The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent effects on the economy brought financial safety and security to the forefront for many of us. Whether you’re struggling personally or not, you may have seen your favorite mom-and-pop restaurant down the street close or heard the drone of falling stock market statistics from your local news anchor. More so than usual, people are worried about money.
Time for Action
For financial institutions, this is an opportunity to help, to gain customer loyalty through goodwill and empathy, and be a trustworthy partner in finance. And given the disruption of face-to-face banking, the best way to seize this opportunity in the current environment is through digital marketing. According to a recent CMO survey, marketing professionals have reported, “increased openness among customers to new digital offerings introduced during the pandemic (85%), increased value placed on digital experiences (84%), and greater acknowledgments of companies’ attempts to “do good” (79%).”
While some banks and credit unions are giving donations to relief organizations or offering financial benefits such as deferred payments, they are making an impact. There are many ways financial institutions can help support their customers and build relationships through digital marketing without breaking the bank.
If it’s not already, digital marketing should be at the forefront of any marketing campaign, particularly while social distancing recommendations still exist. For most financial institutions, online services are standard. But now is the time to harness digital marketing capabilities to make those online services easier to use, build your brand, and, in the big picture, gain financial trust that will help rebuild our economy.
Drawing from more than 6 years of experience working with banks and credit unions at PRIME, we’ve put together digital marketing tactics that can help financial institutions stand above the rest during COVID-19.
Rethink Your Customer Experience
As mentioned, most banks and credit unions already have desktop banking and mobile banking apps, and nearly 90 percent of people use mobile banking according to a recent Business Insider study. But it’s also important to note that, given this statistic, at least 10 percent of banking customers are likely now using online banking for the very first time. By sheer necessity, online services aren’t just for the digital-savvy anymore -- they are for everyone.
So, before diving into a digital marketing strategy that draws new and existing customers, it’s important to reassess the design of your mobile apps and websites to make them as efficient and user-friendly as possible.
Many companies that thrive on good customer service do so with face-to-face, personal interactions that build relationships. Without that connection, financial institutions now need to make their customer service shine through their digital platforms.
Consider pumping up your online support to make customer service more easily available or integrating personal, empathic touches. To help customers who may be using digital services for the first time, provide step-by-step instructions or guides to help them along.
In summary, for every digital service you provide, ask yourself, “How this be more accessible? How can it be more personable?”
Content marketing, which uses content that is relevant to your audience to create brand awareness and drive traffic to your website, is a great way to make your institution a go-to financial resource for customers and a leading expert in the industry. Content may come in the form of blog posts, social media, email, or other collateral.
When it comes to developing content, your content should not be whatever you want to share with your audience. Your content should be what your audience wants to read. Do some research to find out what your audience is interested in so that it’s relevant and personal. During this pandemic, many people are seeking easy-to-understand financial advice, and your bank or credit union can provide expertise. An example might be a blog post about how to navigate unemployment, or a guide to understanding and utilizing new business funding options.
If you are donating to pandemic relief or cutting your customers some financial slack during this time, share that. Offered technologies that are relevant to safety and hygiene, such as contactless payment, are important to highlight as well. People will appreciate and remember how you are helping during this hard time.
grow Your Social Media
Most of us can admit we’ve spent more time on social media since the pandemic began restricting our activities. A study conducted in April showed that social media engagement increased by 61 percent during the first wave of COVID-19. So, if you’re looking for your audience, they’re likely on social media, keeping in touch with family and friends, watching Tik Tok videos, and downloading sourdough bread recipes.
With longer hours being spent on social media, there is more opportunity for brands to be seen on those channels. However, with many competitors seizing this opportunity, financial institutions need to find ways to set themselves apart. Focus on messages that express human connection, understanding, and care for your customers. Emphasize your member service, how you can help, and promote educational resources that can be linked directly to your website. See our tips on social media scheduling to develop an organized approach.
partner with PRIME
We’re currently helping our bank and credit union partners pivot and innovate during this time, while maintaining what’s already working. If your digital marketing strategy could use a kick in the pants to reach the numbers you’re looking for, we’d love to collaborate with you and help you get there.
If you enjoyed this edition of PRIME Pulse, take a look at some of our other related articles:
- 4 Steps Toward a Better Content Marketing Strategy
- 5 Reasons Your Website is Never Really Done
- 10 Ways to Communicate Empathy and Authority Amidst Crisis
- 4 Reasons Your Messaging is Falling Flat
- The How-To on Facebook Marketing Campaigns