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Data-driven digital marketing to increase user engagement through search engine optimisation (SEO)

Published on July 21, 2023 by Kavindi Abeysundara

Digital marketing in the financial sector involves various tools and technologies to promote investment products and services to potential clients. This includes concepts such as SEO, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, social media marketing and content marketing.  Digital marketing can be a powerful asset that helps companies in the financial sector achieve multiple goals, such as creating brand awareness, attracting new clients by generating relevant and insightful content, and building strong relationships with both prospective and existing clients. It also enables financial institutions to keep their clients up to date on current trends, market changes and new product developments, helping them remain engaged and interested. Both digital marketing and data have advanced significantly in relevance and financial viability since the start of the 21st century. This has led to the evolution of a digital ecosystem, connecting people around the clock and influencing routines and behaviours. Customer data is being used to develop plans that produce high returns on investment, replacing the strategising based on assumptions or gut feelings previously relied on.

What is data-driven digital marketing?

Data-driven marketing involves using data and analytics to inform and optimise marketing strategies. This can include using data to segment and target specific groups of investors, track the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns and personalise marketing messages and content. It can also involve using data to inform product development and distribution decisions. By using data to gain insights on investor behaviour and preferences, firms in the financial sector can more effectively communicate with and attract potential clients.

As opposed to traditional marketing, where a deep understanding of the target audience is gained and strategies are created based on assumptions related to that understanding, data-driven marketing enables marketers to connect with clients in real time. These consumer insights could be used to target well-defined segments using personalised ad campaigns and personalised landing pages prompting content that relates more to customer intent, and to measure and improve strategies in real time. Research recently conducted by Forbes concluded that data-driven marketing increased customer acquisition for 66% of the marketing leaders surveyed.

A key digital marketing strategy that could be truly augmented through the integration of consumer data is SEO. This is mainly due to the increasing impact search engines have on the user experience. As such, SEO tactics can amplify conversion rate optimisation (CRO) efforts when driven by data.

SEO in a data-driven context

SEO in a data-driven context involves using data to inform and optimise a website’s content for search engines. This includes but is not limited to using data to identify and target the most relevant keywords, track and measure the performance of a website, and make data-driven decisions on how to optimise the website for search engines.

Which data-driven SEO strategies supplement CRO?

1. Keyword research

This involves using keyword research tools and analysing data on search volume, competition and trends to identify the most relevant and high-performing keywords for a website. These keywords can then be used to optimise the website's content, and meta tags used to improve the website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). A multitude of tools can be used in keyword research; these include Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Buzz Sumo and Google Trends.

2. Technical SEO (website scan and optimisation)

Websites used in the financial sector can measure and monitor technical SEO to ensure a website’s technical elements are optimised with the aim of upgrading its visibility and ranking in search engine results. This could be achieved through the optimisation of URL and website structure, proper ordering of header tags, site speed, mobile view optimisation, image optimisation through the use of SEO-friendly sizing dimensions and minimising broken links and empty heading text. Upon optimisation of these elements, search engines can crawl and index the website, enhancing the user experience and visibility. Platforms such as SEMRush, Screaming Frog, Siteimprove, Google Page Insights/Lighthouse are used to provide valuable insights for technical SEO.

3. Audience analysis

In terms of data-driven SEO, this involves understanding the target audience for the intended website and tailoring website content and the overall SEO strategy to meet their needs and interests. As such, demographic information such as gender, age and location is researched and analysed, including the keywords used to search for services offered by firms in the financial sector. Through understanding the audience the website is created for, website optimisation could be achieved through generating relevant content, improving the website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results. Tools such as Google Analytics, Social Media Page Insights/Analytics Tool and SEMRush can provide valuable data for understanding audience behaviour, interests and preferences. By using these tools, marketers can develop data-driven SEO strategies that target specific audience segments and improve their overall online presence.

4. Experimentation

Data-driven SEO also involves monitoring industry trends, changes in regulations and shifts in audience behaviour, and adapting the website accordingly. This could include practices such as optimising content for voice search and featured snippets, and making sure the website is mobile-friendly; these are all key ranking factors for search engines.

Through continuous testing and optimisation based on data, companies in the financial sector can stay ahead of the competition and achieve better results from their SEO efforts. As a result, increased visibility, increased website traffic and a stronger online presence for the company could be achieved.

5. Website personalisation

In the context of data-driven SEO, website personalisation includes using data and analytics to tailor an individual user’s experience of a website based on their personal preferences, behaviour and a multitude of other factors. These factors include dynamic content, where personalised content such as news articles, investment insights and performance reports are delivered based on user behaviour and interests. Behavioural targeting is also factored in where data is used to target users based on their past interactions with the website and investment activities. Tools such as Google Optimize, HubSpot, Optimizely, VWO and Quibit are useful in audience analysis in the context of SEO, enabling marketers to better understand their target audience’s behaviour and personalise content for specific segments accordingly.

Challenges in data-driven marketing

Despite the many benefits of data-driven marketing, it is not without challenges. These challenges include the following:

  • Gathering clear, relevant data, due to the sheer volume of data available, its complexity and the need to ensure accuracy and completeness.

  • Effective data visualisation and data tracking, which are essential in helping stakeholders evaluate the marketing performance of companies in the financial sector.

  • Building an in-house data team is a complex process that requires identifying the right talent, defining roles and responsibilities, and providing adequate resources for data collection, storage, analysis and reporting.

  • Using the realised data to create optimal SEO strategies is important, as financial data is often complex and vast, making it difficult to extract meaningful insights and translate them into actionable SEO tactics that align with business goals.

How Acuity Knowledge Partners can help

We help clients gain a competitive advantage; our sector experts have years of experience in advising and working with multiple client teams across the sales cycle to ensure maximum growth and expand market opportunities.

We specialise in data-driven marketing and automation, and are experienced in SEO, digital advertising, and web and data analytics. We deliver transparent and return on investment (ROI)-driven data science solutions by leveraging a pragmatic four-pillar framework:

  • Data acquisition

  • Data preparation

  • Data analysis

  • Reporting and insights

By personalising digital marketing initiatives to meet user expectations, we are able to improve a brand’s digital footprint across the user journey, website quality and performance, and user engagement with brand content, helping our clients increase brand awareness and improve lead convertibility.

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About the Author

Kavindi is part of Financial Marketing Services (FMS) at Acuity Knowledge Partners, where she focuses on web content publishing. She has over 2 years of experience in digital marketing and publishing, content management, and client communication. Prior to joining Acuity Knowledge Partners, she was a Marketing Coordinator at a Media Organization. Kavindi holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor of Science (Business Communication).

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