Archive for the ‘Content Marketing for Banks’ Category
Instagram probably makes you think of chic fashion brands, oversharing celebs and teenagers superglued to their phones. Not appropriate for a financial institution, right? Wrong. Instagram marketing for banks and credit unions is an effective way to enhance brand and drive consumer engagement.
With 800 million active monthly users (and counting), Instagram’s membership is impressive enough, but its big selling point is its user engagement rate (the ratio of likes, shares and comments to how many people see your post). Thanks to the platform’s active user base and image-driven content, it can offer brands more than 50 times the engagement of Facebook or other social media. No wonder Instagram is one of the most creative marketing ideas for banks and credit unions!
While financial services may not have the glitz of a designer handbag or luxury cruise, a smart, creative Instagram strategy can still elevate your bank or credit union’s brand. The key to Instagram marketing for banks and credit unions is to communicate what makes your organization unique by sharing authentic imagery and storytelling that focus on lifestyles and emotions – not products.
When it comes to Instagram marketing for banks and credit unions, ditch salesy messaging and focus on these subjects:
There’s a reason Instagram is dominated by celebrities (and aspiring celebrities). Users respond to personalities, not institutions. Here’s how you can use Instagram to showcase your brand personality:
- Put people front and center (literally: photos with faces got 38 percent more likes). Share pictures of staff behind the scenes or customers or members engaging with your brand.
- Celebrate the successes of your customers or members. Encourage them to share photos of the home you helped them finance or the vacation they took through your credit card rewards program.
- Use contests and prompts to build community. Offer small prizes to encourage followers to respond to a fun question – Favorite movie? Dream vacation? – or share a relevant photo with your branded hashtag.
Showing your impact in the community is one of the best ways to use Instagram. Are you the “business-friendly” lender? Post photos of local businesses you serve. Are you the “home town” bank or credit union? Share pictures from the events you support. Whether it’s a car show, rodeo or food festival, this is a great way to align your brand with the local culture. Some other suggestions:
- Share photos and stories related to charities you fund or volunteer with, or highlights from your latest employee service day.
- Snap photos at your homebuying seminars and other educational events, and keep the conversation going with an online Q&A.
- Load your posts with relevant, trending, local hashtags. This is a crucial way to stay visible on Instagram, where 95 million photos and videos are shared each day.
Instagram’s demographics skew younger: about two-thirds of America’s 18- to 29-year-olds use it. With an increasing number of fintech competitors vying for younger consumers, Instagram can be a great way for your bank or credit union to reach them first. Here’s what you can do:
- Highlight the lifestyle benefits of your products and services (less so the products and services themselves).
- Tell real-life stories about financial milestones, such as first-time homeowners raising a family or millennials conquering student debt by refinancing.
- Because 20-somethings are new to many banking concepts, share educational content such as infographics about budgeting or a video explaining how to deposit checks with your mobile banking app.
With the right content, being on Instagram could be a turning point for your financial services marketing. Need help with your Instagram strategy? We’ll make it a snap.
Better customer service leads to deeper relationships, enhanced loyalty and increased profitability. But with fewer people coming into a branch to do banking, how can your bank or credit union build relationships and community in the digital age?
The answer lies in developing a robust social media strategy. People use social media multiple times a day. That’s why it presents an incredible opportunity for banks and credit unions as a relationship-building tool.
Effective social media marketing for banks and credit unions goes beyond promotional posts or fan growth. Instead, when managed correctly, it’s a valuable relationship-building tool to promote your brand personality, drive positive conversations and encourage customer or member interaction.
It’s not easy understanding where to start or how to enhance a social media strategy. Try this fast and simplified tutorial:
Choose a Few Channels and Develop a Strategy Around Them.
There are more than 200 social media channels. You only need to be on a handful. But which are right for you? The first step in a solid social media strategy is to gather data about your customers and prospects, like age, gender, income level, education and interests. Then compare that data with social media platform demographics. Still not sure what channels to choose? Check out what your competition is doing on the most popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Understand Each Social Channel’s Specs.
Once you have a targeted list of social media platforms you are interested in using, do your research to understand each channel’s best practices for content and rules about what kinds of content or comments are appropriate. Then read through the requirements for using the site before planning your marketing initiatives.
Develop Social Content That Delivers Value.
The most effective social media strategies for banks and credit unions include the development of content that delivers real value. There’s certainly room for holiday greetings and cute quotes, but if you want to build a relationship with a current customer or prospect, you must commit to developing content your audience will value. Answer common financial questions, provide guidance on budgeting, deliver insight about local business trends or provide tips about entrepreneurial success. The goal is to provide the answers to questions your prospects are asking on these channels.
Boost Exposure With Social Advertising.
Your social media strategy needs to include social media advertising. This is a key component in getting the attention of people who are not yet members or customers. You’ll find that each social platform offers useful advertising tools like targeting and analytics that will help you fine-tune your social marketing efforts.
Make a Commitment to Social Customer Service.
No surprise here – most consumers would rather not call you or come into a branch. Yet, they do expect fast, reliable and friendly service. Consumers find social media a simple way to reach out to brands with kudos or complaints. Have a plan in place to respond quickly and appropriately to all social comments to increase your customer service scores.
Get Good at Social Listening.
You can also use social media as a tool to uncover pain points or discover services or products your clients or prospects need. By monitoring social media channels, you can track conversations around your brand, your product and your industry. Then, when you analyze that data, you can better understand the type of content, services and support your audience wants. By taking action on that insight, you can improve the customer experience.
How do you build relationships with bank customers or credit union members, when fewer of them are coming into your branches? Take a proactive approach to social media. Develop a plan that focuses on a few select channels, abide by those channels’ best practices, create useful and interesting content and listen and respond to your audience.
Need help taking a proactive approach to social media marketing? We have the team to deliver engaging content and effective social media campaigns. Reach out today.
Bank and credit union marketers work hard to create the best content for their audience, whether it’s a video about homebuying or a blog post about budgeting. But when it comes to financial services marketing, creating great content is only half the battle. No number of e-books or infographics will grow your market share without a sophisticated promotional strategy to help start the conversation.
Too often, a bank or credit union’s content flies under the radar because its promotional efforts are either insuffiencient or poorly targeted. This top-of-funnel marketing gap doesn’t just hurt the performance of some content: it can potentially undermine the whole campaign.
Is your financial content getting the promotion it deserves? See how many of these statements apply to you:
- We announce and preview new content via targeted email broadcasts. Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- We sprinkle previews and snippets of content into our day-to-day social media activity. Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- We increase our visibility with promoted posts, paid ads, sponsored content articles and other paid media.Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- We package content visually – through videos, infographics and photos – to boost sharing. Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- In social media posts, we tailor our approach to different audiences and platforms (instead of the generic “Check Out Our Blog”). Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- On social media, we promote our content through regular interaction with local influencers, especially happy customers or members who can serve as brand advocates. Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- We’ve built content-sharing relationships with bloggers and other influencers in fields like personal finance and small business. Yes or No?
And here’s the big one:
- Our content is driving measurable improvements in sales, audience engagement, site traffic and earned media. Yes or No?
GREAT CONTENT DESERVES GREAT PROMOTION
If all these statements are true for your bank or credit union, congratulations! You’re a content marketing rock star. But if this quiz revealed some gaps, there are lots of ways that a thorough and creative content marketing strategy can help.
Here are a few of the steps we take to increase visibility for our clients’ financial content:
- Maintain a high-quality email list and tease content updates among audience segments with matching interests.
- Align our content and promotion to ensure we’re sharing the right stuff with the right people at the right time.
- Grow social media engagement by offering useful, bite-sized content samples.
- Prioritize visual content to leverage its higher potential for engagement.
Promoting content doesn’t necessarily require major ad spending, but it does call for a lot of legwork, creativity, and planning. That’s why it’s important to have a committed team with the industry knowledge and digital marketing chops to not only create strong content but deliver it to more of the right people.
If you’d like to learn how our team of strategists, designers and writers can help you create great content and get the word out, reach out to us today.
BANKS & CREDIT UNIONS: 10 HOT TOPICS TO FILL YOUR SPRING CONTENT CALENDAR
When you’re deciding how to best spend your marketing budget, you probably put a lot of emphasis on promotions that encourage people to open accounts and apply for mortgages or loans. These, of course, are time-tested strategies that work, and you should keep doing them.
But what about all the people who see your ads, but who aren’t currently in the market for your products? How do you start to build a relationship with those people? Because chances are, sooner or later they will be in the market for your products, and you want them to turn to you, not your competition.
Enter content marketing, an effective strategy used by smart financial institution marketers to attract prospects and move them efficiently through the acquisition pipeline.
Effective content marketing is about publishing content that resonates with specific target audiences at specific points in your sales cycle. It also requires you to publish that content in formats and through channels that appeal to those different audiences. One challenge for bank and credit union marketers is coming up with fresh and appealing ideas for that content over and over again.
Following are some great ideas for content you can use for your next editorial calendar. But first, understand why content marketing works – and why you need to apply it to your overall bank or credit union marketing strategy.
Data Show How Effective Content Marketing Is.
To show you how effective content marketing can be, here are a few statistics that explain why a robust content marketing strategy is so important:
- Growth in unique site traffic is nearly eight times higher for sites that prioritize content marketing. (Aberdeen)
- Marketers who produce high-quality, relevant content attract audiences and increase engagement, which helps produce higher levels of brand recognition, boosts sales and encourages brand loyalty. (NewsCred)
- Content marketing produces three times as many leads as traditional marketing for every dollar spent. (Content Marketing Institute)
In addition to increasing organic search results and ROI, content marketing improves brand recognition, loyalty and affinity. Provide content your target audience finds valuable, and they’ll start sharing it with their friends. Show them you’re willing to go above and beyond what they expect from their financial institution, and they won’t just become customers, they’ll enthusiastically recommend you every chance they get. And that’s the best kind of marketing of all.
Quick Ideas to Stimulate Content Development.
As a leader in content marketing for banks and credit unions, we’ve found certain topics always gain audience traction, no matter the channel or the format. Here’s a short list of content ideas to include in your next editorial calendar planning session:
- Tips to Improve Your Credit Score
- How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft & Credit Card Fraud
- A User Review of the Latest Apps for Budgeting, Saving and Investing
- What to Expect as a First-Time Homebuyer
- The Biggest Challenges Facing Small Business Owners
- Deciding Whether to Buy or Lease a Commercial Property
- Who Should Consider a Health Savings Account
- Choosing Between Mortgage Options
- Owning vs Leasing a Car
- Getting on Track with Retirement Savings
Developing content ideas and then creating original, engaging content is key to effective marketing that drives bottom-line results. Getting help to create that content is often the smartest way busy marketing departments can manage their daily challenges and still meet the demand for escalating content requirements.
Think about it: Are you and your marketing team so overwhelmed with everyday marketing requirements that finding the time to create compelling, creative and interesting content is a burden? Call or email CrucialContent. We can save you time and money and help you meet your marketing goals.
Email marketing campaigns are a critical component of any content marketing strategy. Data show that 72 percent of adults prefer companies to communicate with them via email more than any other form of marketing. And a whopping 86 percent like to receive promotional emails at least once per month from companies they do business with.
Because email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach and stay in touch with a qualified and interested audience, properly managing your list is imperative. This is especially important for banks and credit unions that typically have lengthy sales cycles.
Proper email list management is a crucial aspect of effective content marketing. It improves email deliverability and gives you accurate insight into your campaign statistics. Here are four fast and easy ways to improve your financial institution’s email campaign results through effective email list management:
Attract Quality Addresses to Your List.
New visitors generally make up at least 60 percent of the traffic on most websites. Make sure your website is optimized to capture as many of these visitors as possible to your list. Include email registration forms on every main page of your site. And make sure those registration forms give your visitors options about the type of content they want to receive.
Once you have qualified addresses, be sure you add them into the appropriate segmented lists. When you segment your lists, you organize these important assets according to audience interest. That makes it easier to craft engaging content that is meaningful to your audiences.
You can segment your lists by the type of content each prefers, demographics, age, product engagement, future needs and more. Effective segmentation will allow you to run parallel campaigns. For instance, in February you can send out a February birthday greeting to one list, an IRA contribution reminder to those who told you they are interested in tax tips, and a tutorial on new merchant services features to business clients.
Ask for Feedback.
Every year, email a survey to your list asking each contact to identify the content they want to receive from you, from a listing of several categories. Be sure to share why the information is important to you and how their response will help you send the most useful information to them. Add a prominent call to action button to take the survey. And finally, make sure that the survey is short, to the point, and optimized to view well on a mobile device.
Scrub Your List.
After every email campaign, identify any emails that bounced back and remove them from your list. Regularly review your email list and look for anyone who has not opened an email from you in the last six months. Get those off your list. Those who are not engaged are dead weight on your list. When it comes to an effective email campaign a qualified address list is always preferable (quality over quantity). Finally, remove any distribution or system addresses, like those that start with “support@” or “info@”
Finally, make sure your emails offer value every time. Concentrate on helping each contact – not selling to them.
We’ve got more tips to share in our simple and free content marketing e-book. Download it fast!
When bank marketers want to educate their customers about a financial topic, a carefully conceived video can be the perfect solution. Video is a highly accessible format, which makes it a great way to begin a conversation with prospective customers. According to research from the Aberdeen Group, brands that prioritize video are able to grow their revenue 49 percent faster than their competitors. That’s because video is:
- Extremely popular. When people scroll through their social media news feeds, their eyes naturally gravitate to video content. On Facebook, native videos reach more people than any other type of organic content, and Cisco projects video will make up 70 percent of internet traffic in 2017.
- Mobile-friendly. More than half of online activity happens on a smartphone or tablet. On small screens, video is easier to enjoy than text.
- Highly brandable. The brain can process visual imagery much faster than words. This lets you communicate your brand very efficiently through nonverbal details like color, sound and facial expressions.
- Memorable. Video content is easier to recall, making it perfect for how-to content such as opening a checking account or applying for a mortgage.
Video content is one of the best ways for bank marketers to reach prospects, start relationships and win customers. That’s because video can communicate sometimes-technical financial concepts in a way that’s fun and relatable, which encourages customer engagement and drives organic traffic. The next time your bank wants to explain a financial topic or show the benefits of a service, a carefully branded video may have the most impact.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR BANK’S VIDEO INVESTMENT
To get the most out of your video content, follow these best practices:
- Put it in motion. Animation is a great way to make banking concepts accessible. This format is easier to brand with your bank’s visual style. We have found animation works especially well for problem-and-solution videos for our clients.
- Get to the point. Nearly two-thirds of online consumers prefer videos under a minute long, reports Animoto. The shorter, the better. Just make sure the video is high-quality, no matter how short.
- Consider costs. The term “video” can raise dollar signs in the C-suite’s eyes, but consider using animated videos – they can often be developed, and look exceptional, for less than the cost of live action.
- Show, don’t tell. Real-world scenarios make financial concepts simpler and more relatable. Don’t just tell your audience about credit card rewards – show someone enjoying these rewards on vacation. If you’re discussing commercial banking services, include visuals of a growing business.
- Tailor your approach. Modify your storytelling based on whether the video targets consumers or businesses. You’ll want a more high-level approach for your commercial audience.
- Make the most of it. Include meta data to make your video searchable – videos get 41 percent more search traffic. Boost your video on social media to drive visibility.
Videos that explain financial concepts in an engaging way make great conversation starters. To continue building your relationship with current and prospective customers, take advantage of these five custom content marketing strategies.
It is essential to meet consumers where they are, and your prospects and customers are online, searching for answers to financial questions, such as what to expect during the mortgage process and how to effectively plan for retirement. Google even provides a guide of financial search topics that peak throughout the year, further illustrating how crucial a solid content marketing strategy is to your bank.
While you should maintain a strong paid digital plan and SEO operation to draw customers to your website, informative custom content is what will establish your bank as a valued resource, build trust and create lasting relationships.
Custom content gives prospects an immediate benefit: information tailored to their specific needs. Social media, blog posts, videos and other content that speak to the experience of your audience can be a powerful conversation starter. As part of your bank marketing strategy, custom content not only initiates and strengthens relationships, it can position your bank as a thought leader that is uniquely attuned to your audience.
Here are five custom content marketing strategy practices to help your bank reach, educate and win new customers:
- Portray concepts visually. When attempting to connect with your audience, you have only a few moments to make an impression. Visual content is easily digestible and can attract even casual browsers, helping your bank to stand out and start a conversation. An attractive, engaging infographic or quality video is a tasty free sample that can get your audience interested in ordering the full meal (so to speak). Graphics also make written content visually appealing and easier to process than pure text.
- Tell your clients’ stories. If your audience is skipping past your content, it could be a sign that the material is too dry or abstract. A humdrum piece full of financial jargon will do little to engage prospective customers. Concepts and solutions must be discussed within real-life contexts to show how a service or financial strategy can help your audience achieve its goals. Adding an emotional component to technical subject matter can work wonders. When discussing the ins and outs of IRAs, for instance, include a client’s quote about why he or she started an IRA or how an IRA has helped a client feel more comfortable about future retirement. Make banking about more than just the money.
- Write what your audience will read. To understand what resonates with your audience, analytics is key. Examine data from previous blog posts, social media and other content. Consider how online engagement—measured in page visits, on-site clicks and social media interactions—varies from one piece to the next. Which headlines or calls to action prove most effective? Are certain topics especially popular? Does your audience connect better with long-form content or infographics? Shape your custom content strategy accordingly. This not only helps you respond to your audience’s interests, it can differentiate your online presence from those of your competitors.
- Address trending financial topics. Breaking news offers a unique opportunity to capitalize on online interest and trending searches. When a major story develops in the media and online discussions, “newsjack” this story by connecting it to your brand’s message in a way that’s relevant to your audience. In the case of a major stock market shift, discuss investment or savings products that can buffer customers’ capital or help them to benefit from an upswing. If a prominent news story focuses on identity theft, explore practices and services that help protect consumers’ finances and credit profiles.
- Create season-specific content. The needs and interests of your audience change from one season to the next. Offering content specific to the time of year is a powerful way to stay relevant. Because the housing market typically heats up during the spring, sharing content focused on mortgage products early in the year is a great way to attract and educate prospective home-buyers. Each fall, when students start college, your business has an opportunity to discuss student-friendly products and financial practices for young adults.
Custom content, designed to engage your bank’s specific audience, not only attracts and retains customers, it also distinguishes your brand from the competition.
Questions about custom content for your bank? Reach out and ask us.
Relationships are the foundation of business. But for banks and credit unions, forming meaningful relationships is becoming more difficult as people often bypass branches in favor of online and mobile banking. Data show that in 2015, for the first time ever, mobile users outpaced branch users, according to the Wall Street Journal. But there are banks and credit unions that are successfully forming relationships and creating a sense of community via engagement on social media.
So what’s the secret sauce in leveraging social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, as well as website blogs? It’s a content marketing strategy that encompasses critical action items such as developing original, useful content that encourages conversation; using social platforms to connect through shared interests; and dedicating time to respond quickly to comments and questions that result from that content.
Create useful content
As a credit union or bank marketing manager, no one else knows your members or customers like you do. Put that knowledge to work by publishing original and useful content on your social channels. Social platforms are excellent places for content that answers questions about finance, provides guidance on budgeting, and delivers insight about the entrepreneurial process or local business trends that affect small businesses in your community. And feel confident about suggesting products and services that align with that content – just don’t make every post a sales pitch.
How do you build relationships with bank customers or credit union members, when fewer of them are coming into your branches? Take a proactive approach to social media. Create useful and interesting content, connect via shared commitments and authentically engage in and respond to the resulting online conversations.
Original, useful content works to drive conversation and increase engagement: Fully 63 percent of mass affluent consumers take action after using social media to learn about financial products and services, according to a study by LinkedIn.
Connect through shared commitments
All the content you post doesn’t need to be about finance and banking. Social channels are perfect venues for people to connect through shared interests. Use your social media platforms to align your credit union or bank with a cause or causes that resonate in your community. Show how your brand goes beyond banking and start posting about how you and your employees are involved in the neighborhoods you serve. Promote events that you sponsor. Publish photos of your employees engaged in community service activities. Post stories about how local residents have benefited from a community service. You’ll find that when you engage your audience in causes they are already interested in, you more effectively humanize your brand and develop community.
Engage and respond
Your social media strategy shouldn’t be all about getting something published. Instead, the content you publish should be crafted in such a way as to encourage response. How do you get people to respond? It’s like any person-to-person conversation: Ask for action. For example, a blog post about retirement planning tips and a short story about how a customer or member is reinventing retirement could ask readers to submit their own retirement reinvention stories. You could post to Facebook or LinkedIn about a branch job opening and ask fans to share. And you could host a “caption this” photo contest on Instagram with public recognition of the cleverest responses.
No matter the social channels you choose to use to engage with members or customers, responding promptly is critical. You need someone or a team of people to monitor all your social channels in order to respond quickly to inquiries or comments. In addition, be sure those of your staff who are responsible for responding understand the importance of quality responses. People who comment look for acknowledgement, so never go the route of a canned response. Use the name of the person who comments and bring new content to the conversation, like a link or a video. Responding promptly to customer stories, ideas or complaints deepens relationships. This is the human side of social media and the foundation for creating community.
Social platforms present an excellent opportunity for banks and credit unions to establish and maintain relationships with community members in an age when more and more people are managing their banking outside of branches. The key to success in using social media as part of your content marketing strategy is to make sure those communications are authentic and relevant. When your blogs, posts and videos meet that criteria, you’ll see a jump in engagement through likes, shares and comments. That kind of relationship-building will improve your marketing effectiveness and increase leads and sales conversions.
When establishing a relationship with a bank or credit union, consumers and business owners are looking for experts they can trust for financial advice; lending, investment, and wealth management strategies; market predictions; and more. They actively search for answers to their questions, but often find more hype than help.
If your content marketing strategy is falling flat and failing to position your bank or credit union as a thought leader, consider these tune-up tips:
Help first and sell second – The content you publish should address consumer and business goals and interests. Your consumer content should deliver simple solutions to financial management concerns, like saving for college or retirement. Your content targeted to businesses should help them understand how to finance growth, protect their companies from fraud, reduce taxes and manage risk.
Sun National Bank serves as a thought leader through blogs specifically designed for small business owners and commercial clients. Visitors to its site can browse weekly posts that offer insight and advice for business decisions ranging from routine to critical. These blogs are not promotional, but build trust in the bank’s expertise – which will ultimately encourage many readers to seek its services.
Content marketing is an effective way for banks and credit unions to establish themselves as experts in the financial field – building trust and encouraging deeper relationships with current customers and new prospects.
Commit to consistency – Effective content marketing can position your bank or credit union as a reliable source of important insight. To make that happen, you must publish high-quality content on a consistent schedule. In addition, you must take into consideration how often your different audiences want to hear from you. Then, organize when and where your content will publish so that it supports your entire communication strategy.
Through its regularly-updated Facebook page, Wilson Bank & Trust keeps customers apprised of its new and popular products and services; offers quick hits of timely advice for filing taxes, monitoring credit scores, and more; and encourages engagement with invitations to bank-sponsored events and contests.
Distribute widely – Effective content marketing means publishing original, useful content in a variety of channels, where your audience typically goes to find information. Once you understand the questions your audience has, consider how one type of message must be revised to fit the parameters of each publication channel. For example, you could take elements of a blog post and repurpose them for an infographic published in your online newsletter, as a Facebook post and as a direct mail postcard.
Minnesota’s AgStar Financial Services uses a targeted content marketing strategy to strengthen its thought leadership and advocacy of farming, agriculture and rural America. It publishes regularly in multiple channels, from its online AgStar Edge portal to YouTube videos and blogs, to meet the needs of its audience of younger members.
To learn more about what content marketing is…and isn’t, do a quick read of Simple Truths About Content Marketing.