After Google and Facebook banned Payday Loan companies from advertising their products, direct acquisition of new business has gotten a lot more difficult. The move is especially troublesome for those companies with little marketing budget, as the market leaders have built up a brand that allows them to continue getting in new business without aggressive acquisition focussed advertising.
The first thing for payday loan companies to do is to focus on creating a brand themselves. Building a compelling marketing proposition with the creative to match, and spending considerable budget on advertising this brand are no longer optional in order to create a long term competitive advantage.
Companies must bring a sense of real world legitimacy to their offerings in order to get business without relying on tactics at the bottom of the acquisition funnel. Such tactics include PPC, affiliate and certain SEO keywords that get you in front of potential customers at the moment they need to make a decision. While it is great to be there at this point of the acquisition process, in order to build lasting business that doesn’t rely on any one fickle media company (like Google), Brands should be there in potential customers heads before they need to make that decision.
To gain this brand awareness, in terms of media channels, we would recommend TV, outdoor, print and direct site sponsorships in addition to programmatic marketing. Of course, budget permitting. On the ‘earned’ side of media, companies should be focussing on Public Relations, Content Marketing and Organic Social Media, again to bring a sense of real-world legitimacy in prospective clients minds and to create brand awareness.
Lenders should of course also still employ direct acquisition tactics, in addition to building a brand. If there is not enough budget to do all of this, I would recommend just focussing on acquisition. We live in the real world, and those on a shoestring budget will have no other choice. For direct acquisition (those bottom of the funnel tactics) I would certainly recommend lenders to employ lead generators, programmatic display advertising (RTB and Retargeting), SEO through content link building on quality sites (no shady stuff!), email advertising and perhaps even snail mail direct marketing.
On interesting detail is that payday lenders can still use Google’s display network via Google’s Adx, one of the largest programmatic exchanges. If that continues to be the case remains to be seen, but that certainly shows us that this was merely a public relations move for Google, with their most visible property (paid search) as the only place this ban is in place.