Today, the majority of consumers (81% of the U.S. population) are on social media. With 2.14 billion internet users, 80% of whom research products and purchases online, it is becoming urgent for banks to become digitally proficient. Consumers are already adopting digital and mobile banking, resulting in a rapid downsizing of physical banks in the USA alongside the rampant growth of digital-native organizations (for example, Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services now holds over $100 billion in assets just 2 years after launch). Existing banks must make the switch to digital not only to compete but also to remain in the industry.
Developing an online marketing strategy for your bank is the first step to establishing a real digital presence, but it is one that traditional banks often struggle with.
Why Online Marketing?
Banks have traditionally spent little on marketing, relying on necessity to drive revenue. For example, a study of 256 banks in the USA revealed that most of them spend 0.077% of total revenue on marketing, while the median marketing spend for all businesses is 13%.
At the same time, digital sales could account for as much as 40% of new bank revenue within 5 years. In Western Europe, banks already report half of new revenue from digital sales. The USA is trailing these numbers, but not by far. In short, banks have just a few years to enter into and capitalize on a growing digital market and creating a financial marketing strategy is crucial to developing a brand presence.
Creating an Online Marketing Strategy for Banks
Digital touches every aspect of operations, from product development to risk management and human capital. A successful online marketing strategy for banks must be based on how digital drives value, consumer behavior, market dynamics, and prioritization based on specific organizational goals.
Connecting with Consumers – Your bank’s online marketing strategy should enable you to move beyond simple touch-points to creating ongoing relationships with consumers. Digital makes it possible to create specific user-centered customer journeys with web content, UX, and processes through customer service, including establishing individual relationship managers to each customer’s account. This personalized service is one of the big draws for digital, and it is important that you capitalize on it.
Offer Value in Digital – Digital marketing is about more than advertising. It’s about customer service through chat and social media, offering personalization, ease of use, and online application or account management. A good user experience will market itself. More importantly, every aspect of your online experience ties into marketing. It doesn’t matter how good your ads are if users can’t access your website on their phone or customer service on Facebook drops the ball with a less than timely response.
Personalization – Online banking allows organizations to collect data in volumes never dreamed of before. Leveraging data and analytics allows you to apply that information to create highly targeted offers, both for creating new customers and cross-selling – at the point of sale, and throughout the customer’s lifespan. The availability of big data makes it possible to generate and use customer insight for marketing, cross and up-selling, and even customer relationship management. This also means understanding your market demographic, segmenting and targeting your marketing efforts, and creating content and value for each demographic.
Automation – Digital marketing gives you the tools to automate marketing tasks like bidding on ads, sending emails when users click on links, creating personalized plans using contextual choices, and even A/B or split-testing ads to see which are working and which aren’t. Automation should be an important element of your online marketing strategy, simply because it cuts costs, can improve quality of output, and greatly reduces the number of marketing experts needed to complete tasks.
Diversify Your Efforts – You may or may not be familiar with words like omnichannel, but it’s where the future of marketing is headed. Users access websites from varying devices and creating an experience that tracks users across devices to provide a single, uniform experience. Your bank should be investing in mobile, social media, apps, website, and potentially a variety of content for different mediums.
Bring in Experts – If your marketing team isn’t quite up to the challenge of digital, that’s a problem. If you’re going to succeed online, you have to know how to use SEO, PPC, content marketing, ads, and social media. Consider bringing in digital natives or partnering with a company that can provide technical services.
Most banks already have the technology and even the data in place to realize this kind of marketing strategy. What’s missing is the ability to orient towards digital, develop strong online strategy, and create and run online marketing campaigns. If you’re ready to take your bank’s online marketing further, download our free online marketing strategy for banks to learn more.