The cornerstone of strong content marketing or even more specifically social media marketing is providing value to your audience. Talking about you almost never accomplishes that. Finding ways to talk about them is where you need to focus. However, you’ll need to be ready to face the fact that often times the value you provide may have little connection to the product or service you sell.
With this in mind, consider the case of 5/3 Bank. The Cincinnati-based financial institution recently launched a free online Job Seeker’s Toolkit for all of its customers. It’s helping its community find jobs. Certainly, if its customers have jobs and get paid, they need somewhere to put their money, so the program does make sense. But how it came about and what it entails is almost counterintuitive to how banks market.
Reemploy was quietly launched in January of 2012 to help 5/3 Bank’s mortgage customers experiencing unemployment gain access to resources and expertise to help them find work again. The goal was to help the mortgage customers stay in their homes, and yes, to keep making their mortgage payments. The bank engaged NextJob, a national reemployment service and matched customers with a personal job coach.
Nearly 40 percent of the participants were fully reemployed after six months. Upon considering the results, 5/3 decided to incorporate a lot of the program’s components into a free offering to its customers. The more that earn or stay employed, the more money they can deposit, save, etc.
The Core Benefit+
While serving its customers with these online tools for free makes intuitive sense, 5/3 understands that to provide value to your community, you need to provide that value to the entire community. So, at least for now, the resources are available to everyone, not just 5/3 customers.
At http://www.53.com/reemploy, anyone can access resources for employment. The Job Seeker’s Toolkit is an online job search training program that includes help writing resumes and cover letters, identifying your skills to migrate to different industries, discover jobs that were open but not advertised, get interviewing tips and tricks and more.
And employed folks can help, too. By simply retweeting the program’s message and URL, 5/3 devotes more funding to give worthy recipients one-on-one coaching and job search assistance. For every 53 retweets, it funds an additional job seeker in need.
My friend Jay Baer’s concept of Youtility — of giving to get, of marketing by providing value — completely hits home here. 5/3 Bank wants its customers and even prospective customers to have jobs so they have money so they will bank with them. Instead of just hocking low interest rates and no-fee checking accounts, they’re providing a service that helps keep their core audience in a place where they can do business with the bank. They are providing a Youtility all about the customer’s needs, not the bank’s.
But that’s not enough for most businesses. Feel good is great, but it doesn’t pay the bills, right? This is were the concept of confluence comes into play. The social aspects of the program drive word-of-mouth on- and off-line. The 5/3 public relations team has secured over 600 media placements to the program, most including naturally acquired, organic links back to the institution’s program and/or website. Guess what that does? Boost 5/3’s organic SEO.
What you have with the program is great branding and awareness, great word-of-mouth pass along value, great social content and sharing, great public and media relations, all resulting in increased SEO.
It’s generous. It’s great content marketing. It’s smart business.
So what do you think? How can your business tap into something that serves your audience in a relevant way but that also brings them back to your business? Figure that out and you’ve got yourself a case study.