Content is the secret sauce in a winning website

Dec 7, 2016

Sanlam Reality’s website scooped top honours for Best Corporate Website at the 2016 SA Publication Forum Awards. Chief Content Officer Jane Smith looks at the key role content plays.

As the lifestyle and rewards programme of the Sanlam Group, Sanlam Reality has a unique set of challenges. On one side, the programme offers members a rewarding package of lifestyle benefits focused on six core pillars: wealth, day-to-day savings, wellness, travel, entertainment and personal services. On the other side, the brand needs to live within the Sanlam world, where the focus is on being Wealthsmiths™ (where a Wealthsmith is a person who has a deep understanding of the true definition of wealth and knows how to create it and maintain it over the long term). Neatly encapsulating this complex position is Sanlam Reality’s campaign promise: “Taking care of your money should be rewarding.”

Content drives engagement and usage of the programme and is the glue that binds loyalty programmes to members. And at Sanlam Reality that has certainly been the case since the early days of the programme, first through a quarterly printed lifestyle magazine, and later via website blogs and digital magazines. All these channels put content at the epicentre. From money and travel features, health articles to recipes and entertainment reviews – the strategy is to encourage Sanlam Reality members to engage with their programme.

When a decision was made to overhaul the website in 2015, the client’s new campaign positioning (“Taking care of your money should be rewarding”) posed a unique challenge to the content marketing team. But also a great opportunity for content to show its value on a website modelled on functionality and benefit usage.

The result was the creation of an interactive online financial platform called Wealth Sense, aimed at helping Sanlam Reality members improve their financial fitness.

Wealth Sense consists of a variety of different content types, housed across three broad money pillars – Everyday, Building Wealth and Protecting Wealth – covering a range of topics such as tax, budgeting, debt management, saving, investment, family finance, major purchases, retirement, medical matters, insurance and death. The platform also includes links to relevant Sanlam products and services.

The variety of content includes articles (written in an easy-to-read, simple style), as well as interactive elements such as short financial quizzes related to a money topic, longer financial questionnaires to help members find out something about their money and habits, as well as tools and calculators.

Without the rich, varied content, money topics can quickly become boring and easy to ignore. But in this case, Sanlam Reality members are embracing the opportunity to discover how ‘financially fit’ they are (through calculators and questionnaires) and then they are proving open to the suggestions offered in feature articles and digital magazines to improve their financial fitness. The next step – and key obviously for Sanlam – is to turn members’ intentions into actions, through the purchase of Sanlam financial products or further engagement with Sanlam Reality financial benefits (for example, completing an Online Will or using the TaxTim service).

This rich content approach clearly resonated with judges at the SA Publication Forum Awards, who praised the mix of functionality and content on the website: “The content is extremely useful and the quality of the content is outstanding. The site resonates in memory and gives the user a reason to return. It has a multi-sensory appeal and a creative use of resources.”

Sanlam Reality began using content to connect to its members in 2009 and through the years it’s been key to the success of the programme and to growing Sanlam Reality brand love. Wealth Sense has kicked it up a level, driving engagement in the programme, cross-selling and upselling Sanlam products and providing a platform for instant measurement of ROI.

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