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Brand Awareness vs. Conversion: How to Effectively Allocate Your Digital Marketing Budget

Cayla Wedemeyer

Cayla Wedemeyer

Senior Marketing Coordinator
  • Last Updated: December 12, 2023

In This Article

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In this article

In a webinar hosted by Illinois Bankers Association, we heard from industry experts about the importance of creating a seamless customer journey, how to choose the right digital channel for your financial institution, strategies for allocating your spending, and how to succeed in the digital space.

Brand Awareness vs. Conversion: How to effectively allocate your digital marketing budget, to help you optimize your digital marketing efforts.

Your Customer Journey Should Be a Well Paved Road, Not A Hedge Maze

No one likes battling obstacles to their destination, whether on a commute to work, a trip to the grocery store, or making a purchase online. You want to be able to cruise through all the green lights rather than having to take a detour. When it comes to your online customer journey, the same applies. You must have a clear customer path before beginning a digital strategy.

Alana Levine, CRO of Fintel Connect, highlighted that the most significant way to ensure a seamless customer journey is to start with the end in mind. Think about your online customer experience as a virtual branch of your institution. Use the same formula in the digital space as you would during the branch experience to help customers reach their goals.

Another key to optimizing your online customer experience is looking at your landing pages to ensure that customers have quick access to the information they need. Is the page easy to navigate? Does it have a fast load time? Levine emphasized the importance of looking at metrics like time spent on the page and bounce rate to determine how people are taking action. Something as simple as moving the call-to-action button to a different location on the page can lead to better results.

Where’s Waldo? Hint: He’s Online

With many digital channels, figuring out where to start can often be daunting. The rise of platforms such as TikTok and Instagram builds pressure to jump into trends that your institution might not be ready for.Jeff Rose, Director of Enterprise Partnerships at Feathr, mentioned that most Gen Z consumers now use TikTok as a search engine over Google. But while TikTok may be a great way to reach Gen Z customers, it may not be the best option for your institution – and that’s okay!

Liz McIntyre, Director of Social Media & PR and Vice President of Marketing at Renasant Bank, notes that it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be everywhere at once; you need to be intentional. In other words, find where your customers are and meet them there. Before leaping into new digital channels with money in hand, spend time looking into audience behavior to gather insights to make an informed next step. Simple steps can lead to significant results.

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Consider a Full Funnel Approach When Allocating Your Spend

Consider where your customers are in the marketing funnel when developing your digital marketing strategy. How are you moving them from the awareness stage at the top of the funnel to the conversion stage at the bottom? Neha Anada, Head of Industry – Personal Finance at, suggests that assessing where people are at various levels in the funnel will help guide your strategy and will have a greater impact on your bottom line. She mentioned that when you invest in full-funnel marketing strategies, you help consumers make confident buying decisions based on their stage, creating a strong sense of brand trust and loyalty.

Funnel shows funnel best practices.

McIntyre also adds that understanding where your customers are in the funnel will allow you to allocate your budget more effectively. For example, if you tend to put a lot of money into print advertising, consider using some of that budget towards digital channels that are scalable and measurable such as paid search or influencer marketing. As a result, you will have a more significant impact and will be able to gather data that will help you better track your ROI.

Experiment with Different Forms of Digital Content

Education, emotion, and entertainment. McIntyre highlighted that content needs to fit into one or more of these three buckets to engage your audience. When experimenting with digital content, think of who your audience is and what they would want to see – and it doesn’t always have to be related to finance. For example, Renasant Bank created a video series called SEC Shorts, an online comedy series focusing on the crazy world of college football in the south. McIntyre mentioned that this series had been a successful way to connect with their audience and develop brand awareness.

Another way to experiment with content is through influencer partnerships. Influencers are content experts who provide a third-party perspective on your brand, which can have the same power as word-of-mouth. Consumers look to influencers for their reviews on a product or brand and trust them like they would a friend. The best part? Influencers understand compliance and will work with you and your compliance teams to ensure all rules and guidelines are followed and maintained.

The Recipe for Success: Test, Measure, Repeat

Digital marketing is a scalable, cost-effective strategy to add to your current marketing mix, allowing you to reach new customers. With people spending an increasing amount of time on their phones, laptops, and tablets, it’s hard to ignore the opportunities available online. Real-time data and tracking from web tracking tools like Google Analytics will help you optimize your campaigns and measure your ROI. Be flexible with a portion of your budget to get the most out of digital marketing opportunities.

So, how do you get started? Rose explained that the best way to know what will work is to test, measure, and repeat. It may take time to get the recipe right, but measuring and mixing the ingredients is the first step. He mentioned avoiding the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality when it comes to your marketing efforts and not being afraid to leap into the digital space.

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If you’re looking for opportunities to maximize the impact of your digital marketing strategy or want more insights on how to get started, contact us. Our team of experts will be thrilled to help you.

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