You’re near the front of the pack. Nice work! You’ve perhaps allocated time and budget to digital marketing and it shows. Maybe you’ve invested in optimizing your website and are utilizing goal and conversion tracking workflows to see how website traffic is performing. As a result, you’re ahead of most! The best part? You’re well positioned to think about digital holistically, using tactics like digital ads and paid search to generate leads, increase account opens, and hit other specific goals. The next step is to ask critical questions about the performance of your digital budget so you can maximize every digital dollar and compare results across avenues. This allows you to prioritize the digital avenues that deliver the best results and push them to drive even more success.
Where should you be focusing your digital marketing efforts?
Review the sections below to learn more about where your digital marketing stands, how other banks and credit unions are investing, and ways to move your online marketing forward.
Successful digital marketing starts with a healthy, optimized website. Your website is the starting point for search engines and the endpoint for nearly every digital marketing initiative you implement. Search engines are basically scanning the information displayed on your website to decide whether to suggest it to potential customers searching online for information related to your industry, products, and services. So, getting your content right is especially important. In fact, nearly 30% of financial brands are prioritizing digital content in 2022, and nearly 40% admit they need more expertise. When evaluating web content optimization, consider:
- Regularly update content on your website at least monthly.
- Provide a clear path and call-to-action (CTA) on each page that tells visitors exactly what you want them to do.
- Leverage blogs, educational content, and resources to help customers and businesses find your website as they research their next big financial decision online.
- Provide a variety of content targeting different types of customers with varying goals and at different life stages that helps them see how your products/services meet their needs.
- Make it easy for prospects and customers to take the next step by making online applications and customer data collection forms easily accessible on your site.
- Leverage Google Analytics so you know where traffic is coming from and what people do once they get to your website. Be prepared to modify your content and calls to action based on what you learn.
Email marketing—when executed properly—can provide a secure avenue for connecting with customers and prospects. But 47% of today’s emails are considered SPAM (Kaspersky Lab, 2020) and an estimated 3.4 billion (and growing) emails are sent per day (Valimail, 2019), making it especially important to get it right. Elements to consider for your email marketing strategy include:
- Add callouts and call-to-action prompts to the bottom of regular communications like e-statements and mobile updates, providing an additional layer of comfort and security.
- Track your open rates and click-thru metrics like CTA conversions, and aim for continuous improvement. The average email open rate is 20-40%.
- Use A/B testing, trying different subject lines, calls to action, and send times while controlling for other variables to determine what resonates with your audience.
- Manage your email lists and create tags for different types of contacts and audiences; go beyond distinguishing customers and prospects by adding tags for things like past product interests, life stages, and geographic locations.
- Provide a clear call-to-action (CTA) in each email and test varying CTAs to see what connects with your audience.
- Most emails are read on mobile devices, so be sure to check the mobile version of every email before each send.
Nearly 90% of financial brands are on social media, but 46% say it’s one of their top marketing concerns. Approximately 35% know they need more social media expertise, and 23% play it safe and steer away from product promotion. As social media continues to grow to be one of the top sources for news, information, referrals, and entertainment, financial brands must adapt. They should have an expert on social strategy, content, and paid promotion on their team or in a trusted partner. Some considerations for social strategy include:
- While it’s not necessary to be on all social channels, you should be on several. Pick the ones your target audiences frequent and focus on doing them well.
- Review your social media analytics and set success benchmarks and growth goals for followers and engagement. Make sure you have the right tools to do cross-channel comparisons.
- Ensure quality and consistent content across channels and tailor the messaging to each channel’s format.
- Engage with other community organizations and partners, liking and tagging other business pages and nonprofit organizations.
- Create a collaborative social media content team to humanize your brand and build connections. Encourage branches to submit local photos and community involvement activities.
- Allow lenders to connect with their customers and prospects through professional pages. A relationship with a trusted human is more engaging than a relationship with a brand.
- Execute social campaigns to increase engagement and followers, setting goals and success metrics for each campaign and evaluating over time.
- Create a budget. Develop strategies and budgets for boosted posts. Invest in paid ads with clear calls to action.
Pay-per-Click (Search & Display Advertising)
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising presents huge opportunities. When it’s well executed, the ads that reach your target audience are relevant, authentic, and real-time. You can even combine multiple forms of audience targeting to narrow in on specific types of customers based on what resonates with them. Financial brands recognize the value and potential, reporting an average of 40% of their ad spend budget reserved for digital marketing. At the same time, 42% say they need more expertise in paid promotion. Elements to prioritize with PPC include:
- Research your search terms to ensure you are applying the right words, seasonality, and budget to search and display ads.
- Set your digital ad spend KPIs so you know and understand your key success metrics.
- Conduct A/B testing and segmented persona testing to ensure you are leveraging the right channels for digital advertising. Have a plan B and C prepared to ensure you are maximizing spend.
- Have a clear call to action. What does your audience have to gain by clicking on your ad? Use A/B testing to try out different calls to action so you know which get the most clicks.
- Create unique landing pages for each of your campaigns, tailoring content on those pages so that it delivers what your audience was expecting when they clicked.
- Implement pixeled retargeting on your site. A person seeing your ads may not be ready to connect today but, when you stay top-of-mind, they’re more likely to reach out in the future.
- Aim for a bounce rate below 80%. Think of bounces as people who glance at your billboard and keep driving with no action. When your bounce rate for a specific page is high, consider what’s causing folks to leave the page and adjust.
- Successful PPC campaigns require a focused strategy, regular testing and monitoring, and analytics support. Find a partner that truly understands financial brands, target personas, and goals.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial in ensuring that your potential and current customers understand how you can help them. Search engines (the most popular being Google) first evaluate the meaning of what the user is searching for to determine what they really want. The search engine then crawls web pages looking for terms relevant or exacting to what is being searched. Those matches are then analyzed for a number of ranking components ( namely quality of the content, credibility, and the page’s ease of use). Search engines also pull in context and settings to localize the content for the query. In short, search engines won’t offer up your website to clients searching for information about your products/services if it doesn’t check these boxes (and a number of others), making an optimized website absolutely crucial. Key considerations for SEO include:
- Manage your internal SEO with content, which is the primary driver in search results.
- Maximize SEO with content such as blogs, resources, and information on your website. Think: home buying tips, mortgage calculators, credit card points, and car buying tips. Build content around what your customers are looking for before they think about how they’re going to pay for it.
- Analyze your Google Analytics data and leverage search tracking tools to know what customers are searching for in your area. Use that data to drive regular content updates on your site.
- Manage your external SEO with listings management, customer reviews, links from other websites to yours (external site references). Be sure to control the accuracy of listings and maintain awareness of reviews and Q&A sites.
- Maximize local search algorithms with area descriptions, categories, reviews, and updated business listing information across key directories and aggregators like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Alexa.
- Leverage tools and partners to help you maximize SEO, monitor analytics, optimize localized context, and keep business listings updated.
Referrals are still a top lead source, but the way they’re sourced has changed drastically in the last decade. From social media recommendations to online reviews, prospects and customers often rely on what’s being said online to evaluate who to trust and do business with. What’s more, online reviews feed into your SEO rankings. More reviews and higher stars give your SEO a bump. While most banks (75%) are managing their listings data today, only half are actively generating customer reviews online. Here’s what you need to know about managing your online reputation:
- Know what your customers are saying about you and your banking team so you can thank them for positive reviews and address negative ones.
- Be sure to respond publicly (i.e. on the platform where the review appears) to reviews, which also helps SEO.
- Be aware of what people are saying about your competitors.
- Monitor for and report fake reviews targeting customers with scams.
- Pay attention to and reply to questions submitted by customers through Google’s Q&A feature. If you don’t answer, someone else likely will and they may respond with inaccurate or unfavorable information.
- Ask customers for reviews—especially extremely satisfied or long-standing ones. Often times, customers don’t think to leave a review unless prompted.
- Actively promote reviews on in branch displays, emails, SMS messages, social media campaigns, and/or in-branch request cards. Set review number and rank goals.
- Share branch reviews with branch managers to help coach employees and improve branch experiences.
- Help prospects find your reviews by including as much information as possible on listing search terms and categories.
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