Senior Affiliate Marketing Coordinator
Thank-you to everyone who attended our webinar Influencer Marketing: How to Develop Your Strategy to Drive New Business with the Washington Banker’s Association. More financial brands are leveraging influencer marketing to increase growth opportunities, and as a company that puts partnership at our core, we are always excited to share our insights and strategies for cultivating successful partnerships.
We would like to thank Duncan Taylor, Senior Vice President of the WBA for hosting this webinar for their members, as well as our panel participants for taking the time to share their expertise on influencer marketing for financial institutions:
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a strategy that drives new business for brands through a partnership with online creators, or “influencers.” A brand partners with an influencer to reach their niche audience, and the influencer is paid to promote the brand’s products. According to Jesse, one of the reasons that influencer marketing works well in financial services is because “consumers want to digest information not from the banks directly, but instead want to hear it from third parties.” This is where influencers step in to speak from an authentic consumer angle, which can help boost the brand’s credibility and drive conversions.
Carie notes that one of the biggest benefits of working with a financial influencer is that they can provide in depth product information on behalf of your brand. This depth of information would normally come off as “too salesy” from a direct retailer, but in the voice of an influencer it can be viewed as more sincere and capture a greater level of attention. Nicky agrees and adds that when comparing a typical online ad to an influencer’s content, the influencer’s captive audience “gives you a bigger footprint for brand awareness.”
While there are many benefits to influencer marketing, Lee cautions that it can sometimes be a double-edged sword. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing the risks as a financial brand: “While you are getting really great access to the influencer’s audience,” he explains, “[the influencer’s] main goal is to serve their audience, [which has both] pros and cons when they are reviewing your product.” Nicky agrees that it is important not to confuse an influencer with a traditional spokesperson that reads a script verbatim. When it comes to serving their audiences, influencers prioritize creating content in their own authentic voice.
To help mitigate this risk, the panelists agree that it is important to have clear communication with the influencer on what messaging you are trying to get across. This will help ensure that the influencer adheres to your brand’s guidelines.
How to Build a Successful Influencer Marketing Strategy
When asked about the main factors that determined the success of an influencer marketing strategy, our panelists identified these key points:
- Having realistic goals and expectations, and then setting clear, mutually agreed upon cost per acquisition (CPA)s and key performance indicators (KPI)s. There are common marketplace standards for CPAs and it is important to understand what they are.
- Ensuring that your landing pages are well optimized to support the customer journey.
- Being clear on how you want your brand to be represented and that the influencer understands your key messages.
- Having well-established tracking methods where data is timely and accessible for you and your influencer partners.
It is also important to understand that there will be a “ramp period”: it takes time to complete all the steps necessary to drive a successful campaign. As such, influencer marketing works best as part of what Carie refers to as a “fail fast and fix it” strategy: a long-term marketing approach of continuous adaption as new learnings come in.
How to Find Influencers
With influencer marketing it is important that you find the right people to represent your brand. While it may be challenging at first, Carie explains that she started simply through internal research. She asked her team, “What are the blogs that you read and podcasts that you listen to? And where do you go for your personal financial information?” From there, she was able to quickly compile a list of bloggers and influencers to target for outreach.
Lee also highlights that researching various channels is a great way to identify the influential voices of specific financial products. Nicky agrees, adding that she often finds that brands wanting to use an affiliate marketing platform have typically done their own research and may have already “put their toe in the water” of influencer marketing.
Apart from conducting your own research, Jesse also notes that it can be difficult for small and medium sized banks to manage all their external marketing partners, especially if they wish to scale up their channel. To alleviate the strain, he says that affiliate marketing platforms are helpful for banks that are under-resourced: “The bumps and bruises that you’re going to get along the way will be so much less because you will be with an expert who will help guide you through the process”.
Tips for Getting Started
Developing an influencer marketing strategy for your business involves a lot of moving parts but can yield high results. Here are some tips from our panelists on how to get started:
- Start by identifying three products that you want to market, then search for each one via Google and observe the first page of the search results. Are these products appearing in any prominent articles? Which sites are covering them? This will provide you with initial insight on where your products lie within the competitive landscape.
- The initial set up can be difficult, so working with an affiliate marketing company can give you a head start in locating reputable influencers, organizing your campaigns, mitigating risks, and helping you understand what will work best for your brand.
- When looking at your budget, it is best to start small and start early. Don’t wait until you have a larger budget to start taking advantage of everything that influencer marketing has to offer.
- Reach out and ask your customers what they think the top benefits of your products are. You will get some valuable feedback that will help the influencers develop effective content.
- Influencers can deliver more value than a typical ad by proving comprehensive product information to their captive, niche audiences.
- Data and analytics are vital to both you and your influencer partner’s success.
- Realistic goals and expectations help you and your influencer start off on the right path.
- Feedback from your consumers can be an important part of defining the message within your influencer campaigns.
If you want to learn more about influencer marketing strategies and how to enhance your bank marketing strategy through partnerships, please get in touch with us, or follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with the latest in affiliate marketing for financial services.