"A consumer is going to need to touch a brand at least 10 to 15 times before they make a decision. The more that you're mentioned in these different places, the more likely you're going to start to build some credibility around your institution and what you have to offer." - Alana Levine
Influencer and affiliate marketing have taken the digital world by storm this decade. The reason is simple: people trust people.
Customers don’t want to be sold to by a faceless financial organization. They want to engage with trusted people who can bridge their needs to your product or service.
Alana Levine, Chief Revenue Officer at Fintel Connect, joined the Banking on Digital Growth Podcast to tell us why your financial brand or should consider influencer and affiliate marketing for your digital strategy.
Misconceptions Around Influencer and Affiliate Marketing
Here are the top three misconceptions around influencer and affiliate marketing Alana has heard:
- These marketing channels are a one-off placement. In reality, they should be seen as an extension of your marketing team's strategy. Building long-term relationships with influencers and publishers is key to success in this space.
- Misunderstanding between the commercial relationship and nature of influencer and affiliate marketing. Some financial brands might assume they need to pay a large sum upfront or on a CPM rate, but there are a variety of commercial models to choose from. The goal is to create value for both the influencer/publisher and the financial brand, with a results-oriented approach.
- Concern around the risk involved in partnering with influencers and publishers. The financial industry is highly regulated, and there's a fear that partners could go rogue and say something damaging. However, Alana points out that there are tools and innovations in place to provide better transparency and control.
At the end of the day, it's all about people.
People do business with people they trust, and influencer and affiliate marketing can help build trust with your audience. So don't let fear hold you back from exploring this untapped growth opportunity.
The Evolution of Influencer Marketing: A Mix of B2C and B2B
Influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular channel for businesses to reach their target audience. However, the question remains as to whether it is more suited to B2B or B2C, or a mix of both.
The answer is that influencer marketing can work for all types of businesses, regardless of whether they are targeting consumers or other businesses.
Ten years ago, as Alana shares, the answer may have been different, but the evolution of digital capabilities has enabled strategic partnerships across a whole range of B2B and B2C products and opportunities.
The essence of the channel is having a trusted third party that provides relevant information to an audience that is high intent, seeking information and taking the next step towards engaging with a brand.
Traditional influencers were bloggers, but now there are layers upon layers, including podcasts and financial advisors who diversify and have blogs on the side.
A Third party publisher is trusted three to four times more than content published by a traditional incumbent financial brand.
Because of human nature.
People are more likely to trust a neutral third party that has done their research and is transparent about whether or not they are being compensated. The opinions are objective, and the content is informational, providing time-saving research that consumers can trust.
Exploring Opportunities for Financial Brands through Influencer and Affiliate Marketing
Alana shares that influencer and affiliate marketing are particularly useful during the consideration phase of the buying journey.
For instance, when someone searches for something on Google, they are likely to come across SEO outlets that help them make decisions. This means that companies can use these outlets to build their brand equity and credibility, and also educate customers about their unique value proposition.
Every financial brand is competing on the same great rates, service quality, and product features.
However, influencer and affiliate marketing offer the opportunity to create more narrative and tell a bigger story. By focusing on a help-first, sell-second approach, financial brands can create a positive deposit in account holder' trust funds, leading to long-term behavior changes.
How Financial Brands Can Navigate the Roadblocks in Influencer and Affiliate Marketing
Influencer and affiliate marketing can be valuable tools for financial brands looking to attract and convert customers, but there are also potential roadblocks and dangers to consider.
One of the most common challenges is transparency.
It can be difficult to understand the impact of digital initiatives on the bottom line. Financial brands need to have the right technologies in place to create a user journey and experience and measure success through essential metrics. These include cost per acquisition, approval rate, lifetime value, total count of conversions by lead source, and net promoter score.
To apply this thinking to influencer and affiliate marketing, financial brands should focus on building an audience or community, attracting leads with personalized offers, nurturing those leads with automation and content, converting those leads into loans and deposits, expanding the relationship by delighting accounts, and repeating the process with ratings, reviews, and referrals.
One key piece of advice for financial brands looking to move forward with influencer and affiliate marketing is to get everyone involved in the digital experience, including compliance, product, and business owners.
The next step is to identify quick wins and set a defined goal, understanding that Rome wasn't built in a day.
By taking these steps, financial brands can successfully leverage influencer and affiliate marketing to drive traffic, leads, and conversions.
For more about financial transformation, reach out to James Robert Lay at the Digital Growth Institute.
This article was originally published on May 4, 2023. All content © 2023 by Digital Growth Institute and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.