If we have learned anything in the first half of 2020, it’s that having a digital marketing strategy is no longer a ‘nice to have’ option.
It’s absolutely crucial for community financial institutions (FIs) to step up their digital game if they plan on competing for new customers and members moving forward.
It may feel like the pandemic has tied community FIs’ one hand behind their backs, since one of the unique value propositions with local banks and credit unions is their connection to the communities that operate in.
The ‘banking on a first name basis,’ may be hard to maintain right now and will likely have to evolve as a new digital native generation rises and limited personal interaction becomes the new normal.
This personal touch is what has helped community FIs survive as big national banks moved into their territories. Remember, the number of community FIs in the US has been halved since 2007. Don’t let your bank or credit union become part of that statistic.
Adopt a digital marketing strategy that foster your personal relationships with your customers while building new opportunities for growth.
Moving Your Marketing Strategy Online
While PPP loans and Economic Impact Payments have generated a good amount of activity in the first half of the year, the challenge is, as FIs start building their budgets for next year, how do they create a more robust digital engagement strategy now that
face to face banking may never return to its glory days.
For example, during the pandemic, one of our local credit unions had closed all its offices and yet had no way to allow business customers to open new accounts. That’s months of lost business opportunities!
The most important first step in developing your digital marketing strategy is to take your time and think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your digital strategy from both your perspective and your account holders’ perspective.
There are significant options available but you really need to know what you want before you build out your own solution or work with a fintech partner that may have a platform you can use.
One way to start is to work with a digital marketing consultant that specializes in knowing the community FI space and can match your needs to potential platforms. That gives you more time to focus on your priorities, rather than spending a bunch of time
learning all about the marketplace, reviewing all the options and then sorting out an RFP for the work.
Three Mistakes to Avoid
But regardless how you choose to move forward – with a digital marketing consultant or on your own – just as important as knowing what you want to do, is knowing what to avoid doing.
Quite often, avoiding key pitfalls when building a digital strategy makes it easier and more efficient to navigate this new terrain.
So, without further ado, here are the top 3 biggest mistakes to avoid when you look to launch a digital marketing strategy.
- Having no strategy. It sounds pretty obvious, but it happens, a lot. If you haven’t considered how you want to promote your products (or which products to promote), which channels you want to focus on first and who your key target audience is, there’s
no way to judge whether your approach is working or not.
- Not understanding what matters. There’s a concept called
Goodhart’s Law. It states that, ‘When a measurement becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.’ Basically, that means you shouldn’t set a metric like page views as a primary goal, when loan applications are the actions you really need to take place.
If you only focus on that rather than say, time spent on select pages or conversion actions taken, you may get a lot of traffic but not really attract potential business. Learn what metrics are important.
- Not putting in the time/resources to do it well. Your ambitions need to meet your budget. You need to spend the time figuring a short, medium and long-term plan for your digital marketing strategy and then allocate the funds to make it happen. Fortunately,
once you have a strategy mapped out you can build out the elements to make it happen months or years at a time…which helps your organization grow into the management of the tools and tactics you deploy.
Having a knowledgeable partner that can work with you to help develop a cohesive and effective digital marketing strategy is a great way to keep costly mistakes to minimum while maximizing your budget as well as the resources of your bank or credit union.