With little to no financial education provided in public schools, it’s no surprise that many people struggle with financial literacy well into adulthood. Even with recent requirements and improvements in financial education at the high school level, many of your customers or members probably still feel somewhat inadequate in their level of financial savvy. Aside from the obvious difficulties that come along with lack of practical financial knowledge- such as poor money management skills, lack of sufficient savings and generally lousy spending habits- people who don’t know enough about finances can experience setbacks that negatively affect the direction of their lives (like getting denied for a job or housing due to a poor credit history). A major obstacle to financial literacy is that people don’t want to admit there is a problem. Would you want to readily confess that you’re unable to balance your checkbook, are unsure of the interest rate on your auto loan or that you have no clue how your credit score is calculated? Of course not! People don’t like to feel “dumb” or inferior to anyone else.
The good news is that financial education can be incorporated easily into your digital signage content. This is a simple way to provide quick snippets of financial tips that can make a huge impact on your audience’s financial well-being. And it can be accomplished in a way that is not invasive or intimidating. This approach is usually well-received and considered helpful by most people… regardless of their individual level of financial literacy. The purpose of providing financial education is ultimately to change people’s behavior when dealing with money (and your financial institution). When people act on what you teach them via digital signage content, they are displaying the absorption and retention of that information. This behavioral transformation is the desired result of effective communication, and is evident in a higher level of audience connection and increased trust.* Here are five easy strategies to improve financial literacy and elevate the effectiveness of your digital signage communications:
1. Give quick tips rather than lessons. Wait time in the branch is down for most financial institutions due to electronic account access. The people who do visit your branch won’t be in front of your digital displays long enough to absorb extensive information about any single topic. Instead, show short, simple financial tips that can make an impact in 15 – 30 seconds. These brief, focused messages are also easier to retain than long, expansive lessons.
2. Use plain language to explain financial topics. Many financial topics are complex, but the way you explain them doesn’t have to be. Remember to use common words rather than financial jargon when providing financial education digital content. As someone who works in the financial industry, you are familiar with terms like “loan to value” and “debt to income ratio”, but your audience may not be. Think of ways to break down learning barriers by simplifying financial language.
3. Know your audience and their financial needs. If your branch is located in an urban area and your customers or members are mostly renters, content about home equity products will not be valuable to them. Focus on topics that are simple to absorb and that will add real value to the lives of your audience. If you’re not sure about the topics that will be most beneficial, don’t be afraid to ask! You can leave a quick survey (5 questions or less) in your lobby asking people what financial topics they’re most interested in learning about.
4, Provide information that’s easy to remember and act on. Remember, the end goal of providing financial education content is to change your audience’s behavior for the better. Knowing how to effectively manage money and actually doing it are two different things. If your digital content covers ways to save more money, for example, be sure to include information about setting up automatic transfers and vacation or holiday club accounts.
5. Make learning about finances fun! Keep your financial education content upbeat and lighthearted. You may even consider incorporating financial trivia or a game into your digital content. No one wants to be lectured, nor do they want to sit through long messages filled with financial jargon. By making learning fun, you increase the chance that your audience will be receptive to your messages, will retain the information you provide and will ultimately develop better financial habits. Making your digital communication fun can ultimately result in increased audience engagement and trust in your financial institution.