So, you’re looking to create a marketing strategy for your financial institution. “Where to start?” you might be thinking. Whether this is the first time you’re executing a full-blown marketing strategy or you want to try a new approach, everyone needs some direction. Our experience at PRIME has taught us that, no matter how you structure your strategy, there are five components that shouldn’t be left out. Let’s dig into the first one: setting clear objectives.
Any strategy should begin with clear objectives or goals – what you hope to achieve through your marketing efforts. Your objectives will guide every aspect of your strategy, from the channels you use to market yourself to the key performance indicators (KPIs) you set to test how your strategy worked. Some common objectives for your strategy might include:
- Create general brand awareness
- Grow membership
- Increase mobile application downloads
- Encourage loan applications (for mortgage, auto, commercial or otherwise)
- Increase website traffic
- Grow social media followership
Specific, Target Audiences
Much like your objectives, your target audiences will also guide many aspects of your marketing strategy. By understanding your audience, you’ll know better how to speak their language, address their issues and reach them where they’re at.
To define your audiences, start with your current customers or members. Do some demographic analysis using tools like Google Analytics to understand who your brand or product is already attracting. You’ll quickly find patterns around age, gender, income level, geographic location and more. Then, think also about the potential market. Who might be interested in your offer that hasn’t been reached yet?
I highly recommend creating buyer personas to help you understand your audiences on a more relatable level. Buyer personas are fictional representations of larger groups of customers. HubSpot has a great tool to help you create them, prompting you to define the characteristics of your customers and pinpoint 3-5 personas you can focus on in your strategy.
Consistent Campaign Messaging
Your messaging is the heart of your campaign. It will inspire a variety of marketing materials and will be used in many places throughout your campaign. So, make sure it points to your objective and is targeted to your audience. It should be clear and direct, letting your audience know what problem your product will solve for them, what you have to offer, and what they can do about it. When it comes to the voice and tone, go back to your audience analysis and speak their language.
Your campaign messaging should include a variety of copy lengths, including short and long taglines, short paragraph copy (like for a social post) and long-form copy (around 3 paragraphs, suited to a landing page). From this messaging, the rest of your creative team will be able to craft digital and print materials that are consistent and compelling.
Designated Mediums and Channels
Using your objectives and audience research, decide which mediums you will use to get your message to your audience.
Let’s start with an example. Say you’re trying to encourage more mortgage loan applications, and one of your main audiences for this is college-educated, 28- to 35-year-olds. Using this demographic information, you can begin to figure out where that audience is most likely to see your content. Social media usage is high in this age group, so you’ll definitely want to include both organic posts and paid social media advertising as part of your strategy, with Facebook and Instagram being points of focus. You may also find that your email click-through rate has been high with this demographic in the past, so email marketing is another channel you’ll include in your strategy.
In this way, you’ll use your audiences to guide your decisions about mediums and channels – leading you to those that are likely to bring you the highest return on your investment. Some mediums you might consider using include:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Display ads
- Pay per click
- Print publications
- Connected TV
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The most helpful part about documenting all of your efforts in a strategy is the ability to learn from them. It allows you to experiment and understand exactly why it did or didn’t work for you. This is where KPIs come in. KPIs are specific metrics you can track to determine the success of your effort, and it’s important to determine these at the outset. KPIs are super helpful for making your case that a particular strategy worked, and you should get the thumbs up or budget to keep doing it. They also let you know when your strategy is a dud and you need to pivot.
Common KPIs for financial institutions include:
- Ad reach
- Click-through rate (for ads and emails)
- Conversion rates (for downloads, contact forms, email sign-ups and more)
- Cost per lead
Looking for more specific direction for your marketing strategy? Download our free Campaign Planning Worksheet for Financial Institutions to start building your strategy in a structured, systematic way.
If you enjoyed this edition of PRIME Pulse, take a look at some of our other related articles:
- A Financial Institution's Guide to Compliance in Digital Marketing
- Social Media for Financial Institutions: What's Relevant?
- How to (Effectively) Gather Feedback About Your Financial Institution