One of the top concerns keeping bankers up at night is bringing in new leads to keep the revenue engine humming. Marketers want to keep the sales team happy and sales wants to appease their bosses (and to rake in a commission), who must ensure the marketing and sales tactics are aligned with the corporate strategy and keep the board and investors content. Thanks to digital platforms, lead generation has never been easier.
A modern, mobile friendly website is a critical foundation for lead generation programs. Data show 76% of smartphone users search for local businesses, and then visit one within 24 hours, according to The Financial Brand. Your financial institutions must rank high for terms like ‘community banks near me.’ SEO upgrades, such as listing names, addresses and phone numbers for each branch, will help your bank rise to the top. It’s also important to know what keywords consumers are using to search for the services you offer and use those words and phrases – but not too much.
Interestingly, I recently spent a day running analytics on the long-tail keywords in geographies with a strong community financial institution presence. Achieving an extremely low customer acquisition cost is feasible – 40 cents per deposit account acquisition versus the customer acquisition average of $400 to $600 for a new deposit account. Ask me how!
As mobile rises in popularity, adapting to semantic search has become increasingly imperative, The Financial Brand explained. Semantic search refers to voice-activated requests and answers through AI, such as Siri on an iPhone, that can garner context for searches, so Q&A-style content can help with that.
From there, beyond the very basic step of clearly articulating a unique value proposition, here are some tactics that work digital magic to guide consumers through the buyer’s journey using your marketing funnel:
1. Blogging provides educational materials to consumers on topics they are searching for because of that excellent SEO work you’ve done on your site. Your blog posts can also a request more information button, an advertisement for a related product, and links to useful tools and information.
2. A loan or savings calculator, an educational webinar or event, checklists for items such as documents needed for a mortgage or to establish a new business, or a white paper on balancing your retirement portfolio. This information should be primarily educational collect names and contact information. Any of this content should be branded with your information and include a page about your author/expert from your institution, along with contact information.
3. Digital marketing on third-party sites should not be overlooked. Placing an ad for your calculator through your local news network can be effective. Other ways of narrowing your focus on broader sites include targeted advertising through Google AdWords, LinkedIn and Facebook. Facebook tends to be the most cost-efficient and has some of the best targeting features, allowing more bang for your buck!
4. Run referral programs through your newsletter, website and social media featuring a reward for bringing someone in who becomes a customer. Keep in mind, nothing speaks like cash, and it doesn’t have to be much.
5. Hosting financial education seminars, such as home buying or launching a new business can bring in several potential targets for your bank. Ask them to register for the event online to collect their name and contact information, and you should collect information at the event for those who hadn’t registered. A spinoff of this is speaking at community events, where you aren’t necessarily the host, but you still gain access to the leads from the event.
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Once leads are collected, they must be cultivated. You don’t hit them with a big sales pitch right away, but your persistence will pay off. Following the initial blog post or whatever drew them in to give you information, those who clicked through your newsletter or advertisement should receive a deeper piece of content, like those mentioned above; this will help you gauge how hot the lead is if they click through again or not. Those that take advantage of your second offering should receive one-on-one time. One time I received a branded coffee mug and a $5 Starbucks card to enjoy a virtual coffee break with an account manager while they educated me about their relevant products. That style of relationship management helps to humanize the digital experience, creates a memorable interaction and that mug is still one of my favorites. Coffee is for closers.