Mercury is a San Francisco-based fintech that provides bank accounts to startups. It’s similar to other B2B neobanks but is focused on serving tech startups instead of other types of small and medium-sized businesses. This niche focus is important because Mercury offers features that other digital banks don’t provide. For example, this fintech offers savings accounts that help its customers conserve their money so they can survive until their next funding round. But the main thing that caught my attention was Mercury’s content marketing strategy, especially the business guides on its website.
Benefits of Business Guides
A business guide is a form of content marketing. By creating informative business guides, the fintech can attract potential customers without making a sales pitch immediately. Readers who enjoy the business guides will become more familiar with Mercury and its financial services. The guides can also help Mercury build trust with customers who are visiting its website for business advice, which is important for a financial services company. Traditional banks have strong brands in comparison with neobanks, which have had less time to establish their reputations.
The business guides also help Mercury’s customers succeed in business, which is important because this fintech is designed to serve riskier customers. For example, banks often turn down loan applications from startups. Like the fintech itself, many of the startups that Mercury serves are venture-backed companies that are focused on growth and not profitability. They not only need to carefully manage their money until their next funding round, they also benefit from features like introductions to venture capital firms and angel investors. Mercury knows what its customers need.
For example, Mercury has a guide that tells startup founders how to set up a board of directors. Many small businesses do not have a board of directors, especially if they’re family-owned businesses or sole proprietorships, but startups often give board seats to their investors. The article provides helpful tips such as telling founders to keep detailed records of board meetings and including outside directors on the board.
Blogs Versus Business Guides
Mercury also has a traditional blog that provides company news such as information about fundraising rounds and new features that it has added to its products. So Mercury didn’t create the business guides as an alternative to its blog, it used them to set up an additional marketing channel. This is important because the blog and the business guides have slightly different objectives.
Blog posts, especially on a startup’s website, often serve the same purpose as press releases. Many companies even post their latest press releases on their blog. These posts are a good way for the startup to announce major news or provide more details about its current plans. As a result, blog posts are often time-sensitive, although many marketers update old blog posts for SEO purposes. Press releases are always time-sensitive.
Mercury’s business guides, on the other hand, provide evergreen information. They include business advice that would still be relevant to a startup founder several years from now. Of course, they also include some timely advice that will need to be updated later. Some of the posts include statistics about the current business environment, for example. And regulatory changes, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, could also make business advice outdated.
Evidence That This Strategy Works
By using the SEO tool Ahrefs on Mercury’s website, I can see that its business guides rank for keywords related to topics such as dropshipping. The guides provide enough information for dropshippers to link back to them because they provide useful advice. Mercury is not an online merchant itself and does not sell physical products on internet marketplaces, but it is still attracting website visits from entrepreneurs who plan to do that.
Traffic from dropshippers is still relevant to Mercury’s business goals, though, so this is effective content marketing. If a merchant plans to sell products on an online marketplace, that merchant will need a business bank account, and that’s the main service that Mercury offers. Meanwhile, readers who don’t plan to set up a dropshipping company are likely to search for other topics, such as news and sports articles. So the audience for Mercury’s dropshipping articles is likely to include a lot of qualified leads.
For this content marketing strategy to work, Mercury needs to attract entrepreneurs to its website who will then read the articles and learn more about the company. The dropshipping guides are not meant to be direct pitches for Mercury’s business banking products. They do include calls to action that encourage readers to sign up for a business banking account at Mercury, but the guides are primarily meant to inform readers.
Mercury uses business guides to attract online entrepreneurs who are likely to need business bank accounts in the future. These guides discuss topics such as dropshipping and startup formation instead of the services that the bank offers, but these topics are still highly relevant to its potential customers. And by posting about these topics instead of traditional business banking topics, Mercury can find less competitive keywords that aren’t being targeted by other banks with huge marketing budgets.