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3 reasons why you need that DAM solution.

 

Why is digital asset management important?  First, how does one define a digital asset?

Digital assets can be defined as any content that can be stored digitally. In today’s rapidly evolving digital climate — for banks, in particular, as they navigate the age of the enhanced digital experience — there’s no limit to what a digital asset can be.

Consider the types of files and assets that are routinely created and shared across your organization. The marketing team, for example, creates and collaborates on print ads, social media content, videos, infographics, white papers, and much, much more. And if they’re working with third-party vendors or providers, you want the content they’re creating to be easily accessible. But only to those who should have access.

So why a DAM solution? Canto.com says: “51% of marketers waste time and money recreating unused or missing assets. Effective digital asset management requires companies to organize and govern every digital file in their media ecosystem.  Everyone can relate to spending too much time looking for a single file. This is the case for most companies operating without a DAM solution.” A digital asset management solution gives your team the ability to create, manage, publish, and share content with anyone inside or outside your organization. 

1. Compliance, security, and consistency

Brandfolder.com reminds us that “customers are more likely to purchase from a brand they recognize and because of this, Fortune 500 companies make a proactive effort to maintain brand consistency in their marketing and advertising campaigns.” Maintaining and communicating a brand identity is easier when you have a DAM platform. You can restrict access to legacy files — ensuring that only the most up-to-date assets are accessible — with the result that only those assets that meet brand and compliance standards can be accessed and shared. For example, once your creative team has finished creating an asset that meets brand and compliance standards, they can streamline production (while safeguarding compliance) by saving the layout as a template in the DAM system. As time goes on, approved users can make changes, share the changes for review, and add comments to the file, to name just a few

In order to streamline a bank’s marketing messaging around mortgage loans, for instance, the DAM platform facilitates the sharing of mortgage lending materials with only those members of the lending team who are designated to collaborate. When the lending officer logs in, the platform can be configured to present only mortgage marketing materials and will enter the individual’s personal information automatically. Brand and industry regulation compliance are never issues. Speaking of compliance, when it comes to regulators, a DAM solution is exactly what you need when they decide to pay you a visit.

2. Time and dollars wasted

Without a DAM solution, digital assets are rarely managed properly. In many cases, the wrong people are using the wrong assets at the wrong time. A DAM system establishes workflows, manages access, and streamlines the approval process so the right files get into the right hands.

If your team is spending precious time searching for mislabeled or disappearing assets, that’s time lost focusing on growing and scaling your business. In addition, your team may also be missing out on the opportunities presented by the repurposing of content. As important as freshness of content is to Google algorithms when it comes to ranking your content on SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), you can still (and absolutely should) be repurposing your content instead of “starting from scratch” with every new marketing asset.

Plus, the importance of quick and easy access to approved assets cannot be overemphasized.  Today’s highly competitive and evolving marketplace demands a marketing department’s ability to “shoot at the ducks while they’re there,” that is, to respond quickly and turn on a dime when necessary.

3. Free your team for other critical functions

Lastly and probably most importantly, a digital asset management system frees the members of your marketing team to perform other critical functions.  A DAM solution does much more than enable sharing, uphold brand and compliance standards, and enhance your ability to respond to marketplace shifts. It allows your team to focus less on managing your marketing messaging assets and more time taking a hard look at messaging performance and learning from it. Sure, developing and placing strategic, relevant content is important, but knowing how and why it’s working (or not) is even more important. A DAM solution gives your team time to monitor KPIs, better understand your current and potential customers, and apply that learning to future campaigns.

To sum up, we here at bankmarketingcenter.com know exactly how critical a DAM platform is to a bank’s marketing department. That’s why we created one!

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. 

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like the below “Internal Awards” ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content. To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com

#bankmarketing #communitybankmarketing #CRM #assetmanagement #digitalassetmanagement

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Google Analytics. Get way more than you pay for.

If you’re one of those individuals who’s a firm believer in the old saying, “you get what you pay for,” well, here’s a heaping helping of humble pie. It’s called Google Analytics.

We all know that if you want to run any sort of business, you need a website. Your website is one of those top-of-the-funnel marketing tactics that, by providing a visitor with content that clarifies their questions, expounds on their problem, and introduces them to a potential solution, will hopefully set them on their “buyer journey” or “path to purchase.” That’s great. Thanks to your website, you have a potential customer who has learned something about your business and is now, ideally, ready to take the next step; that is, to learn more by stepping further down the funnel and engaging in a podcast or webinar, for instance, or downloading a white paper.

The not-so-great piece of the story is that not every visitor will do that. Some will. Some may, instead, simply surf a few pages and leave. Some may not even do that; they may leave right after they land on your home page. Building and maintaining a website is, dare I say it… useless, if you can’t understand what your site visitors do once they arrive and why.

For this, you need analytics. You see, your website is far more than a marketing tactic, a mere messaging machine. Sure, it informs visitors and, if built properly — taking UX, the User Experience, in mind — can do what we talked about earlier… put people on the path to purchase. But, a site can do much more, though.  It can tell you things.

Google, to no surprise, is at the forefront of implementing and expanding upon the uses of technology while making it more accessible to, and manageable for, its users. And web analytics is no exception. While your visitors are learning about your business via your website, you’re learning about them via Google Analytics.

Google describes their web analytics platform as “a service that tracks and reports website traffic and gives you the free tools you need to analyze data for your business in one place, so you can make smarter decisions.”  Yes, it does all that… and more.

Using Google Analytics, you can understand your site users, enabling you to better grasp the effectiveness of your marketing content. Google's unique insights and machine learning capabilities help you to make the most of your data, and connect your insights to deliver better business results. Not to mention, all of this “stuff” is FREE. Yes, FREE. There are many other web analytic tools out there that extend a trial period followed by a subscription, or a one-time charge. Others offer services with conditions, such as free for a specific number of tracked users or free for self-hosted users. With Google Analytics, you get the quality service without the hefty price tag... and without conditions or limitations. 

Now, if we were talking about anybody but Google, you might be tempted to wonder just how good their analytics product is, given that it’s free. But you’re not, are you? We all know Google. They don’t make any Edsels. Their analytics product offers the same features as competing web analytic services which we really shouldn’t name, such as A—- Analytics, Mix—--, or Mat—.

What can analytics teach you?

To further assist in making your website a more effective marketing tool, Google Analytics can measure internal site searches and tell  you what potential customers are looking for within your website. This can help you improve the ease with which visitors access information across all of your site pages.  For example, analytics can tell you how many visitors leave your website after viewing only one page. This information is incredibly valuable in that it can demonstrate a need for refining your navigation or homepage design, which can then increase your site's ease of use and performance.

The Audience section of Google Analytics provides insights into visitor traits and behaviors. It can tell you the age, gender, interests, devices, and location of those who accessed your website. Understanding your audience is critical for a host of reasons, not the least of which is knowing which social media platforms to target. Knowing which platforms are driving visitors to your site can assist you in optimizing the dollars you spend on social media marketing, as well as the type of content you create for your customers. Creating the right kind of content can be just the catalyst you need to increase traffic to your website and raise your rankings in SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). An understanding of what content on your website is gaining the most views and shares is critical to the development of future content in order to ensure that it is topical, relevant, and motivating to your customers.

Google Analytics automatically collects data for you, saving you valuable time; no more inputting data into spreadsheets or documents and moving them back and forth. You can then download your data into one of the many report templates they offer, or your very own customized report template with the dimensions and metrics you’d like to see. Like other Google services, Google Analytics can also be streamlined to be accessible via multiple devices, including your laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or phone. It can also communicate with other Google apps seamlessly, like Google AdWords, to provide you with actionable insights and increase the success of your AdWords Campaigns. 

Lastly, Google Analytics can help you see how your business is growing and expanding based on how customers visiting your website are meeting predetermined goals such as making a purchase, requesting a quote, or subscribing to a newsletter. You can also assign a number of goals that will help you to track the customer’s journey through your website based on their actions. For example, if your goal is for customers to make a purchase and sign up for your monthly newsletter, you may include this in your analytics report to see where you can address any deficits that may exist.  

In short, you can't beat the value of Google Analytics as a tool that can help you maintain a more effective web presence AND build your business.  And you certainly can't beat the price.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. 

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like the below “Fraudulent Activity” ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content.

 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.  #bankmarketing #communitybankmarketing #websiteanalytics #googleanalytics

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Want to attract and retain the best people? Social media can help.

Author Flannery O’Connor once said, “a good man is hard to find.”  Well, you can certainly add “a good woman” to that. I’m, of course, talking about male and female employees. These days they’re terribly difficult to find and, believe it or not, even more difficult to keep. Check this out from Shrm.org’s “Job openings, quits hold near record high”: While employers are offering higher wages to attract talent, many on the sidelines are unmoved: the gap between job openings and available workers remained at 5.5 million in April, or about two jobs for every unemployed worker. The last 13 consecutive months—since June 2021—have seen more than 4 million workers quit. April marks the 11th consecutive month that more than 4 million workers left their jobs. Shrm.org goes on to tell us that “the wave of quitting signals that workers feel comfortable enough, amid record-high openings, to switch jobs in pursuit of better pay or working conditions.”

Of course, just like the old adage about customers — that it's 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep one —replacing employees is expensive. Indeed.com tells us in “Estimating the high cost of Employee Turnover,” that “employee turnover costs employers about 33% of an employee’s annual salary.” This cost comes from factors such as advertising, screening, interviewing, onboarding, lost productivity, and more. 

Besides upping the salary stakes in order to attract and retain top talent, what can employers like small community banks do? Experts say that successful cultures — ones that are conducive to attracting and retaining top talent — have certain “personality traits” and that to develop these traits, leaders need to:

  • Strengthen the relationships between coworkers
  • Give team members maximum exposure to leadership
  • Enhance their skills and abilities so they feel like they are true experts in their field
  • Communicate objectives and paths to their achievement clearly and often so that they see success as attainable
  • Engage with team members on their future goals and help them chart a path forward

Here’s something even easier. Use your social media platforms.  

I know well from personal experience (don't we all??) that effective communication, opportunities for development, and an environment of mutual respect and collaboration are all essential to retaining the “best of the best.” But never forget the power of praise; a few kind words can go a very long way.  And, social marketing platforms are the ideal media for those kind words.  

Many of our banks are extremely active in this regard and I suspect that, as a result, their associates feel pretty good about where they’re working. As Sir Richard Branson has said: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first.” And, well, as far as I can tell he seems to have had some pretty good success with that.

Here are just a few examples of the more popular topics that our client banks are using social for:

  • Recruiting
  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries (and nothing says “this is a great place to work" better than a multi-decade anniversary post)
  • Recognitions for advanced certifications received
  • Awards and achievements (both professional and personal)
  • Congratulating employees for their commitment to community organizations and volunteer groups

I’ve also seen posts that don’t take themselves quite so seriously, such as acknowledging the employee with the biggest smile, or “Today’s Best Dressed Employee.” As you can imagine, social media posts that focus on your associates also go a long way with potential employees… and customers. They reinforce that brand perception that is so important to small banks; that unlike the big national, you’re a neighborhood institution that is trusted and knowledgeable, and that you take a personal interest in the people who bank with you.  And to think you can accomplish all of this… with just a few social posts! 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. 

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like the below “Internal Award” ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content. 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.

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Can and should we do more about student debt? You bet.

 

It all started with American Banker’s July 22 article, Alleviating the Student Loan Crisis through Digital Banking. It really got me thinking. About student debt, yes, but lots of other things, too; our system of higher education and its value, financial literacy, borrowing, parenting, and my own personal experience with financial matters.

For starters, I’m guessing that many of you reading this also have some personal experience with student loans. Perhaps you took one (or more) in your college days. Perhaps you have a child or children who are borrowing for college. I think it’s reasonable to make this assumption because, as the article points out, there are approximately 45 million borrowers in the U.S. — with an average debt of about $38,000 — bringing our total student debt as a nation to $1.7 trillion. Want just a tiny bit of perspective on this dollar figure? According to Statista, in 2020 the US manufacturing industry added $2.2 trillion to the US GDP.

The article goes on to state some of the “primary causes of the student loan crisis," citing a lack of state funding for higher education, tax cuts, higher tuition, and among others, loans that are awarded without adequately screening the borrower. Another reason? Borrowers are often unprepared to take on the debt because they do not have an adequate understanding of financial matters. And, believe me, borrowing for college demands more than just an understanding of money management basics, like sound investing strategies and managing one’s credit. If you’ve any doubt that borrowing for college isn’t a complex process that really requires advanced degrees in both accounting and law, try to make sense of the “guidance” provided here on studentaid.gov. Imagine trying to navigate this process as an 18-year-old high school senior.

“As future business owners, leaders, and members of society, banks and credit unions need to support these individuals with the right tools to alleviate their financial burden. Without guidance and true financial education, people with student debt will not be able to secure a successful financial future for themselves and their families,” says the article. And I couldn’t agree more. I’ll add a few thoughts to this: 1) With “support,” these young, indebted individuals are more likely to become more valuable banking customers earlier in their lives and, 2) that “support” needs to start way before they owe, on average, $38,000.  It needs to start before they even think about borrowing for college.

Now, I am a huge proponent of higher education. I am also a huge proponent of financial education. We all know that far too many Americans are, to put it bluntly, truly unable to properly manage their personal finances. “Most individuals lack a foundation for financial success,” says the article. “In fact, less than 17% of high school students are required to take at least one semester of personal finance in high school and only 34% of Americans can answer four of five basic financial literacy questions."

Clearly, more financial education is needed and individuals with student debt are certainly hamstrung when it comes to securing a financial future for themselves and their families. But where will they get that guidance and financial education?

Can young people learn financial literacy from their parents? Perhaps, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. It didn’t happen in my home. While my father certainly taught me the importance of working hard and paying my own way, with a little bit of “save your money” on occasion, that was the extent of the financial guidance I got from dad. I’m guessing that many young men share that same experience. And for young women and their parents, I doubt that there’s much conversation at all about financial matters.

When this is so important, why isn’t this learning taking place at home? I learned a little bit about why from reading cnbc’s “Who should teach kids about money? Americans say parents, but many don’t talk to their own children about it.” You can pretty much guess “why” from the title of the article. “While most Americans believe it is the job of parents to teach their kids about money,” it says, “many don’t actually talk to their children about finances.” Certified financial planner Tom Henske, managing partner at the Affluent Insurance Advisor, tells us that parents don’t talk to their children about money because “it seems like a herculean task, an endeavor to take on to teach your kids about money when you don’t really feel comfortable about the topic of money yourself.”   

I guess I never really thought of a discussion about money with my son or daughter as herculean or uncomfortable… at least compared to some of the other discussions we’ve had to have with our children about topics that I’m, well, too uncomfortable to mention here. So, as in many cases where children aren’t learning what they should from their parents, we turn to the schools. And there’s good news on that front, according to cnbc:

“The trend towards in-school personal finance classes is slowly building. Recently, Florida became the largest state to mandate a personal finance course for high school graduation. Twenty-five states now require high-school students to take personal finance coursework, either in a standalone class or integrated into another course. ‘Research shows that students who are able to participate in financial economic education class in high school make better decisions about their college financing,’ said Nan Morrison, president and CEO of the Council for Economic Education. 'They have better credit scores and lower loan default rates.’”

Back to American Banker, which quotes “student loan expert, Mark Kantrowitz” as advising us that the best way for students to overcome student debt is to avoid overborrowing in the first place. To accomplish this, “students should limit their total debt to less than their starting salary in the first year of their job out of college, allowing them to pay off their loans in less than ten years.” Now, that seems like sound advice. However, I’m not sure it’s all that practical. I don’t know when and where Mr. Knatowitz went to college, or if he borrowed to do so, but I do know that in today’s world, it is pretty impossible for a student to limit their total debt to less than their first job’s starting salary. That’s tough to do when the average cost of college – tuition and fees — runs around $20,000 per year. According to the May 5 USA Today article “College students expect to make $103,880 after graduation – almost twice the reality,” while college students expect to make about $103,880 in their first post-graduation job, the average starting salary is actually about half that at $55,260. I was able to borrow less than my first year’s salary, but my cost of attendance at the time was less than $9,000/year. The COA at this same university today is $52,000/year.

So, if you’re reading this as a parent, hopefully you’ll have these “herculean” and “uncomfortable” dinner table conversations about money management with your children. And, if you’re reading this as a community banking professional, hopefully you’ll encourage everyone within shouting distance to take a financial management course and to share what they learn with their children. Perhaps then, both students and parents will make more informed decisions when it comes to borrowing and truly reap the benefits — and the value — of a college education.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like the below financial education ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com 

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Marketing Dollars are Back. Are you Prepared?

I recently saw some news, pretty good news I believe, concerning financial industry marketing budgets. Now, I can't help but reminisce a bit at the mention of the word “budget.”

Back in my ad agency days, never a day passed without some conversation about budgets. Your survival, of course, depended on it; the client’s budget, that is.  Every one of us in the creative department was either working or worrying; working to grow the brand and the business, or worrying that the client might find a reason to cut their budget. A cut could come for any number of reasons, but more often than not it was a downturn in the economy.

Maybe I’m imagining it, but it seemed easier back then to know when those cuts would come. And maybe that’s because when the economy was good, you knew it was good. Conversely when it was bad you knew it was bad. Not today. There seem to be some very different opinions about the state of things these days… 

I’ll start with the bringers of bad news. According to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects Report: “Amid the war in Ukraine, surging inflation, and rising interest rates, global economic growth is expected to slump and several years of above-average inflation and below-average growth are now likely. It’s a phenomenon—stagflation—that the world has not seen since the 1970s.”  Doesn’t exactly make your day, does it? 

But then I read this; a July 1 American Banker article entitled “PNC Financial CEO ‘confused’ about market’s recession worries, impact on banks” where PNC Chairman, President and CEO William Demchak stated: “I am personally confused about all the concern that sits out there on banking reserves and the coming recession and the impacts on profitability of banks.” According to the article, many in the financial industry agree with Mr. Demchak. "Little of the data I see tells me the U.S. is on the cusp of a recession," said Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser. "Consumer spending remains well above pre-COVID levels with household savings providing a cushion for future stress and, as any employer will tell you, the job market remains very tight." Robert Bolton, president of the bank investor Iron Bay Capital, shared Fraser’s optimism: “A lot of the bankers I’ve met with are still pretty confident, and that’s based on what they’re seeing with credit quality and hearing from their commercial clients in terms of positive sentiment. Businesses are growing, hiring.” Peter Sefzik, Comerica’s Executive Director of Commercial Banking, agrees: “Overall, we feel like the sentiment of our customers is still pretty good at this time. Our pipeline is strong. Our activity levels are good, so it's hard to see any sort of immediate concerns.”  

Since I would much rather believe good news than bad, I’m going to go with the optimists on this one!

I also read, just recently, that banks are going back to spending on marketing; moving those dollars that were being spent on Mar-Tech over the last year or so back to spending on building  their brand and selling products. comcouncil.org says that “average marketing spending across industries has increased to 9.5% of overall company revenue this year. Financial services firms lead the way with the highest marketing budget at 10.4% of company revenue, up from 7.4% in 2021.”

While this is good news in terms of a bank’s ability to market itself, it can create challenges for community banks with limited resources. With more marketing dollars to spend, but no new hires planned for the immediate future, a community bank’s in-house marketing team can quickly find itself overwhelmed. When the objective is to grow the customer base and share of wallet through digital channels and better digital engagement — in other words, to do more with less — where can bank marketers turn for the marketing communication content they need?

About Bank Marketing Center

This is where bankmarketingcenter.com and our library of professionally designed digital assets can be just what a bank’s in-house marketing team needs. Take, for example, these digital ads we’ve created around fee-free checking.  These layouts can be quickly and easily customized;  select the logo, colors, fonts, and images you need, then simply drag and drop. No design software or skill needed.

 

 

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. In short, build your brand. To view our campaigns, both print and digital, visit BankMarketingCenter.com. Or, you can contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

 

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Almost 8 reasons why your bank needs a blog

 

No social media marketing strategy is complete without a blogging component. Having a blog not only provides a strong foundation for your marketing, it’s also fun and inspiring—and a great way to personalize your brand, share ideas, generate new ones, and build a community of like-minded and engaged individuals.  Here are just a few of the reasons why blogging is well worth your time and investment.

1. Be both a SME and a friend

Think of your blog as a conversation. It’s an opportunity to speak in detail about your products and services, share content that is relevant at that particular time, and if you’re so inclined, to comment on relevant industry news and trends.  But remember, no matter what tack you decide to take, that a blog is a conversation. While it should educate — you do want to be viewed as that SME (Subject Matter Expert) — it should never read like a product brief or a white paper.  There are lots of opportunities for your target audience to access those types of marketing materials (and if there isn’t, there certainly should be) so use your blog as a means to engage in a way that can personally connect with your reader.

2. Build some traffic while you’re at it

Blogs provide the perfect platform to strengthen your SEO strategy. Start by thinking about the size of your website. How many pages are there? Probably not that many, right? And think about how often you refresh/update the content on those pages. Probably not that often. This is where your blog comes in. Every time you create and publish a blog post, search engines consider that yet another indexed page on your website.  This means that with each blog, you’re creating one more opportunity for your site, through that blog post, to show up on the search engine results page (SERP) and drive traffic to your website in a prospect’s organic search. Simple math:  The more often you blog, the more opportunities you have to elevate your site’s placement on an SERP.

3. Put a likable face on your digital presence

The digital experience is inherently impersonal. While machine learning and AI have certainly contributed to our ability to identify customers and their needs and in so doing, helped us personalize our interactions, the digital experience is still far from an in-branch one. For instance, a website isn’t exactly the most personalized consumer touch point, is it? And we all know how important a personalized experience is to our customers. We hear about it all the time. “Personalize your customer experience!,” the experts are constantly shouting.  Your  blog helps. It  puts a human face on your bank which — while it can’t take the place of a face-to-face in-branch encounter — helps make your bank feel more personal, friendly, trustworthy, and accessible.

 4. Get your readers to comment and share

A solid bank site can be relied upon to answer questions that customers, or potential customers, might have about products and services. This is a different type of interaction than that which a blog provides.  If you end your blog with “I’d love to know your thoughts on the subject,” believe me, you will get thoughts.  This is, of course, just what you’re after.  This is why a blog is so powerful. It can create a two-way conversation with customers, leads, and industry peers. With a more relatable tone and an interactive platform, you can encourage feedback and discussion.

 5. Add to your email database

Email marketing is an important tactic and should certainly be a component of your overall marketing mix. The challenge, of course, with email marketing is building your database. It’s not easy to get people to “opt in,” so you need to take every opportunity (preferably in the least intrusive ways possible) to encourage sign-up.  The way to do this, of course, is to provide value in exchange for the individual’s contact info. Again, not easy. But, this is where a blog can help. Blogs help contribute to your bank staying top of mind and help reinforce your audience’s need to keep updated. If people find your blog content informative, relevant, and engaging, chances are they’ll trust that your email newsletters are as well. Inserting links in your blog that will encourage readers to sign up for additional touchpoints, like emails, is a great way to build that email database.

 6. Re-purpose your blog 

 Obviously, your social media marketing consists of, well, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Every time you create and post a blog, you’re creating content that 1) you can share across your social platforms and 2) people who see it can share with each other. The content you create can also live, in various part and pieces, across your social media channels, giving you more social bang for you blogging buck. With blogging, you’re not only strengthening your social reach with the blog itself.  You’re also creating a web of engagement points that connect with each other and ultimately lead everyone you’ve engaged right to your website.

7. Drive long-term social marketing results

Hubspot says: “Imagine you sit down for an hour on Sunday to write and publish a blog post. Let’s say that blog post gets 100 views and ten leads on Monday. You get another 50 views and five leads on Tuesday as a few more people find it through social media. But after a couple of days, most of the fanfare from that post dies down, and you've netted 150 views and 15 leads. It's not over.” Since that post is now ranking, it means that for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic from that blog post. That’s because a blog post can bring traffic to your site long after it's first posted. In fact, according to Hubspot, “about 90% of the leads we generate every month come from blog posts published in previous months. Sometimes years ago.”

There’s much more to it.

Is this a comprehensive treatise on blog posting? No. There are a number of additional benefits to blogging that we haven’t discussed here. And, there are a number of companies out there that can advise you on how to get the most of your blogging, from software and templates to guidance on creating a blogging editorial calendar. My hope here is that you’ve learned just enough about blogging to be inspired enough to give it a try. It’s a terrific tool for engaging customers and generating leads. 

 About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like the below recruitment ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content.

 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.  

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

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5 Ways to Attract Customers Using Social Media

Facebook. Instagram. YouTube. TikTok. Twitter. You've decided that you're going to add social media to your marketing mix. Now, which platform to choose? While you may feel you need to choose one or two, why not take advantage of them all? As you’ll see, each one is unique, offering its own unique opportunities. If you have any preconceived notions about social media, like "it's just for kids," put those notions aside and read on. 

Why social is ideal for community banks 

Why?  Because social media IS community, which is why it aligns perfectly with community banking. Unlike the large, national banks, community banks are in the business of participating in their communities and, importantly, helping people through relationships. It’s about connecting with customers on a personal level.  And that’s what social media is all about.

The most viewed, followed, and shared content on social platforms is the content that is perceived as authentic, the content that shares thoughts and experiences, not information.  Here's a brief overview of the social media channels that you, as a financial institution, really need to incorporate into your marketing plan:

TikTok

It’s been predicted that by the end of this year, TikTok will boast 1.8 billion active users worldwide. While the largest demographic of TikTok users skews younger, at ages 18-29, it’s not just a fad for Millennials and Gen Zers. The 30-39 demo constitutes nearly 20% of the platform’s user base. Check out this success story from earlier this year: “FNB Community Bank is conquering TikTok.” It chronicles the success that a Midwest, OK-based community bank has had with a platform that just a few years ago, wasn’t even on most marketer’s radars.

“These days,” the article says, “Julie (Julie Waddle, Assistant Vice President, Marketing Manager) creates videos about financial advice, the community bank’s high-quality customer service and even its ugly Christmas sweater contest.” Her recordings can sometimes receive up to several thousand views. “A few of FNB Community Bank’s videos, however,” the article goes on to say, “have garnered tens of thousands of views, reaching far beyond the community bank’s footprint.”  To learn more about the benefits that TikTok can help you market your bank, visit TikTok for Business.

Facebook

The oldest and by far the most far-reaching of all social channels, Facebook boasts over 2 billion users around the world.  Over the past few years, Facebook has evolved from a GenX channel to a Boomer channel. This platform has gained popularity among businesses not just for its affluent user base, but also for the variety of options it offers, including professional pages, paid post promotion, and native advertising.  For financial institutions, Facebook is an ideal channel for reaching an older (55+), affluent market with products such as second home mortgages and retirement vehicles. To learn more about the benefits that Facebook can offer your business, visit Facebook for business.

Twitter

For a long time, Twitter had been known as the platform for Millennials. This is, however, no longer the case. Today, world leaders and Fortune 100 CEOs are tweeting away.  For the customers of small businesses, including banks like yours, Twitter is a way to share compliments and complaints (yes, unfortunately!) and for those businesses, an opportunity to quickly respond to customer questions and concerns.  Twitter, then, is a great vehicle for:

  • solving customer issues
  • building relationships that can lead to greater revenue
  • learning about what your market thinks of your products and services, and
  • promoting new products with the “breaking news” urgency that is unique to this channel.

To make it even easier for businesses, Twitter now offers a series of features geared toward customer service and support, which as Twitter describes them, will enable businesses to “focus on personalized, customer-focused responses in order to provide winning social customer service.”  To learn more, visit Twitter Business or follow @TwitterBusiness .   

Instagram

Second only to Facebook, Instagram has a relatively large following; approximately one billion users. As illustrated in the chart below, courtesy of Statista, as of April 2022, 17.1 percent of global active Instagram users were men between the ages of 25 and 34 years. More than half of the global Instagram population worldwide is aged 34 years or younger.

Instagram users are largely Millennials, a desirable market for financial institutions, particularly as they are just now taking interest in financial services. This platform relies heavily on images, both still and video. So what can you do with Instagram?

Think fun, informal, entertaining content. Videos and photos generated by customers and employees, for instance: Birthdays, holidays, work anniversaries, community events... these help position your staff as the caring and trusted advisors they are while building your brand as a community institution at the same time. You can even post short (slightly humorous, perhaps) demo videos on how to download your mobile app or pay bills online.  The more imperfect these videos are, the better. The goal here is more about being authentic and engaging and less about being informative. To get started with Instagram, visit Business.Instagram.

YouTube

The second largest social network, and second largest search engine in the world, more than 300 videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute.  Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day by over 2 billion users. YouTube is an ideal platform for complex products or services such as home mortgages for first-time home buyers, for instance, where you’re perhaps looking to reach a relatively young audience with informational videos that can go in-depth on the benefits of your mortgage products.  YouTube also reaches individuals ages 45-64, making it a good vehicle for retirement products.  To learn more about what YouTube can do for your bank’s marketing, visit YouTube.com. 

All in all, social media channels can be truly effective in growing your financial institution’s revenue. Through these platforms you introduce new products, cross sell, gain valuable insights into customer preferences and market trends, improve your customer service support… the list goes on.  Ready to get started?  Coming soon; a few tips on how to get the most out of these social media channels as you develop your digital marketing campaign.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like the below recruitment ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content.

 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.



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Smart social marketing starts with a SMART plan.

The secret to successful marketing is, of course, planning.  Before you spend a dollar, you want to have a comprehensive picture of your market. Who are your potential customers? Where will you find them?  What are they thinking? What should you say? What are your competitors saying? When is the best time to reach them?  And, how can you get your message to them in the most cost-effective manner? 

As a critical component of your overall marketing plan, social messaging deserves the same consideration as any marketing initiative.  While at face value, social seems easy; why, it’s nothing more than posting to Facebook, right? Well, unfortunately, it isn’t. 

So, where to begin.  Before you even consider posting to Instagram or opening a Facebook account, here is what you need to do first:

Set SMART goals

Step one of any planning process is always goal setting.  What are you looking to accomplish?  Perhaps your goal is to build brand awareness.  To generate qualified leads and drive sales.  To cross-sell new products or services to existing customers. Or, to improve customer retention. This is where a SMART goal-setting framework can be of tremendous help. Establishing such a framework will help you create meaningful, measurable, and achievable social media goals that will support your business in the long run.   What does SMART mean?  

  • Specific: A SMART goal must be specific. Goals that are specific are more readily measured, making it easier for you to track your success. 
  • Measurable: A SMART goal must be measurable. Reducing costs is a worthwhile goal, but it’s too vague.  “Reduce payment and deposit processing costs by 20%” is a goal that, by contrast, can be measured.
  • Attainable: A SMART goal should be attainable. Sometimes, you won’t be able to really determine the achievability of your goal until you’ve begun your efforts to accomplish it. If you set out with a goal to reduce your processing costs by 20% and find that you’re reduced those costs by 10% in the first month, you need to re-adjust your goal… aim higher!
  • Realistic: Is your goal a realistic one?  This is tied to “Attainable.”  20% reduction in cost seemed, initially, like a realistic and attainable goal.  Again, perhaps we should have aimed higher and still can. You can always change your goal if you discover early in the process that it isn’t as realistic as you thought.  
  • Time bound: Every goal needs both a start and a finish date. Without a completion date, there’s no way to measure success.

The idea is that goals must meet these criteria in order to be effective. Let’s look at an example. Your financial institution is currently spending time and money on paper statements and would like to convert your paper statement customers to e-statement customers. Doing so benefits your business not only through reduced hard costs, but through back-office processing costs, as well. 

You begin with a value statement that defines your goal for your customers: “We are an institution committed to 1) making banking with us as easy as possible and 2) sustainable practices and the preservation of our planet.”  This will drive your social media messaging.

Now, what exactly are you looking to achieve? Let’s say that in one year you want to achieve the following goal:  Convert 25% of paper statement customers to e-statement customers.

Here’s how your goal aligns with the S.M.A.R.T. framework:

  • Specific: You have set a specific conversion goal; 25%.
  • Measurable: Your progress toward this goal is easily measured.
  • Attainable: Is a bar set at 25% too low?  Too high?  The beauty of this framework is that your goals are measurable.  You will know, if you are tracking results – which you definitely must – if you’ve set too low a bar.  Converted 5% in the first 6 weeks? That’s a pretty good indication that you need to re-adjust your goal.
  • Relevant: Your goal has a direct impact on the world we live in. It’s topical.
  • Time bound: The goals have a set deadline: One year.

Now that you have an idea of how to set goals, next we’re going to talk about social media channels and what they have to offer in terms of helping you grow your business.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like the below ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content.To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

 

 

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7 Characteristics of a High-Functioning Marketing Team

Over the course of my many years in the ad agency world and working closely with Fortune 100 marketing departments, I’ve come to appreciate the difficulty of running a successful team… especially one where the product is not some widget that comes off an assembly line and sits on a shelf, but a product that is manufactured completely by collective brainpower. The marketing message is such a product. 

Marketing, at least according to marketing professionals (those in sales might disagree!), is the most critical function of any organization. Creating and running a well-oiled marketing machine is no mean feat because getting the most out of your marketing team hinges, of course, on getting the most out of each individual. And that means creating and maintaining the kind of culture that will enable you to attract and retain the best talent in the industry. Over the years, I’ve learned this:  Individual talent is nothing. Culture is everything.

As Forbes states in, Traits that define High-Performing Marketing Organizations, “people come and go, but organizations with staying power understand that there is something bigger and better than a group of qualified individuals. The underlying achievement of a team is bolstered by an alignment of values, core strengths and beliefs. Shared energy and passion build a collective power that aligns business goals with individual achievements. This synergy not only creates a culture of satisfaction, but also nurtures the bottom line of your entire organization.” So, are you ready to get the most out of your marketing team? Of course, you are. Here are some culture traits that you’d do well to foster:

  1.         Trustworthiness or “Psychological Safety*”

A critical trait for high-performing teams is a high level of comfort and trust among members. In short, do members of the team — as well as stakeholders integral to the marketing function — feel that they are able (not just able, but encouraged) to take risks without feeling insecure or embarrassed? If there is any risk-aversion in your marketing department, drum it out right away.  Individuals… teams… companies cannot succeed wit a culture of fear.

*What Google’s HR department calls it.

  1.         Self-Awareness

To put it bluntly, are you being completely honest with yourself in assessing your team’s capabilities? Self-awareness demands a keen and sometimes painfully honest understanding of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, and, of course, the collective strengths and weaknesses of the overall marketing team. Don’t be afraid (see #1 above) to, on a regular basis, take that brutally honest view of the team’s capabilities and make whatever talent adjustments are deemed necessary.

  1.         Empathy

The most talented marketing professionals are those who take an interest in their fellow human beings.  What is empathy? “The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.” Isn’t that understanding and sharing the very foundation of a relevant and compelling marketing message? It is. The most effective marketers are students of human nature who have a passion for learning about the consumer… how they think and what motivates them to act. 

  1.         An Eagerness to Learn

Speaking of learning, true marketing professionals understand that the tenets of the marketing craft are not etching in stone tablets. Marketing is a dynamic discipline. The marketing team leaders who excel are those who are constantly aware of the importance of “psychological safety” while fostering a culture of continuous learning. It’s only through an environment that encourages risk-taking that team members can continue to develop and contribute at greater levels.

  1.         Celebrating failure

Highly effective teams always “celebrate” their failures. They take the time to understand what went wrong, learn from that experience and move on. This self-reflection must not only be valued but also celebrated and encouraged. The Harvard Business Review even goes as far as to say that “failure is not always bad. In organizational life it is sometimes bad, sometimes inevitable, and sometimes even good. We must recognize that there is significantly more information in our failures than in our successes. If we celebrate our failures, we will not repeat them.”

  1.         Impact of work

Does everyone on your team truly believe that the work they do matters? High-performing marketing teams have a profound passion for excellence and want to know that their work has an impact that is, well, appreciated. This is work that requires passion which means that done properly, a significant amount of “heart and soul” goes into it. Recognition of this fuels the team’s work and can help spur them on during challenging times... of which, there are always many.

  1.         Structure & Clarity

Are goals, roles, and execution plans clear to the team? It’s important that objectives— from the project-specific to the long-term departmental — as well as the strategies for achieving them, be clearly communicated and constantly reinforced. Team members are more comfortable in a predictable environment and that comfort level will enhance their performance.

Building and maintaining an organizational culture that can attract and retain top marketing talent is always a work in progress. But remember, the goal isn’t so much to reach a destination as it is to, instead, enjoy the journey.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like this retirement strategy ad campaign, for instance, recently added to our library of content.