Tips and tricks for Financial Services advertisers

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 10:23 AM

We’ve asked our AdWords Team Managers to provide tips and tricks for online advertising within particular industries. Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature these guest posts on the Small Business Blog. We're kicking off with a guest post on advertising within the Financial Services industry -- check back for information on your industry!

In thinking about ‘online advertising’ it’s easy to focus on keywords, ad texts, and clickthrough rates. Now with more online media channels than ever, it’s important we think about our online identity holistically as well -- and that we consider how this identity might impact our advertising both on and offline.

This practice is particularly important for advertisers in the Financial Services industry. Our businesses and customers are greatly impacted by economic trends and world events. For this reason, I encourage you to consider the following tips when developing your advertising strategies.

  • Be an industry expert. As a member of the Financial Services industry, you must be an expert on the economy as a whole -- not just an expert of your own particular niche. One thing we’ve learned from the recession is just how interconnected the Financial Services industry is: decisions and regulations in one sector often impact dealings in another. For example, as interest rates were lowered through the recession, consumer interest in refinancing increased at a sustained level. As a marketer, you must stay on top of these trends to understand how they impact your business and your customers.
  • Adjust your online advertising strategy in reaction to consumer behavior or industry trends. If you notice a particularly pertinent financial ruling or piece of news, use Insights for Search to learn how this change has impacted search behavior. For example, as Congress considered extending the Bush Tax Cuts recently, consumer searches spiked. What an excellent opportunity to get your name in front of your target audience in order to get the most out of your marketing budget!
  • As an example, Humana insurance recently noticed changing consumer behavior and incorporated industry trends into their marketing strategy. In reaction to changing healthcare reform and later medicare enrollment, Humana took the opportunity to educate their customers via a YouTube brand channel and edited their ad text to include pertinent terms, such as ‘affordable.’

  • Manage your online brand and reputation. For better or for worse, there are now countless channels through which you can influence your brand online. I recommend setting up Google News Alerts that trigger when your company name is mentioned. I also recommend creating Profile Pages, listing your business on Google Places (only, of course, if you have a brick and mortar address), and testing new Google ad formats that showcase your product or service, such as SiteLinks.
  • Engage with your customers online. And finally, to build upon your online brand, it’s important to interact with your customers online. Engaging with your customers online can also help you better understand if/how economic trends are impacting them -- and this can help you make business and advertising decisions. I recommend creating Twitter, Facebook and YouTube identities to solicit feedback and engage with your customers!
2011 is an exciting year to be an online advertiser! In planning your advertising strategy this year, make sure you take a step back to see the bigger picture. For more tips on Google’s tools related to online business, please visit the Small Business Center.

Posted by Payton Dobbs, Team Manager, AdWords Financial Services