It is easy to get caught up in the daily doom and gloom news and advice about the covid-19 pandemic, but for FinTech marketers there are clear opportunities during these 'unprecedented times'
I run Yaser Ayub’s SEO Agency in London and recently have been asked a lot of questions by friends and colleagues, as well as for advice about how to best approach their marketing strategy over the coming months.
In this article I will explain how small and mid size FinTech startups can maximise the value of their efforts and reduced spending over the next few months, as well as the pitfalls to avoid.
There are 3 marketing opportunities FinTech firms should focus on during the current lockdown period in response to the covid-19 pandemic.
- Build a solid SEO base for growth
- Diversify spending into new channels
- Maximise cost-effectiveness of spending
These things are not new ideas, but the specific circumstances and challenges FinTech startups face as a result of Covid-19 mean they are best placed to capitalise on these opportunities
1 - Build a solid SEO base for growth
FinTech startups are obsessed with high growth rates, as scale is so important for their business models and is necessary to attract new investors.
The problem is that growth marketing can be very expensive to scale up, leading to rising costs, smaller margins and all too often ends up scaring off the same investors who pushed firms to pursue unrealistic growth targets in the first place.
Covid-19 provides a truly once in a lifetime opportunity for FinTech firms to escape from this ugly catch-22.
There are right ways and wrong ways of doing SEO marketing, but to do it right takes time, planning and spending. If done right it can dramatically reduce the cost of acquisition for. FinTech firm, both in terms of per customer and overall at scale. Leveraging the world's biggest search engine to attract customers also will improve the quality of leads, as by its very nature and how Google's algorithms work potential customers are those that want a firm's services rather than just being lured in by colourful flashing banner ads or funny slogans.
Sounds great right?
Well, as every FinTech CEO knows that these three things - time, planning and spending - are something they don't have to spare, at least not on something that won't deliver immediate visible results for their bottom line or proxy t portfolio. This catch-22 is compounded by investors pushing towards a unicorn IPO, as getting to the front page of Google takes time. Ironically the 6-12 months it takes to implement a solid SEO strategy that can unlock new levels of profitability for a FinTech startup at the scale needed for an IPO, is the one thing they simply can't get approved by their board or sell to their investors.
The current pandemic and public health response to lockdown people and the economy has created a huge opportunity for FinTech marketers to unlock the power of SEO and set themselves up for sustainable long term growth afterwards.
This is because it directly addresses the three barriers FinTechs face when pursuing a successful SEO marketing strategy.
Time is on your side
With the global economy on lockdown and millions of people stick at home, the natural reaction might be to pursue increased spending on Social Media advertising and email marketing
This is a mistake and will likely lead to the failure of more than one FinTech firm over the coming months
While there is increased use of social media by your target customers right now there are also thousands of other businesses competing for their attention and most of them have bigger marketing budgets. If social media advertising was expensive before for FinTech firms, that is even more true now.
Similarly, as people are essentially being forced to rely on social media more now because of the lockdown, their use and engagement with adverts cannot be considered normal and is unlikely to continue after the lockdown ends. So while you will be paying more to attract customers in a more competitive social media market, you also risk attracting poor quality leads and short-term interest or use of your service that will drive up your costs and decrease your return on investment in social media advertising in the long term.
By pursuing SEO marketing you can avoid this and set your firm up for success after corona, while saving money on your marketing spend now to keep investors happy and allow you to maximise the effectiveness of it once things return to normal.
While the lockdown may be gradually relaxed in the coming months, all experts agree the effects of covid-19 on the global economy and consumer behaviour will last well into 2021. This gives you the 6-12 month window of 'breathing space' to implement your SEO strategy.
To implement a successful SEO strategy for Fintech firms, you need planning. There is no 'secret sauce' or 'cheat codes' that can fool Google into ranking your firm's website at the top of its results over the long term. This is of course what you need to reach scale and achieve long term reduction in your cost of acquisition.
Luckily, the current Covid-19 pandemic means your daily operational requirements have undoubtedly changed and that means you can prioritise staff time and resources to planning your SEO strategy in the right way.
This is perhaps the biggest barrier facing Fintech firms and their marketing departments when they want to pursue an SEO strategy that will unlock long term growth at scale and reduce their cost per acquisition.
Venture capitalists are essentially gambling, which has nothing to do with your business, it is just the name of the game. You and your team are passionate about what you are building but even if they are very supportive, at the end of the day they just need 1 in a 100 of their investments to IPO for them to get a good return, so they don't really care if it is you or any of the other 99.
The result is that it is very hard to ever justify spending on anything that doesn't deliver immediate returns and growth. Again, it is inherently illogical but also just the nature of the world we live in and something every fintech firm must live with.
Until now, as the world we live in has changed in almost every way because of Covid-19.
Investors are more concerned about surviving and protecting their investments, in terms of their current value and future potential. This is your opportunity.
Fintech firms can now justify reduced spending on a long-term SEO strategy because it will help their bottomline in the short-term and extend their runway once the economy normalises which increases the value and likelihood of a successful IPO in the future for the investors.
All FinTech firms need to do is make a business case for reduced overall spending, by shifting staff and spending away from ineffective and temporarily price inflated social media advertising, so that they build their long term growth via SEO.
This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for FinTech firms and those that embrace it will be the ones that succeed in the coming months and years.
In order to successfully implement an SEO strategy, most FinTech firms will want to seek outside help, either by bringing in a specialist or hiring an agency. This is where the final pitfalls lie, as there are definitely right and wrong ways to do SEO, but what there isn’t is a magic bullet and firms should look for experience and a track record over the wildly optimistic promises advertised by some firms.
The information and advice in this article is based on my experience over 20 years of helping firms implement and benefit from SEO strategies. I choose to set up my own firm because I like to deliver results, work with passionate people and do things right. If you are interested in affordable SEO from Yaser UK then reach out - there is no job too big or too small and there has definitely never been a better time to do it.