ONBOARDING CUSTOMERS: THE INS AND OUTS

Proper onboarding of your customers is a major step in setting your bank up for success. Not only can you use this as an opportunity to showcase your stellar customer service, but you can also prove just how responsive you are to your customers’ needs and to changes within the broader financial environment.

As a financial company, your long-term goals include customer retention, and because onboarding is an integral part of the client journey, this is your time to shine and stand out against your competition.

Make a great first impression with the following tips so you can attract and retain customers while building your brand.

Prepare for Some Challenges

Before implementing an onboarding protocol within your organization, you should be aware of some of the challenges that you might face. For example, it could be difficult to differentiate your offerings from your competition if you are selling similar products and services. It could also be harder to attract and retain Gen Z customers who are more satisfied with big banks.

On top of that, there is a limited number of customers who are available to acquire in the first place. Only a small percentage of customers today will decide to make a switch, and many Gen Z consumers will merely go with the bank that their families use.

In order to overcome these challenges, your company needs to figure out ways of improving every customer’s experience from the beginning of your relationship. And it all boils down to your onboarding process.

Onboarding as a Differentiator

Despite changing markets, overhead costs, competition, and regulations, client onboarding will give you the chance to establish stronger relationships with new customers, as well as expand your brand while offering a more customized service for clients in different markets.

Also, because only about 30% of U.S.-based firms actually view onboarding as a differentiator, according to the Aite Group, you can begin taking steps that other banks are ignoring when it comes to acquiring more loyal customers. In the competitive financial sector, differentiation is key, and proving your worth to customers from the very start of your interaction with them will help you increase profits.

Ways to Enhance Your Onboarding Process

Whether you are ready to establish a brand new onboarding process or improve an existing one, implementing the following strategies could help your financial business stay ahead of the curve:

  • Analyze each customer’s needs. Thanks to online and mobile banking, there are fewer opportunities for your staff to actively interact with customers face-to-face. So when a new customer visits your branch to open an account, take that as a chance to really get to know them, their needs, and expectations.

    Once you’ve collected this information, the key will be to actually give your customers the help they need to fulfill their expectations. So don’t just gather the data; instead, make it a point to approach your customers with solutions that your bank can provide to make their lives easier.
  • Show your appreciation to new customers. A simple “thank you for your business” can go a long way when it comes to making a positive first impression on consumers.

    Whether you mail new customers a handwritten note or you send a text or email, this is an impactful way to show your clients that you care, but you should do it within a couple of days after a customer opens an account.

    Within the “thank you” note, include the customer’s name and the type of account that they opened, along with the perks that they can expect to enjoy as a result of working with your bank.

    You can even personalize these messages by including the name of the employee who worked with the customer, and you can also embed a link to a welcome video or introduction site that has been personalized as well.  

 

  • Keep the lines of communication open. After that initial thank you note, you should continue communicating with your customers in order to improve satisfaction and showcase your other offerings to suit their needs. Generating automated messages that are needs-based and consumer-specific will help you engage with customers rather than merely sell to them.

    Following up on a consistent basis, even when done several times, can be helpful, especially since not all of your messages will be read or remembered. These messages can be sent via statement inserts, email, direct mail, SMS messaging, and social media, as a few examples, based on how a customer prefers to receive communications.

    Personalize your messaging to cater to each customer’s needs, based upon data that you have collected from the onboarding process and from their interactions with your bank since they opened an account. You may, for example, promote your mobile deposit app, your rewards program, or your account alerts as you work on building more trust.

Achieve Growth with Improved Customer Satisfaction

When you are able to increase customer satisfaction, you’ll put your financial organization on the track towards increased profits as well. Focus on improving the onboarding process to not only get to know your customers better, but also to make a lasting impression. Saying thank you, communicating regularly with your customers, and ensuring all of their financial needs are met, especially as their preferences change over time, will help you retain their loyalty, which is an integral part of your success.

Do you need help coming up with the right messaging and the right marketing plan for both new and existing customers? Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about onboarding and other promotional strategies that work.

 

 

 

BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS: MARKETING TO MILLENNIALS

The millennial generation consists of more than 75 million people who were born between the early ‘80s and late ‘90s. Therefore, banks and other financial organizations that fail to properly market to this segment of the population will miss out on a huge opportunity for profits and long-term growth.

But how should you market to millennials, and should your strategy be different from your traditional promotional plans? With big banks being most successful when it comes to not only acquiring but also keeping millennials loyal, it’s imperative to get your bank ahead of the curve.

What Should You Know About Millennials?

  1. One thing you should keep in mind when it comes to millennials is the fact that this generation grew up with technology at their fingertips. They use services like Netflix and Amazon every day, and they spend hours on social media sites that range from Facebook and Pinterest, to Snapchat and Twitter. Because technology plays such an important role in their everyday lives, millennials expect their bank to provide them with a user-friendly website for things like checking balances and making transfers. And they also prefer using their mobile devices to do everything from depositing checks to paying expenses.

 

  1. Millennials express themselves online, and they expect to be treated as individuals as well. Plus, they’re used to receiving customized recommendations based upon their likes and purchase history when shopping or using online services. So, in addition to establishing a brand presence on social media, it is also important to use data collection and analysis as a means to deliver personalized, real-time messaging that millennials will respond to.

 

  1. On top of preferring tech-savvy companies, millennials want to be able to trust a business, including their bank. Therefore, in order to be successful, you need to prove your authenticity through your messaging. Providing millennials with valuable financial information and tips that are easy to access will also help build your credibility and make you a source that they can turn to.

 

  1. Millennials are often willing to support brands that aren’t solely concerned about making profits, and many of them care about issues that are bigger than themselves. So if you can prove that your company is working on improving the world in some way, such as through charitable work, you can use that to gain an advantage over your competition.

 

How Can You Figure Out the Right Messaging for Millennial Customers?

Delivering the right message is key when marketing to millennials, and one way to go about doing that is by analyzing data about your customers. You may, for example, look at purchase behavior via credit and debit card transactions to determine if a millennial consumer would be in the market for specific products or services. Or you can check out the pages of your website where a customer spends the most time in order to determine their financial intentions. And you can also look at a customer’s account holdings and monthly expenses, which might include rent, a mortgage, or a loan.

As an example, if a customer doesn’t have a mortgage but has a medium sized balance in their savings account and has recently viewed your web page regarding acquiring a mortgage, you could make the assumption that they’re saving up for their first home. You can then use this information to deliver relevant messaging about your mortgage offerings. Your messaging could also include other helpful information that can guide them as they prepare to make such a big purchase.

What Are Some Ways to Engage with Millennials?

There are a number of ways that you can connect with millennials, especially online:

  • Create a strong presence on social media. This means actively posting about the products and services that would appeal to the millennial generation, as well as searching for posts where consumers are talking about your business. Answer questions and provide customer service.

 

  • Prove your trustworthiness. Millennials like doing a lot of research before making a buying decision, so it’s important to know what’s being said about your brand online via social media posts and reviews. Search out reviews that are already out there, and politely respond to any negative reviews to prove that you care. You can also increase brand awareness, visibility, and credibility by getting social media influencers on board to talk about what you have to offer.

 

  • Focus on providing experiences, as well as products. Millennials are all about experiencing everything that life has to offer. Provide a unique experience for those who visit your branch, as well as those who visit your website. Sponsor fun live events that will get your name in front of more millennials. Set up entertaining contests to get people interested and involved, and offer special deals that distinguish you from the competition.

Get Ready to Get Creative for Millennials

In order to appeal to millennials, you need to be creative and think outside the box. Traditional marketing tactics will only get you so far before you need to start catering to the needs and expectations of a generation that’s focused on experiences, diversity, and supporting worthy causes.

With the right data on hand, you can create the right messaging and establish the appropriate online presence to attract and connect with millennials, as well as convert them into loyal customers who will be excited to tell everyone they know about you. But if marketing to millennials becomes too much of a challenge, contact us for a free consultation. We can help you come up with the ideal strategy to promote your products and services to this unique generation.  

 

 

 

GETTING IN FRONT OF YOUR AUDIENCE – BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE

The goal of any marketing campaign is to break through the noise created by your competition and make your brand stand out against the rest. But in order for your efforts to be successful, you need to hone in on your target audience as well. With a triple layer approach, you can do all of that as you boost your conversions and improve customer retention rates.

The Three Types of Media in Digital Marketing

There are three types of digital media, and each plays an important role in a digital marketing campaign. Even though you should focus on each media type separately, when you put them all together, they should work as a cohesive unit.

 

  • Owned Media

 

Any web property that’s controlled by your business, and any web property that’s unique to your business, is considered owned media.

For example, your website would be considered owned media, as would your blog and your social media pages because they serve as extensions of your site and your brand.

It’s a good idea to aim for as much owned media as possible because doing so will enhance your presence online and allow you to attract more customers.

 

  • Earned Media

 

Earned media involves the use of SEO, including local and mobile SEO, as well as your content strategy. It serves to help more people find your owned media.

This type of digital media encompasses word-of-mouth promotion that occurs online in the form of recommendations, reviews, reposts, shares, and mentions. It can also include content that goes viral and content that has been picked up by third party websites.

Earned media is typically the result of achieving excellent organic rankings on top search engines like Google, but it also requires actively distributing your content. Focusing on developing interesting content that’s optimized for search engines can help you achieve those sought-after first page rankings that will put your owned media in front of the highest number of users. Just keep in mind that great content goes beyond blogs to include things like videos, infographics, webinars, eBooks, and press releases that are informative and engaging.

 

  • Paid Media

 

Paid media refers to display ads and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaigns that can be run on mobile and social platforms as well.

With paid media, you’re paying for ad space to promote your content and receive more exposure than you would otherwise receive. This is a solid way to not only drive earned media, but also to get more traffic to your owned media.

For example, you might purchase some sponsored posts on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, or you might pay one or more influencers who can share links on your behalf and help you expand your reach and conversions.

Evaluate and Continually Improve Your SEO Strategy

When you combine on-site SEO with online reputation management and SEM, you can boost your online presence and get the attention that you’re after. Once again, taking a three-tiered approach can help your business grow through effective marketing strategies, but you’ll need to revisit your plan often in order to continually improve. After all, by auditing your traffic and ranking, you’ll be able to identify where your website truly stands, and you can continue setting new goals as a means to reach your target audience despite your competition.

 

  • On-Site SEO

 

This approach focuses on improving your search engine ranking, particularly on Google. It involves developing content for your website that will not only be attractive to your target audience, but will also be easy for them to find. And it also incorporates back linking and tagging techniques, as well as community growth.

 

  • Online Reputation Management

 

The goal of online reputation management is to boost your company’s visibility, even when it comes to Google maps searches and local search results. You can utilize software and other tools that will help get reviews, mentions and overall, help you get in front of your target audience.

 

  • SEM

 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can include Google AdWords paid campaigns, ROI bidding, keyword optimization, and click to call campaigns. Keyword traffic should be evaluated regularly for changes, and your strategy should be tweaked accordingly to improve or maintain your search engine ranking. Consider creating a prioritized list of the types of keywords, as well as the specific keywords, that you need to start using on your website and in your ad campaigns in order to improve your overall SEO strategy and get better results.

Getting in front of your audience in a saturated digital world is an ongoing challenge that requires you always stay ahead of the curve. If you’d like to learn more about how to take a triple layer approach to your marketing strategy, contact us today for a free consultation with experts who can guide you through the process and tools for success.   

 

Sources:

https://www.titan-seo.com/NewsArticles/trifecta.html  

 

 

PROTECT YOUR COMPANY’S DATA: BUILD A BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE

The words “spend wisely” hover above any well-thought budget. And no budget is ever enough. IT division needs rise while the line numbers stay flat, meaning most CISOs are expected to deliver more from less.  Zeroing in on infrastructure best practices that boost value will improve data protection without breaking the bank.

Consider these six steps to building a more secure infrastructure and ensuring its longstanding success.

GET THE MACRO VIEW.

Provide the security team with a normalized, comprehensive view of the network, including: routing rules, access rules, NAT, VPN, etc.; hosts, including all products (and versions), services, vulnerabilities, and patches; as well as assets, including asset groupings and classifications. With this comprehensive network view, security teams can view hosts in the network, as well as configurations, classifications and other pertinent information. This serves both as a useful visualization tool and a diagnostic tool, providing analysis that is only possible when considered from the macro perspective. An example of how this would work: security and compliance teams can use this overall view to see how data would move between points on the network. It also highlights information that is missing, such as hosts, access control list (ACL) data, etc., and quickly and accurately conducts sophisticated analytics without disruption of the live network. Access path analysis helps to validate changes, and can troubleshoot outages or connectivity issues, enhancing visibility and improving security processes.

TAKE THE MICRO VIEW ON DAILY DEVICE MANAGEMENT.

Although a macro view is needed to see how all the pieces of the network fit together, network administrators must be able to drill down into the details for a particular device, easily accessing information on rules, access policies, and configuration compliance. This information must be considered within the framework of the broader network, including context such as segments or zones, routing, routers, switches, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and firewalls. The network components that impact the device will undoubtedly come from various vendors, creating data of different vendor languages that must be deciphered, correlated, and optimized to allow administrators to streamline rule sets. For example, administrators need to be able to block or limit access by application and view violations of these access policies. Daily or weekly reviews of all devices on the network is unattainable with a manual process, and reviewing device configurations less frequently puts network security and compliance at risk. Automating policy compliance helps ensure compliance and consistency, and preserves IT resources.

OPTIMIZE YOUR NETWORK SECURITY AWARENESS AND CONTROL THROUGH INTEGRATION OF MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS.

Coordinate workflows across functional categories to improve accuracy and efficiency, including configuration management, fault/availability monitoring, performance monitoring, and troubleshooting. From a management tools perspective, this either requires close integration and sharing of data between tools to ensure seamless and accurate handoffs from one to another, or a unified management system that supports multiple functions of a single core database and/or management data model.

IMPLEMENT HYPER-CONVERGENCE FOR AN INTERNAL, CLOUD-LIKE EXPERIENCE.

The convergence of virtualized servers, storage, and networking using software can significantly simplify data center provisioning and maintenance tasks, and reduce long-term costs. “Hyper-convergence changes all your internal processes because most of them were originally built around the separation of the network, storage, and compute layers. Hyper-convergence allows you to operate all three under a single stack.”

PLAN A RISK MANAGEMENT APPROACH THAT INCLUDES SIMULATED ATTACKS FOR CONTEXTUAL ASSESSMENT.

Include the ability to identify near-, mid-, and long-term risks and their likelihood, through “what-if” scenario planning. Today’s attacks often incorporate multiple steps that cross several different network zones, and an isolated view of any of these steps could appear innocuous. Attack simulation technology automatically looks at the holistic network – business assets, known threats, and vulnerabilities – and identifies what would happen if the conditions were combined. Attack simulation can also evaluate potential options to block an attack, providing intelligence for decision support. Understanding the likelihood of an attack and its potential impact against valuable targets is the key to assessing which vulnerabilities and threats pose the most risk.

IMPLEMENT A NEXT-GENERATION FIREWALL (NGFW) AT YOUR ORGANIZATION’S PERIMETER AND KEY INTERNAL CHOKEPOINTS.

The ability to quickly detect and implement automated security response mechanisms is a valuable asset. The tight interaction between traditional firewall rules, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) signatures, deep packet inspection, application awareness, and global threat intelligence creates a far more secure network edge compared to traditional security architectures. Do also keep in mind: the more deep-inspection or rules the perimeter firewall is expected to process and enforce, the more horsepower and resources required. In other words, choose requirements wisely to reduce the risk of traffic slowdowns.

“A security-centric, programmable infrastructure that detects and responds to emerging threat vectors is essential for organizations to thrive in our hyper-connected era.”