*So you are aware, this article is mainly focused on the online trading and Forex sector.
- 1 What on earth is ‘Balls-Deep Marketing’ (apologies if a little rude to some)?
- 1.1 The idea of going ‘all-in’ in marketing is simple
- 1.2 Start-Up Visibility Challenge:
- 1.3 So with an initial marketing budget of circa €100,000 what would you do?
- 1.4 Can you market an Online Trading or Forex company via brand awareness alone?
- 1.5 Money Saving
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What on earth is ‘Balls-Deep Marketing’ (apologies if a little rude to some)?
The reason I chose to use the term ‘balls-deep’ was due to a reply I got after asking an expert in a very male dominated area of finance what he thought of a certain competitors approach to marketing and branding.
At the time, I was working as digital marketing manager for a leading company in the Online Trading/Forex sector and was learning about the market.
His wonderfully plain and simple (non PC) answer was;
‘Anthony, those guys go ‘balls deep’ with everything’ they do.
And it made me think….about marketing of course….I digress.
The idea of going ‘all-in’ in marketing is simple
In a sector that is crowded and where the long-term profits are high for new business, it makes sense to look into focussed domination using comprehensive tactics of engagement and communicating value, and making heavy use of areas such as retargeting to keep initial traffic to your website live and your brand TOM (top of mind).
It may cost a little more to retarget someone who has shown interest in your website after you have paid for the initial website visit (via paid traffic or brand awareness), but once you have that cookie on their browser the ‘balls-deep’ approach is to quickly and aggressively retarget the bejesus out of them until they convert or vanish.
How to get presence of mind in a new sector, explain the benefits and target the right people
A very interesting marketing story told to me and my colleagues when I started as digital marketing manager for easyMarkets (formerly Easy-Forex), was how they got their initial foothold in the Israeli market in the early 2000’s and how important that first step was in providing the foundations for growth.
Start-Up Visibility Challenge:
easyMarkets are seen as pioneers of technology and tools for online traders of Forex and other financial assets.
But it was their initial launch phase, circa 2003, and unique approach to democratising online trading and allowing Forex traders with less initial capital to gain access to the Forex market that saw their first challenge.
How to get known.
So with an initial marketing budget of circa €100,000 what would you do?
One of the founders tells the story that they had many choices to spend this not insignificant amount of money.
They needed to make an initial bang in Israel and make the budget work as hard as possible.
Paid online ads, billboards, sponsorship, TV, radio, print, were an obvious mixture of choices.
This launch period was almost ‘pre internet’ so options we have now were slightly limited for digital, but cutting a long story short, they decided to do one thing.
Put all their eggs in one basket, for a period
Yep, they took advice from a branding expert and spent all of the budget on a full page spread over as long a period of time as they could afford in the biggest daily newspaper in Israel.
I forget the duration they got for this money, but the results were astounding.
Such was the legacy of these initial ads, from that sustained and highly focused campaign, that the long-term benefits created a presence of mind to Israelis and continued powerful association to the term ‘Forex’.
Prior to a rebrand many years after launching, from Easy-Forex to easyMarkets, and therefore since around 2003, if anyone asks what company you would choose to trade Forex in Israel the answer is invariably still ‘try Easy-Forex’.
Can you market an Online Trading or Forex company via brand awareness alone?
As someone who has worked in senior marketing roles in the Forex and Online Trading sector, I can tell you that the space is getting even harder to advertise in due to increased regulation from the established regulators.
Another challenge is that traffic from ‘ethical’ advertising giants like Google and Facebook is somewhat fraught with every changing rules, as they are both not fully comfortable with the losses many face within the sector and the increasing political pressures to safeguard the vulnerable from areas such as gambling, Binary Options and Forex Trading so there are increasing, and changing, challenges in the sector.
As a result the battle for eyeballs in the Forex and Trading sector has been tough.
So new tactics need to be developed.
As with many transactions online the vast bulk of established Forex and Online Trading companies rely on an army of affiliates to bring traffic that will convert.
But the affiliate space is getting even harder to be profitable from for smaller affiliates, so we are seeing an increase in super affiliates that already control a wide variety of the premium assets like review sites, portals, education, and mini sites that can bring organic traffic to their affiliate links and assets and typically work with the larger brokers who convert better and offer higher payouts.
In my own opinion there are two main angles all online trading companies need to focus on more than any other
1) SEO (organic traffic)
If you can nail medium to long-tail (high intent) search phrases related to your sector, plus work on your short keyword matches (larger volume), then you stand a great chance of being found for masses of new traffic related to education, platforms, and tradable assets.
If you can then maximise the stickability of your brand with training, downloads, demos that inspire then you can leverage SEO to your advantage.
2) Premium brand awareness
But I must say in this sector, if you can, it can sometimes be best to just go for well aligned and premium brand awareness via the ‘balls-deep’ approach.
As an example, FX Pro currently go for a tactic I personally approve of.
They spend a large amount of sponsorship money with powerful well known brands that align with their core market.
In the case of FX Pro, the world of Premier League football is a pretty good fit for their needs.
Aspirational, desirable, fantasy driven, male, alpha, accessible, well loved globally, massive TV audiences.
FX Pro currently sponsor Watford Football Club, a team who are in the English Premier League, but not one of the big 6 or even 10, but importantly will still get seen globally by millions (billions over a season) week in week out as they play the likes of global fan favourites; Man City, Man UTD, Chelsea, Liverpool etc.
As a result of their branding strategy, FX Pro benefit from Top of Mind (TOM) brand awareness and then make a habit of aggressively retargeting any brand specific ‘type in traffic’ that people considering starting trading or switching brokers may enter to start their journey.
Essentially the benefit of this tactic is that those who are interested in Online Trading or Forex or switching brokers are very likely to type the ‘FX Pro’ brand term into search engines as a result of continued exposure to the brand which they get from their wide-scale sponsorship of a Premier League club.
So instead of heavy, loosely targeted, and often wasted budgets for paid ads, FX Pro go for investing primarily in Top Of Mind brand awareness ‘TOM’ with their sponsorship of Watford FC.
They then invest heavily in retargeting as they know that you already have an image of the brand which is a very powerful thing indeed, and will lead to a higher chance that people will trust you initially and want to be part of your ‘club’ so for me this is a very clever marketing tactic.
As a result they waste less money trying to be visible via paid traffic in huge geographic areas for a wide variety of terms relevant to trading, that may or may not lead to conversions when people are thinking about starting trading, which typically is a long decision for most new traders in the expensive to advertise Tier 1 countries of UK, Canada, Australia, Norway etc which sponsoring Watford FC gives you direct eyeballs on a fantasy stage week in week out via the medium of TV and Football.
The other thing they can afford to do is really make you work to be part of the company, with such premium design and quality branding they do not get you to sign up for quick and easy demos, hoping to call you and convert you later.
They make you sign up by doing a lot of due diligence first, in this case they add a bit of scarcity and desire to the sign up process, so much so that I imagine the leads they get are very high quality and need very little encouragement to deposit and start their trading experience.
All in, the ‘balls-deep’ (costly) way can really work if you can align with the right sponsorship opportunities and leverage your type in brand traffic to convert well.