Short term loan provider marketing with CreditStar as example

With CreditStar analysis I’m opening a series of articles about growth opportunities for established brands. The goal for these articles is to show that growth opportunities exist even for established brands with a lot of business.

Summary

My approach and view on marketing at Creditstar would the following – continue optimizing current channels (about 20%-40% of time) but invest more effort in testing and finding the new channels for growth within existing funnel. Plus, focus on creating a strong brand presence and high level of client advocacy in the long run and create new funnels to support it. Additionally grow relationships with both traffic partners, as well as industry professionals and opinion leaders.


The company

CreaditStar is an Estonian based short term loan company with operations in 8 countries. The group has over 500,000 registered customer accounts and total assets of over 65mln euros. The company has different market penetration on each of the markets it operates in. So, for the purpose of this analysis I will focus on Spain and Poland.

Current Marketing Strategy

CreditStar relies heavily on the following new customer acquisition methods: search (paid and organic), email marketing and promotions through affiliate links. Also, about 50% of their traffic is coming from direct – either from repeat customers or people that have seen their ads offline.

In other markets the company relies more heavily on display ads as well.

Opportunities

The cost of customer acquisition is getting more and more expensive, buying traffic is eating into the profits of short term loan companies. However, it is still the most effective way to get new customers, as the business propositions is pretty straightforward – you need the money, we provide you with it.

Considering all that, constant testing of new channels for client acquisition should be priority #1. Some of the channels I would consider:

  • Ads on Quora
  • Advertising through influencers (IG)
  • Domain redirects through Zeropark.com platform
  • Local search engines (example is seznam.cz)
  • Push notification ads
  • Native ads
  • Twitter, Reddit ads

Creating a strong brand presence

I call this strategy “branding through performance” – the use of performance marketing mindset to create a strong brand presence.

Again, because of a more expensive traffic, as a business you want to get as loyal audience as possible. While you most likely won’t be able to convert this audience into paying customers right away, you will be able to establish dialogue and trust with them.

SEO and SMM

Investing into the trifecta of onsite content creation, SMM and link building should be the first thing to consider.

In case of CreditStar it is worthwhile to start with the “low hanging fruits” first (onsite SEO) – building content around the topics with lower competition on search engines.

From what I see there is a big potential here. For example in the Spanish market Creditstar gets about 5-6K visitors from search, while a competing Vivus.es 50 times more (image below):

A lot of factors play role in the SEO today – social media signals (engagement, shares, etc.) is one of them. Another one is visitors’ behavior on site, which is also considered as a ranking factor by search engines. So it is important to work on both on-site content creation and social platforms simultaneously.

As an idea for content, check site Financer (loan comparison site with 85% of traffic being organic). For social media, I like how Vivus.pl is managing their Facebook page.

Synergies and knowledge sharing

Test how same piece of content performs in different countries. I would start with one country at a time. Later some of the success could be easily replicated to other geographies.

Also, there is a big untapped resource in a form of data that Creditstar has collected over the years. Anonymised it could become a great source of new unique content ideas.

Growing relationships

The company should continue to build relationships with new and old marketing partners (networks, super affiliates). Network with opinion leaders (financial bloggers, journalists) for future content distribution to get backlinks and PR.
Tip: These people are always in search for good quality content.

New funnel creation

To support the brand growth strategy a new funnels would need to be developed. There are many different tools that can help with making the process faster and will not involve web development team (Kyvio for example). The idea of such funnel is a soft sell – giving value with occasional promotion. The value could be monetary or not – either in form of a special deal or simply some useful content. Again, providing value establishes stronger ties with the brand.

An example of such funnel on Facebook:

Metrics

Finally, with all the traffic coming in, how  to make sense of it all? What to optimize for?

The most important metrics in case of CreditStar are cost per conversion or ROAS.
Secondary metrics – traffic to website by channels and audience behavior (event triggers, bounce rate, micro-conversions). On the advertising network side – CTR, and overall spend (for campaign management prioritization).

Other things to track are customer retention, social media activity, brand mentions.

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