Content Marketing Case Study

Effective Content Marketing in the Financial Services Industry:
Growing Receivables and Improving Profit Margins

The Challenge

Credit card usage plummeted dramatically thanks to the 2008 financial crisis; a survey in September of that year from Javelin Strategy & Research found that only 64 percent of consumers had used a credit card in the preceding month compared to 87 percent of consumers in 2007 — a 23-percent drop. When a financial services firm that is one of the top credit card issuers in the U.S. went public at that time, they needed to turn around their decline in receivables and improve profit margins. Yet this came at a time when the economy showed no signs of improvement.

The Solution

In the midst of what proved to be a searing recession, people needed practical advice. An online portal was developed and dedicated to helping consumers become more savvy about managing every aspect of their finances with customized, strategic, SEO-friendly content focused on highly targeted categories. These included home, technology, money management, saving and investing, spending, travel and more. The content was also simply stated, stimulating and full of practical solutions for everyday issues, especially stretching scarce dollars—a feat achieved by going to the experts. An independent team of experts wrote the content, from nationally syndicated columnists and best selling authors to noted reporters with deep experience in their subject areas. It also changed bi-weekly, was topically relevant to current events and focused on questions and concerns reflected in consumer feedback. Layered into this content, the site also featured easily comprehensible basics on financial credit and literacy to arm consumers with the knowledge they needed to make wise credit decisions.

To cultivate users, a bi-weekly email newsletter was used to generate unique site visits. Social media was integrated into the site from the start, and became more sophisticated as time went on. A Twitter feed was established a year into the project, which also increased usage, and a series of blogs by financial experts, ghost written by reporters, was implemented three years into the project.

The Result

From the start, the bi-weekly newsletter incurred an open rate twice as high as other company newsletters and an excellent click-through rate. Each year, usage increased exponentially, reaching a million users a month at the end of the first year and over four million by the third year. Content also generated high user-response rates. Eventually, product stories were also added to the editorial mix featuring client retailers.

The Benefit

The project gave consumers direct advice that kept them coming back for more, and effective financial tools indirectly— furthering their role as a consumer advocate. Receivables increased to a healthy four percent growth and the company overtime improved their own ranking.