Imagine this—an online lending company rejects traditional marketing tactics, including SEO, in favor of a content campaign aimed at educating prospective borrowers, and even discouraging some of these folks from borrowing in the first place.
Sounds like a recipe for failure, right? After all, as conventional wisdom held a few years ago, if you’re not running an aggressive inbound lead generation program and constantly optimizing your site for search engine results, your business will be dead last in search results. Would you have tried such a risky move?
Turns out Australian lending company Rapid Finance was actually ahead of the curve. While the rest of the world worried about page rank and keyword density (remember that?), Rapid Finance worried about educating potential borrowers about the world of lending—even if that meant encouraging borrowers to take on less debt and make more responsible financial choices.
Image via Rapid Finance
The result: Rapid Finance is one of the most trusted Australian lending companies with a stellar customer reputation and a website that averages more than 20,000 visitors a month.
Here’s how this lending company from down under turned the world of traditional lending upside down with an aggressive focus on content marketing and customer service, and how you can do the same for your business, too.
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Customer-Centric Content Matters More than SEO
Rapid Finance is an Australian-based online lending company focused at providing rapid financing for individuals who do not qualify for traditional lending, either due to a poor credit history, bankruptcy or lack of collateral. Rapid Finance matches borrowers who have an urgent need for a loan (often to finance a new or used car) with lenders.
Unlike banks that sell borrowers the loan the bank wants to sell, Rapid Finance helps borrowers secure a loan that matches their specific circumstances, complete with a competitive rate.
“We’re not in the business of pushing unattractive loan terms on borrowers,” says the company's director Michael Cullinan.
That’s why Cullinan and his marketing team decided to reinvent how they attracted prospective customers to match the company’s philosophy. To start, Cullinan and his team threw out the term “SEO” altogether, partly because the emphasis on keyword optimization and lead generation just didn't match the company's customer-first philosophy.
“SEO is not a term we believe in; rather, we produce engaging content for people to read and really educate themselves,” said Cullinan. “We distribute this content via Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels. Our goal is for people to genuinely enjoy reading our content and share it with friends and colleagues.”
Rapid Finance also developed their own CRM with an in-house IT team to manage the process.
“We want every customer to receive the most efficient and responsive care possible,” said Cullinan.
That means courtesy, professionalism, efficiency and reliability to all clients. The company constantly reviews it services to ensure it is providing the most competitive options within the current marketplace. This customer-first philosophy shines through in all that the company does, including its comprehensive financial resources center.
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Customer-Centric Content: The Next Frontier for Content Marketing
Rapid Finance’s focus on customer-centric content reflects a growing trend within the world of content marketing. This includes turning case studies into educational opportunities and sharing less-obvious ways a product can enhance a customer’s daily life, like this DropBox blog post on preserving family recipes. While customer-centric content plays a less direct and slower form of influence over a prospective buyer, marketing strategists argue that customer-centric content also builds a far stronger bond with prospective buyers for greater brand lift.
Image via Search Engine Watch
So, what’s the difference from company-centric content? Company-centric content is content that talks about how great your business is or how awesome your products are. Customer-centric content is different. It’s educational, interesting and relevant. It starts with your customers’’ unique challenges and advantages, and then digs deeper. There’s no hard sell at the end or push to continue engagement. Customer-centric content does this naturally.
Bottom line: From day one, Rapid Finance has shown that the business understands the future of digital marketing: great content drives search, search generates traffic and traffic generates leads. There’s no need to push solutions on prospective customers.
Instead, by cultivating trust through customer-centric content—especially in an industry like finance and lending that’s been plagued by a steady stream of negative PR for years—Rapid Finance built a strong brand and naturally boosted inbound lead generation. With digital PR poised to play an even bigger role in marketing programs in the coming years, that’s a valuable lesson for all businesses.