By Justin Smorawske
Do you prioritize hard-sell over value?
“You won’t believe our low rates on mortgage loans!”
“Our checking account is the best in town!”
“Have you considered switching your retirement account to a new bank?”
These headlines sound like emails, blogs, or direct mail pieces that are about to be thrown in the trash, digitally or physically, for a reason. They’re overzealous, they’re often misplaced and, you guessed it, they’re too “hard-sell” aggressive.
The fact of the matter is, broad, salesy content that is distributed scattershot to any and all takers is often met with the proverbial eye-roll. That stimulus that elicits responses ranging from casual annoyance to aggravation.
Your bank brand deserves better.
The problem with much bank marketing content—from a product advertisement via email to a blog post about a new credit card promotion to a postcard that leads with a sales pitch—is that they’re hitting customers with an immediate decision request versus selling the organization’s value first and foremost.
When it comes to your stage-one content, make sure you’re leading with your most important possession—your value to a consumer.
Here are some things to keep in mind next time you’re tasked with writing an entry-point marketing piece for your bank.
One surefire tactic to give a customer lead a warm-hug first impression is to position yourself as “the local choice.” When it comes to banking, community banks are among the most prominent when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to a 2016 study. The more you’re seen as local or regional in nature, the more likely you’ll be able to transition into a sales pitch in future targeted content. The less “corporate” you feel, the better. Your customer loyalty and the length of your relationship will be positively affected as a result.
One of the sharpest tools at your disposal as a bank is that you have subject matter experts right there, in-house. It’s just a matter of using them to their fullest potential. What better way to write engaging, useful content that will be impactful to your end customer than by asking your sales and customer service teams? After all, they interact with your target audience on a daily basis. They have a fairly good idea of what will matter to customers, and what sorts of conversation points actually work in practice. When you’re developing a content calendar, make sure you take the time to consult your frontline team to be most effective.
The content itself is one thing—but what about the distribution? Are you capitalizing on your best pieces of information—for example…
- A particularly strong blog post about shopping for a mortgage?
- A great email series identifying the steps to retirement planning?
The idea of, “well, we have a Facebook page” will no longer cut it in today’s digital marketplace. Putting some money and time toward social channels can work wonders for your customer engagement. And it doesn’t always have to be reinventing the wheel—repurpose and repackage your best content for different types of channels. After all, a Facebook post will look different from a video for YouTube or an imagery-based piece on Instagram or Snapchat.
If you stand for everything, you’ll essentially stand for nothing—in the eyes of a financial consumer, at least. While trying to appeal to the masses tends to be a priority, the beauty of content—particularly digital content that can be varied, shifted, changed, and presented in a million different ways—is that mass appeal isn’t necessary. You should have a distinct personality and a conversational style. Your tone should be recognizable enough that a person can say, “Ah, yes—that’s clearly from [insert bank name here].” When a potential customer feels a part of something bigger or has some familiarity with you as a brand, your content (and eventual sales pitch) becomes all the more endearing.
Speaking of mass appeal, how often do you find yourself sending communications or printed pieces to every single customer lead? Without segmentation of your messaging, your run the risk of complete irrelevancy to a given recipient. If you don’t target your content appropriately and frame it in a personalized way depending on a lead’s specific life situation or behaviors, you’ll lose attention very quickly. A study found that among bank customers, 79% find the content they receive from their primary FI to be irrelevant to their needs. Time your message appropriately. Know your demographics and speak to them.
6. Warm Fuzzies
There’s perhaps no better way to earn yourself a new banking customer than by making them feel unique, special, or important to you. Connecting with your leads (and existing customers, for that matter) is a surefire way to warm someone up for a sale. A recent study estimated that about 50% of bank customers do not feel fully valued by their FI of choice. Furthermore, among those who do feel valued, nearly 75% are apt to opening an account as a result.
Justin Smorawske is CMO/Partner at Epicosity, a financial services marketing agency in Sioux Falls, S.D. Epicosity has a keen insight into meeting millennial demand with its expertise in creative development, digital strategy, video production, website development and public relations. Contact: [email protected]