Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy for Banks and Financial Institutions
Before you begin the journey of creating a digital marketing strategy for your financial institution, you must make sure you have laid the right foundation for success. For this, there are two main components: Budget and Time (or Expertise).
According to a recent study of 256 U.S. banks, the average percentage of assets allocated to marketing was 0.073%. However, banks in the category of $500 million to $1 billion in assets were found to allocate 0.077% on average. Here, a higher percentage makes sense as banks in this category are assumed to focus more on growth than their larger counterparts. However, the more aggressive banks in this category allocated upwards of 0.14 – 0.24% to their marketing endeavors. The bottom line: If you want better results than the rest of the financial institutions at your level, make sure you are putting the right budget behind your digital marketing efforts in order to hit your goals.
Time or Expertise
If your marketing team is unfamiliar or not proficient at digital marketing, don’t give up. In the age of information, there are a lot of great resources only a Google search away. However, this will take time. But, if you don’t want to wait for your team to develop this skill or if they are too busy with other projects, then you should consider partnering with an agency that can help! Our expertise can fast forward the timeframe of building a digital marketing strategy, executing it, and then seeing results.
Once you have the correct foundation in place, here are key areas to focus on to create your bank’s digital marketing strategy:
4 Elements To Your Bank’s Digital Marketing Strategy
Usable and Mobile Friendly Website
These days, most people begin a purchase decision with a web search. If they land on a website that is difficult to navigate and does not contain good information (well written and strategically placed), you will have a significantly harder time making them a customer. Your website will often serve as the first point of contact between customers interested in your products, services, and your brand. Savvy marketers view their website as an extension of their sales team.
A mobile-friendly website is also important. Mobile searches now exceed desktop searches as people use their phones to search for things wherever they are. In April 2015, Google began penalizing websites in search rankings that are not mobile-friendly. Mobile-friendly means that the site has been optimized to work well on a smartphone and is not just a miniaturized version of the desktop site. Mobile-friendly design should consider the goals that people often have while using their smartphones, such as searching for a contact number, the nearest branch or an ATM. Make this information easy to find on the mobile site with a minimum number of steps. Buttons should be easy to use on a touch screen and they should not be too close together.
LimeLight helped Guaranty Bank and Trust launch their new mobile responsive website – get the case study!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What is SEO? In it’s simplest terms, search engine optimization is making your website able to be found organically (non-paid) when people search online for keywords that are relevant to your business. The goal of SEO is to be there when people are looking for you. Think for a moment about the products you sell– such as loans, checking/savings accounts, and mortgages. Before customers make a purchase, they are spending their time researching options and learning more about the product. Your goal is to be there (online) to answer these questions for customers so that they trust you and view you as the financial leader with whom they want to do business.
SEO involves optimizing pages, such as using keywords in the meta description, the page title, and the URL. Try and build quality backlinks to your page by promoting your content through social media. When determining ranking, Google looks at criteria such as the amount of time people spend on the website, the number of readers, how easy it is for users to understand the site, and how well it lines up with user queries.
Content marketing is a strategy that focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience. The goal of it is to attract new customers. At LimeLight, we focus on high-quality content that will set our clients apart from the competition and helps generate leads for their business. The best content is keyword rich, well written, and graphically engaging. This type of content acts like an online magnet, drawing your ideal buyers to your website and social media. Your content might include pieces such as tips for first-time homebuyers or an announcement about CD increases.
Content also acts as a means of encouraging people to continue to build a relationship. For example, a person reading an article about being a first-time homebuyer is likely interested in making a purchase. At the end of the content, invite them to speak with a specific representative at your institution for more information.
Email remains an effective means of keeping in touch with people. In fact, roughly 91 percent of people with email check their inboxes at least once per day. Therefore, you want to have multiple opportunities for people to opt-in to your email list. Like when you set up a new account, or through a form on your website, or at the end of a well-written blog post. Use these regular email newsletters to keep people engaged with your brand. Include relevant, interesting content you are producing. Send out announcements about new hires, events and community outreach with which your institution is involved. Additionally, by using marketing automation tools like Hubspot you can track engagement with these emails and automatically deliver more content, offers, or follow up based on customer behavior.
With a solid foundation of the right budget and the right expertise, you can use these components to create an effective digital marketing strategy. If you are looking for a partner to help get you there faster, let’s talk!