10 tips for community banks ringing in the holidays

‘Tis the season! And although, chances are very good that over the years you’ve stepped away from sending out personally signed holiday cards to each of your customers, that doesn’t mean that there’s no longer an opportunity to strengthen those bonds and, perhaps, boost your brand and revenue at the same time.

Of course, the holiday season is an opportune time for your community bank to connect with customers, boost engagement, and reinforce your role as their local financial institution. As we move into the holiday season, it’s crucial that you make effective use of marketing strategies that resonate with your audience and build goodwill. Let’s explore just a few of the types of marketing activities you can and should consider in order to make the most of the holiday season.

1. Personalized Season's Greetings

Community banks thrive on personal connections, and the holiday season is the perfect time to showcase this. Send personalized season's greetings to your customers, acknowledging their loyalty and the community's shared values. Whether through email, physical cards, or even a festive video message, a thoughtful greeting can go a long way in strengthening a customer relationship, whether personal or business.

2. Holiday-Themed Content

Leverage your bank's blog, social media, and website to create holiday-themed content. Offer tips on budgeting for holiday expenses, the advantages of opening a holiday savings account, or even local event guides for the season. Tailoring your content to address the financial concerns and aspirations of your community during the holidays can position your bank as a helpful resource. Check out our portal and explore some of the content developed specifically for the holidays, from email holiday greetings and promotional banners to fun, festive, in-branch messaging.

3. Community Involvement

The holiday season is, as you know, synonymous with community events and charitable activities. Your community bank can showcase your commitment to your neighbors by actively participating in such local holiday events. Sponsor or host events like tree lighting ceremonies, toy drives, or food bank collections. These efforts demonstrate your bank's dedication to the well-being of the community. Create a calendar on your website, for example, that your website visitors can use to plan their activities over the holiday months.

4. Promotional Offers

Consider offering special holiday promotions or discounts on select banking services. These could include reduced fees for account openings, credit card interest rates, or even cashback rewards for holiday shopping. Perhaps a special offer on opening a Christmas Club account as a gift for a child or grandchild. Such promotions go a long way in attracting new customers and enhancing customer loyalty.

5. Your Small Business Customers

Many small businesses require financial assistance leading up to and during the holiday season. As their community bank, you can provide support and financial solutions tailored to small business needs. Highlight your commitment to these very important customers through targeted marketing campaigns that might, for instance, promote funding solutions – along with financial guidance – that will help your small business customers successfully navigate the holidays.

6. Social Media Engagement

Engage with your audience on social media platforms to share holiday messages, financial tips, and promotions. Host holiday-themed contests or giveaways to encourage interaction and increase your online presence. Respond promptly to customer inquiries and comments to reinforce your bank's commitment to customer service.

7. Financial Wellness Resources

Speaking of financial guidance, the holiday spending season can be a dangerous time for some. Promote financial wellness resources and tips on responsible holiday spending, savings, and managing credit card debt. These resources can be in the form of blog posts, downloadable guides, or educational videos. An off-shoot? Host financial workshops that cater to the unique challenges of the holiday season. Topics could include budgeting for gifts and travel, avoiding debt during the holidays, or optimizing credit card rewards for holiday shopping. Providing valuable financial education sets your bank apart as a trusted and concerned advisor.

8. Merchandise Local Relationships

Collaborate with local businesses for joint promotions. Offer discounts to customers who shop at participating local stores or dine at nearby restaurants. Supporting local businesses not only strengthens your community but also builds goodwill with customers.

9. Email Marketing Campaigns

Leverage email marketing to keep customers informed about holiday promotions, events, and tips. Send out regular newsletters with relevant content and offers. Personalize your emails to make customers feel valued and understood.  Need help putting a holiday newsletter together?  Using our new ChatGPT feature, you can create your own custom content … faster and easier than ever before. You’ll never sweat getting a newsletter out on time ever again!

10. Mobile Banking Enhancements

Enhance your mobile banking app with holiday-themed features. You can, for instance – if you haven’t done this already – enable customers to set holiday spending budgets, receive real-time transaction alerts, or access discounts and promotions directly through your app. Emphasize the convenience and security of mobile banking during the busy holiday season.

In conclusion, the holiday season offers community banks a unique opportunity to connect with customers and strengthen their presence in the local community. By implementing these holiday marketing strategies, you’ll not only boost customer engagement but also demonstrate your commitment to supporting the community during this festive time of year. Building positive holiday experiences now will lead to lasting customer relationships and goodwill throughout the year.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com – one of the industry’s most well-regarded providers of professionally-designed marketing materials to local banks – our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  Now, through our partnership with ChatGPT, creating your own custom content is even faster and easier. With the addition of AI-assisted content development, our clients can very quickly generate articles they need for newsletters and blogs and any other content they might need in their marketing efforts.

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 welcome your thoughts.