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The Rise of FinFluencers and Why Banks Need to Jump Onto This Bandwagon

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The Rise of FinFluencers and Why Banks Need to Jump Onto This Bandwagon

In 2002 Nicky Senyard founded Income Access, an affiliate marketing company with over 22,000 affiliates in the regulated gaming industry, and sold the business fourteen years later to Paysafe for USD $30 million.

1681920389 274 The Rise of FinFluencers and Why Banks Need to JumpSenyard is back in the affiliate marketing space but this time around she has her sights on the financial services industry.

Founded in 2019, Fintel Connect is a leading affiliate network, tracking and reporting technology, and marketing partner dedicated to the financial services space.

More than 80 financial service brands use the Vancouver-based startup to enhance their marketing through its curated financial affiliate network which includes FinFluencers.

Simply put, a FinFluencer — as a financial influencer is usually called — is a person who gives information and advice to investors on financial topics — usually on stock market trading, personal investments like mutual funds and insurance, primarily on various social media platforms.

Techcouver sat down with Senyard to learn more about Fintel Connect and the rise of FinFluencers.

What do you see as the role of the Finfluencer? How are they changing the landscape?

NS: I believe that social media platforms are not necessarily changing the media landscape, but rather riding on the existing landscape. As these platforms become more accessible, people use them as a megaphone for their messages.

In the past, people listened to the radio, then moved to newspapers and TV. Nowadays, social media platforms are just another channel for people to express their content or point of view. However, the audience follows the channel, creating a marketplace where both content and audience are necessary for success.

Financial influencers are using social platforms to reach their audience where they are, and are creating content their followers are interested in. This shift towards influencer marketing reflects the changing media consumption habits of consumers, particularly among younger demographics who are more likely to trust recommendations from influencers.

How do you see the role of Finfluencers evolving in the future, and how can banks best position themselves to take advantage of this trend?

NS: Banks are like other products in a marketplace however, they are unique. They deal with money and are highly regulated and extremely important. This elevates banks to a level of importance incomparable to other industries. Financial influencers play a crucial role in informing consumers about banking products and services.

Banks have been traditional in their approach to conveying their values and product information, and they need to adapt to the changing landscape of communication channels. The rise of financial influencers has opened new channels to reach a younger audience. Banks cannot afford to rely solely on traditional media channels to communicate with consumers, as they risk missing out on important audience segments, including Gen Z and soon, Gen Alpha who now have a lot of disposable income and clear financial goals. But are also heavily influenced by what they see online.

This audience is not consuming historical or outdated forms of content, and that’s why banks need to embrace the role of financial influencers to stay relevant in the marketplace. By working with finfluencers, banks can tap into their expertise and influence to educate consumers about their products and services, build brand awareness and drive customer acquisition.

By leveraging channels like partner marketing, for example, and tapping into a vast network of high-quality, pre-qualified leads that are actively seeking financial solutions, banks can reach new potential members ultimately driving in deposits.

However, it is important for banks to approach finfluencer partnerships with caution. Banks need to ensure that they are partnering with finfluencers who are credible, trustworthy, and comply with relevant regulations and guidelines. Furthermore, banks can leverage technology to make the most of their partnerships with finfluencers.

By using robust journey analytics to automated marketing compliance tools like our Fintel Performance and Fintel Check products, banks can track and measure the impact of their influencer campaigns, optimizing their strategy and maximize their return on investment.

What steps can banks take to build relationships with finfluencers?

NS: For banks to leverage the power of finfluencers, they must have a strong digital presence. This includes having a robust digital product offering and being able to track and analyze data to gain insights into customer behavior. Banks must also adopt a holistic approach to digital marketing, which means they cannot solely rely on finfluencers but must communicate with their audience through various digital channels.

To effectively reach their audience, banks must be present where their customers are i.e., social media platforms. This requires a comprehensive digital strategy that includes influencer marketing and other digital marketing tactics. By taking a digital-first approach and embracing the power of finfluencers, banks can effectively reach new audiences and drive growth. In this uncertain economic climate, financial institutions are under more pressure to spend less while generating more.

Data-driven marketing strategy is the answer to guaranteeing ROI – what’s performing well, with whom, and through which channels. By partnering with affiliates who have a deep understanding of the audience, financial institutions can use this data to their advantage and ensure their marketing strategies are aligned with their customer needs.

Content compliance is a major concern for banks. What advice do you have for brands looking to work with influencers and what can banks do to overcome this concern?

NS: Absolutely relevant! Absolutely important! It is crucial for banks to have clear policies in place when working with finfluencers. These policies must be effectively communicated to influencers and reviewed regularly to ensure compliance. finfluencers must be aware that they will be held accountable through contractual and financial terms if they do not adhere to these policies.

Trust is a crucial element in any partnership, and building trust with influencers is no different. When there is trust between the bank and the influencer, both parties can be confident that the rules will be followed. Building trust takes time and requires ongoing communication and transparency. By establishing clear policies, effective communication, and mutual trust, banks can effectively partner with influencers to achieve their marketing goals.

It is tedious to constantly monitor if influencers are being compliant with their content and that’s why Fintel Check, Fintel Connect’s AI monitoring and compliance tool allows banks to constantly monitor content being put out by their partners and notifies them when a compliance rule isn’t met. This saves them a lot of time and energy.

Some critics argue that Finfluencers lack the expertise and knowledge to provide valuable financial advice. How do you respond to these criticisms?

NS: Most financial influencers are not financial planners, most don’t profess to be and are not regulated in the same way. The role of financial influencers is to raise awareness about financial issues rather than providing financial advice. I think all the financial influencers out there are very clear that their role is about education and awareness. They do not provide financial plans or processes.  It is key to choose a partner who is transparent about their role and is focused on education and awareness. If you have a partner that doesn’t make that clear, they’re probably not the right fit for your brand.

How do you see the landscape of social media and content creation changing in the wake of the potential TikTok shutdown, and what opportunities do you think will arise for content creators?

NS: While the potential shutdown of TikTok may be concerning, there was a world before TikTok and there will be a world after TikTok. Creative content creation and audience engagement will continue to exist, even if platforms change.

It is possible that audiences will migrate to other platforms like Instagram or YouTube, or a new platform may emerge that offers similar features to TikTok. I believe the reason TikTok has been successful is because it is a newer platform that offers unique features and integrations. Content creators found it easy to monetize their business on TikTok, over other platforms, because of its payment model. However, other platforms will likely emerge that offer similar advancements and integrations, even if TikTok is shut down.

Content creators looking to migrate to a different platform and continue running a sustainable content creation business should look at affiliate marketing as an option. Creators are paid fairly when a sale is made. What you get out is directly proportional to what you put in.

What advice do you have for companies looking to work with influencers in a post-TikTok world?

NS: Brands and financial institutions will continue to exist, reach new audiences and successfully market their products even without TikTok. There will be other platforms out there that may offer similar or even better features, than TikTok, for influencer marketing. As such, people will likely migrate to other platforms to engage with their favorite influencers.

However, the strategy of using influencers should remain the same regardless of the platform. The focus should be on identifying the right influencers for the target audience and communicating the brand’s message effectively. Knowing which influencers and campaigns are working for your brand is important. This means understanding the data and tracking the campaign end-to-end no matter what channel of social media you are using.

While the platform may change, the importance of influencer marketing and its ability to connect with audiences will remain consistent.

Image: tonodiaz on Freepik

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ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here’s How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

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ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Unless you’ve been living under that proverbial rock, you’ve heard of ChatGPT and its creator, OpenAI. Part of the generative AI explosion, ChatGPT is revolutionizing entire industries, including branding and brand positioning. But it’s not without its drawbacks.

Some of the milder criticisms include creating generic content, not supporting brand voice or tone and failing to connect with audiences. Those are pretty dramatic disadvantages for a technology that’s supposed to be such a game changer, and they’re stumbling blocks you’ve probably encountered in your own use of AI.

There’s good news. A custom GPT lets you take AI to the next level. You can say goodbye to generic, boring copy and hello to brand-aligned, customized content that engages from the start.

Related: 5 Ways ChatGPT Can Help Your Business

What is a Custom GPT?

A custom GPT is the next step in AI evolution, at least for individuals and organizations looking to build their brand and enhance brand awareness with their audience. It’s a free option available for anyone who subscribes to ChatGPT Plus and essentially allows you to create a customized AI that knows everything about you and your business.

Rather than using conventional training materials, the OpenAI team uses your branding information to train the AI. The result? A customized version of ChatGPT that’s unique to your brand.

Related: How Generative AI Will Revolutionize The Future of Your Brand

The proof is in real-world experience

In the ever-evolving entrepreneurship landscape, I recently had the privilege of incorporating a custom ChatGPT into my toolkit. Created by a skilled team, this AI marvel was trained with insights from my articles and branding advice and attuned to my unique tone of voice. I was thrilled to discover that it could perfectly emulate my style (professional yet approachable and friendly) and provide branding advice that I would have given myself.

Why would I want to let AI replace me? Am I planning for my own obsolescence? Not in the least.

The goal here is to create an ally in sharing my expertise — an AI-powered alter ego capable of responding to questions, comments, and requests in the same way I would. It’s also an important tool for providing potential new clients with a preview of what working with me is like.

How did the experiment pan out? What benefits did I achieve, and how might you apply them to your own needs? Here’s a quick rundown of my experience.

Improved brand consistency

A custom GPT’s primary advantage is its ability to ensure brand consistency across different touchpoints. Whether people seek advice, ask questions or want to engage in another way, a custom GPT mirrors your brand’s unique voice and identity. These are not generic robots; they’re tailored allies designed to respond in the same tone of voice and style, aligning seamlessly with your brand. This not only strengthens your brand image but also cultivates a deeper connection with your audience.

Effortless communication

With my custom GPT taking care of everyday questions, I’ve gained valuable time to focus on the core aspects of my business. That’s something any business owner can appreciate. It has also become instrumental in smoothing out communication and enhancing overall efficiency.

When it comes to client relationships, the custom ChatGPT handles routine inquiries, allowing me to concentrate on building stronger connections. It’s not just about answering questions; it’s about providing a personal touch that goes beyond the basics, ensuring clients feel genuinely attended to.

Instant expertise at scale

Scaling my entrepreneurial efforts became seamless as my custom ChatGPT effortlessly shares branding advice derived from and consistent with my body of work across platforms. Whether interacting with one client or a hundred, the AI manages to deliver advice and guidance consistent with my goals in terms of professionalism and expertise. That’s good news for business owners, entrepreneurs and others trying to scale their brands without burning out.

Dynamic adaptability to trends

The world is evolving faster than ever. It feels impossible to keep up with trends and shifting market dynamics. However, my custom GPT can be retrained with new data and instructions so I can keep ahead of the curve. That’s an important benefit for anyone hoping to stay relevant today.

Related: How ChatGPT Will Dramatically Change the Influencer Space

Time-saving creative sparks

ChatGPT doesn’t just answer questions; it sparks creativity. Whether you’re stuck on a branding concept or seeking inspiration to name your new business venture, the AI’s unique insights and suggestions serve as a springboard for creative endeavors, accelerating the ideation process. This can be an important advantage when it comes to creating marketing collateral, content for your audience and even writing a business plan to get your idea off the ground.

The team you’ve been missing

Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs often try to do it all. Chances are good that you handle your own marketing, market research, customer support, email correspondence, and more. That leaves little time to focus on other aspects, like spending time with family and friends. A custom GPT can become the team you’ve been missing and handle those tasks for you in many cases, saving you time, cutting costs and protecting your sanity.

In essence, a custom GPT acts as a force multiplier. It allows you to do more, from engaging with your audience to building a stronger brand without burning out. From streamlining communication to answering questions and providing guidance to interacting with leads at different touchpoints within your funnel, a custom GPT could be just what you need to jumpstart your success.

Related: What Does ChatGPT Mean for the Future of Business?

A global solution for leaders in the spotlight

For prominent figures like business leaders and public figures, managing a constant influx of inquiries can be overwhelming. A prime example is MarcGPT, tailored for Marc Randolph, the co-founder and first CEO of Netflix. Drawing from his wealth of experience, this custom GPT delivers inspiring and actionable advice for entrepreneurs, showcasing its potency as a valuable tool for leaders. It extends mentorship and offers insights on a global scale, reaching a diverse audience without the limitations of time zones or physical presence. Since it incorporates information from various sources, including a copy of his book, interviews, podcast episodes and other writings, it becomes a versatile asset for sharing expertise on various topics.

Embracing the AI revolution with caution

While the benefits of custom GPTs are evident, it’s essential to approach AI integration cautiously. Human-to-human interaction is always the preferred option. And while AI continues to evolve, it should be seen as an ally working alongside you, not a replacement for you. Maintaining the human touch within your business remains vital.

My recommendation? Use a custom GPT to help you carve out more time to do what you do best and to provide much-needed human interaction at key touchpoints. Let your AI handle mundane but important tasks that would not be a wise use of your own time and expertise.

Ultimately, a custom GPT can provide critical automation, reduce costs, improve efficiency, save you time, improve your customer or client experience and increase the accuracy of interactions. Creating one tailored to your business is the first step toward building a stronger, more resilient brand and achieving a better balance in your own professional life.

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How to Build Trust and Transparency With Your Customers While Taking Their Data

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How to Build Trust and Transparency With Your Customers While Taking Their Data

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Innovation starts with identifying the outcomes customers want to achieve — which is why most companies rely on modern tools and technologies to acquire vast amounts of customer information for creating personalized customer experiences.

You need your customers to share their details, including preferences, to ensure you create a seamless, engaging and personalized customer journey. However, this need is at odds with the growing concerns surrounding customer privacy. Now, more than ever, customers are growing increasingly protective of their personal data.

According to a survey conducted by Gartner, consumers are less comfortable with brands collecting other types of data, including browsing history. Only 27% of respondents feel comfortable sharing information pertaining to their employment, financial data and personal health.

Users know the risks associated with their personal information fueled by various privacy breaches, data thefts and increasing regulatory scrutiny. Hence, businesses striving to innovate and meet customer demands must navigate the complexities of privacy protection since customers trust brands that value their privacy security.

On the other hand, the stringent privacy regulations, including the GDPR and CCPA, are even more concerning. These regulations demand businesses to collect, store, and manage customer data securely. Failing to adhere may entitle the business to pay hefty fines and even reputational damages.

In a nutshell, if a business wishes to jump on the innovation bandwagon, it can’t ignore the inherent privacy risks, especially when collecting vast amounts of customer data. Let’s unpack why businesses must be more vigilant about customer data security and privacy when innovating and learn how to navigate this complex landscape.

Related: Why Your Company Needs to Rethink Its Purpose to Acquire Loyal Customers — And Drive More Sales.

Why you need to innovate with privacy on top of mind

Delivering seamless user experiences is vital, but ignoring privacy security wouldn’t please your users. Stats reveal that users worldwide are more concerned about their privacy than ever and wish to do more to protect it.

On the other hand, when we see things from an organization’s perspective, they have a typical mindset of invoking technology’s true potential to innovate for improving user experiences. However, ignoring privacy and security could be the worst strategy in today’s business landscape, especially when your customers know the importance of their privacy.

No matter how unreasonable it may seem to prioritize privacy in today’s world, where data-driven decisions dominate, embracing privacy protection can eventually open up new avenues for growth and innovation.

Users are more likely to engage with digital platforms and applications when they trust that their privacy is respected and their personal data is secure. They love to share personal information, along with their preferences and participate in innovative initiatives.

Consequently, a deeper understanding of user preferences and needs helps businesses develop effective and targeted innovations.

Why ignoring privacy regulations will spell trouble for your business

The relationship between innovation and privacy is quite evident. As organizations navigate their technological advancement journey, privacy regulations guide them toward a sustainable future where innovation does not affect or compromise users’ fundamental rights.

Whether it’s CCPA or GDPR, every regulation guards privacy rights and protects organizations from legal obligations. Furthermore, organizations that cater to customers across the globe shouldn’t ignore the importance of adhering to various data privacy regulations, as failing to do so may entitle them to pay hefty fines.

What’s worrisome is that if your organization’s reputation is tarnished for not adhering to global privacy compliances, your potential customers won’t trust you and will inch toward your competitors with all the necessary compliances in place.

And regarding innovation, you can freely collect essential information about users, and they won’t mind if you adhere to the latest data privacy and security regulations.

Strategies for privacy-driven innovation

1. Prioritizing a privacy-first mindset

Organizations that don’t prioritize privacy at every stage of their product development and innovation initiatives will not be able to win customer trust.

Hence, it’s essential to lay the foundation of your product by equally emphasizing privacy along with other aspects, including user experience, usability, compliance and marketing. Collaborating development, security, user experience and marketing teams to emphasize privacy security is perhaps the need of the hour for every business striving for success.

2. Prioritize transparency tactics — communicate clearly, win trust

If you establish clear communication with your customers regarding data collection, usage and protection, you can quickly win customer trust and loyalty. Most customers are reluctant to share their personal information just because they aren’t sure why an organization is demanding it in the first place.

Once they’re comfortable sharing essential information, you can use this data to drive meaningful innovation, such as offering personalized recommendations, suggesting products/services based on their preferences, and more.

3. Tap the potential of technology

Embracing cutting-edge privacy-enhancing tools and technologies can help you navigate your innovation journey seamlessly. Using robust privacy management tools, identity management platforms and multi-factor authentication can eventually help build lasting customer trust and loyalty.

Furthermore, using cloud platforms to scale rapidly would further enhance user experience without compromising security.

4. Optimize data collection

A data-minimization approach in which organizations collect only essential data and maximize its value helps deliver impactful results. Admit it: No innovation is possible without knowing what your customers want and their pain points. Effectively analyzing essential data can help boost targeted innovation efforts, ensuring impactful outcomes.

5. Skyrocket innovation with powerful partnerships

Last but not least, collaborating with privacy experts, regulatory bodies, and industry peers to exchange knowledge and best practices can accelerate your innovation efforts. Businesses can embark on an innovation journey flawlessly through collective support and expertise.

Related: This Unique Marketing Strategy Is Winning in 2024 — Here’s Why (and How You Can Implement It Successfully)

Navigating the nexus of innovation and privacy

While navigating the innovation landscape, organizations shouldn’t overlook the undeniable nexus between innovation and privacy. Hence, ignoring privacy while pursuing innovation could hamper customer trust and lead to legal obligations.

Emphasizing a privacy-first mindset, coupled with transparent communication and technological advancement, are undoubtedly pivotal strategies for unlocking the true potential of innovation while safeguarding customer privacy.

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How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

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How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Email marketing is booming: last year, 52% of marketers said their campaign’s return on investment (ROI) doubled, while 5.7% of marketers experienced an ROI four times larger compared to 2022, a Statista report shows.

How can you create similar results for your business this year?

The effectiveness of email marketing comes down to a few key factors:

  • Knowing your audience and its pain points and desires.
  • Creating emails that respond to those specific needs.
  • Getting your emails in the inbox, where your subscribers can interact with them.

As the CEO of a B2B email marketing company, I often hear from customers about their top challenges. A big one? Creating emails that really engage and drive results. Getting the content, length and audience targeting just right is tough.

Related: How to Get People to Open – And Read – Your Emails

Most of your prospects prefer shorter emails

If you’re struggling to make your emails more engaging, here’s an aspect you may be overlooking: just make them shorter. Recent data from a ZeroBounce report shows that 66% of consumers prefer short emails, and only 6% favor longer ones.

But keep this caveat in mind: For 28% of people, email length becomes irrelevant if the content is well-tailored to their needs and interests.

It’s no surprise that people prefer shorter marketing emails. When inboxes are clogged with messages, why would you opt for a long message instead of a quick note? Concise and direct emails respect your prospects’ time and have a higher chance of getting their attention. But while most people prefer brevity, the quality and relevance of your emails are what truly capture and retain interest.

The message is clear for the 28% who don’t mind the length: When an email resonates well with their needs or interests, they’re willing to invest more time, regardless of word count. This segment of your audience is receptive to more in-depth content that speaks directly to their challenges.

How to determine the right email length

So, how do you strike the right balance between brevity and substance? The key is to start with understanding your audience. Segment your email list based on behaviors, preferences and past interactions. This segmentation allows you to tailor your messages more precisely. Also, you probably send different types of emails. That aspect alone should guide your approach:

  • Newsletters can be longer and cover several pieces of information in more depth.
  • Drip campaigns can consist of a series of emails that gently push your prospects closer to a purchase. Those emails can be short — sometimes, a few lines followed by a call-to-action (CTA) is enough.
  • Targeted campaigns, such as a discount or free offer, can have an engaging image paired with a couple of sentences and a catchy CTA button.

If you’re still unsure whether your email is too long, here are a few tips to save you time and make things easier.

Start with a clear goal

Every email should have a clear purpose. Whether it’s to inform, increase engagement or drive sales, your goal will dictate the necessary length. Don’t add fluff just to extend an email; keep it as long as necessary to fulfill its purpose.

Choose simplicity and clarity

Use simple language and clear CTAs. Marketing emails rarely benefit from any metaphors. Your email should guide readers smoothly from the opening line to the desired action without unnecessary detours.

Personalize to the last detail

Use what you know about your customers to tailor your emails. When marketing emails feel personal, people care more about the message and less about the length.

Test and adjust to what your audience likes

Studies can point you in the right direction in terms of consumer preferences, but only you can determine what your audience responds to the most. Before sending your next email, consider A/B testing different lengths. Then, analyze your metrics to see what performed best.

Improve your layout

Sometimes, the way information is presented can affect how we perceive the length of an email. Breaking text with relevant images or using bullet points can make longer emails appear more digestible and engaging.

Related: 4 Things You Can Automate in Your Email Marketing That Will Save You Time and Drive Sales

Ask your subscribers

Asking for opinions shows you care about serving your audience better, so why not include a poll in your next newsletter? Allow your subscribers to tell you how long they’d like your emails to be. Nothing beats direct customer feedback in helping you create more effective campaigns.

Bonus tips to increase email engagement

Here are a few extra tips to help your next emails get more clicks:

  • Try to keep your subject lines between 30 and 50 characters. Not only will your subscribers process them faster, but keeping your subject lines short ensures they display well on all devices.
  • Check your email list health to avoid bounces and the likelihood of landing in the spam folder.
  • Assess your spam complaint rate – it should be under 0.1% to comply with Yahoo and Google’s new email-sending rules.

Also, remember your goal is to connect with your audience genuinely, no matter how many words it takes to get there. If your email ends up longer than you’d planned but addresses a topic many of your subscribers care about, don’t worry. Engaging content can often justify a longer read.

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