OPINION 4 things to know before diving into influencer marketing

Nicky Senyard

Nicky Senyard

Nicky Senyard is the CEO and Founder of Fintel Connect, a performance marketing agency which offers an affiliate marketing network specifically for financial services. In this piece she discusses how financial services firms can start working with influencers.

 

Last year was a very tumultuous time for the financial services industry, with many businesses taking a more cautious approach with their budgets, especially marketing. Because bottom-line impact is more important than ever, banks, financial institutions and fintechs have been putting greater focus on growing their digital footprints to attract customers.

Measuring your marketing’s return on investment is essential, and it’s one of the reasons why I’ve been in influencer or affiliate marketing for the past 20 years: by nature, the channel is all about creating shared value and delivering real results. And it has an even impactful important role to play in financial services given customer buying decisions and extensive research they do before choosing a bank or financial product.

When done right, this channel can drive up to 40% of a financial brand’s net new customer growth online. If you’re considering incorporating influencer marketing into your digital mix, here are four answers to questions we often hear from brands in the financial services space:

 

1. What are the requirements for a successful influencer marketing strategy?

There are three fundamental considerations to make as you build out your influencer strategy.

The first is the method of measurement and understanding your metrics of success. What will success look like for your bank? Most often in influencer marketing, brands will use lower-funnel conversion metrics to tie directly to value and understand how much they’re willing to pay for those conversions. Examples include:

  • Approved credit card customers;
  • Successfully funded loans;
  • Opened accounts with minimum deposit amounts.

Whatever your conversion criteria, it is important to  be able to complete and track them online.

The second is having a clear picture of how your influencer partnerships will fit into your overall mix. Having background knowledge about what messaging drives customer responses is critical to this type of marketing. Test and gather insights from your other digital marketing channels to understand what types of messaging strategies are effective with specific segments. Having this information on hand will make your program more successful out of the gate.

With this type of marketing, I often emphasize that it’s meant to be treated like any other digital marketing channel: you have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. Fortunately, affiliate or influencer marketing enables brands to capitalize on previous learnings: strategic insights you’ve gained from past campaigns can make a huge difference when applied to your partner program.

Finally, consider this channel an always-on channel. Because your influencer partnerships will invest energy up from in building visibility for your brand – whether a long-form article, product review, or YouTube video, they will want to see the long-term benefits over time. Don’t look at your collaborations with influencers as singular campaigns. Instead, how can you create mutual value over time that complements your other campaigns or initiatives?

 

2. Does partner marketing compete with my other channels?

Affiliate marketing works best when included in your brand’s omnichannel strategy. Just like customers are more likely to convert on your Facebook ad when they’ve heard your latest radio or TV campaign, i marketing functions in a similar way.

Users that are searching for reviews on specific products and services may have already been exposed to your brand’s targeted campaigns, compounding the efficacy of your marketing effort.

A key to successful influencer marketing is creating congruency across your channels – consider your partners an extension of your marketing team and include them in campaigns or initiatives you are planning through your agency or other channels, as they can help amplify and reinforce the message.

For those advanced affiliate marketers out there, you can dive deeper into creating more targeted, specialized offers or campaigns with your influencers, which tend to deliver higher click-to-approval rates.

 

3. How much of my budget do I need to allocate to influencer marketing?

As with anything, a diversified strategy goes a long way. When looking at your acquisition marketing budgets in particular, influencer marketing can play a substantial role in your overall results, which is why we often see 30-40% of results coming from this channel. The amount allocated to generate these results is often in a range of 10-20% of total marketing budget.

No matter the size of your budget, it’s important to remember that a big part success with influencer marketing is in keeping your channel active. Your partners’ activities are the data streams that feed into your marketing insights. Once you get a firmer grasp of what messages and which partners are driving results, you can confidently scale your campaigns upwards and allocate more funds into what’s working.

 

4. How soon can I expect results?

Paid ad platforms like Facebook and Google allow you to go hard and quick on your digital spend. You can reach thousands of users with multiple touchpoints in a short period of time, but with no guarantee that each user your pay to reach will turn into a customer.

Influencer marketing, on the other hand, is a slower, steady channel that rewards your long-term dedication with a stream of highly targeted, net new customers. I often liken affiliate marketing to SEO: a lot of heavy lifting is involved in creating organic content. However, marketers purposely invest in organic marketing because they understand the rewards will be reaped not immediately, but over time.

This is why I recommend to our partners to “keep the lights on” with the this type of marketing: it’s a low-risk channel where you only pay for results, and any of the awareness and exposure you gain through your influencers or affiliates comes at no cost.

 

Endurance is the key to success

Partner marketing is ideal for driving next-level growth for your customer acquisition, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Committing a portion of your annual budget (big or small) and creating campaigns with attractive offers is essential. Your partners will also become an extension of your marketing team and providing adequate support will enable them to advocate your brand effectively.

If you’re interested in influencer marketing and have questions specific to your brand, we’re happy to help be a resource. Our passion at Fintel Connect is helping brands establish quality, impactful partnerships with influencers and affiliates, so we welcome you to reach out directly at [email protected] with your questions or visit fintelconnect.com/blog for more resources.

 

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