
Finding out a potential customer’s age, marital status, gender, interests, and profession will give you some background to work with. Once you have these details, you can then begin to create appropriate content with the right tone.
Topics centering around potential customers’ pain points will drive conversions since they’re targeting readers who need solutions to their issues. This means they are already in the frame of mind to become customers. However, you should take care not to give all the answers in your posts. Giving actionable and useful information is important. But you need to leave some room for calls to action that encourages readers to find out more.
- Make Content that Fits into the Buying Cycle
Inevitably, customers progress through a buying cycle, as shown in the info graphic above, before purchasing anything.
The first step is awareness. The customer knows he or she requires something. However, he or she is not yet sure what it is. The customer then progresses to the consideration stage. At this point, the customer begins looking for a solution and carrying out some initial research. Once the customer has found something to resolve his or her problem, the customer moves into the intent stage. At this point, the customer just needs to choose where to go for the solution he or she has found. It is only at this point that the customer will make a purchase. The final step is deciding whether to renew or repurchase the product from the same provider.
When you need to convert readers to buyers, you need to target consumers in the consideration stage. You must give the answers and information your readers are seeking. Not only that, though, you also need to create persuasive content that gives your audience confidence in your brand. This will progress them through the intent stage and into the purchasing step of the funnel.
How can you guide your readers appropriately?
You need to draft content that sparks interest in new readers and educates or entertains your audience. You also need to encourage your readers to come back for more in the future.
One final element that you must include is a request for readers to share their contact details. This allows you to carry on guiding them through your sales funnel with more targeted and personalized content. This content includes follow-up letters, case studies, white papers, and how-to guides.
Remember, though, that content for the top of the sales funnel will cover a broad audience. Some may not yet have a clear need to make a purchase. If your content is too focused on selling, you could drive this audience out of the sales funnel.
Therefore, you need to prioritize the creation of content that is valuable, compelling, and readable. This will spark the readers’ interest, not scare them away.
- Getting the Format Right
The info graphic above shows there’s a lot more to formatting a good blog post than meets the eye. All readers have a limited attention span. This means you will have to create your content to cater to readers who will only skim your posts. You need to draw their eyes toward the key sections.
Luckily, this is not too difficult if you follow certain rules:
- Write short paragraphs
- Use bullet points, numbered lists, and subheadings
- Use a font that they can easily read
- Use images to illustrate key points and break up the text
- Monetize on Readers’ Emotions
Most purchasing decisions consumers make are emotionally driven. While most people start their buying cycles thinking logically, feelings will usually dictate their final decisions.
If you’re a smart marketer, you’ll play on this when you’re creating content to convert readers to buyers. You can achieve this goal by:
- Using language to evoke positive emotions in the reader
- Building up a positive relationship with the readers
- Preempting the fears of your readers
- Reducing Distractions
When you’re creating a blog post to convert readers to buyers, you need to choose your focus and stick with it. Focusing on just one point is always best. There should be few, if any, diversions from that point whenever possible.
Think of your content as a road that is straight and singular. You need to avoid any connecting roads that lead to other destinations. Instead, line the road with key information to guide readers toward conversion – the end of the journey.
If you ask a reader to do 10 different things in a blog post, he or she will probably do none. If posts include badges, multiple outbound links, and social media widgets simultaneously, it is probably too much. All of these are CTAs (calls to action).
You should be creating a layout that puts the reader’s focus primarily on the content. Avoid sidebars, include relevant links to targeted pages on your website, and use clear banners on your home page. You need to be sure that your readers are 100 percent clear about which action they need to take.
- Add In Testimonials
Written testimonials can boost conversions by up to 34 percent. This means you should use them in your content. Yet, to achieve maximum impact, you need to incorporate those testimonials into your story. Use quotes to give stories alternative voices. This makes what you are saying more legitimate. It also makes readers feel more confident about your claims.
Having testimonials in your content will prove your value and expertise in your field. You must give your readers something to win over their loyalty. This is what you’re creating content for. Eventually, readers start to feel loyal toward your brand. This makes them more likely to convert to buyers.
- Creating Urgency
We have all purchased something at some point because there was just one item left on the shelf. This phenomenon is FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. This sales tool can be extremely effective.
When we believe we can only obtain something for a brief period, we’re more driven to buy it. This applies even if we aren’t sure it’s what we want or need. Creating urgency is, therefore, a useful strategy when drafting content.
You can create urgency in blog posts by using language to invoke a feeling of immediacy. You can do this by incorporating data-backed relatable examples to show why customers need to buy your product now.
Writing with urgency is also key. You can begin your post in the normal way. However, as you near the conclusion, you should begin to use shorter sentences. Shorter paragraphs also help your audience to read more quickly. This increases urgency and, thus, increases the chance the readers will act.
Finally, incorporate some urgency into your calls to action. A bonus gift, a time-sensitive offer, or a simple suggestion there are a limited number of items available can help.
- Avoid Sounding Overly Promotional
Yes, the purpose of creating your content is to increase sales. But that goal mustn’t be obvious to readers. If you focus too much on selling, you could alienate potential customers and destroy your credibility.
Advice is largely the basis for ideal sales posts. Selling needs to be a major component in the post, but just in terms of impact, not space.
Consumers will only choose products and services from brands they trust. You can only gain trust by offering advice and information to reinforce your position as a leading industry authority. Once readers feel confident you know what you’re talking about, they’ll be more likely to convert.
You can’t inspire confidence in your readers with a single blog post. Readers must return several times and realize they’re getting value from your content before developing trust. Getting them to subscribe to your mail shots and notifications is a great step toward this goal.
A persistent and consistent strategy will eventually work to grow your audience. It will also create long-term loyalty among your readership. In time, your readers will appreciate the steady presence you’ve created and will eventually become buyers.
- Use Bold Calls To Action
It’s important to recognize how essential calls to action are in your content. Converting any reader to a buyer will be virtually impossible if there are no clear CTAs. People can’t read your mind – you’ll need to tell them explicitly what they need to do.
You do need to implement CTAs correctly, though. You’ll need to get the balance right between pushiness and being too half-hearted.
Calls to action need to stand out but can’t affect your content’s readability. If you annoy customers, they won’t convert. If you’re using CTA banners, make sure they’re visible but aren’t intrusive. Choose locations that are unobtrusive and natural, such as at the side of your content.
Creating the Ideal Blog Posts for Conversion
Blog posts can be extremely effective in winning the attention of audiences with highly targeted content. Financial institutions must, therefore, gain a greater understanding of how to draft high-quality content. They need to learn to consider buyer personas, define reader problems, and work with their audience’s pain points.
Banks and credit unions need to find out their audience’s needs and interests as much as possible. This allows them to create powerful and effective content that will achieve the goal of conversion.
Yet, creating engaging and valuable content isn’t always easy, especially when converting readers to buyers is paramount. This is why using a professional content writing company can be so beneficial. Professional content writers with expertise in the field have the skills to draft content tailored to your needs. When you need blog posts designed to convert, it makes sense to go to an experienced team
About the Author:
Shondell Varcianna is the founder of Varci Media. A content writing agency for financial institutions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .