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 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 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.

A Nationwide Look at Middle School Students’ Sense of Belonging

Researchers have identified a strong sense of belonging to one’s school community as a key indicator of future success in and out of school. So how many students feel that strong sense of belonging, and what are the implications of that lack of connectedness? Our newest insight report, The Importance of Belonging, helps us explore this complex and critical question.

Our partnership with the United Way Worldwide, NFL and Verizon gives us the chance to reach tens of thousands of students through Character Playbook. The course surveys provide us a deeper understanding of students’ sense of belonging and also helped us identify additional characteristics that students who don’t feel that strong sense of belonging possess.

Our analysis uncovered some really interesting findings:

  • 29 percent of students report a weak or negative sense of belonging to their school community
  • There was a positive linear correlation between students who felt less connected and their likelihood to help others and treat people with respect.
  • Students who felt a weak or negative sense of belonging were less likely to identify and intervene in abusive or unhealthy relationships.

We know educators work tirelessly every day to create safe, joyful, and inclusive learning environments where all students feel a strong sense of belonging. We take an enormous amount of pride in supporting thousands of schools’ social-emotional learning work through the implementation of Character Playbook. This report confirms previous research that says these efforts are critical to students’ long-term success and are worthy of further support and evaluation.


Interested in building a stronger sense of belonging amongst your students? In addition to checking out Character Playbook, here are some additional strategies that can help you with this work:

  • Through the clear articulation of a shared language and terminology, a school can help students understand what the school’s core values mean in everyday behavior and grasp the reasons why some behaviors (e.g., doing your best and respecting others) represent good character and are valued while their opposites do not (Character.org).
  • Consider “Warmth and Support” Practices. Warmth and support refer to the academic and social support that students receive from their teacher and from their peers. The teacher creates a classroom where the students know that teachers care about them. Teachers can demonstrate that they care about their students by asking students questions (academic and non-academic), following up with students when they have a problem or concern, providing the teacher’s own anecdotes or stories, and acting in ways in which students know that taking risks and asking questions are safe in the classroom (CASEL/American Institutes for Research).
  • Integrate school climate and our social-emotional learning data with existing work. By leveraging instructional data and survey responses alongside suspension rates, absentee frequency and academic performance, educators can better identify and understand the breadth of the school connectedness challenges their students face (National School Climate Center).

 

 


 

Steve Sandak is a member of EVEFI’s Research team. His work focuses on the impact of our K-12 learning platform. Steve is a former high school educator, and is based in our Boston office.

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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

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Financial Marketing: Learn How to Define Your Audience

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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.

November in Canada is Financial Literacy & Career Month

Happy Career Development Month! This month, we are highlighting resources…

November is National Career Development Month

Happy Career Development Month! This month, we are highlighting resources…

Are Girls Less Prepared for Entrepreneurship?

Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Elon Musk, Arianna Huffington, Jay-Z…these are each household names who also represent some of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. But who will be the next generation of dreamers to come up with a big idea that will change the world? At EVERFI, we think it’s not enough to just ask these questions. We work side by side with educators to inspire all students to recognize the entrepreneur inside of themselves. We are excited to share our most recent deep dive into one of our most widely used courses, Venture – Entrepreneurial Expedition™. 

Measuring Up – Venture takes a look at survey responses from students throughout the country to understand which students know what it means to be an entrepreneur, who sees themselves as an entrepreneur, and who has the skills to actually make it happen. What did we find out? A few highlights below:

  • Venture helps all students become more knowledgeable and prepared to become entrepreneurs.
  • Before taking Venture, girls felt less prepared than boys to launch a venture. Afterwards, that gender gap closed and the overall level of preparedness increased for all students.
  • Girls were at least as knowledgeable as boys— and in some instances more knowledgeable— before taking Venture.

What did we learn? Entrepreneurship education should be for everyone and our students, specifically young girls, are up to the task! Ensuring greater access and support for this path should be a priority for educators as they think about a broader college and career readiness strategy for their students. We need more young people thinking creatively and independently about how they will solve the problems of tomorrow.

Looking for a few ideas make this actionable at your school and encourage girls in entrepreneurship?

  1. Explore Female Entrepreneurs: We’ve mentioned Oprah and Arianna Huffington, but what other female entrepreneurs have your students not yet heard of? Introduce them to America’s 10 Most Successful Women Entrepreneurs, and create opportunities for researching beyond the top ten.
  2. Take a Female Business Deep Dive: Where are most female business owners? What problems are they focused on achieving? Explore the National Women’s Business Council Fact Sheet on Women Owned Businesses and see what students find most interesting.
  3. Entrepreneurship Education Audit – What are the classes that talk about business and entrepreneurship at your school? Are they required classes or electives?

So what do these findings mean to you? How is your school making classes and instruction related to entrepreneurship available to as many students as possible? We’d love to hear your ideas and best practices about what entrepreneurship education looks like in your community.


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Steve Sandak is a member of EVEFI’s Research team. His work focuses on the impact of our K-12 learning platform. Steve is a former high school educator, and is based in our Boston office.