Marketing & Advertising for Banks
Oct 21, 2019
Marketing for any industry can be a challenge. Marketing for highly competitive, regulated, and oversaturated industries like banking can be even more challenging. How can banks cut through all of the noise to reach their target audience? How does a bank maximize their marketing and advertising spend to get the right return on investment? While there are no silver bullets, there are some bank marketing and customer experience best practices that can help you create awareness for your bank and increase consideration for your products and services.
Bank Marketing, Advertising, & Customer Experience Best Practices
Define Your Unique Selling Position
Before investing in marketing programs or optimizing your customer experience, it would be best to define the unique selling proposition (USP) of your bank or financial institution. If you do not have this well established, your marketing may land flat on your target audience, and the ROI for campaigns will probably be low. Once you establish your USP, we recommend using it as the cornerstone for all of your marketing and advertising campaigns and messaging. Our friends at Hubspot has a great post on how to define your position in your market – https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/brand-positioning-strategy
Great Website & Mobile Banking Experience
Banks need to have great websites to support marketing and advertising efforts. If banks do not have well-designed sites with excellent user experience, visitors who arrive via targeted ads will not convert. This will lead to poor ROI and, in our opinion, wasted opportunities. Not only do the websites need to be a great first experience, but the online and mobile banking offerings from banks also need to be well executed in order to keep new and existing users happy. If there is a disconnect between what is marketed and advertised, prospects and customers will find alternative banks for their needs.
Consistent Online & Offline Experience
One of the essential components of banks’ marketing and customer experience strategies is having consistent user experiences online and offline. Banks that understand the value of great user experiences being uninformed on the web and in-person will win against the competition. This means that you should have a well-designed website that has strong branding, allows users to find information easily, and great UX to allow them to complete tasks. Just as your website should look and work great, so, too, should your branch locations. Having these two core customer touchpoints reflect the same branding, messaging, and experience will go a long way in retaining existing- and attracting new customers.
Customer-First Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you have a USP established, creating content that speaks to your customers is vital. You will be using this content to engage with prospects and persuade them to do business with you. It will be used in all forms and channels, so it needs to speak to them directly and connect with them. This content could range from educational materials to stimulate interest in your products or services, eBooks that teach people how to go about obtaining a mortgage or opening college savings accounts, webinars on investing tools, video and case studies on all types of investment and savings programs you offer.
The goal is to create and share this content as a form of free advice. This free advice will come back tenfold by creating customers. That’s because, provided the content is helpful and not full sales speak, people will begin viewing your business as an authority on banking. For instance, if someone reads your blog post on top local saving accounts and finds out it really made a difference to them deciding which is best for them, they’ll be more likely to trust your bank for financial management help.
SEO & Local Search
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital marketing for banks is an essential practice to attract new customers. When a potential consumer uses a search engine like Google to find a banking service, your bank should strive to be one of the top results. An overwhelming majority of people use Google to look for services in their local area, and smart search optimization can capitalize on this.
According to Google, approximately 80% of users search online for local businesses. A significant factor in the search results for local businesses is local listings. Banks should maintain their Google My Business accounts to assure all locations and business information is up to date to ensure prospects and customers alike see the accurate business data. Providing this business information will help create, potentially, the first excellent user experience with your bank by giving the right hours, address, and core services.
Social Media Marketing
Banks can leverage social media to reach new clients. Social media marketing can be powerful for many reasons; however, we will not get into each of the network’s unique features here (check out our Social Media Best Practices for a deep dive on the networks). Banks can leverage social media not only because it’s effective and efficient, but also because it allows banks to target populations based on their demographics. It can be a cost-effective way to create large numbers of brand impressions. Utilizing each of the platforms content display options will go a long way to helping your bank stand out.
Running email campaigns to keep both customers and prospects engaged with banks is an important marketing tool. Creating and sending value-added emails that speak to both customers or prospects in separate campaigns should be the core of every strategy. Banks can leverage this communication platform to connect with bank prospects and customers on a platform they use almost daily. By creating great content with calls to action encouraging recipients to engage, banks can position themselves as thought leaders and increase the likelihood of prospects becoming clients.
However, banks need to considerate of the number of emails sent to prospects and clients. There is a fine line between value-added emails and spam. If banks reach the spam level, it can hurt their brand perception and the overall consideration of the user.
Market & Advertise Locally
Creating marketing and advertising campaigns the target local audiences is crucial for most banks to drive new customer signup. While the national banks have substantial TV ad support, regional or local banks need to reach their audiences in and around their branches to make an impact on new account registration.
This means banks need to leverage all of the local marketing and advertising channels as possible while optimizing ad campaigns to be displayed in a geographical radius. Banks should leverage targeting tools within search ads, social media, and display ad platforms to reach only the prospects and customers around their locations. Additionally, banks can partner with local businesses for cross-promotions and local sponsorships. Cross-promotions and local sponsorships can range from highway cleaning sponsorships, ballpark ads, farmers’ market hosting, ad placements at local colleges, and advertisements in local real estate guides.
Create Diverse Industry Partners
Cooperative marketing can help your bank create new exposure to prospects and clients. Banks can partner with hospitals to develop and advertise a newborn college savings accounts. Alternatively, they could create a local savings account that allows users to donate pennies from each of their purchases to non-profits in the area. There are many great ways to partner with local partners to promote your bank to new audiences and demographics. Having diverse partners increases the chances of additional audiences being exposed to your brand messaging, leading to more customers outside of your target audience.
Speaking Engagements & In-Person Events
Booking speaking engagements and events can greatly help expand the reach and consideration of your bank and its products and services. Not only will these in-person engagements help drive new leads, but they will also increase brand recognition, humanize your bank, position the bank as a thought leader in the industry, and build strategic partnerships. Additionally, capturing these speaking engagements on video will help your bank present excellent video content to diversify your content offerings.
Online Paid Advertising
Banks can leverage paid advertising to places ads where banking prospects and consumers will see them throughout the internet. Levering paid ads can help target users who might not come to your website organically. That means banks can use paid search ads in search engines to help overcome poor SEO results for search engines. Banks can also use video and display ads to reach audiences watching and reading content about bank-related services and products.
IP Targeting and Geofencing
Two great ways to target products and services to specific audiences are geofencing and IP targeting. With geofencing, you can establish a geographic boundary for your ads, so your bank can engage prospects based on where they are physically in the world. If there are a large number of a specific target audience in an area, you can advertise specific products and services to them with messaging that is more customizable. An example would be if a new housing development is being constructed in your town, banks could target the area with ads for mortgages because people who are visiting might be looking to purchase one of the units.
Alternatively, with IP targeting, you can present ads to specific internet users using a particular IP network such as a business or even an apartment in a large building. A great example of this is that a bank can target a nearby college’s IP address to promote checking accounts to new students. These tools are extremely powerful in terms of what they could do for a marketing strategy in the banking world.
Banks can take a lot of these strategies to cast a wide net over their local area to stay top of mind in prospects and provide excellent value to current customers through value-added content. Not all banks have the infrastructure to be able to manage all of these suggestions, so we always recommend partnering with a trusted creative marketing agency that can help your bank get the most out of your banks’ marketing and advertising.
It’s also important to become familiar with the specific banking regulations that apply to your company, product or service, before starting any new marketing endeavors to be sure that you are complying with any legal requirements.