HOW MARKETING AUTOMATION CAN HELP DRIVE RESULTS

Marketing automation, we’re sure you’re all aware of what marketing automation is, but what’s important is what it does for business. By streamlining and automating workflows and marketing tasks, you can nurture and segment leads. If your company already has a lead generation program, this helps build upon what is already being done. After capturing leads, instead of doing manual outreach, marketing automation does all of that for you and then some. It helps segment leads all while providing a great customer experience. You’re able to speak directly to that segment’s needs which improves the conversation, and you don’t have to worry about personally sending the email. In the end, companies that choose to automate lead generation see a 10% increase in revenue as little as 6-9 months.* Less spend for a higher ROI. Isn’t that the goal we’re all looking to achieve?

 

More Touchpoints Driving Potential Customers Through The Funnel

 

A 2014 Salesforce presentation, stated that “Automation users have a 53% higher conversion rate from marketing response to marketing-qualified lead than non-users.” Sending out emails in a strategic way can help engage your leads and provoke them to take action driving them further down the funnel. “Automate’ is the key word in this tactic. This process was created to help companies become more efficient. For example, drip campaigns are a series of emails for different segments. Those emails are automatically disbursed and trigger other emails based on the action the lead takes. Segments are created from your lead list and can be categorized based on lead type, where they are in the sales process, etc.

 

“Companies that excel at nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.”*  

Here’s where the real help comes in. If a lead takes action on a trigger in the campaign, they are automatically pushed into a different campaign that you have already created. This might be old news to you, but these campaigns have proven success rates and should be part of your marketing plan. Even if you’re already using this form of marketing, we wanted to point out all the ways automation can help. It might just spark an idea for a drip campaign you haven’t yet set in motion.

 

Marketing Automation Aids In:

    • Lead Nurturing
    • Post-purchase Follow-up
    • Lead Scoring and Segmentation
    • Upsell

 

  • Incentive or Loyalty Programs

 

 

Positive Customer Experience:

 

At this point, you know how this tactic can help from a resource planning and touchpoint perspective. What is just as important as the continual outreach efforts, is that these campaigns can provide a positive customer experience. This is a chance to showcase your brand and product which can be done through customized content. “By 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to humans.”* Make sure your emails speak to the customer’s needs and that lists are segmented appropriately. Automation can help some of the processes, but what goes into the emails you’re sending out, the language, the images, the personalization, are just as important. Remember, you want the customer to engage, so talk to them in a way that would spark a conversation.

 

 

These marketing efforts need a strategy, a platform, and team to help implement. If you’re looking for help and need a second set of hands to take on this task — we like to think of our services as an extension of your already existing team. Want more information? Click here.

 

 

 

EMBRACE INSIGHT-DRIVEN MARKETING

Although there’s a lot of emphases placed upon data-driven marketing, it should only be the first phase of your marketing process. The second phase involves insight marketing.

So while you should be concerned about the data that you’ve collected, and you certainly want to analyze what is and isn’t working, you need to go further. And going further involves combining human intellect with analytics.

The Value of Insight-Driven Marketing

Think about some of the best ideas that you have ever had. How many of them came strictly from looking at a set of data? How many of them came from asking a question or using your imagination?

What most people don’t realize is that insights are the catalysts for new ideas, including in business. Creativity is also a major driver of change and differentiation from the competition in a tough marketplace like the financial sector.

You can have a lot of data at your fingertips, but if you don’t know how to apply that data in the right way, it won’t be valuable or useful. Insight-driven marketing is a strategy that you can use to analyze your data in a new way that will spark inspiration within your organization.

Where to Search for Insights

One of the best places where you can gain valuable insights from your data is any area where your customers interact with your brand. You can uncover a lot about your customer base and what entices them to make a purchase, remain loyal, or go elsewhere.

But rather than just gathering data regarding how your audience perceives your brand, you should dig deeper and start asking questions, such as why those perceptions are held in the first place, where they came from, and what caused them.

When you start asking questions about your data, rather than merely looking at your data from the surface, you can start to gather important and valuable information. From there, you can use that information to inform your marketing strategy.

Data Findings, Questions, and Insights

Once you have the right analytics tools, it will be easier to gather findings from your data. After those findings have been collected, you can start to ask yourself why a conclusion you’ve made from your data even exists. For example, if a finding shows that millennials prefer using mobile banking and very few of them are actually visiting branches, ask yourself why that’s the case and why it even matters. Think about why millennials are choosing mobile over other alternatives, and how they are spending their time instead.

The goal is to question the data that you’ve collected so you can come to accurate conclusions about your customers. As you ask questions, you’ll start to go beneath the surface which will help you make discoveries about your customers that the data didn’t show you at first. And then you’ll be able to use those discoveries to enhance the way you do business so you can attract and retain more customers.

Doing More with Big Data

There’s been a lot of talk about big data in the world of marketing, but if you’ve been collecting a lot of data and not really putting a plan into action as a result of the insights that you’ve gained from it, you need to start doing more.

Many financial marketers find it difficult to put their data into action because they lack the budget or the skills. However, new technology and tools are emerging that provide advanced analytics. These will help you glean insights from your demographic, behavioral, and transactional data much more easily.

Keep in mind that today’s customers of financial institutions are seeking easier ways to do their banking, and they’re hoping for more personalized service as well. Insight-driven marketing can give you a clearer perspective on how you can best meet those needs and expectations.

To successfully learn more about your target market and effectively promote your financial products and services to them, a combination of data marketing and insight-driven marketing will lead the way. Contact us today for a free consultation or to learn more about how you can create a marketing strategy that will truly inspire.  

 

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SEGMENTATION – WHY IT SHOULD BE A PART OF YOUR PLAN

Segmentation should be a part of any financial company’s marketing plan. This strategy allows you to divide your broad target audience into smaller sections of consumers that have showcased common needs. After all, you can’t expect that everyone in a large group will have the same expectations, so you shouldn’t be selling to everyone in the same way.

Once you’ve properly segmented your target market, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how to promote your offerings to those populations, as you’ll know which products and services would be most relevant to them.

ENHANCE YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS WITH SEGMENTATION

Whenever you segment a target audience, you’ll be breaking that market down into smaller, manageable sections so you can boost sales, improve customer service, and make your promotional efforts more efficient.

Generally, businesses can segment their market based on things like demographics, geographical location, psychographics, and behavioral data. But banks can also segment their market into non-customers, low to high value customers, and former customers, as a few examples.

  • Non-customers are individuals who are currently using other banks, but they could also include young consumers who have yet to open their first bank account. You can connect with this market segment by providing special introductory offers and finding ways to differentiate yourself from your competition. If you can prove that you’re able to provide more value than other financial companies, you might convince customers to make the switch, as well as establish long-term relationships with new banking customers.
  • Low value customers might include those with a lower income and a reduced need for financial products and services. However, this segment could also include individuals who are spreading their savings across multiple banks. These customers would need to be convinced that they should invest all of their funds with your company, as well as grow their small savings into larger investments.
  • Individuals who are considered medium to high value consumers could include those who have significant investments with your competitors. You could try attracting these consumers with special deals, but you’ll need to work harder to differentiate yourself and prove your value.
  • Former customers could include those who have switched to another bank and closed their account with you, those who are no longer using banks to invest their money, or those who have become inactive with an existing account. It’s a challenge to re-engage this audience, but if they switched because they were dissatisfied, you might be able to get them back by offering a change in the way you do business.

Once you have a clearer picture of the various market segments that you’re dealing with, you can promote your standard banking services, high-end savings options, investment opportunities, loan options, and commercial products and services to the appropriate populations. Doing so will allow you to use your resources cost-effectively, as you’ll be targeting the customers that would actually be interested in what you have to offer.

DON’T NEGLECT THE BENEFITS OF EMAIL SEGMENTATION

Email marketing is an effective way to engage with your pre-determined segments and really let the personality of your organization shine. When done correctly, the ROI for this type of marketing could be greater than that of other direct response marketing options.

By combining an effective email marketing strategy with market segmentation, you can connect with customers in a way that will generate more sales. A MailChimp analysis showed that email campaigns that were segmented had a 14% higher open rate than email campaigns that were non-segmented. This is because email segmentation allows you to send relevant messages to the many different types of customers within your broad target audience.

You can segment your emails by gender, age, location, language, and past banking behavior, as a few examples. Make subject lines interesting to entice people to open your emails. But to help ensure click-throughs, include short paragraphs and bullet points to make the content easy to digest. You can even use images to illustrate your message in an engaging way.

MAKE THINGS EASIER WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION

Marketing automation is the use of software to streamline your marketing processes, including customer segmentation. It can also help you send the right message to the right customer at the right time. Just think, your emails can be segmented then automated to help move potential customer through the funnel in a more efficient and streamlined way.

In addition to improving your online and offline marketing efforts, automation can help you save time, avoid errors, reduce costs, analyze and tweak campaigns, and schedule social media posts so they’re shared at the most opportune moments.

More importantly, market automation software could give you the tools necessary to connect with your customers at the best point in the customer journey or sales funnel. Your lead list could also become more targeted, and you could have an easier time achieving more sales while decreasing your lead conversion time.

PUTTING SEGMENTATION INTO PRACTICE

In the end, segmentation is all about learning more about your customers and then offering them exactly what they need to enhance their banking experience. After all, a brand new customer would have different requirements than someone who has been banking with you for several years or someone who’s only interested in a loan or mortgage.

If you have any trouble with applying segmentation strategies to your financial business, contact us today for a free consultation.

 

 

 

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  

 

 

CALLS TO ACTION – WHAT YOU SHOULD BE USING

Businesses that seek to increase their conversion rate and lower their bounce rate can focus on calls to action that appear on landing pages and social media posts. While you can gain results from making your site more user-friendly, if you can improve a call to action (CTA), you might entice even more customers to move through your conversion funnel.

WHAT DOES A CALL TO ACTION DO?

A CTA could be text on your website, or it could be a more prominent graphic, button, or banner. The idea is to make your calls to action stand out enough that visitors will see them and click on a link that will take them to more information about your products and services. With the help of effective calls to action, visitors can be converted into leads, who can then become customers.

WHAT SHOULD A CALL TO ACTION LOOK LIKE?

Here are a few things that any call to action on your website or social media pages should contain:

Specific and clear instructions that tell visitors what to expect once they click through. Use words like “get,” “find,” and “why” in order to give them a reason to click the CTA link.

A standout design that can be recognized even when a visitor is merely skimming your content.

An action verb that provides guidance to visitors, such as “discover,” “learn,” “build,” “join,” “grow,” and “start” or “stop.”

Time-sensitive terms, such as “before,” “today,” “now,” and “ends,” in order to create a sense of urgency and convince visitors to click the CTA right away.

Words that prove the CTA will offer value to a visitor, such as “try,” “save,” “free,” “need,” and “want.” You can also include numbers, such as a percentage off during a sale.

Possessive terms like “your” or “my.” Using “your” can help you connect with visitors and convince them that you’re doing something for them, while “my” adds an element of ownership, such as “Start my trial now” or “Get my free eBook today.”

Extra tip: You don’t always have to be positive in your calls to action. Instead, you can use what is referred to as a negative CTA in order to grab people’s attention and show them that you understand their situation and you have the tools necessary to provide a solution. For example, you can start your CTAs with words like “confused” or “worried.” You could ask a question, too, as in this example: “Concerned about your bank’s mobile app security? Learn how to keep your information safe.”

WHAT ABOUT CALLS TO ACTION ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Your social media pages should be designed to connect you with your target audience and encourage them to click through to your website and offers. The right CTAs on your posts could make all the difference, especially in an environment like social media, where users are already prepared to be exposed to a lot of CTAs on their newsfeed.

Write your CTAs on social media as you would on your website, with the same sense of urgency and the same clear language that proves you have value to provide to your customers. But go a step further and implement these CTAs into eye-catching images that you can add to your posts.

Take advantage of the design elements already included on your social media pages, such as the cover image on Facebook, where you can even add CTA buttons like “Learn More.”

Include calls to action in posts that are designed to get a conversation going amongst your followers. Ask your audience a question that they can answer in the comments, but include your related CTA after the question.

Use attention-getting designs to showcase your calls to action. For example, on Instagram, you can post a colorful graphic in an ad so that you visually catch a consumer’s attention while having a CTA that grabs people’s interest as they’re scrolling.

TEST AND TWEAK

Even just changing a single word in an existing call to action might make a significant difference in your conversion rate and the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy. Research your target audience, as well as relevant keywords, and try out different words and phrases. Then test them and tweak them to make every CTA work for your business.

Confused about how to make your CTAs the best that they can be? Contact us today for a free consultation with our marketing experts so you can start getting the results you want.

 

 

 

7 WAYS TO HELP SECURE YOUR COMPANY’S EMAIL IN-BOXES

You’d never think of waving a red flag before a charging bull. But that is exactly what your company may be doing with your employees’ email addresses. It’s easy for cybercriminals to harvest publicly available email addresses through a deep web search. The more they can collect, the more they can attack your company, which raises your risk of being gouged by one of the many spear-phishing emails they’re likely to launch.

Employees can be fooled into replying to an innocuous-appearing email, clicking on a link or opening an attachment containing malware. One uninformed action can lead to a breach with devastating effects for your company – both legally, and to its reputation.

Take some or all of these steps to ensure your business stays out of harm’s way:

  1. Educate your employees on responsible ways to use email, and the growing risks of sophisticated phishing and social engineering attacks. Be sure they understand that THEY are the targets, just as much as the C-suite executives, as well as what is really at stake with one slip-up.
  2. Have a comprehensive e-mail usage policy in place that clearly and officially explains the organization’s rules and restrictions. Establish consequences for any infraction to these rules, and make every employee aware of them. An e-mail usage policy offers businesses some protection from liability arising from a breach of confidential information; it proves that the company had in fact taken steps to discourage and prevent the inappropriate use of its email system.1
  3. If your company’s email is residing in the Cloud, consider a hybrid approach; keep high-value email user accounts on-premises, maintaining strict management and encryption of their message flow. Allow rank-and-file user emails onto the cloud, since most providers don’t have the robust policy engines or message encryption required to ensure the strictest level of data security.2
  4. Commit to encryption. “If a company has a policy that says any data set that contains personally identifying information is considered to be ‘sensitive’ and has to be encrypted both in transit across a network and at rest, and the company has implemented technical controls to enforce that policy, it is very likely that the data set is safe.” And if your company is using the Cloud for data storage, encrypt anything classified or sensitive before uploading. 3
  5. Take safety precautions on your company’s computers. Commit to strong authentication procedures and firewall protection. It’s also important for employees to understand that installing third-party software, both on work computers and BYOD devices, can lead to viruses and malware. 4
  6. Don’t assume employees will take the steps to protect the company’s data. Make strong passwords mandatory, especially for any remote access tools, and consider implementing company-wide email content filtering. Content filtering involves using technology to scan ingoing and outgoing mails for malicious code and questionable material that doesn’t meet a company’s acceptable use policy. E-mail content management systems have evolved significantly in recent years, and while there are those that only serve for dedicated content filtering, others now possess a range of capabilities including spam filtering, anti-virus and anti-phishing. “Implementing an email policy is particularly advised for businesses that use, or intend to use, content filtering software to check the content of their employees’ e-mails. Employees would have to be made aware that their e-mails are being monitored,” advises IT security expert Richard Broeke.5
  7. Provide your employees with a company laptop and VPN number for the times when they are working off-premises. This will circumvent any temptation to forward proprietary company information to personal e-mail accounts, or download it onto their own computer. As with social networking sites, their personal email providers are under no obligation to protect confidential information at the level that a corporation may protect, nor are the employees of the service provider the company’s employees. Inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information—even information that is not obviously confidential, but which may reveal information about company plans and intentions—erodes competitive advantage and puts intellectual property and trade secrets at risk.6

Don’t let the cyber bulls push their way in – drop that red flag. Establishing secure methods and best practices for your company’s emails is a strong step in preventing cyber breaches.

 

 

 

SEGMENTATION – WHY IT SHOULD BE A PART OF YOUR PLAN

Segmentation should be a part of any financial company’s marketing plan. This strategy allows you to divide your broad target audience into smaller sections of consumers that have showcased common needs. After all, you can’t expect that everyone in a large group will have the same expectations, so you shouldn’t be selling to everyone in the same way.

Once you’ve properly segmented your target market, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how to promote your offerings to those populations, as you’ll know which products and services would be most relevant to them.

Enhance Your Marketing Efforts with Segmentation

Whenever you segment a target audience, you’ll be breaking that market down into smaller, manageable sections so you can boost sales, improve customer service, and make your promotional efforts more efficient.

Generally, businesses can segment their market based on things like demographics, geographical location, psychographics, and behavioral data. But banks can also segment their market into non-customers, low to high value customers, and former customers, as a few examples.

  • Non-customers are individuals who are currently using other banks, but they could also include young consumers who have yet to open their first bank account. You can connect with this market segment by providing special introductory offers and finding ways to differentiate yourself from your competition. If you can prove that you’re able to provide more value than other financial companies, you might convince customers to make the switch, as well as establish long-term relationships with new banking customers.

 

  • Low value customers might include those with a lower income and a reduced need for financial products and services. However, this segment could also include individuals who are spreading their savings across multiple banks. These customers would need to be convinced that they should invest all of their funds with your company, as well as grow their small savings into larger investments.

 

  • Individuals who are considered medium to high value consumers could include those who have significant investments with your competitors. You could try attracting these consumers with special deals, but you’ll need to work harder to differentiate yourself and prove your value.
  • Former customers could include those who have switched to another bank and closed their account with you, those who are no longer using banks to invest their money, or those who have become inactive with an existing account. It’s a challenge to re-engage this audience, but if they switched because they were dissatisfied, you might be able to get them back by offering a change in the way you do business.

Once you have a clearer picture of the various market segments that you’re dealing with, you can promote your standard banking services, high-end savings options, investment opportunities, loan options, and commercial products and services to the appropriate populations. Doing so will allow you to use your resources cost-effectively, as you’ll be targeting the customers that would actually be interested in what you have to offer.

Don’t Neglect the Benefits of Email Segmentation

Email marketing is an effective way to engage with your pre-determined segments and really let the personality of your organization shine. When done correctly, the ROI for this type of marketing could be greater than that of other direct response marketing options.

By combining an effective email marketing strategy with market segmentation, you can connect with customers in a way that will generate more sales. A MailChimp analysis showed that email campaigns that were segmented had a 14% higher open rate than email campaigns that were non-segmented. This is because email segmentation allows you to send relevant messages to the many different types of customers within your broad target audience.

You can segment your emails by gender, age, location, language, and past banking behavior, as a few examples. Make subject lines interesting to entice people to open your emails. But to help ensure click-throughs, include short paragraphs and bullet points to make the content easy to digest. You can even use images to illustrate your message in an engaging way.

Make Things Easier with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the use of software to streamline your marketing processes, including customer segmentation. It can also help you send the right message to the right customer at the right time. Just think, your emails can be segmented then automated to help move potential customer through the funnel in a more efficient and streamlined way.

In addition to improving your online and offline marketing efforts, automation can help you save time, avoid errors, reduce costs, analyze and tweak campaigns, and schedule social media posts so they’re shared at the most opportune moments.

More importantly, market automation software could give you the tools necessary to connect with your customers at the best point in the customer journey or sales funnel. Your lead list could also become more targeted, and you could have an easier time achieving more sales while decreasing your lead conversion time.

Putting Segmentation into Practice

In the end, segmentation is all about learning more about your customers and then offering them exactly what they need to enhance their banking experience. After all, a brand new customer would have different requirements than someone who has been banking with you for several years or someone who’s only interested in a loan or mortgage.

If you have any trouble with applying segmentation strategies to your financial business, contact us today for a free consultation.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION OF NEW SOCIAL CHANNELS

Social media is an ever-evolving space that has created a host of opportunities for banks and credit unions to promote themselves. Below are a few of the newest social media channels, along with the latest features that are found on your old favorites, so you can utilize these outlets to reach your target audience.

FACEBOOK LIVE – CONNECT IN REAL TIME

Video has taken over the world of online marketing, as well as social media. Facebook Live, along with Instagram Live and Snapchat Stories, gives followers a new glimpse into the inner workings of the brands that they’re loyal to or interested in most.

Whenever you use social media to post a live video, you’re able to create organic content without all of the production requirements that go into traditional recorded videos. Users enjoy the authenticity behind a live video on social media, as they feel that they’re connecting to a brand in an honest way. And the best part is that your live video will remain on your profile, so you can also link to it from other accounts, such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

Financial brands that want to create more of an impact online should make it a point to spend more time on Facebook, as it’s still a behemoth in the world of social media. On average, the site has an incredible 1.71 billion active users monthly, along with 1.13 billion active users daily. And it’s massive on mobile, too, with an average of 1.57 billion active users monthly, and 1.03 million active users daily.

In terms of demographics, you can reach users of all ages on Facebook. In the United States alone, 82% of online users from the ages of 18 to 29 are on Facebook, along with 79% of 30 to 49 year olds, and 56% of those 65 and up.

YOUTUBE – HARNESS THE POWER OF VIDEO

YouTube is more than a social media site for sharing and promoting video content; it’s also the second most used search engine. And because YouTube boasts more than a billion users, you can tell your brand’s story as you find and engage with your target audience.

Beyond standard live streams, you can also create high quality 4K live streams in 360-degree format, as well as HDR videos, on YouTube. It’s best to post videos that solve problems that you know your target audience faces, but present the material in a unique way. Attract millennials, in particular, by sharing helpful how-to content that’s relevant to your products and services.

Buyers also use YouTube to search for information, so post videos that showcase your brand’s personality, while delivering valuable content that will entice shoppers to choose you over your competition. Plus, you can launch ads that will be able to grab the attention of your target audience as they browse other videos.

The largest demographic on YouTube is 25 to 34 year olds, but the site also reaches more 18 to 49 year olds than any cable network in the United States. Also, 54% of users on YouTube are men, while 46% are women

INSTAGRAM – ENCOURAGE IMMEDIATE SHOPPING

When you think of Instagram, you can now think of Instant Purchases, in addition to the videos and photos posted by users. Instant Purchases is a newer feature within the app, as it allows users to click on an item within an image to purchase it online.

More than half of all consumers will be more likely to make a purchase from brands that they follow on social media apps like Instagram. On top of that, 75% of consumers have stated that they bought something because they found it on social media. This means that you can use Instagram to make a solid impression on your target audience, as well as create posts that appeal to consumers’ emotions. Plus, you can expand your reach with the help of sponsored posts.

Instagram Business is another new feature that makes it easy to track analytics on your posts, including how well they performed throughout the week and the demographics of your followers. You can even add information like your contact info and address to your business profile, and you can add the convenient “Learn More” or “Shop Now” button to your sponsored posts so users can click through to your website.

Every post—especially sponsored posts—should have a clear call to action, as 75% of users on Instagram will end up taking action after they view an ad on the site. Also include at least one hashtag, as a single hashtag can help increase engagement by an average of 12.6%.

If you’re targeting young women, Instagram is the place to be. While 31% of women are on Instagram, 24% of men use the site regularly. And while 55% of 18 to 29 year olds in the United States use Instagram, only 28% of 30 to 49 year olds enjoy the app. A mere 11% of 50 to 64 year olds, along with 4% of those over 65, use Instagram.

SNAPCHAT – STAY YOUNG AND HIP

Creative facial filters, which are known as artificial intelligence lenses, make Snapchat a unique, fun, and interactive social media app, so it’s no surprise that other networks, like Facebook and Instagram, want to implement AI lenses soon as well.

Businesses, including financial brands, can start using Snapchat to reach millennials. You can create short videos that take customers behind the scenes and to special events. Another option is to let your followers get sneak peeks to new products or services that your company is about to launch.

You can also work with an influencer who can use their Snapchat account to endorse your company, or you could use the app to offer promotions and host contests. But if you want to get in front of as many users as possible, have a custom filter created to advertise your brand.

Snapchat has become one of the most popular social media channels, particularly for younger demographics. In 2016, more than 150 million users were on the app daily, and 41% of people aged 18 to 34 use it daily.

SOCIAL MEDIA – CHALLENGES AND BENEFITS

With so many new social media channels and tools to use, the process of properly marketing your financial brand can become daunting. The effort, though, will be worth it, as the benefits far outweigh the challenges. If you need help establishing a social media marketing plan that will work for you, contact us today for a free consultation with our marketing experts.