Traditional vs. Digital Marketing

Is Your Financial Institution Prepared for the Digital Age?

The digital age, as it has with so many facets of daily life, has permanently altered how regular consumers use and view financial institutions. Consider that today’s consumer only walks into a physical branch an average of three times per year; in 1995, they visited a branch more than 24 times a year. Today it’s easier than ever before to transfer money, apply for loans, make deposits and payments, and get information—without ever setting foot inside a bank or credit union.

While consumer banking habits have changed, many banks have not changed their marketing and advertising tactics to keep up. And this is a problem. Non-traditional services like PayPal, Square, and Mint have ridden the digital wave and are crowding the financial services playing field. If traditional financial institutions want to compete, they need to embrace digital marketing.

Traditional Advertising vs. Digital Marketing

While we’re not suggesting you scrap your traditional advertising channels altogether, it’s important to know why they are limiting. The problem with traditional advertising is that it’s one-dimensional—it sends a single message and hopes that it is being received. Digital marketing, on the other hand, allows for continued personalized interaction with your brand, offers opportunities for consumers to take immediate action, and lets you track results.

Financial education is a great example. When banks and credit unions offer online opportunities for learning, their consumers and prospects have a chance to interact with the brand. They are receiving valuable education, but they’re also on the financial institution’s website, interacting with the brand, exploring, and simultaneously building trust in the brand. When they need a financial service, they are more likely to choose the brand that they’ve already come to respect. And—since they’ve provided access to online education modules—financial institutions can track consumer progress and follow up with other relevant offerings.

Learning why digital marketing matters is only the first step. For more information on how your financial institution can get started with digital marketing, download the complete guide here.

5 Types of Financial Content Marketing to Prioritize in 2018

5 Types of FinEd Marketing in 2018

If you’re like many financial marketers, you know that you should be doing content marketing, but you’re not sure what kind of content to create. In this post, we’ll explore five types of content that work well for financial institutions.

  • Thought leadership
    Thought leadership is any content that allows you to simultaneously provide value and display your industry expertise. Examples include white papers and guides. Remember that the primary goal is to provide information about a specific topic, so be careful not to sound too salesy.
  • Education
    Education is a great way to engage prospects in any industry, but it’s especially true for banks and credit unions, where prospective customers are often actively searching for financial knowledge. By addressing an active need, you’re helping consumers build financial know-how while also building trust and credibility in your brand.
  • Blogs
    Blog posts—like this one—are shorter articles that provide a little bit of info on a certain topic. They require less time to read, and they’re highly searchable and shareable. It’s important to blog regularly—perhaps once a week—to provide fresh information to your readers and not appear “stale.”
  • Case studies
    Case studies relate stories of how your brand has helped other people. By providing relatable stories, case studies help customers imagine how your services could also help them with their own pain points. Case studies can also be posted to, or promoted on, your blog.
  • Webinars
    A webinar is a virtual classroom, where a presenter teaches a class, asks questions to a panel, or takes questions from an online audience. Although they are usually live, webinars can also be recorded and posted to your website, where they can add continue to add value in the future.

Content marketing is an integral part of digital marketing, but there’s a lot more to know. To learn more about digital marketing for banks and credit unions, download our complete Introduction to Digital Marketing Guide here.

2018 Calendar

Create a High Performing Financial Marketing Calendar in 2018

2018 Calendar

Financial marketing is like meeting a friend for coffee: if it doesn’t get scheduled, it just won’t happen. After you’ve spent time creating a robust financial education or content program, then, the next step is laying it all out on the calendar that will get you the most return for your hard work. A calendar can help you determine your strategic priorities, as well as organize your efforts. But it’s not set in stone. Here are some three considerations while planning:

Major milestones and events
Do the major milestones first. Lay out big events, programs, and promotions months or even a year in advance. Are you planning to do four webinars next year? Three community events? A financial wellness program? Put them on the calendar now—or they probably won’t happen.

Micro-planning
Do micro-planning in three-month increments. This is the time to schedule blog posts, social media posts, and emails. Don’t be afraid to get granular: make decisions about specific days, times, and channels, and choose topics for your blog posts and emails. Refer to best practices to help you schedule your emails and blogs. Don’t forget to leverage the data from last year to help you make decisions for this year. 

Delegate
Equally as important as getting your dates is deciding who will do what. Who is writing the blog posts? Who is publishing to social media? Who is sending emails? Who is organizing the webinar? Assign roles, get buy-in, and add names to everything on the calendar. If you have a small team take time to prioritize the tasks so that you know ahead of time what can get accomplished and what can be put on hold. 

You might think that scheduling is the final step, but don’t forget to measure the effectiveness of your program by collecting and reporting data that will help you fine-tune the program for the next go-round. Want more ideas on how to create a marketing plan that incorporates financial education? Download our guidebook, The Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018.

Content Marketing Report Analyzing

3 Ways Financial Education Improves Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing

You probably already offer some form of financial education to your account holders at your financial institution, but have you been using it to gain new account holders or upsell your current ones? Of all the different kinds of content that financial institutions can offer to their consumers and prospects, financial education might be the most powerful. How and why is it the most effective content marketing? There are three primary reasons:

  1. Financial education lets you show off your expertise.
    Consumers and prospects want to increase their financial knowledge base, and banks and credit unions are in the perfect position to provide this knowledge to them. By offering free online programs geared towards consumers’ needs, you are simultaneously helping your audience and building trust, positioning yourself as the go-to provider for valuable information and products.
  2. Financial Education helps you learn about your audience.
    Other forms of marketing can be hard to track, but online learning modules require a free log-in process. Requiring consumers to register allows you to gather consumer data, track their progress through the online course, and follow up afterwards. This free log-in process allows you track more data about your consumers, which will allow you to target your key personas and tailor the marketing messages by their life stage or needs more effectively.
  3. Financial Education transforms your audience.
    As your consumers move through your financial education programs, they become more informed account holders. They’ll be able to make better decisions, show greater interest in more of your services, and grow into brand ambassadors. Sound too good to be true? This is supported by recent research by Powered Inc., which showed that consumers who purchase banking services after engaging in online financial education are more than 90 percent more likely to tell friends and family about their experience.

Financial education can be a valuable part of your overall marketing strategy. Get the most out of your 2018 strategy by learning more about implementing a digital marketing program for your financial institution. Download our complete guide, The Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018 to get started today.

 

2 Key Reasons to Include Employees in Financial Education Programs

Employee FinEd Enagement

As a financial marketer, you probably spend a majority of your time focused on acquiring new consumers through content marketing. But when creating a financial education program for your external audience, it’s important to consider educating another key audience: your financial institution’s employees. Getting your staff onboard with your financial education program will help them familiarize themselves with your financial institutions products and services while also improving their own financial capability and enabling them to better educate consumers. Many financial institutions have seen success when implementing an employee program before rolling it out to their consumers.

Here are two key reasons why you should be including employees in their financial education marketing efforts:

  1. Any content marketing or financial education program that you initiate for your consumers will be more effective if your employees are also knowledgeable about the effort. Your employees are on the front line of consumer service each day, and they will be more eager to promote your program, as well as more effective advocates for financial capability, if they understand the initiative themselves. 
  2. Educating your own staff also helps them do their jobs better. 76 percent of all employers say that staff financial issues impact their job performance—so educating your own employees will not only help them improve their personal financial wellness, but it will also improve your bottom line by increasing job satisfaction and effectiveness.

Enthusiasm is truly contagious, and a staff that has already bought into a financial education program will be ambassadors to their consumers and prospects—as well as a test group for any early problems within the program itself. Rolling out a program to employees with an incentive will also help employees to use the program, it will also make the process more fun and it will generate even more enthusiasm around the roll-out. Want more tips on incorporating financial education into your marketing strategy for next year? Download our guidebook, The Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018.

Financial Marketing Strategy Group Discussion

Financial Marketing and Distribution Channels: The Multi-Channel Approach

Marketing Channel Meeting

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 target account-holders in new ways. To ensure that you are reaching and engaging your different audience segments, you’ll need to share your content through a multi-channel approach—matching each audience 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 with personalized content aligned to your audience’s life stage and financial needs. 

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 content 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. This will ultimately build consumer trust and loyalty with your brand. 

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 regular basis with valuable content. Blogs are another way to educate your audience and drive consumers to want learn more about your financial institution while also building consumer trust.

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 elders, 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. Additionally, face-to-face interactions can be more personable and engaging, helping to build a stronger relationship with account-holders. Elders who are not engaging with your content online are great candidates for 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

Road Image

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.