The personal loan market is exploding. According to U.S. web-based lending company LendingClub, personal loan originations from 2017 to 2018 were up 20%. American consumer credit reporting agency TransUnion says personal loans are by far the fastest-growing U.S. consumer-lending category. Even subprime consumers grew by 28% in the past year.
With financial technology firms (aka FinTech) responsible for 36% of the total personal loans issued in 2017, that means both short-term and traditional lenders are very busy. In fact, personal loans should continue growing as lenders look to pull back a bit from issuing credit cards and auto loans.
As a financial marketing executive, you work alongside your loan officers in the lending game. They need to service the needs of their customers by helping them find the personal loan that best suits their financial needs. At the same time, you have to look for new personal loan marketing ideas to stay on top of your industry and attract new business—that way you not only keep up with your competition, you surpass them.
Here are 8 personal loan marketing ideas you can put into action today.
1. Be Sure to Optimize Your Website for Mobile
There are more than two-billion people running around with smartphones. So it’s no wonder mobile devices account for over half the web page views worldwide. Do your business a favor and get your website optimized for mobile immediately because that figure is only expected to rise. Even if you need to do a complete redesign, get in line with the times and think mobile first with every aspect of your website.
AMP Helps You Put Mobile First
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. This open-source initiative from Google is a publishing technology that makes it easy for you to create mobile-friendly versions of your content at the touch of a button. Here’s how it works. When a standard webpage has an AMP equivalent, it creates a link within the source code. Most AMP pages are web-crawler friendly, so search engines and referring websites can link to the AMP version of a webpage instead of the standard version. The end result is a page that loads faster on a mobile device. AMP receives support from a wide variety of platforms, and it’s compatible across all major browsers, so be sure to add it to your mobile-first strategy.
2. Use Content Marketing to Provide Helpful Information
You should use content marketing to bring in more business. Almost 85% of people expect brands to provide valuable content, so don’t disappoint your audience. Entertain them, tell interesting stories, provide valuable solutions, and create unique experiences with high-quality blog posts, downloadable whitepapers and e-books, videos, infographics, press releases, and other information that’s appealing to your customers.
The key phrase is “appealing to your customers.” Your client base isn’t looking for personal loans on a regular basis. So don’t just write or record content that only discusses why you’re the best option for a loan. Your customers could go months or even years without needing your services. Sure, there are plenty of questions to answer about personal loans. Let people know the best reasons to get a loan, the differences between secured and unsecured loans, etc. But you should also be thinking about financial content they’ll find valuable between transactions. That way, you’ll be fresh in their minds when it comes time to apply for another loan.
Here are some ideas to cover:
- How to improve your credit score.
- Tips for managing debt.
- How to create a budget.
- The connection between poor financial health and personal health.
- Great ideas to save money.
- Tips on refinancing an auto loan.
Your audience wants to get this type of information from your content. In fact, 70% of internet users said they want to learn about products and services of interest through content, as opposed to traditional advertisements. Creative content is one of the personal loan marketing ideas, and one of the financial and bank advertising ideas, you can rely on to boost your business.
3. Monitor Your Online Reviews
It’s important for any business to keep track of what’s said about them online—both good and bad. Google. Facebook. Yelp. The reviews posted on these sites can complement or diminish even the most carefully crafted marketing campaigns. How’s that possible? About 90% of consumers say they read online reviews before visiting a business. And more than half of those consumers will bypass the business if there’s anything less than a cumulative four-star rating.
So pay attention and make sure you’re on top of your online reputation.
Whether you have a lot of reviews or none, here are some tips that can help:
- Do a Good Job. First of all, do your job to the best of your ability. The basic foundation of business is to do good work so your customers are happy. That way you’ll not only earn their repeat business, you’ll also get their stamp of approval via word of mouth and, yes, online reviews.
- Claim Ownership of Your Business Online. Set up an account with a few of the big review sites, namely Google, Facebook, Yelp, and any appropriate industry specific social site that applies to your business. If your business is already listed, take ownership. Here are some links to help: Claim your business on Yelp, Claim your business on Facebook, Claim your business on Google.
- Make the Ask. Don’t take this process lightly. Be selective about who you approach for a review because you’re asking this person to endorse you. Ask as a response to praise or create an opportunity in a conversation. You can approach your customers in different ways: phone, email, text, or in-person.
- Automate Your Ask. Let’s say a loan officer just completed a personal loan for a customer. You could set up an automated email that not only thanks them for their business, but also asks them to provide a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp. Be sure to provide a link so it’s easy for them write their review. (Keep reading for more on marketing automation.)
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
If you get a negative review, don’t panic. Think of it as an opportunity to improve, not a burden. Here are a few tips to put yourself and your business in the best light.
- Respond quickly. This shows you genuinely care about your business.
- Apologize. Most people who write complaints on the Internet simply want to be heard. Before you get to solving the problem, apologize for the trouble (or miscommunication).
- Don’t get defensive. The worst thing you can do is get into an argument with a customer who reacts negatively to your work. Stay positive and see if you can amicably resolve the situation. As with any public comment or response, take your time to think through what you’re writing before you post it.
- Put your business in a positive light. Don’t contradict your customer, but do express why their complaint is not the norm. You might even want to list some of your business’s strengths. For example, use phrasings like: “We always strive to satisfy…” or “It’s our goal to ensure…”
- Be authentic. Don’t allow your response to sound robotic. A canned response makes you seem less genuine.
- Take it offline. Sometimes the best solution is to discuss the matter in private. Leave a sincere public comment and then ask the customer to engage with you via a customer service email address or phone number.
Here’s a sample paragraph a loan officer can base their response on:
“This is (name), loan officer at (your company name). I’m so sorry you were unhappy with the service you received at our (city, address) branch. Our goal is for every customer to leave feeling completely satisfied with the experience. Please call (phone number) or email me (email address) so I can resolve this issue to your satisfaction.”
When you put yourself in your customers’ shoes and treat them as you would want to be treated yourself, you’re putting your best foot forward in the quest to satisfy as many consumers as possible.
4. Get Creative with Social Media Posts
When you’re looking for new business, you need to meet people where they are. Where are they? Studies show they’re all over social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Online retail P2P lenders like LendingClub and Prosper have used social media as a core marketing channel to rapidly grow their businesses.
You can coordinate your social media efforts with your content. About 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy, so you’ll have an advantage over your competition by coordinating—for instance—your blog and social media posts. Grab a highlight from the blog post—like an eye-catching fact or figure—and use it along with a link to the original article.
Naturally, you’re at the mercy of the algorithms, so consider advertising on these social channels to boost your followers and ultimately, customers. Facebook is a popular option. With more than a billion active daily users, it’s the most widely used social platform. According to a Pew Research Center study, almost 80% of Americans use Facebook, so it’s no surprise why it’s considered the most important social platform for marketers.
As a financial services marketing executive (which means you’re considered a financial advertiser), you’ll experience the highest CPCs on Facebook at $3.77 per click. Yes, that’s considered high, but it’s also a real bargain when you compare it to a similar keyword campaign on Google. The popular terms “insurance,” “loans,” and “mortgage” are the three most expensive keywords on Google. Each of these can cost you as much as $50 per click. That’s what makes Facebook such a reasonable advertising choice. As far as your CTR (click-through rate), expect something in the 0.56% range.
5. Update Your Mailing Lists to Support Your Loan Advertisement Ideas
The best data is clean data, so make sure your database is current. After all, you don’t want to waste your personal loan marketing ideas on bad data. If you have duplicate contacts, incompatible formatting, or even one line of broken code, you’re jeopardizing the effectiveness of your data-driven marketing tools.
Clean up your current list regularly. Check for duplicate contacts and fix any inaccurate records. When you monitor your dupes, it will help you figure out what caused the issue. This, in turn, will help you clean up your lists before every campaign.
Make Sure You’re First to Market
Are you planning to use a purchased list for your direct mail marketing campaign? Keep in mind your competitors might be using the exact same list. In order to be first to market (which means first to reach your customers’ mailboxes), it’s important to streamline the entire printing and mailing process. Why does it matter? Loan companies often buy credit bureau data from the same sources. Because it’s released at the same time, you’re more likely to win the business of the customer if you get your offer into their hands first.
To assist with this process, you should know about Direct Mail Panorama, an innovative new software solution developed by BlueSky ETO. Simply put, Direct Mail Panorama helps you streamline and manage your high-volume direct mail campaigns more effectively. You’ll have greater control and a clearer understanding of your direct mail marketing campaigns. That means reduced management time and improved speed to market, plus you get valuable production insights to track and analyze every step of the mailing process. Direct Mail Panorama is the future of direct mail management for your personal loan marketing efforts.
6. Email Marketing
Smart financial services marketing execs use email as one element in their collection of personal loan marketing ideas. In fact, as a whole, marketers expect to increase their email spending by $1 billion before the end of 2019. But you’ll need to be strategic to make it work.
You only have a few seconds to capture people’s attention with an email message, so get creative with your subject lines to make them interested enough to open it. Almost 50% of people surveyed say they base their decision to open an email on the subject line alone.
Here’s an example:
Subject: What you should know about qualifying for a personal loan.
Try turning that subject line into a question like: Not sure what you need to qualify for a personal loan?
It’s a subtle but effective difference.
Here’s another idea. Use one word, but choose that word wisely.
Rather than saying: Yes, you can get a personal loan, simply say: Yes!
Immediately, you’ve created intrigue with a one-word subject line. “Yes, what?” the reader asks themselves. “What does that mean?” Then they open the email to find out.
The idea is not to be gimmicky, but strategic. Try different methods with your subject lines to see what delivers the most opens for your mailing list.
Also, personalization works, both in subject lines as well as the body of an email. Almost 85% of consumers say they’d be more likely to open a piece of personalized mail over mail that wasn’t personalized. Personalization builds a connection and turns ordinary consumers into loyal, paying customers. According to an Experian study, personalized emails generate a 6x higher transaction rate.
7. Use Direct Mail
Email is not your only option when it comes to personal loan marketing ideas. The success with direct mail is proof, as response rates have been steadily increasing for the past 10 years. Don’t stop at one mailing, though. That might be a recipe for failure. Research shows it takes at least six or seven mailings to get a customer to act on your direct mail piece.
Aside from repetition, here are a few more direct mail marketing tips to help with your next campaign.
- Get creative with your design. When you’re competing with other direct mail messages, you need to stand out. Try unique sizes, colors, even embodied cognition to capture the attention of your recipients.
- Begin with your value proposition. How are you going to solve your customer’s problems? Yes, you’re going to help them get a personal loan, but how is it going to make their life better?
- Have a clear CTA. Your call to action should be clear. Make sure your recipient knows what they’re getting if they respond. Tell them what you want them to do—more than once.
- Try digital handwriting to stand out. A handwritten message appears to be more caring and personal, but who has the time to write large quantities of them? Simply Written’s digital handwriting technology does the writing for you.
- Include a promotional item. Include something inside your direct mail piece that makes it obvious there’s something other than paper inside. The intrigue as to what could be inside the envelope is irresistible to recipients.
- Use a stamp. A real stamp makes your mail look more personal than metered mail.
Also, think multichannel and combine your direct mail with email for the best results. This integrated approach is effective when you coordinate your brand across multiple channels. That consistency makes you appear trustworthy—and that leads to sales.
It’s complicated to create a direct mail marketing campaign. That’s why it helps to work with experts who have been in the business for more than 60 years. MSP can help you with every aspect of your direct mail marketing efforts—from data processing, personalization, and print production, to postal optimization and mailing. They can also help you with all your digital marketing needs, so you can reap the rewards of a multichannel approach. Contact MSP for a free consultation.
8. Automate Your Financial Services Marketing Efforts
You learned how to use email, social media, and direct mail as personal loan marketing ideas. Now save yourself a lot of time by automating some of these marketing tasks. Let’s take a look.
Automate Email Marketing
Let’s say you have a potential customer sign up for your mailing list. They’re interested in a personal loan, but they’d like more information to see if you’re their best option. Rather than sending a separate email to each interested party, automation produces a standard email with some personalization that speaks to everyone who fills out your form—immediately. This is smart marketing.
Automate Social Media Marketing
As with any form of automation, when you automate your social media content, you’re saving time. Plus, when you’re more active (and consistent) with your social strategy, you’re likely to see more website traffic, better search results, and more business.
Automate Direct Mail Marketing
Variable data printing (VDP) allows you to create as many variations of a direct mail piece as you want. When you’re sending a large amount of marketing mail to your mailing list, VDP allows you to personalize each piece of mail. One of the best parts of variable data printing is that it doesn’t take any more time to run than if there were no personalization. So, you’ll reap the benefits of personalizing your direct mail marketing campaigns without sacrificing time.
Put Your Personal Loan Marketing Ideas to Work Today
As the personal loan market continues to grow, create a financial services marketing strategy filled with proven methods of success.
Optimize your website for mobile visitors, and fill it with content that appeals to their interests and solves their problems. Then use that content to get creative with your social media posts. Be sure to stay on top of your online reviews—both good and bad. Clean up that mailing list so you can effectively speak to your customers through direct mail and email messages. And finally, automate your marketing tasks to save yourself time and money while also responding to your customers in a timely manner.
If you put these personal loan marketing ideas into action today, you’ll see the success your financial services business deserves. Contact MSP today and we’ll not only help you get started on the right foot, we’ll guide you the entire way.
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