Bankers have a huge asset on their balance sheet that they are not managing: the traffic that flows daily to desktop and mobile Digital banking platforms. Non-bank Digital marketers spend fortunes to generate “organic traffic”—meaning people who come to their platforms because they are interested in the content, rather than arriving after clicking on an ad. Bankers have that built-in traffic due to their trusted position in the community. Why don’t we manage it as intensely as any other asset?
Many will tell me “we are managing it—we present ads, and some of them convert.” Great. That is a wonderful start. But my experience with Wells Fargo, Fidelity, and Morgan Stanley, tells me that most of the ads I see are annoyingly off-target. If your conversion rates are low, that’s why.
I had the good fortune to speak to Alyson Clarke of Forrester Research last week, who is a real authority in the field. Alyson aggressively made the point that our messaging has to be relevant or we’ll simply turn people off. And more powerful ad technologies create the opportunity to irritate people more efficiently. And she’s right.
Too often, banks and credit unions push offers for products that the FI wants to sell. What about offering something your consumer wants to buy?
So how can we become more relevant? AI or other Big Data tools can surely help tune the message. The Financial Brand often covers AI-based marketing in depth. Companies like Sensibill can help you find clues in the vast sea of debit and credit card transactions. Tech surely has a role in improving our ability to present an offer that is actually useful.
The only issue with these technologies is that they take time and effort to implement. And you should implement them to make your offers more relevant. But what can you do today to become more relevant to your customers immediately?
One answer lies in a sense of community. Facebook, Instagram, and WeChat went viral because they create a sense of community. People connect through family ties, shared interests, or following a celebrity.
Your bank or credit union is doubtless a hub for your community. Why not show that through providing ad space for a worthy charity, perhaps one that you already support? Start slowly. Put up an ad for a local blood drive or community fundraiser. Progress to offering a coupon for a local business customer. You demonstrate involvement in your community in many ways—why not in your Digital channels?
Experiment. Learn what produces a a response in your community. Be prepared (and prepare your management team) for the inevitable stumbles and gaffes. Digital commerce companies religiously test and compare what works and what doesn’t. We can learn from them.
Is there an immediate ROI? No. But you’ll train people to expect something interesting in their bank “feed” and learn how to better engage them. Get started and give them a reason to be more involved. It worked for Facebook.