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Thinking about what to include in your business’s marketing budget next year? Here’s what leading bank marketers told us they plan on doing in 2021 to grow their brand and customer acquisition online.
Budgeting and planning season for banks and financial institutions is here, which means it’s time to evaluate priorities and determine where your money is best spent in 2022. When it comes to planning your marketing budget, however, it can often be challenging to determine which efforts will generate the highest value.
Over the past year, we’ve spoken with some of the most innovative bank marketers about what marketing strategies are helping them boost their credibility, increase customer lifetime value, and grow their customer base.
We’ve turned their recommendations into a list for your reference. Here are our five marketing strategies that we recommend carrying into 2022.
Giving back to your community
Corporate philanthropy is an important way to generate value for your brand and strengthen the relationships that you have within your community. Aligning your brand with a cause that’s important to you and your employees and actively fundraising or volunteering can help develop your brand’s profile and increase engagement both inside and outside of your organization. Afterall, customers are looking for banks that not only provide them with the right products and services, but that also support the people and businesses in their local community.
“[Community banks] provide the building blocks that help build stronger communities. When local communities are strong, the nation’s economy is stronger too.”
With many small businesses owners and and local communities continuing to struggle with the effects of the pandemic on their finances, it’s important, now more than ever, for brands to focus on supporting their communities to help bring back social and economic stability.
Adding Influencer/Affiliate Marketing to Your Marketing Mix
Influencer marketing is when a brand collaborates on a paid partnership with an online content creator that has an audience that they’d like to reach. Influencers work with a brand to promote the brand’s products and services to their niche audience, either through short-term sponsorships or as an ongoing affiliate.
Influencer marketing comes through a variety of content types such as blog posts and social media posts and is especially popular as video. According to one survey, 70% of respondents reported that they bought a brand as a result of seeing it on YouTube.
For financial institutions, influencer marketing is a powerful, cost-effective tool that can boost brand credibility, increase customer acquisition, and generate growth. Having an influencer speak about your brand to their audience is a lot like a friend recommending a product. People are more inclined to make a purchase based on a human recommendation, rather than through a brand’s promotion, which is part of the reason why influencers do very well in leading new customers down the marketing funnel.
At Fintel Connect, we’ve seen brands leverage influencers as affiliates, and have seen affiliate marketing account for up to 40% of all customer acquisition for financial institutions.
Leverage TikTok “Finfluencers” (if it’s onbrand for you)
As of January 2021, TikTok ranks as the 7th most used social network in the world with just over 1 billion users globally. It has seen an 800% growth rate from its initial launch in 2018. The network is largely dominated by Gen-Z and millennials which makes it a great platform for reaching these younger audiences. However, before considering TikTok for your marketing mix, it is important to understand how it works for brands, and if yours is a good fit.
TikTok is a platform of choice for many “finfluencers” (financial influencers) that want to educate younger generations about the importance of financial literacy. But for banks, stepping into the nuanced world of TikTok can be quite daunting because of the platform’s fast-moving trends and rapid content consumption. Authenticity is a prerequisite and brands that overtly advertise themselves are less likely to capture positive feedback from audiences.
So how do you earn the attention of TikTok users that are scrolling quickly? One way it through partnerships with TikTok finfluencers. Partnering with one who is a proven leader in the world of TikTok financial literacy can drive a level of brands awareness that is difficult to achieve on your own. Check out this example from one of our partners Neo Financial, who partnered with local Canadian micro-influencer @discoverwithbchow.
Our network has a wide-range of financially-focused influencers and publishers that partner with leading financial brands. If you’re not sure if influencer marketing is a good fit, get in touch with our team.
Promote Drive-up Branch Appointments: Keep (for now)
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, banks have had to consider new ways of servicing their customers. Many customers have had to move online to fulfill their banking needs. However, that doesn’t mean that branches are a thing of the past. Overall, the most satisfied customers use both branch and digital services to conduct their personal banking.
As things begin to open back up, many people will continue to look for options that allow them to safely and conveniently visit a branch to receive the best quality of service. First Community Credit Union, for example, installed video tellers with full online account access in their branches. “Our members can drive up or walk up to these video tellers and make transactions without any face-to-face interaction,” says Nancy Trennel, Chief Marketing Officer at First Community Credit Union in Houston, Texas. “You can always talk to a live person too, but it’s strictly optional.”
Because the pandemic is ongoing, promoting drive-up appointments and other ways for customers to safely visit branches will continue to be important in the coming year, as health and safety will continue to be a priority for the world until the pandemic subsides.
Be Strategic with Your Paid Search and Social Campaigns
When it comes to strategizing paid online advertisements, it’s important to be conscious and intentional with your campaigns. . It can be easy to quickly waste money on ads that are ineffective, while simultaneously be very difficult to attribute ads to success to your customer journey if you don’t have the tracking technology to do so.
Here are a few important tips for helping you plan your ad spend:
- Experiment by running ads for specific, time-based campaigns. If you don’t have a budget to keep evergreen ads on, try it out as a fixed campaign to dip your toes into paid search/social. You’ll be able to learn about what works and apply those learnings to optimize the messaging in other channels you operate.
- Don’t pay for keywords of your own bank’s brand name. If your banks’ name is unique, it’ll appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) anyway. Paying for a keyword of your brand’s name will just bump down your organic result and you’ll pay for clicks that were otherwise free. However, you might consider doing this if your bank shares a popular name with another, or if a competitor is running paid ads that are taking the top spot when users search for your business by name. Test on Google to see what it looks like locally.
- Focus on mid-funnel and retention for the best value. Target ads to users that have already engaged with your brand (visited a product page, fill in a form, etc.). That way you are putting money towards users that already have a higher intent to engage with your brand, and, in turn, a higher chance to convert than approaching users that have never considered or are aware of your bank.
With these strategies in mind, it is important to evaluate which tactics will best suit your business and your brand going into 2022. What works for some, may not work for others. Before implementing these strategies, here are a few questions to keep in mind when developing your marketing budget for the year ahead:
- What are your sales and marketing goals for the upcoming year?
- Where in your customer buyer journey do you get the most uplift? Where do customers struggle and how can you help them?
- Which competitors are typically appearing alongside you when your name comes up, and how can you get the upper hand?
- Do you have the resources and capacity to extend your marketing further?
- What vendors or partners can help you be more efficient with your budget?
If you are interested in learning more about how affiliate marketing can save up to 70% in cost of customer acquisition, contact us today to learn more.