Although it takes time and resources, creating and implementing a digital marketing strategy does not have to be expensive for small banks.
Leveraging Digital, Direct Mail, and Social Media to Drive Business Customer Acquisition
Many community and regional banks are discovering that most of their business customers reside in a digital world. More than 80 percent of consumers use the internet to search for businesses and check reviews. Almost half use social media and blogs looking for solutions and products, relying heavily on their online communities for ideas. Businesses that fail to connect with their target market digitally risk sliding into irrelevance. To many consumers, if your business can't be found online, you don't exist.
From a small bank's perspective, the available tools and technology offer the opportunity to vie for consumers' attention at the same level as larger banks. Digital marketing has leveled the playing field, providing small businesses the capability to expand their reach and the added advantage of appealing directly to their target market. All businesses, large and small, work from the same general blueprint with the same tools to create their digital marketing strategy.
Creating the Right First Impression
Most banks have a website. The question is whether it creates an immediate and lasting impression or leaves much to be desired. Your website is the gateway to your bank. It must be attractive and dynamic enough to attract visitors and make them want to stay. It also becomes the digital hub of your strategy, directing visitors to and from your social media and email campaigns.
The most important initial investment you can make in your digital marketing strategy is in web design, search engine optimization (SEO), and data analytics to measure visitor engagement.
Encouraging Digital Interaction Through Direct Mail
Contrary to popular belief, direct mail is far from dead. Email may be cheaper, but it is more likely to be ignored. Businesspeople especially are suffering from email fatigue. According to the Data & Marketing Association, nearly 90% of direct mail is opened and read compared to just 30% of email. Remarkably, 75% of consumers say they prefer physical mail to email, including younger audiences.
While direct mail should never be used as a standalone marketing strategy, it combines exceptionally well with a digital strategy to improve response rates. You can use QR codes in your direct mail pieces to direct consumers to online promotional offers, your social media sites, and your website to pursue additional information. They then become trackable through your digital apparatus, where they are more likely to engage with targeted emails.
Active Social Media Sites
In the span of a decade, social media has grown from a way to get connected to an ever-expanding socio-ecosystem on which mass communities rely for making fundamental decisions for their everyday lives. Banks can take advantage of social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to expand their digital influence and build social capital that can be converted to new customers. At a minimum, your presence on social media serves as proof that you do exist and that you have something of value to offer.
The key is to treat social media as a means to increase brand visibility in your target market rather than as an "end" to generate new sales. Through active participation, your social media activities can drive more visitors to your website, where they can engage more directly with your business.
Take the First Step
Creating and implementing a digital marketing strategy doesn't have to be expensive, but it can take time and resources you may not have in large quantities. Fortunately, all the tools, technology, and expertise are accessible. The best approach for a small bank with limited resources is designing the strategy, implementing the components incrementally, and watching your return on investment grow over time.
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