Some of the features built into financial websites are at least as much for show as they are for actual customer utility. Podcasts probably fall into that category. Really, who wants to listen to a bank's four-minute treatise on "home loan jargon" or nine minutes on "paying off your home loan sooner" (see screenshot below)? The answer: people serious about understanding the mortgage process and getting a fair price, an important market segment.
Podcasts are just rebranded versions of streaming audio, a technology that predates Web 2.0, iPods, and even broadband. But today, the name has a definite cachet thanks to Apple, and they draw website viewers, and the occasional listener.
Because of the low cost and favorable ROI, it makes complete sense for financial institutions to repurpose marketing, service, and educational messages into audio files and post them to your website (see previous coverage here). Many of the programs will have a multi-year shelf life, so over time they will get a significant number of plays.
While you are at, spend a few more dollars to do the things Australia's ANZ Bank did in their podcast microsite at <anzpodcasts.com.au>, the best banking audio education center we've seen.
- Create a microsite with fresh graphics and modern colors (see screenshot below)
- Use a unique URL to find the site, in this case <anzpodcasts.com>
- Allow users to subscribe via RSS and iTunes (see bottom of screenshot below)
- Make it clear that the "podcasts" can be streamed directly to the desktop, right now (see green play buttons below)
- Post a FAQ with more detail on the podcasts
- Post a survey to see how the podcasts resonate with customers
Finally, the most important way to leverage the podcast, something often overlooked:
- Post a transcript of the audio program so that those preferring to skim the information can do so
Note: The top background has moving bars that provide the look of music playing through a graphic equalizer or some type of meter. It's a nice touch, but the bank should turn it off after a few cycles so that it doesn't distract the viewer.