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How To Use Cybersecurity As An Effective Marketing Tool

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How To Use Cybersecurity As An Effective Marketing Tool


Most online business owners are fully aware of the value of cybersecurity to keep their customer data and business records safe. But far fewer business owners are aware of the significant value that cybersecurity also brings to the table as a marketing tool to win the trust of everyday customers.

In this article, we’ll explain the importance of marketing cybersecurity so companies can continue to gain customers, retain their loyalty, and ultimately, improve the bottom line. We’ll also discuss how organizations can build cybersecurity into their marketing strategy and witness the payoffs of this investment.

Why advertising your cybersecurity measures helps to build trust with customers

We live in an era where the majority of online customers simply do not trust retailers to keep their personal information safe. A report conducted in January of 2021 by digital security provider Entrust, for instance, found that only one out of every five respondents trusted established brands to keep their personal information secure.

As a result, if a customer who is browsing on your online store or perhaps is even adding items to their shopping cart has any reason to doubt the security of the information they need to provide to complete the purchase, the chances of them abandoning that purchase rises dramatically. In fact, a lack of customer confidence in cybersecurity is one of the biggest reasons for shopping cart abandonment today.

And in almost all cases, providing effective security measures is actually fully necessary for online businesses. For example, any business (including start-ups) that handles cardholder data is required to ensure compliance with the PCI-DSS standards for card payments. At the bare minimum, this means that all customer data must be kept encrypted and only shared amongst members of your team on a need-to-know basis.

But having these effective security measures in-place is not good enough. You also need to make sure that customers and people visiting your website are acutely aware of the security measures that you’re providing.

That’s why you need to take things a step further and incorporate the security measures you’re taking directly into your marketing efforts. The idea is simple: customers need to know about the measures you’re providing and trust that they can provide their personal and financial information to your business without running a risk of it being hacked.

How can you accomplish both of these goals? The answer is to utilize cybersecurity as a literal marketing tool.

How exactly can you utilize cybersecurity as an effective marketing tool?

When utilizing cybersecurity as a marketing tool you need to do more than just alert customers to the fact that you have security measures in-place. You also need to educate them in a clear and succinct manner as to why the security measures you’re taking are effective.

Here are the easiest ways to share your cybersecurity efforts with customers in order to utilize security as an effective marketing tool:

Email

Email is arguably the most effective tool you have available for communicating directly with customers who are directly interested in what your business has to offer. After all, they’ve provided you with their email address for you to reach out to them in the first place.

Email marketing is effective for nurturing leads and helping them along the buyer’s journey, and another perhaps lesser-known role for email is to inform your customers about the cybersecurity measures you’re implementing. Simply inform your email list of the most common security risks that customers take when purchasing online, and why the measures your business has taken will mitigate those risks.

Besides creating original email content, you can also include downloadable content (such as case studies to provide readers with a more in-depth understanding of the issues) or link to your own content such as your blog posts. Speaking of which…

Content

Another option to educate your customers about your security measures is through online content such as blog content. This is your chance to provide even more in-depth information than you can via email. Offer readers real-world examples that showcase the risks of buying online, specific measures that have been developed to counter those risks, and how your company has adopted those measures.

It’s important to ensure that your content is comprehensive and clearly demonstrates how the security measures that you’ve adopted help stop real-life cybersecurity attacks. Try to offer your own specific and unique examples of how your security measures have stopped cyberattacks (including unique screenshots if possible is also a good idea in this regard) so you’re not essentially regurgitating existing content.

Case Studies

Case studies offer an opportunity to go even more in-depth than blog posts. This is where you can include specific data about how your security solutions have stopped cyberattacks and benefited your clients. For example, you can include specific figures such as the number of attempted hacks that were blocked in the last month.

Your case studies don’t have to be lengthy; an overall word count of just five hundred to a thousand words or so, for instance, should be fine. Just be careful that you don’t over exaggerate the results. If 99 out of every 100 attempted cyberattacks were blocked, for example, don’t say that all attacks were stopped. Be honest and raw about the true figures.

Conclusion

Implementing effective cybersecurity measures is equally important for business growth as it is for ensuring that customer data is kept secure. You can use the above strategies to inform your customers about the security measures you’ve implemented to help build trust with them so they are more comfortable buying from you.



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How A Non-Marketing Content Approach Produced Award-Winning Results

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How A Non-Marketing Content Approach Produced Award-Winning Results

Matt Hartley is not a marketer.

And yet, he is a 2022 B2C Content Marketer of the Year finalist.

Though seemingly incongruous, it’s not. Companies don’t all approach content (or marketing) with the same organizational structure.

Matt leads editorial strategy for TD Bank Group as a senior manager in the corporate and public affairs department. Under his leadership, TD Stories took home top honors for Best Content Marketing Program in Financial Services and earned finalist mentions for Best Content Marketing Launch and Financial Services Publication in the 2022 Content Marketing Awards.

Those results prove that department, title, and reporting structure don’t matter if the content works.

“We tell stories aligned with (the company’s) communication goals. We’re not necessarily looking to sell something. It is about brand building, thought leadership, financial literacy,” Matt explains.

Here’s how a non-marketer finalist for Content Marketer of the Year built an award-winning program.

If the #Content works, details like reporting structure, title, and department don’t matter, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Launching the newsroom

In 2018, Matt joined TD as a content strategist. He was hired partly because of his background in reporting and creating new content products. Matt had worked as a technology reporter at The Globe and Mail and the National Post. He also created the Financial Post Tech Desk, a home for Canadian and international tech news, and was the founding editor of the Post’s arcade video-game news site.

TD leadership had recognized the shifting media landscape. They saw fewer earned media opportunities and turned to Matt to help scale a TD-owned channel called TD Newsroom.

While TD Newsroom aligned with the external communications goals, it ended up with an internal audience – less than 10% of visitors came to the site from outside the bank.

Turning the content program inside out

TD Newsroom’s importance grew when the pandemic hit in 2020, making some forms of traditional customer outreach impossible. No longer just another tool in the communication toolbox, TD Newsroom became pivotal.

“Creating our own content and being able to distribute it became crucially important to us,” Matt says.

The TD Newsroom team focused on creating branded service journalism (content intended to help customers), and traffic to the site increased substantially. Topics such as banking tasks you can carry out online, budgeting for income impacted by COVID, and planning an emergency fund took center stage.

That was the beginning of the TD Newsroom evolution.

“We were rethinking how we did content and where the customer was in their journey,” Matt says. The team also doubled down on data-driven content and refined its content strategy.

In 2021, TD Stories debuted. “It places the customer at the center of the story. It tells stories that resonate with customers and colleagues,” Matt says.

The site’s tagline – “Enriching lives one story at a time” – reflects this mission.

TD Stories organizes content around five pillars (as shown in the site navigation in the screenshot above):

  • Your Money features financial tips and advice.
  • Innovation highlights new technologies to create more personalized banking experiences.
  • Community features stories about TD’s involvement in the communities where it operates and where its employees live.
  • Colleagues tells the stories of employees.
  • Insights features thought leadership from the bank’s executives.

TD Stories places the customer at the center of the story, says @thehartleyTO of @TDnews_Canada, via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Making everything count

“We’re a small but mighty team within corporate affairs. It’s a flat team – everyone brings ideas to the table. It really wouldn’t work if it wasn’t as cohesive as it is,” Matt says.

The digital content team also functions a little like an agency. In corporate affairs, they work with relationship managers for categories such as personal banking, insurance, US banking, etc., as well as product, partnership, and philanthropic managers.

“We work with them to create the stories. We may pitch to them, asking for a subject matter expert to help us tell a story, etc.,” Matt explains. “We could not exist in a vacuum.”

He oversees a digital content team that includes a data-driven strategy role that has been critical in the TD Stories evolution. That added focus has helped the team in its content development.

For example, the bank’s editorial calendar revolves around repeating deadlines and patterns. Deadlines for retirement plan contributions and income tax returns occur during the same period every year. And each spring, more people begin house hunting.

With TD’s digital content team amping up the content measurement strategy, Matt and team can analyze how well those yearly content pieces perform. They also can better understand what people are searching for, so they can refine and improve the next content iterations.

“We can take those moments and make those moments fresh,” Matt explains. “We can ensure the customer gets the best and most accurate information possible.”

The metrics reflect the team’s dedication to excellence. In 2021, traffic to TD Stories grew more than 125% year-over-year. Almost all the traffic (98%) comes from external sources, including 25% from organic Google searches.

Knowing the real goal

“At the end of the day, the content is not the end goal. The goal is to help educate the customer and help them feel more informed and financially confident. When you keep that in mind, the actual structure of a story or every sentence is a means to an end,” Matt says.

Educating the customer is the goal – story and sentence structure are the means to that end, says @thehartleyTO of @TDnews_Canada via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

That’s part of the secret science of brand journalism. As Matt explains: “Take the objectives of the business and marry them with stories that the customers find engaging and useful.”

And that’s an award-winning formula regardless of department name, title, or organizational structure.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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