Financial Marketing Strategy Group Discussion

Financial Marketing and Distribution Channels: The Multi-Channel Approach

Business Group Meeting on Multi-channel Marketing

When thinking about your marketing strategy, it’s a best practice to always reassess what distribution channels you are currently using and keep an eye out for new channels that can help you reach your account-holders in new ways. To ensure that you are reaching your different audience segments, you’ll need to share your content through a multi-channel approach—matching each segment with its appropriate channel. Here’s a breakdown of the various channels and approaches:

Email

Email remains a powerful way to connect, assuming that consumers have shared their emails with you (we do not recommend buying lists). Make sure you are sharing valuable information each time, and do not inundate them—twice a month is a good target cadence.

You can reach a variety of audiences with email since most people are online and you can segment your emails based on your audience to have a more consumer approach.

Website

Don’t neglect your website as a distribution channel. Make sure that it’s optimized for SEO, promotes upcoming workshops, events and offers, and is a hub of free financial education for your viewers. Don’t let your website become a place that only lists your products and services, you should be adding valuable content for your consumers to use and share.

Social

Many of your buyers are on social media—so you should be, too. Remember to use social channels to engage, not sell. Update your platforms frequently, and respond quickly to consumer comments.

Each social channel has a different audience. As you post, keep in mind that the tone and overall message you are promoting in each channel should fit the audience in that channel.

Blog

Blogs are an easy way to provide new and valuable content to your audience, and since Google favors fresh material, it’s also a great way to help potential account-holders reach your website. Remember that it must be updated on a very regular basis. Blogs are another way to educate your audience and drive consumers to want learn more about your financial institution.

Paid Media

Paying for ads on search engines or social channels can get more eyes on your content—and it’s often very affordable. Consider promoting big events, such as an upcoming workshop or offers, such as a low interest rate with paid media.

Offers are a good way of reaching online traffic as long as you have optimized your ad to the right keywords and the traffic you are getting is the audience you are interested in targeting. Taking time to set up your paid media and optimizing it is extremely important to get the most return on your paid ad investments.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is great for  engaging demographics like seniors, who are not online as frequently—and has the added benefit of not ending up in a spam folder. Taking a fresh approach to your direct mail strategy can make an impact as overflowing inboxes have become the norm.

In-branch

Often overlooked, your branches can serve as high value distributions channels. Training staff to promote events, offers, or education, can drive more engagement, as well as posters, flyers, and other materials.

Your in-branch staff can be an asset for up-selling opportunities and educating your account-holders, but they have to know the basics of personal finance before they can offer it to your account-holders. Taking time to train your staff using financial education will set your institution up for success in the long run.

Webinars

Webinars combine the power of a workshop with the digital ability to be recorded, stored, and watched by viewers in future. Hosting a workshop using a  webinar platform that you can share with your account-holders will have a long lasting impact especially on topics such as investing. TD Ameritrade produces a regular webinar, called Morning Huddle, to deliver investment insights to clients.

Workshops

In-person workshops, on topics such as getting the most out of your retirement savings are great ways to reach people who are not online, and face-to-face can be more personable and engaging. Seniors who are not engaging with your content online will likely come to your in-person workshops.

Outbound calling

Outbound calls work best when the consumer has already engaged with your brand, such as after they download an online guide or receive direct mail. Trained staff is essential to success here, just like with your in-branch opportunities.

Employing a multi-channel approach is a must in today’s complex technology environment—but you also need to know who your various audience segments are, and what type of content to spread. For these answers and more, download our new guidebook,The Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018: An Interactive Guidebook for Banks & Credit Unions.

Consumer-Journey-Marketing-Content

The Financial Marketing Funnel: Creating Content for Every Stage of the Customer Journey


Many financial marketers know that content marketing is a powerful way to reach current and prospective customers. But did you know that certain types of content work better at different stages of the customer journey? Marketers who want to maximize their content marketing efforts create content for each stage of that journey. Over two-thirds of this journey is now done via online and mobile. This means you’ll need to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, in terms of the content you deliver, how you deliver it, and when you deliver it along the buyer’s journey. Here’s how:

Awareness Stage

The customer journey starts when someone first learns about your financial institutions brand. The marketing materials they see at this stage shouldn’t be salesy. Instead, try to educate, presenting them with valuable advice and interesting trends.

Types of Content:

  •     Blog Posts
  •     How-to-Guides
  •     Calculators
  •     Editorial Content

Consideration Stage

The customers in this stage are already familiar with your brand and should have a positive opinion based on the content from the first stage. Longer and heavier content is appropriate at this stage—pieces that will build deeper engagement.

Types of Content:

  •      Workshops
  •      eBooks
  •      Videos
  •      Interactive Learning

Decision Stage

The final stage of the journey occurs after your consumer has engaged with your content and trust has been built. They are primed to open an account, and your content or offers can start to focus on loans or other products. 

Types of content:

  •      Introductory Rates
  •      Product Literature
  •      Institution or Product Comparisons
  •      Case Studies and Testimonials

Creating content for each stage of the customer journey is an effective way to both engage and nudge customers along as they move from awareness to purchase. But content creation is only one step to building an effective financial marketing strategy. Want to learn the other steps? Download our guidebook, The Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018

Marketing-group

Financial Marketing: Learn How to Define Your Audience

define-audiences

This is the first blog post in our Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018 series. Stay tuned for our next blog where we will cover best practices on defining your target audience.

Many financial institutions make the mistake of using a one-size-fits-all marketing approach—sending out one message, via only a few channels, that is supposed to reach and engage all account-holders. The problem with this approach is that your account-holders likely comprise a diverse group: seniors, business people, parents, Millennials, and even students. These groups are at different stages in their lives, with different needs and learning styles, and thus will require different messages and different methods to engage them. So before you can market your audience, you need to know a lot more about who they are.

Here are three tried-and-true ways to gather information on your audience segments:

  1. Demographic data – The good news is that you have already collected a lot of great information on your existing account-holders. Data such as age, gender, zip code, occupation, income range, product and service usage, and education level can help you start to build out your audience segments.
  2. Surveys – Don’t know something? Just ask. Brief surveys and questionnaires can be collected through email, social media, or in-branch visits. As one of your questions, be sure to ask people which channels they prefer to be engaged through, as this will help drive your later marketing efforts.
  3. Interviews – In-person interviews are more time-intensive, but are one of the most valuable ways to collect data. These can be done over the phone, in-branch, or even out in the community.

Defining your audience is just one important step in your overall financial marketing strategy. To learn more about what it takes to create a marketing strategy that incorporates content marketing and financial education, download our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018: An Interactive Guidebook for Banks & Credit Unions.

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MONEY’s Best Banks in America List: EVERFI congratulates partner institutions recognized for excellence

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What does it take to be selected as one of the best banks in America?

To answer that question, Time magazine’s MONEY compared the largest financial institutions in the country – including 90 brick-and-mortar banks, 50 credit unions, and 15 online banks – to see who is giving the consumer the best overall experience and value for their money. The result is a list of the best financial institutions in each state, 20 of whom are EVERFI partners.

Criteria for the Best Banks in America List

To make its selections, MONEY looked for banks that met the following criteria:

  •      Low or no ATM fees
  •      Checking accounts with no (or easily waived) monthly fees
  •      Checking accounts with low or no penalties for carrying a low balance
  •      Good J.D. Power customer service ratings
  •      No recent enforcement actions or violations
  •      Wide geographic reach within a state
  •      Positive ratings of the bank’s mobile apps (on iTunes and Google Play)

According to MONEY, although two-thirds of consumers prefer to do their banking online or via the phone, financial institutions hoping to expand shouldn’t get rid of physical branches altogether. More than 70% of consumers still visit banks regularly and, surprisingly, Millennials are less likely than Gen Xers to move their banking completely online. Bottom line? Banks and credit unions that want to be customer-centric need to be able to demonstrate both mobility and availability—online and off.

EVERFI’s Partners Make the Grade

At EVERFI, we take pride in helping banks and credit unions give back to their communities through financial education programs tailored to consumers, employees, businesses, and students. With outreach programs that are truly consumer-focused, it comes as no surprise that 20 of our partner financial institutions made it onto the list of Best Banks in America. We’re proud to support their success, and we extend a hearty congratulations to our partners who have been nationally recognized for their excellence.

Congratulations to our partner financial institutions who were selected as a Best Bank in America, listed below in alphabetic order:

  •      Bank of the Ozarks
  •      Bank of the West
  •      Bethpage Federal Credit Union
  •      Boeing Employees Credit Union
  •      Digital Federal Credit Union
  •      First Hawaiian Bank
  •      Fulton Bank
  •      Glacier Bank
  •      Northwest (Savings) Bank
  •      Provident Bank
  •      Renasant Bank
  •      Suncoast Credit Union
  •      Synovus
  •      TD Bank
  •      U.S. Bank
  •      Union Bank & Trust
  •      University of Iowa Community Credit Union
  •      Washington Federal
  •      Wings Financial
  •      Wright-Pratt Credit Union

To find out more about how EVERFI is helping banks and credit unions give back to their communities and expand their reach through financial education, contact us at EVERFI.com/FinEd.

Financial Education as Content Marketing: Setting Priorities for 2018

Increasingly, financial institutions are turning to financial education to both educate consumers and attract new business. In fact, according to a recent EVERFI study, 89 percent of marketers at financial institutions say that financial education already plays a role in their marketing strategy, and more than half of compliance officers say that they plan to increase budget on financial education next year.

Bottom line: financial marketers are realizing that financial education is a win-win—filling a much-needed gap in consumer knowledge while also increasing engagement, authority, and awareness of their brand.

But how do you incorporate financial education into your marketing strategy? It all starts with setting goals. Here’s how:

  1.  First, get clear on your marketing priorities. A recent report from the Financial Brand revealed that the top three marketing priorities for financial institutions are cross-selling, loan growth, and increased adoption of digital channels. This might feel familiar, but we recommend choosing one goal to prioritize, as this will hone your efforts and make them more powerful.

  2. Second, choose a product that you’d like to target. The same EVERFI study mentioned above found that 76 percent of financial marketers are focused on selling mortgage loans/refinancing products—that might be a good place to start.
  3. Finally, combine numbers 1 and 2 together above to create your marketing strategy. For example, if increasing cross-sell opportunities is your highest goal, and mortgages are your most important product—your marketing strategy should be geared towards cross-selling mortgages to current account-holders.

Learn how to incorporate financial education into your annual marketing strategy and engage your consumers in new ways by downloading our new guidebook, The Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018: An Interactive Guidebook for Banks & Credit Unions. To learn more, download part I of the guidebook here and join us for six weeks of strategy as we help financial institutions start 2018 on the right foot.

International Credit Union Day: 4 credit unions that are leading the way with financial education

International Credit Union Day

 

It’s International Credit Union Day – held on the third Thursday of every October since 1948 – and all of us at EVERFI want to recognize our credit union partners with a nod to this year’s theme of “Dreams Thrive Here.” In celebrating the ways that credit unions help members achieve big goals in life, today we take a look at how four institutions are successfully using financial education to pursue that mission.

Community First Credit Union, Jacksonville, Fla.

Online education modules secure record-breaking, long-term outcomes

When in-person financial education classes produced only fair results, this $1.5-billion-asset institution turned to a completely customizable, digital platform to better reach its more than 122,000 members in 18 locations.

Called “moveUP,” Community First’s financial wellness program – created by EVERFI – enabled a much broader training platform to help improve the financial health of its large membership base.

Through 22 educational modules on topics ranging from auto loans to mortgages, Community First realized a succession of enviable results during the six-week program lifecycle: a one-day record number of new accounts opened upon program launch, and the biggest rise in unsecured personal loans issued – a 41% increase over the previous year.

Ultimately, says Jonathan Hanson, Community First’s Product Manager, this program aims directly at fulfilling one of the credit union’s core goals: “Together with EVERFI, we’re building a pipeline of potentially credit-worthy new members for the future.”


University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union
, Lexington, Ken.

Digitally-driven content focus drives Millennial participation

To connect with its younger members and help this wired generation grow its financial knowledge, the credit union partnered with EVERFI to design on-demand, online education modules centered around video content that can be viewed from anywhere and from any device – be it laptop or smartphone.

This digital marketing initiative enables the 80-year-old financial cooperative to significantly strengthen its appeal to the modern Millennial market it serves. Case in point: Because auto loans represent a large sales driver for this community, UKFCU tied completion of the training modules it offers to an interest-rate discount on new auto loans. This strategy pulled in one out of every three website visitors and led to an impressive 87% education module completion rate.

“For those of us working closely with universities and student populations, being able to combine the right content with the right vehicle for communicating that content is crucial,” explains Carol Carr, the credit union’s Financial Education Specialist, adding that the next level calls for adding programming to other digital channels, such as email and social media. “It’s so important for our credit union to provide accurate financial education so that members can know that they’re in good hands.”

 

USAlliance Federal Credit Union, Rye. N.Y.

Tailor-made financial education partnership serves diverse needs 

With a membership reach that spans the Northeast Corridor, USAlliance FCU serves a wide-ranging community – including corporate employees and public service workers. Because of that diversity, the $1+billion-asset institution needed a well-leveraged, financial education solution that’s more deeply customized than just any off-the-shelf vendor program.

Working with EVERFI, the 90,000-member credit union was able to fine-tune the financial-education experience it needed to deliver – matching members with modules that fit their personal interests and life needs. Strategies involved integrating email campaigns with specific content that members previously viewed or downloaded, and linking financial products or offers based on the module topic completed.

Six months after the EVERFI-powered launch, the credit union’s “Financial Wellness Center” program was a hit, attracting 10,000 customers who completed more than 5,000 modules. Most importantly, says Tori Burton, the institution’s Marketing Vice President, the EVERFI partnership allows USAlliance FCU to provide the unique value inherent in its mission.

“We want to help our members live life fully,” she says, “and that means equipping them with tools and knowledge to better manage their finances. We needed someone to grasp what made our members tick, and they [EVERFI] just ‘got it.’ ”

 

Pacific Service Credit Union, Concord, Calif.

Quick-to-launch rollout delivers fast-track results

To inspire its 70,000 members with an easy-to-use education that would empower them to make better financial decisions, Pacific Service CU wanted to take advantage of Financial Literacy Month last April to introduce a brand new skill-building strategy.

Thanks to EVERFI’s digital education technology, a seamless launch allowed the $1+billion-asset credit union to meet that key timeline with a four-module rollout on topics ranging from credit cards to identity protection to retirement planning. Branded under the name “Take Charge of Your Finances,” the incentivized program was advertised with ads and alerts throughout the credit union’s website, as well as promoted on social media.

Notably, Pacific Service CU’s email campaign led the list of fast-track results, achieving a 30% open rate – 50% higher than industry standards. After only six weeks, more than 2,000 customers had “taken charge” by completing the education modules – and the institution attracted more than 1,200 member enrollments.

Pacific Service CU Marketing Director Bryan Lyons sums up the success with this simple, but far-reaching message: “The more our members know, the better their decisions will be, and the more prosperous their futures will be.”

 

Interested in learning more about the financial education programs that brought these credit unions a new level of member outreach? Request an EVERFI demo at https://EVERFI.com/webcontact-us-form/

National Savings Day: 5 Ways that Financial Institutions Can Help Accountholders

Today, October 12th is National Savings Day and we want to highlight some troublesome facts: Americans are falling short when it comes to rainy day funds. According to a recent Bankrate Financial Security Index, 24% of adults – and 25% of Millennials – say they have no money saved for an emergency like a layoff or a medical bill. On top of that, just 31% of adults and 23% of Millennials have what’s considered an adequate savings cushion: enough to cover six months’ worth of unanticipated expenses.

National Savings Day represents a great opportunity to think about your institution’s strategies and how they can be geared towards helping consumers save more effectively. Here are five ways that your financial institution can help accountholders build their savings:

  1. Incentivize savings accounts. Cash perks, rate bonuses, gift cards or prize-linked account features are powerful tools to attract new accounts and help retain existing ones – and they incentivize positive saving behaviors, as well. Kick it up a notch by rewarding your customers for taking proactive steps to opening a savings account, making consecutive deposits, or not withdrawing funds for a period of time.
  2. Reach out to Millennials in new ways. These digital natives gravitate toward mobile-banking apps that help them do the right thing – from analyzing daily spending and savings targets to setting up savings buckets where they can allot cash for big-ticket plans, like a car or a trip. These user-friendly tools also can link to social networks, where reminders and visual representations of their progress can be shared. Streamlining your posting of targeted savings messages across multiple platforms covers all the bases. Smart, visual aesthetics – whether they are graphic illustrations or short videos – will engage Millennials and demonstrate how your institution is different when it comes to partnering in savings.
  3. Implement a financial education program. Helping customers learn about savings options that may work best for them should be a cornerstone of any financial institution’s marketing strategy. In fact, a recent EVERFI survey found that 89% of banks and credit unions rely on financial education as a part of their digital marketing strategy, while 45% plan to increase their budget in this area. To be effective, financial education must meet a current need and must reach accountholders at appropriate milestones, as they make important life decisions – online learning programs are the way to do this effectively. Quick, relevant lessons on savings topics that resonate with the community you serve can secure trusted relationships – and ultimately encourage long-term savers within your product array.
  4. Train employees to talk about savings with customers. 60% of great banking experiences are due to great staff, and 46% of your customers will rely on your employees to select products for them, according to PwC’s Retail Banking 2020 report. That’s why a firm grasp of savings product knowledge and an ability to assess accountholder financial status are critical skills for staff to possess. If a customer has a high cash balance on a checking account, for example, your associate could cross-sell a high-yield savings account or certificate-of-deposit. Along with inspiring accountholder savings, these types of personalized, relationship-building methods can boost your institution’s wallet share – earning more of each customer’s total business by guiding them to more effective savings products.
  5. Publicize automatic savings options. Automatic funds transfer programs offer an effortless way to build savings, yet only 40% of Americans participate in automatic savings outside of work. Perhaps that’s why the FDIC annually reminds financial institutions to promote this simple savings strategy. Provide options for customers to set up recurring transfers from checking accounts to savings accounts, and then take the idea one step further with a “spare change” program. These programs round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar amount and transfer the difference into a savings account. Boost the habit even more by offering rewards – typically a percentage of the amount rounded up (with an annual cap).

National Savings Day is a great day to reflect on how your financial institution can continue the good work you have already started. Getting consumers to think about their savings potential – how much they can realistically set aside each month after essential expenses – leads to positive action that helps build up the personal financial reserves they need. Having digital financial education programs and mobile app tools available to educate accountholders about savings – will also have a benefit of savvier and more invested customers. Learn more about how your institution can help customers build financial capability and reach consumers in meaningful ways with EVERFI’s Financial Capability Network.

Equifax Breach

Equifax Breach: How Consumer Education Can Help

Equifax Breach
On September 9, 2017, we all saw the Equifax breach make headlines, and then the unfortunate follow up and backlash.  Up to 143 million Americans have had their private data hacked, including names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. This incident is being called the biggest hack in history. Security experts around the world derided Equifax’s security protection, as well as its response to the incident. Leading security researcher/blogger Brian Krebs noted, “I cannot recall a previous data breach in which the breached company’s public outreach and response have been so haphazard and ill-conceived as the one coming right now from big-three credit bureau Equifax.”
 
Clearly, we should not tolerate Equifax’s security model that has allowed for the breach to occur. And I cannot in good conscience defend their response: they allegedly waited months to report the hack, they suggested that consumers sign up for a credit monitoring services that included a confusing user agreement where consumers might waive their right to a future class action lawsuit, and they also disclosed that senior executives sold Equifax stock just after the breach occurred but before it was announced to the public.
That being said, while locking down corporate security is hard, I would suggest that informing consumers exactly what to do after a hack is even harder. So letting consumers know what to do is very tricky to get right.

We see that a consumer’s anxiety is ultimately rooted in a lack of knowledge. We all know that we fear what we do not understand. Given the complexity of technology, the mystery of how this happens, and lack of information in general, cyber crime is an especially scary topic for most Americans.  Ultimately, consumers need clear and easy-to-understand information that explains what a security breach is such as the Equifax breach, what to do when you are a victim of a hack, and how to protect yourself in the future.

Consumers need to have education about identity protection and need to have it delivered just-in-time when these events occur.  If you are an employee of a bank or credit union, your institution is probably already pushing out at least some communication and information about the Equifax breach.  But make sure this communication includes clear and jargon-free education with suggested next steps.

Providing education on security breaches and identity theft will shine a light on this topic.

Update from the Financial Capability Network

Financial Capability Network

 

This July, EVERFI’s Financial Capability Network had another intimate invite-only event that convened a diverse set of industry leaders to discuss strategies and best practices for improving the financial capability of people of all ages. The event took place in San Diego, CA, and featured keynotes by Gov. Frank Keating and the former CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable Steve Bartlett.

The event also had many productive and informative speaking panels featuring industry experts.  There were deep-dives into how banks approach CRA efforts, sharing of advice and best practices, as well as research opportunities around financial education. It’s hard to come up with they key takeaways – since there were so many meaningful discussions – but here is our list of the top insights:
  •  Relationships aren’t just the “biggest thing” that matters, they are the ONLY thing!  We spent time talking about relationships with customers, with community, and even with your CRA regulator.  Furthermore, there was definitely some bonding between attendees.  These industry-peer relationships – most of whom do not often get to share ideas – became immediately valuable.
  • Community = Business Growth.  For some reason, Community Development sometimes lives in its own corner of financial institutions, and is not seen as critical to the growth of the institution.  This does not make sense.  Community Development is part of that growth, and investments in community are investments in a financial institution’s future.
  • The power of the Network.  Many financial institutions are tackling difficult problems all on their own.  If we work together as an industry, it is obvious that we can accomplish so much more.  The whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts.
These events are a critical part of the Financial Capability Network – they really make the network come to life. If you would like to learn more about the Financial Capability Network, you can read more here: https://everfi.com/fcn

The Importance of Financial Digital Marketing

Technology has changed the way financial institutions interact with consumers. Over the years, in-store visits to banks have decreased from more than two dozen to roughly three visits per year.  This trend encourages financial institutions like yours to find innovative ways to stay in touch with the consumers who’ve embraced the digital age. This means it’s more important than ever for your financial institution to implement a digital marketing strategy.

How to Start the Digital Conversation

The digital age allows  your financial institutions to stay in constant communication with consumers. In order to create a strong presence, your financial institutions must use content to establish expertise with your targeted audience. Consumers want to receive insights, increase their knowledge on financial literacy, attend webinars; read blogs and case studies. If you work on getting started with one of these digital marketing techniques you will create trust between your financial institution and the consumer.

Digital marketing would also allow your financial institutions to set measurable goals and find ways to successfully achieve those goals. After getting buy in from executives and setting measurable goals it’s time to build the foundation and start executing your plans by:

  • Reaching Your Audience
    There are plenty of channels that your financial institution can use to reach your targeted audience. Some of those channels include email marketing, website marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing, paid social media, and blogging. Choosing one or two to get started with will enable you to reach more of your consumers.
  • Driving Engagement with Financial Education
    Engaging with your audience through of financial education has a lot of benefits. Not only can your financial institution show off their expertise, but also your company can learn about their target audience and take them on a new journey with your financial institution. 
  • Tracking & Maintaining Engagement
    Once your financial institution has engaged with your targeted audience, it is important to track and maintain the results. By doing so, this allows your financial institution to pull insights, create data and find new ways how to interact with your new targeted audience.

To learn more about digital marketing  and best practices join us for our upcoming webinar on July 20th 1PM EST on The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing. If you can’t join us for the webinar check out the guidebooks that started it all, The Ultimate Guide to Financial Digital Marketing.