The most important factor in determining whether a blog post will convert is not the call-to-action (CTA) that you include in the post but rather the concept behind the post itself.
Some financial service executives wonder why their blog posts rank for a very high volume keyword but barely convert. They ran test after test, put CTAs in different places, tried different messages, sliders, popups, you name it. Nothing works.
The blog post simply does not attract ideal customers.
The fact is — that the topic idea is more important than driving traffic for conversions — and that dramatically changes the way you do content marketing for any financial services business.
To stay ahead of the curve, content creation for financial services has to be more;
- Engaging, informative, and attracts your target customers.
- Strategic and of better quality to attract qualified financial services leads.
Then, you need to know how to create more of both.
But how do you come up with great post topics for your financial firm? How do you know what your intended consumers are looking for? What approaches may you use to get ideas beyond the first few obvious keywords?
In this post, I want to share some of the specific tactics we’ve used to identify pain points, learn customer concerns, and more. The strategy will give you new blog post ideas to go after.
The approach will help you generate great post ideas that will:
- Focus on addressing customers’ pain points and increasing conversions.
- Engage your audience and help you attract your ideal customers.
Let’s dive in.
Step 1: Analyze Your Current Content and Determine How to Improve it.
The first step is to carry out an in-depth analysis of your site to discover great opportunities that will drive traffic and convert more visitors into leads or customers.
Many blogs try to write content around broad topics. Eventually, they end up with high-level, boring, and generic blog posts that turn your customers away.
Let me show you an example of a generic blog post that will hardly convert.
Let’s use this blog post as an example: When to Consider Long Term Loans.
This random post on a financial website aims to provide more value and generate leads.
First of all, the first sentence in the introduction is too generic, obvious, and in my opinion – out of context. The searcher has a particular question – when he can consider a long-term loan. Not whether he should consider a personal loan or not.
Look at the following headline “What are long-term loans.”
Here is the thing. Someone wanting to know when to consider a long-term loan already knows what it is. So this part of the blog post is unnecessary and does not address the customer search intent.
Let’s see the next section of the same blog post.
The same problem, the searcher is not looking for information on how it works. So three-quarters of this blog post does not address customer intent or pain points.
If you must use such topics in your post for SEO purposes, you would instead put them under the FAQ section but address customer intent in the main post.
Finally, the writer talks about the main topic in a few paragraphs.
Now, if you don’t capture your reader’s attention at the beginning of the post, you lose that reader for good. You cannot convert, even if you rank #1 on Google.
Most company blog posts are this generic.
Why are they wrong?
They are generally not solving any pain point.
They also don’t relate to the audience interested in the product.
They fall short in specificity.
Here’s what I mean…
The idea “When to Consider Long-Term Loans.”
The entire site talks about loans. How could someone possibly distill all their advice into various compelling blog posts without repeating themselves?
Here is another blog post on the same site, defining long-term loans.
By writing generic content on a post as specific subject as this, your post will be average at best.
You want your target customers to take notice of your financial content, yet all you’re doing is pushing out the same old generic ideas like everyone else. Stop that.
It’s time to get more creative with your financial content strategy to see better results.
Here’s Our Process For Writing Specific and Highly Valuable Pieces of Content
- First, figure out your best customer’s highest level pain point. Don’t guess. If you aren’t sure, ask your customers.
- Consider all possible reasons why someone might be looking for information on that issue. You could use the suggested search feature on Google to find out what people are searching for, or you can engage with Q&A sites like Quora.
- Make a list of all the reasons and write in-depth articles about each one. Even better, if your customer research or conversations back up these particular ideas.
- Know your customers’ expertise level and address them at that level.
Best Way to Generate Leads Using Content Marketing for Financial Services (Our Methodology)
Now let’s explore how to get specific details or pain points that resonate directly with your audience. The details will help you develop fresh and exciting content that will attract attention to your services.
Step 2: Narrow down to your best customer
Step two of the process is to determine financial blog post ideas that attract the right customer.
The CEO and team members who deal directly with your customer or prospects are the custodians of this valuable information.
However, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Typically when we ask them, “who is your best customer?”
They give us generic responses like, “We are financial planners / financial advisors for small businesses and individuals.“
You may believe that’s fine enough, but it isn’t.
The problems with such a response are that:
- It isn’t easy to appeal to many customers with content marketing.
- Paying you money does not necessarily make someone a good customer just because they do so.
Also, if you target any customer or large audience, your sales team will always complain about talking to unqualified leads from the blog… and we don’t want that to happen.
Let me explain what I mean.
Great Customers vs. Any Customers
So, what is the distinction between a great client and any other client?
Best customers are typically companies or individuals that have a:
1. Quick sales cycles: Selling to customers that see the value in what you’re selling and have a big problem to solve makes your sales cycle shorter.
2. High average deal size: The more pain someone has, the more likely they are to fork out money for a solution, which means your average deal size is high.
3. Long retention rate: Once you’ve solved someone’s problem, they’re likely to stick around thanks to your high retention rate.
4. Minimal support headaches: Customers who need extra hand-holding are never a good fit and tend to bog down companies with support headaches.
Any customer might pay you but doesn’t fulfill one or more of the above criteria.
How we determine your best customers
To find out which customers are most valuable to your company, we look at quantitative data like historical sales, qualitative evidence from team members, and customer-facing employees such as account managers.
It takes about 60 minutes or more to have a conversation with the Founder and other team members. The discussion gives us enough to produce several financial blog ideas that have the potential to attract more qualified leads, which, after all, is the purpose of your blog.
Here’s an inside look into our questioning with our customers:
Recently, I had a similar meeting with a client and his team.
I asked, “okay, who is your absolute best customer? The customer you love to work with, and the ones you produce the best results for?
They said they offer a wide range of services and customers – from tax planning, retirement planning, business planning, and more to small businesses and individuals.
According to them, all were good customers in their own way.
Individuals were less of a headache because their needs were minimal, but they paid less. Companies gave them more headaches because they had more problems, translating to more business.
So I had to take another approach to get what I wanted.
This is a small example of how it can be tough to figure out who your best customers are. It might sound easy, but it’s not always easy to get the correct information from people.
I asked them a series of questions to get them to give specific answers. Some of the questions I asked were:
- “What is the difference between a good deal/project and a bad one for you?
- “What made your finest project so great?”
- “What would be your ideal project?” “If you could pick one kind of project to work on every day, what would it be?”
- “What would be the optimum deal/project size for you?”
- “What were some of the most gratifying deals/projects you’ve worked on?”
- “Why are you the preferred business for your services?”
Finally, I managed to get the information off by coating it with some icing sugar.
After 60 minutes of open-ended questioning (and the team showing all kinds of patience), we went from a broad idea of their customer base (“a financial planner for business and Individuals”) down to a more specific view of his best customer (“Financial planner for dentists and physicians and any high-income earner.”)
When we narrowed it down to this segment, I asked them to give some examples of deals in that segment, and that’s when the story started to come to light.
Step 3: How to Come Up with Financial Content Ideas
We take notes and record the conversation about all the answers to these questions during the meeting. We also note any disconnects from different departments and inquire why they think differently from the rest of the company.
Then we translate most common customer experiences, questions, and problems customers are trying to solve into great content ideas.
For example, in our research above, we discovered most customers don’t;
- Don’t know what to do financially to prepare to buy/start a dental practice. (business planning strategy)
- Don’t know how to qualify for a loan from a lender who specializes in dental practice loans (how to qualify for business loans)
- Don’t know how to save on taxes. (Tax-saving strategies)
- Don’t understand the different professionals they need to hire (attorney for legal purposes, CPA for tax purposes, or a financial planner.)
Therefore, much of the content on their site should aim to educate people on how to solve these problems. We either answer specific questions that we get and/or search for a keyword that ties into these pain points.
Another challenge is to develop a story idea that explains the value of your services to solve that particular problem. (I will cover this in another post)
So, from the information above, how do you come up with financial content ideas that attract the right audience to their blog?
Another Content Ideation Strategy – We focus on Pain Point SEO Instead of Volume Driven SEO
You’re a financial services company that targets dentists as the customer.
Your content marketer may take a keyword-first approach to content marketing strategy. This strategy works well with a personal finance blog – not a financial advisor/company.
Why I Created a Content Marketing Agency for Financial Services.
They analyze competitors, take several keywords their competitors are ranking for and target the exact keywords. They end up coming up with keywords like this:
- money-saving tips (Volume – 9,900)
- savings calculator (Volume – 49,500)
- savings calculator with interest (Volume – 12,100)
- interest savings calculator (Volume – 12,100)
- retirement savings calculator (Volume – 9,900)
- college savings calculator (Volume – 5,400)
- simple savings calculator (Volume – 5,400)
- individual retirement account (Volume – 5,400)
Then they prioritize keywords that have the highest volume (traffic potential) and are easiest to rank for (low competition).
They follow this strategy because their success metrics are in the percentage increase in traffic, not leads or calls growth.
Then they churn out blog posts going after these high-volume keywords, and if everything works, you may notice that traffic starts to increase.
But what about the leads and calls from those posts?
In most situations, you won’t see a measurable number of leads and conversions coming from those blog post ideas because the strategy focuses on increasing traffic rather than taking the searcher’s intent into account.
We’ve discovered that the volume-based keywords approach for financial content marketing is ineffective.
To achieve conversions, we place a higher premium on high-intent keywords than high-volume keywords. In such a case, we’d go for keywords such as:
- If I pay off my personal loan early, do I save on interest (Volume – 170)
- paying off a loan early calculator (Volume – 37)
- Is it better to have a credit card debt or loan when applying for a mortgage (Volume 260)
- Best personal loan for credit card debt (Volume 210)
- Is it worth it to get a personal loan to pay off debt (Volume -170)
- Credit card vs. personal loan calculator (Volume -140)
What’s important to execute a financial service business content strategy well is to have deep knowledge about your customers. Use many examples of different customer experiences and reasons they’ve paid for your services.
The better keywords and topics to go after are the pain points, success cases, and challenges from past customers that led them to do business with you.
Those are also the topics that will be easier to rank for and distinguish your service business from others that offer similar services.
Ideating on high-converting Financial Content for SEO
Essentially, all ideas should come from your prospects and your customers.
By now, I hope you understand that you need to understand your customers in-depth. Knowing your customers inside out enables you to develop financial content ideas that your competitors won’t target.
Because they focus on high-volume keywords while you concentrate on helping your prospects and customers solve their problems.
Know who your customers or prospects view as your competitors, problems your prospects think your service can solve. Also, find out features of your service your customers get the most value from. The information will help you develop content ideas that convert 5X higher than your competitors.
The benefits of using this strategy are threefold:
- The post becomes easier to write. Instead of targeting multiple subtopics in the same blog post, you narrow down to the specific pain point and go into extreme detail.
- The post will resonate more with your audience. The goal of the message will now be explicitly directed to a problem, issue, or question that the audience may have. When you connect on more personal levels, you form a more meaningful connection with your readers.
- The post becomes easier to promote. You can now join groups around your topic area and share the posts in those groups. Without going into such levels of detail, your communities would not have any need for promoting your content.
- The posts will likely rank higher for long-tail search phrases. When they’re asked where they look for advice on this topic, many people say Google. You’re more likely to rank for common questions your audience might ask by going after pain issues that your audience would have and then writing extremely detailed posts on specific topics.
Take your financial blog to the next level.
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I’m an ex-banker, agency owner, and SEO & Content Expert for Financial Service Providers & Personal Finance Bloggers. I leverage my 15 years of expertise in financial writing & SEO to drive more traffic to your blog. Whether you want more traffic to your website for new customers, Ad revenue, or affiliate sales, I can help.