I was beating my head against the wall... almost literally... trying to come up with an idea.
We were launching a new financial publication centered around small banks. You know, the ones down the street from you, a small trickle of people go in everyday. Usually, they have lollipops for my kids.
The problem is ---- investing in banks is incredibly boring. Even Wall Street is bored of them as banks normally trade for around 8x earnings. (compared to a stock like Apple which trades for up to 30X earnings). Banks aren't going to sell subscriptions.
I was lost for weeks trying to summon a big idea to sell this thing.
Week 1 --- "Oh, this will be easy"
Two weeks before launch --- "I'm in trouble". Grumpy mood at home and long stares at the wall with the wife going "hey, I'm over here!"
I'll walk you through exactly how to come up with a big idea for your marketing as it's one of the THREE keys to doubling your business. Then, I'll tell you how I finally landed on the big idea that ended up being one of the biggest successes in the fin pub's history.
STEP ONE: Key to a big idea is research
David Ogilvy (the "godfather" of modern advertising) would read the mechanic's manual to a car when he pitched cars.
In finance, we don't have training manuals.
But we have other things:
- SEC filings
- New finance laws
- Media stories about a trend
- Research papers on customer money psychology
- Company research / Fund research
- Backgrounds on notable executives
- Benefits of the product itself
- Testimonials from happy clients
- Mechanisms for YOUR process
The list is endless.
If your marketing team doesn't have a running Google Drive Doc or something with interviews with customers, understanding who your customer avatar is, updates on new laws, etc...
Geez, you're missing out on so much intel.
That would be the first thing to direct your team.
Let's use an example from Fintech.
Say you have a technology that finds the best mortgage rates for eager homebuyers. (These companies exist already).
A normal marketing company would come up ideas about:
- We need a funny commercial with a puppet
- Let's take out a radio ad and share how long we've been building this tech
- Go post stock photos of families going into their brand new mansion
- Or, Run an ad promising the lowest mortgage rates guaranteed
That's a pretty good guarantee on the end there... but you could probably go further.
**What laws have changed recently around mortgages?
**Is there a story of a family saving X lower than the normal rate and could buy furniture with the savings?
**What's the mechanism that makes the tech work that others don't have access to?
**Talk to realtors and get their input on the importance of finding lower mortgage rates (they may even market the product for you)
**Can you get the lowest amount of clicks from Homepage ---> Finding the lowest interest rate bank & signing up?
**What's the biggest frustration of customers shopping around? They get bombarded by calls. That's one ad angle there.
**What was the catalyst for the founder to build the company? Likely a story there that solves the problem
**Read every ticket that comes in from customers. It's in those tickets you find the "value" of the whole company to the outside world
**Call 10 banks and try and get quotes and see how that process compares to your tech
Going through each of these ideas (and any more that you think of) digs deeper into the CORE of the issue. "WHY does a customer want this? And why do they want it NOW?"
You're not going to come up with these answers sitting around *thinking*. You have to actively be doing.
While I was frantically trying to think of ideas for this bank letter... I was reading about every bank the editor recommended.
Boring, boring, boring.
I googled all of them to look at their images.
What did I find?
The banks themselves looked like dumps.
Imagine an old building like this.
Of course, not all small banks look like this... but you'll find these tiny things tucked into Walmarts... next to sandwich shops... hidden behind a McDonalds. They're everywhere. (In America, we have over 4,800 banks).
I drive by a dozen daily and don't notice these smaller banks. Yet, they're there and pumping money normally into small businesses and commercial real estate.
And my mind immediately jumped to OTHER research I found which computed small banks beat the market handily over the last 3 decades.
In my head... I thought, "This idea is too simple."
But I sketched it out.
"Could this beat up building really have made investors millions over the last 3 decades." (As if you had invested $25k into the top performing small banks, you would've made 7-figures 30 years later)
"Too damn simple", I thought.
But I ran with it.
And you know an idea has legs when the rest of the marketing pieces just flow like wine on a Friday night.
Long story short ---
The promotion launched and was a huge hit. One of the best marketers in the industry called it, "The best promo of 2022."
2022 was a major bear market. Many promotions were NOT working well at all. Investors were scared.
And that's another reason why this promotion worked.
STEP TWO --- An offer they can't refuse
You obviously need something to sell.
But there's a piece to that many don't talk about.
- The right audience
- The right motivation
- At the right time
You don't have all 3 of those aligned, you could promise someone they'll die and go to Heaven where they'll eat gobs of Rocky Road ice cream for eternity... and they still won't take the ticket.
Having a BIG IDEA that's not in front of the right audience at the right time with the right motivation will never work. Doesn't matter what you sell.
If you offer someone a free $100 bill. "They're an idiot if they don't take it."
What if they're drowning in the ocean?
What if you're offering a $100 bill to someone who's never seen an American dollar before?
All 3 have to be aligned.
If I launched this bank newsletter in 2018 when pot and tech were going crazy... or in 2021 when meme stocks and crypto were doubling every month... no one would give a damn.
In October 2022... the market was in freefall... most assets were getting wrecked. Bitcoin was down 60%... stocks like Tesla had halved...
People wanted NEW ideas. An idea that didn't sound too risky, but still good for their portfolio.
A stock that was stable but paid a high dividend...
The timing was amazing.
Sure, the copy was darn good, if I may say...
But everything lined up:
- Audience desperate
- They wanted to put their money somewhere to grow but be safe
- The market was in free fall... i.e. DO IT NOW
For you financial business...
These things change with time.
You're not selling a weight loss drug here. You're selling a financial product that will have ups and downs sometimes when the stock market takes a dump. You can't control that.
You CAN control the message. You CAN control the idea. You CAN control the offer that fits the audience at the right time and motivation.
However, you probably know you can't time the market perfectly.
That's why to double you need:
STEP THREE: Iterate weekly (AND FAST)
If you're testing new ideas and offers weekly... even monthly, at minimum... you're dead.
Unless you have a complete monopoly on your corner of your market ---- which, I don't understand why the hell you're sitting here reading this.
For the most part, you won't have a monopoly. You may even be fighting regulation which can slow the growth of your biz. That's fine.
There's still no reason you can't iterate ideas regularly.
When I worked with a newsletter that was stagnant... I came on and we 5X'd and sold for 8-figures in 3 years... it was always MOVE QUICKLY. If something wasn't working, change it now. Even by tomorrow.
You must always be testing
- The audience response --- where is their head right now?
- The audience's wallet --- are they tight or loose at the moment?
- The audience's interest --- an offer working today may not work tomorrow (people all wanted to invest in crypto until they didn't)
The more of this data you can build and capture in-house...
The further ahead you go.
If you're a fintech biz that sells B2B to small businesses... this is the same exact message. Where are business owners heads right now? Are they in growth or preserve mode? Are they sending or cutting?
From there, you adapt your offers and ideas to fit that mold.
This is why the financial industry is so freakin' fun.
Things are changing on a dime daily with the economy. You signed up for this industry so you're in this with me whether you like it or not.
If you'd rather not deal with the bumps of the economy, you could go work in a recession-proof business like McDonalds. Things are smooth there usually. Or, PetSmart. People will go without food for their pets.
In the financial space, you have to always be duck, dive, dodging. There's no alternative.
At Suite Financial ("Suite Fin") , we're here to help with this marketing piece.
Whether it's coming up with new offers, the emails behind it, to convert them into paying customers. Or, to write sales promotions to bring in new subscribers. Or, investment decks to pitch new investors in the midst of a tightening market...
We can create the right marketing, for the right audience, with the right idea starting now.
We only work in the financial space. We love it. We're devouring CNBC, real estate news, Fed minutes daily. We're ahead of the curve.
That's all for today,
Owner Suite Fin