There was a time when people relied solely on professional advisors—or their own intuition—to choose the best banks, saving accounts, interest rates, loan providers, and other financial services.
However, in recent years there’s been a surge in TV personalities, social media influencers, and online communities that focus on finance. They all offer new routes to learn about financial trends, scope out new banks, building societies and industry disruptors, and become more savvy with the way we manage our money. With technology now so embedded in the way we access our bank accounts, mortgages and other financial products, it’s not surprising that many people are placing their trust in these new-era advisors.
Over a third of UK adults now look to people like Martin Lewis—the finance journalist and broadcaster—for guidance. Social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok are full of finance-focused influencers that advise on everything from how to maximise cashback to the best places to invest for high yields. And 1.1 million people across the UK log on to discussion site Reddit to share their thoughts in the UKPersonalFinance community, discussing mortgage rates, account-switching rewards, side hustles, tax concerns, and more.
Through these channels, consumers are empowered to make more informed choices about where they place their money and how to make it work for them. But what does this mean for financial services providers—the banks and building societies that these broadcasters, influencers and communities are talking about online?
Finance influencers could be your ticket to major exposure
One of the most frequent topics of discussion is which provider is offering the best interest rates, rewards, or new products that month. Consumer loyalty to many traditional financial service providers is diminishing; they’re keen to find the best deal and they’re looking to these influential figures and communities to help them.
So, if your product is mentioned on a TV show, or goes viral among finance TikTok users, there’s a chance it’ll be followed by an unexpected influx of new customers following the trend.
You may have heard this referred to as the “Martin Lewis Effect”. Often, sudden upticks in popularity for finance and finance-related products can be tracked to a mention on The Martin Lewis Money Show or similar channels.a
For OakNorth Bank, which was featured on the show for its market-leading fixed bond rates in 2019, web traffic spiked by 50 times the usual amount within the first 30 minutes after the episode aired. That’s great news for a provider—especially if you’re a smaller player in the market—but it can go hand in hand with a headache if you’re not prepared to service that increased demand.
Get noticed by finance influencers—then get ready
So there’s two parts to this equation. First, it’s a matter of raising awareness and getting noticed by the market; then, you need to make good on your promise and deliver the products and services your new customers are expecting.
The obvious way to attract attention is with competitive rates and an efficient online user journey. But with convenience and experience top of mind for many consumers, a varied product portfolio will only get you so far. When you’re up against the biggest names in the industry, you need to focus on what they’re lacking.
Often, that means prioritising the practical aspects of becoming a customer; the things that often cause friction when signing up for more traditional major banks. Offering features like easy digital account onboarding, a user-friendly app, and simple mortgage service switching will help stake your reputation as a provider that’s worth shouting about.
And once you’re on the radar, you have to be able to welcome all those new customers to your business seamlessly. Thanks to its investment in a modern cloud infrastructure, OakNorth weathered the demand and emerged successful, but not all providers have been so lucky. And it’s not just about the core banking infrastructure that’s holding you up; ensuring your customer journeys are able to stand up to increased demand is vital.
Find a platform that can handle anything
Imagine you’ve just launched an exciting new savings product, with an incredible interest rate and a switching bonus. It has limited capacity, but you should be able to manage that manually based on your usual level of demand and website traffic.
But then, you’re featured on a popular finance podcast, and your traffic spikes as new customers clamour to take advantage of your offering. It’s quickly oversubscribed, but you can’t act fast enough to close down new applications. And that’s a a missed revenue opportunity.
With a service like automated tranche management—which simply set a limit, and the tool ensures that the offer is closed as soon as it hits that number.
It’s these small user experience and features that are most valuable when you’re welcoming new customers and guiding them through a streamlined, personalised onboarding without the aggravation of lengthy, unnecessary verification processes. With enhanced operational efficiency in place, you’re ready launch new products and services quickly—and maximise their impact.