According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2022, Islamic finance grew to US$3.6 trillion in 2021, up 7.8%, from US$ 3.4 trillion in 2020. This makes it the most prominent Islamic industry in the world.
Despite the impressive growth and demand, many Muslim consumers may find it a struggle to answer questions about the benefits, requirements, types of products available, and accessibility of Islamic financial services.
Generally speaking, financial services, even the mainstream ones, are not easy for the average Joe to wrap their heads around. The Shariah compliance element makes things more challenging sometimes.
Muslims living in the West are some of the most educated and well-off people in the world. Many of them are also very entrepreneurial. So, yes, they should be alright if you offer more in-depth explanations of your Shariah-compliant products when your prospects are in the middle of the sales funnel.
One may argue that it is the responsibility of the Islamic Finance entity to disclose everything there is to know when it comes to the financial products they are offering. This does not start when the prospect is about to sign the contract but must start to some extent during your marketing and advertising as conforming to Islamic Advertising Principles.
Islamic Finance takes the element of greed and corruption out of the financial structure through risk-sharing and profit-sharing policies among many things. This is a breath of fresh air for people who are suffocating under the many economical disadvantages orchestrated by some big mainstream financial institutions.
Sharing knowledge in easy-to-understand language to the masses about how Islamic Finance works and the benefits they can reap from using Shariah-compliant financial services clears the way for you to scale your Islamic Finance business.
Use a holistic approach to share knowledge of your financial product benefits with Muslims and non-Muslims relevant to them in their awareness, consideration, and decision stage. In other words the top-of-the-funnel, middle-of-the-funnel, and bottom-of-the-funnel.
Explain Islamic Finance Versus Conventional Finance to Your Audience
Islamic Finance is not just an alternative product for Muslims who want to be spiritually pure and maintain Islamic principles during financial transactions. It is more than that!
In 2008, during the height of economic collapse due to unlawful financial dealings by the biggest financial institutions in the world, Daily News Egypt explained:
“Credit crunch, mortgage crises, interest rates, debt, foreclosures, bankruptcy, and mergers are all familiar words to hear nowadays. These are reflections and indications of the failure of the current financial system worldwide. A quick review of the current chaos witnessed in economies worldwide motivated some scholars and commentators to analyze the system more closely.
Looking closely at the causes and roots of the problem led some economists to contemplate the role of Islamic financial systems and the ability of the Islamic financial systems to safeguard, cure and provide a way out of the current chaos.”
Source: Can Islamic Banking be the Cure? – Daily News Egypt
Eliminate the Fear of Change
Who would not want to have an alternative system to one that literally dwells in greed and exploitation of its own clients? One barrier to moving away from that oppressive system is not knowing what the difference is between the two.
No one wants to jump from one frying pan to another, or worse yet, into the fire. Explaining the difference between mainstream finance and Islamic Finance will eliminate that fear.
Among the many areas to talk about the difference between the two are:
- The types of financial products
- Profit and loss model
- Risk management
- Contractual relationships
Social media could be the best place for Islamic Finance institutions to address Muslim consumer concerns about the products and services they offer. Research conducted with eleven Islamic banks found that
“… by channelizing such active social mediums aptly, consumers’ concerns about Islamic banking can be addressed. Islamic banks need to realize that these social mediums enable them to offer differentiated services according to the target segment and audience, which will result in greater satisfaction and customer loyalty.”
Source: The Usage Of Social Media Tools by Islamic Banks In Pakistan and The UAE
Although the research targeted Islamic banks, the findings can easily and naturally be applied to most other types of Islamic Finance entities.
The research identified the following benefits of using social media for Islamic Finance:
- Product marketing: Products demonstrated a higher level of customer interest.
- Financial education: Created the ability to connect with hesitant Muslim consumers seeking personalized financial solutions.
- Online security information and support: Addressed general concerns about general online security information and data protection initiatives.
- Muslim customer reviews: Tested the efficiency in handling customer inquiries and responses to comments.
- Muslim customer engagement activities: Facilitated icebreaking questions and engagement with responses to interactive posts.
- Career Advice / Online recruitment: Contributed to finding new talent to boost the in-house financial product expertise.
- Survey and polling: Used as a platform for surveys or polls to help with product development and services.
It goes without saying that your Islamic Finance display ads must adhere to the Islamic advertising principles. These include:
- Not propagating wasteful practices or overspending
- Not using nudity to gesture sexual appeal
- Not depicting celebrities or attractive models as clients when they are not
- Not being deceptive or hiding any facts that the customer should know
- Not using false assertions, unproven “facts”, concoctions, and made-up testimonials
- Not making false promises which are not intended to be delivered
When utilizing display ads, your main creatives will be banner ads. There are certain things you need to keep in mind when designing your banners for efficient Muslim display ads:
- Best performing banner sizes
- Value proposition and CTA
- Image, color, and background
Other Important Factors
You can learn more about using display ads for your Islamic Finance business effectively whilst staying within the boundaries of Islam by having a look at the following articles:
Disclaimer: List is not exhaustive, always consult Muslim scholars when in doubt
Paid search is a great way to get your Islamic Finance products and services known. Paid search is especially useful for targeting Muslim prospects who have already done the bulk of their research and are close to buying.
A lot of your success will depend on your targeting and how you track conversions to optimize your campaigns even further.
Keep in mind that:
- Marketers in the financial services industry see average conversion rates of 4.3% – Ruler Analytics
- Financial services keywords are among the most expensive some costing upwards of $50 per click – WordStream
Stay Updated with Google Regulations for Financial Services
To protect consumers’ money, lower risk, and prevent fraud, the financial services industry is heavily regulated. This is a complex sector with complicated products occasionally requiring a deep understanding of finance or accompanying information. Add the Shariah-compliance element to that and it may get even more complicated.
When it comes to running your Google Ads campaigns, you will have to take extra precautions since money is involved.
Google also updates its policies regularly to reflect new financial products and trends (such as cryptocurrency) as well as to comply with local and global data privacy laws.
Make Sure Google Does not Flag You by Mistake
Although some of the below financial products are also not permissible in Islam, it is still good to know that they are not accepted by Google. This can help you take precautions with your ad copy as sometimes Google may speculate that you are promoting something similar:
- Short-term loans (loans that require full repayment within 60 days)
- High APR personal loans
- Trading binary options or similar products
- Complex speculative financial products
- Credit repair services
Get the Best Out of Your Islamic Finance Ads
You can use these 10 tactics to set up and manage a competitive Islamic Finance Google Ads account to drive qualified traffic to your website:
- Set a goal for your Google Ads campaign
- Establish a Google Ads campaign structure and keyword list
- Write quality ad copy
- Update website and landing page content
- Add call-to-actions to your website
- Set up conversion tracking in Google Ads
- Maintain the Google Ads keyword list with search terms and negative keywords
- Identify and set a location for targeting
- Utilize the observation setting to target specific groups of people
- Be patient with your Google Adwords campaigns