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Value-Added Content Marketing: Stats, Facts and 10 Best Practices

By August 10, 2021 October 5th, 2021 CCG Financial Services Marketing Blog

Win support for your financial services content marketing initiatives and learn how to build the right stuff to boost customer engagement, loyalty and sales.

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Article Highlights

  • The majority of consumer buying decisions are impacted by reading custom content or recommendations in a blog.
  • Click-thru and click-to-open rates for editorial emails far surpass those of general marketing emails.
  • To work, content must truly add value to the customer relationship — providing relevant, useful and actionable information.
  • Repurposing your content is one way to stretch dollars and expand reach.

Most financial institutions these days are doing some form of financial services content marketing. But not all are taking a strategic approach or developing value-added content. The kind that will yield such benefits as increased customer engagement and cross-sells, improved customer relationships and profitability, and enhanced reputation for your financial institution.

The facts and statistics below prove the value of value-added financial content, helping you convince the powers that be to back your initiatives and your budget. Plus, you can use our value-added content checklist, best practices and tips to help ensure your content hits the mark and does the job.

Benefits of Value-Added Financial Content Marketing

A value-added content strategy for financial services can deliver numerous benefits for your financial institution, including the ones below.

Build engagement and trust.

By providing useful and relevant information, you can empower customers to make better financial decisions and feel more confident in their financial lives. This can change perceptions of your company for the better and help overcome the skepticism today’s consumers often feel toward traditional financial institutions. In short, value-added content can help you build trust with consumers.

Not only can this lead to greater loyalty and brand advocacy, but it can also position your financial institution as a credible resource. One that helps guide and educate — as opposed to persuade and sell.

Influence behavior and sales.

While value-added financial services content marketing may not directly pitch products, it can definitely influence purchase decisions, improve cross-sell, increase leads, keep customers engaged through the buyer journey — and ultimately increase customer profitability.

  • 61% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by custom content1
  • 61% of U.S. online consumers made a purchase after reading recommendations on a blog2
  • 47% of buyers view between three and five pieces of content before they engage a sales rep3
  • Content marketing can deliver six times higher conversion rates versus traditional marketing3

The value-added approach can be particularly effective for products that are a more complex sell, giving you a vehicle to explain a process or product in educational terms, rather than via a sales pitch. Likewise, it can help keep customers engaged over a longer purchase cycle.

It can even help customers realize needs they didn’t know they had. A soft call to action can then guide them toward a solution among your products and services. For instance, a story about “7 signs you need a new roof” could help a homeowner see that it’s time for an update. You can then explain how a home equity loan could be a sensible financing solution.

Enhance reach.

Good financial services content marketing helps to not only build brand awareness, but also to maintain that awareness — so when someone is ready to choose a financial institution or a financial product, you’re top of mind. It can also enhance your SEO, which helps to increase online visibility and website traffic. And value-added content can even help your message reach your audience with greater reliability.

  • 77% of internet users read blogs2 — a popular form of value-added content
  • Increasing the number of blogs produced can yield a five-fold increase in website traffic3
  • Value-added content can help your messages get past ad blockers and defy the ever-changing whims of social media platforms and search engine algorithms

Build engagement and trust.

By providing useful and relevant information, you can empower customers to make better financial decisions and feel more confident in their financial lives. This can change perceptions of your company for the better and help overcome the skepticism today’s consumers often feel toward traditional financial institutions. In short, value-added content can help you build trust with consumers.

Not only can this lead to greater loyalty and brand advocacy, but it can also position your financial institution as a credible resource. One that helps guide and educate — as opposed to persuade and sell.

Improve marketing performance.

Value-added content marketing is extremely useful for increasing customer engagement, and you’ll see that in enhanced metrics for your financial services marketing initiatives. For example, using value-added content can improve your email performance. That’s because you can position it as editorial or newsletter content — which tends to have greater appeal than general marketing messages.

CCG’s own clients have seen value-added content increase open rates more than 40% and click-thru rates by 200%.

Gain greater ROI.

Value-added content continues to prove its worth in terms of return on investment. Exact numbers can be hard to pin down for two reasons. First, content marketing is really a large bucket of different content forms and formats, each with its own cost. Second, since this isn’t a direct-sell tactic, it can take time — sometimes months — to see results in the form of a sale. Therefore, content marketers often valuate their projects based on other metrics, such as consumption, lead generation, website traffic and other goals.

That said, some ROI-related stats and facts include:

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than promotional, push-based outbound marketing while generating more than three times as many leads3
  • 62% of companies rate content marketing as excellent or good in terms of ROI4
  • Newsletter marketing — a form of value-added content — is considerably less expensive than banner advertising, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and influencer marketing5
When you layer the power of value-added content with the cost-effectiveness of email, you take advantage of additional returns:

  • Average ROI for email marketing is $38 for each $1 invested5
  • 73% of companies rate email marketing as excellent or good when it comes to ROI4
  • U.S. marketing executives believe email alone drives the same amount of revenue as social media, website and display ads combined4

Defining Good Value-Added Content

Value-added content is still marketing, but it’s a more subtle, more customer-centric approach than traditional financial marketing methods. It can take nearly any form — blogs, newsletters, videos, infographics, social messaging and so forth.

But to truly do its thing, value-added content should meet all or most of these criteria:

  • Strategic and part of a plan, not haphazard or thrown together at the last minute
  • Not overtly promotional or self-serving
  • Useful, providing information, insight, advice or education
  • Solution-oriented, helping to solve a specific problem and/or answering a question
  • Benefits-oriented, showing the reader “what’s in it for me” rather than what’s in it for your company
  • Relevant, with messaging targeted to a specific segment or individual, based on analyzing customer data and understanding the customer’s place on the buyer journey

Top 10 Best Practices for Value-Added Content Marketing

1. Know what your customers care about.

The more your content matters to your customers, the better engagement you’ll get. Use focus groups, surveys and other feedback mechanisms to gather information about your customers’ specific interests.

Next, brainstorm topic ideas, and consider leveraging CCG’s Content Topic Optimization Tool, to pinpoint the most relevant topics for your audience segments. Then build your content calendar around those ideas.

2. Coordinate content around trigger events.

Trigger emails are a form of value-added content, since they’re based on customer behaviors, making them inherently more relevant than other emails. That makes it more likely that customers will open and act on them. In fact, trigger emails can garner open rates as much as 76% higher than for “business as usual” emails.6

3. Connect content back to your business.

While value-added content marketing isn’t first and foremost promotional, it should still include soft, benefits-focused calls to action and links. For instance, if you post a blog on saving for retirement, you might include a link to an IRA product page on your website. Or a newsletter article about home remodeling might encourage readers to see how your home equity products can help finance updates.

4. Provide specific solutions and actionable information.

The best way to maximize your customers’ experience through your value-added content marketing? Be specific. Solutions that are too general aren’t helpful — they erode credibility and disappoint customers who were hoping to find an answer or actionable plan.

Build more valuable experiences and increase satisfaction by helping customers actualize a solution through a product or service that you provide. Content tools like checklists, step-by-step guides, “how-to” tips and geo-targeted statistics are just a few approaches.

5. Leverage your data for better targeting.

You increase the value and relevance of your content when you use data to zero in on the interests and needs of each audience segment. Your high-wealth customers, for instance, may need insights on advanced investing strategies, while your Gen Z customers may need more help with basics, like budgeting.

Sometimes targeted value-added content marketing can be as simple as changing subject lines or calls to action based on each audience’s interests. Or you can get more intricate by swapping out one or more copy blocks and images.

6. Personalize wherever you can.

This goes deeper than segmenting, taking content targeting to the individual level. For example, you can test using first names in subject lines and salutations, or including an address or contact information for the individual customer’s local branch.

You can even use dynamic content to provide value-added copy based on demographics, transaction history and other behaviors known through your data at a personal, rather than segment, level.

7. Repurpose your value-added content.

Make the most of the value-added content you create by finding more ways to use each piece. For instance, if you have educational articles on your website about home equity, consider repurposing them into an opt-in email series. Turn a home buying article into an infographic. Compile a series of retirement savings communications into a white paper.

It can help to consider repurposing ideas as you develop topics. For instance, for each topic in your editorial calendar, come up with three to five different ways to use the content.

8. Adjust copy by format.

While email content should be short and focused on a single message, blogs should be more detailed and can be several hundred to even a thousand words long. Similarly, social media posts should be friendly and casual, but a white paper will typically have a more formal voice.

Regardless of format, make sure to stay consistent with your brand so a customer accessing content across channels will feel comfortable and won’t feel any disconnects. Also be sure to include links to related content, products and services to expand reach for other communications and drive traffic to your website, branches or call center.

9. Don’t neglect design and tech trends.

Every type of value-added content can be enhanced or diminished by the design around it. For instance, mobile-first and accessible design are essential for all digital content: Make sure customers of all abilities can easily read the copy, see the images and click the buttons or text links no matter what digital device they’re using.

Kinetic and interactive emails are a newer trend, allowing consumers to take actions within an email instead of going to your website, such as taking a quiz, moving through an image carousel, watching a video or purchasing. Interactive content can increase click-to-open rates by 73% and double conversions.7

Agile content is another design and coding tactic worth trying. It allows content to update at the time an email is opened or re-opened — for instance, based on date, time of day or local weather. It can increase email engagement by 40%.7

At a more basic level, remember that judicious use of fonts, type size, graphics, colors, button links and so on can help skimmers focus on key messaging points while making the overall communication easier to read. Again, make sure to adhere to your brand guidelines and style to provide a cohesive, consistent experience.

10. Use a preference center.

This is a great way to increase content relevance and customer engagement, because you’re literally letting the customer choose which types of information they want to receive from you and how often they want to receive it.

Place a preference center on your website and include links to it from your digital communications and even your print marketing pieces. It’s okay to start simple — for instance, asking whether customers prefer email, text or direct mail messages, or allowing people to opt into or out of specific types of communications, such as product announcements, company news or your newsletter.

The Next Step

Statistics and best practices are well and good. But the best way to determine the effectiveness of value-added content marketing is to give it a try. If you haven’t made it part of your marketing plans in the past, consider testing value-added content against your promotional marketing.

If you’re already using value-added content, consider a testing plan to help pinpoint the channels, formats, topics and frequency that work best with your particular audiences.

Either way, you’ll put your financial institution on the road to reaping the benefits of improved customer relationships. Then just keep that content engine running!

If you’re ready to launch a value-added financial content marketing strategy, or want to refine or audit your current approach, we can help. CCG’s financial marketing experts have more than 40 years of experience working with value-added financial services content. It’s what our company was built on. Learn more about how we can help you achieve your marketing goals. Click below to schedule a free consultation or call us today at 303.986.3000.

1 “38 Content Marketing Stats Every Marketer Needs to Know,” Neil Patel, https://neilpatel.com/blog/38-content-marketing-stats-that-every-marketer-needs-to-know/, accessed July 6, 2021

2 “9 Stats That Will Make You Want to invest in Content Marketing,” Julia McCoy, Content Marketing Institute, posted Oct. 22, 2017, https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/10/stats-invest-content-marketing/, accessed July 6, 2021

3 “Top 25 Benefits of Content Marketing & How Content Marketing Can Transform Your Business,” LYFE Marketing, posted August 6, 2019, https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/benefits-content-marketing/, accessed July 6, 2021

4 “10 Essential Email Marketing Insights for Banks & Credit Unions,” Jeffry Pilcher, The Financial Brand, posted Jan. 30, 2017, https://thefinancialbrand.com/63546/email-marketing-trends-for-banks-credit-unions/, accessed July 6, 2021

5 “How to Plan an Effective Newsletter Strategy,” Judith Michel, Mailjet, posted Dec. 12, 2019, https://www.mailjet.com/blog/news/how-to-plan-an-effective-newsletter-strategy/, accessed July 6, 2021

6 “Are you successfully using trigger emails?” Epsilon, posted May 28, 2019, https://www.epsilon.com/us/insights/blog/are-you-undervaluing-trigger-emails, accessed July 6, 2021

7 “Click. Swipe. Tap. Watch.” Epsilon Trends ebook, posted April 25, 2020, https://www.epsilon.com/hubfs/Email_Trends_Ebook_25Apr2020.pdf, accessed July 6, 2021

Sushil Wenholz

Author Sushil Wenholz

Sushil is not only CCG’s creative director, but also one of our long-time writers. She specializes in developing engaging, value-added content that delivers useful, educational information to her client’s customers. As a multi-channel writer, she is equally adept at long-form articles, mid-length blogs, social media, video scripting and direct mail. As creative director, she helps ensure that the team delivers high-quality products that are on brand, and that meet or exceed client expectations.

More posts by Sushil Wenholz

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