Top Marketing & Branding Lessons from Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ £87 Million Finance Website Success
The story of Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis took the internet by storm. The Guardian even dubbed him the most trusted man in Britain.
Every company can take some marketing lessons from Martin Lewis, and we’ll tell you which ones you need to pay close attention to for your brand and website.
MoneySupermarket.com acquired MoneySavingExpert in September 2012 for £87 million, 9 years after the website was set up for £100. Here is the financial breakdown:
- MoneySupermarket.com confirmed deferred payments and employee bonuses due three years after the deal total of £20.6 million.
- At the time of acquisition, MoneySupermarket.com said that deferred payments due at the three-year mark could total up to £27 million.
- Additionally, Lewis bagged £25 million after selling nine million shares in the firm at a price of £2.80 each.
- The site was valued at up to £87 million.
And the best part is that the website cost £100 to set up less than a decade ago.
So, how did Martin Lewis reach this valuation?
Here are a few marketing tricks from Martin Lewis that you can apply to our virtual business ventures.
In this article, we will tell you:
- How to identify a target audience
- How you can employ campaigning strategies like MSE
- What made MSE’s content writing effective
- The importance of a brand face
- Changes in MSE in the age of social media
- The role of detailed guides in building customer trust
Top Marketing Lessons from Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis
1. Identifying the target audience
All your PR and marketing activities must cater to your target audience. Hence, step one is identifying your target audience.
MoneySavingExpert.com mostly targets the average person in the UK. It recognized their desire of living a financially smarter life, and their search for financial knowledge, and marketed with that angle.
You can identify your target audience by:
- Analyzing your customer base – what do they want?
- Conducting market research – what are they currently looking for?
- Looking at who your competitors are targeting and how
- Creating personas – what do they look like?
- Using Google Analytics to see who is visiting your site – what’s their behavior?
2. Campaigning strategies
By the end of February 2003, 5300 people had added their emails to get the weekly Martin’s Money Tips. And a little more than a year later 100,000.
At the time, banks charged fees for going over your overdraft limit. So, this campaign was extremely helpful for people and resulted in over £1 billion being reclaimed from the banks.
As you can see, the company identified an issue through communicating with its customers that many of its target audience members were facing and planned a campaign to solve it.
Depending on your company, you can launch a similar marketing campaign or email channel. A lot of companies offer small discounts to customers for subscribing to their newsletters. This gives you the opportunity to keep the customers informed about new products.
If you want to go down the campaigning road, you can start a company-specific campaign. For example, if you own a sustainable clothing brand, you can offer discounts for people to exchange their fast fashion clothes for sustainable alternatives. This will generate a lot of traction for your company.
3. Successful content marketing strategy
By 2007, there were a million people on Martin Lewis’ email list.
This is how the website looked in 2007. The landing page itself had articles on it that generated knowledge about the service and the company.
The company identified its millions-strong audience and determined the information they’d find useful and published page after page of relevant, useful, and entertaining content. Plus, the content was optimized.
The selling point of these articles was that Lewis was answering common concerns. He understood that people felt ripped off by one institution or another and he developed solutions to it. For example, the moneysavingexpert.com website informed its visitors that thousands of people had claimed £1000s as charges for exceeding their overdrafts, or bounced direct debits and cheques are commonly believed to be unlawful.
But it wasn’t just good copywriting. The platform also allowed visitors to contribute to forums. This helped the site attract repeat visitors who could publish their own content each and every day.
Today, this would be synonymous with Facebook and Instagram. See what most of your target audience is using and use that social media platform. You can conduct Instagram competitions, have comment prompts, and ask users to generate their content about your company.
These marketing lessons from Martin Lewis tell you how to effectively increase the traffic on your website.
4. The brand face
Amidst this, Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis’s own reputation was boosted too. He became a trusted figure in Britain and even started appearing regularly on TV and radio. He was also quoted by trusted online news providers like the BBC. This attracted numerous inbound links to Money Saving Expert. His background in financial PR and journalism undoubtedly helped.
The site even started empowering consumers and putting money in their pockets. With the MoneySavingExpert Charity Fund, the service has donated £2 million so far. Hence, the website became a larger organization.
To develop customer loyalty and make your company a trusted brand, you need a brand face, a figure that people can trust. This can be the CEO or the founder of the company. This person has to build an active social profile where they show how they are committed to their company’s cause.
Just think of Apple and Steve Jobs, Amazon, and Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk and Tesla. The biggest and most successful brands in the world have a human face. And if you have a social cause attached to your brand, where you donate profits to a charitable cause, amplify that. These branding strategies distinguish your brand from others and make customers trust you and your brand.
5. The age of social media
Money Saving Expert has become the UK’s biggest consumer website, with more than 16 million users a month. Today, about 14.85 million emails have been added to the email list.
Let’s take a look at the website today. The website has built its own social media influencers from the writers and journalists that are part of the editorial team. They are experts and know what they are talking and writing about and help people make sense of their finances through accessible channels.
The company also has 10 other experts covering all categories, from banking and utilities to reclaiming and complaining, to deals and hacks – even haggling.
Hence, another tip from the success of MoneySavingExpert.com is that you should utilize your own influencers. Use the same faces for specialist commentary on TV, radio, print, and online.
Keep in touch with the media, when something goes wrong in your field call upon the influencers to give their advice. This helps build trust with the audience.
6. Extensive guides
Money Saving Expert offers free detailed and extensive guides. What makes these guides excellent is that they are not sponsored. Companies cannot pay to appear on the site, and they are written purely from a ‘what’s the best way to save money?’ stance.
This ensures that the knowledge they are getting is not to further a corporate’s agenda but rather well-researched information they need that is as neutral and unbiased as possible.
You can create similar guides for your company as ClickDo does with guides about guest blogging or making money online. MSE has a huge range of guides, from cheap gas & electricity and PPI reclaiming to balance transfers and budget flight fee-fighting.
The key is to address the questions and concerns your target audience has and provide as much useful and insightful information via the website content as possible. At MSE, rather than just saying “shop around”, the guides feature super-detailed product research, comparisons, deals, and additional information and resources.
This is an example of a beginner’s guide at MSE.
Such research and in-depth information tell the customer that the company knows what it’s talking about. In most cases, visitors will check out a website repeatedly, if it answers their questions to their satisfaction and updates them regularly.
At MSE, the commercial team tries to find ‘affiliate links’ for some top products and services they feature. These look and work in the same way as normal links, but if someone clicks through, the link is tracked and may generate a payment to the site. This generates revenue for the site. You can adopt a similar approach and earn with blogging.
But maintain transparency, if you are using paid links. Inform the customer that first the guides are written, then, totally separately, paid links are added where suitable. If no paying link is available, nothing in the guide changes.
Now that we have briefed you on the top marketing lessons from money-saving expert Martin Lewis, you can start using some of the marketing tactics for your website and brand. Conduct research that is specific to your company and learns from MSE’s marketing success story.
- Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.
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