The marketing landscape for financial institutions has evolved drastically, seemingly in the blink of an eye. This is especially true at the local branch level. Traditional branch marketing tactics still have their place, but no bank or credit union can expect to grow with out a proper local digital marketing plan or footprint.
Marketing branches in today's local landscape involves a multi-faceted, mobile focused, multi-channel approach. Google My Business, accurate business listings, online reviews, member engagement, and social media are only a few parts that go into a local branch marketing strategy.
Components of modern branch marketing
Modern branch marketing is built from numerous parts: Google My Business listing, business citation listings, website location page, social media pages, local SEO, and more. Each piece plays a critical role in strengthening a branch's overall local marketing efforts. And no part should be ignored.
If an institution has multiple branches, then companywide tools should also be employed. These include special benchmarking and consumer insights tools that quickly sift through customer and member's social sentiment. These tools allow for the comparison from branch to branch and for the measurement against your competitors. Additionally, insights use algorithms to help determine actionable member trends. This is highly useful for monitoring and improving member experience.
The benefits of modern branch marketing
These advantages go well beyond driving revenue. Digital branch marketing can result in more awareness for your brand, stronger relationships with your customers and members, and open up new avenues for your brand to grow.
Branch marketing: a modern guide
Today's branch marketing is about employing digital tactics like local SEO, business listings, online reviews, member engagement platforms, and social media while refining traditional advertising strategies. Using these tools allows your financial institution to reach its local audience, forge lasting relationships, and reach those searching for financial services.
How branch marketing has evolved
In the past, awareness campaigns have consisted of newspaper ads, billboards, flyers, and word-of-mouth. In today's digital landscape, modern branch marketing is unrecognizable compared to what it was. With smartphone and internet usage at an all-time high, financial services marketing has evolved to meet consumer needs. Although billboards and ads still have their place, a well-rounded marketing strategy also includes reviews, local SEO, business listings, and social media. These channels provide a better ROI while enabling your financial institution to reach the right potential customers.
Google"Local Pack" search
The "Local Pack" search is typically the first set of results that Google displays when people type a local search, which means a business, product, or service that provides a specific location, or a term like "near me." Because Google shows only the top 3 business results in the list, being one of those provides a significant boost in search traffic and local name recognition. Recent studies have shown that the top three Google business results get 71% of new business calls, hence making it the top three is critical for a bank's local business.
Local search engine optimization is a subset of SEO that focuses on optimizing your local digital footprint so you can be found in local search results. Local search results are terms like "near me" and "in [your location]." Local SEO is the strategic process of focusing on emphasizing the optimization efforts of local brick-and-mortar businesses. Google My Business, accurate business listings, online reviews, optimized location pages, and locally focused content are part of the efforts.
Google My Business (GMB) listing
A GMB listing is the number one factor in getting ranked locally. With a branch's GMB listing, you can ensure your branch's address, phone number, and additional details are accurate and available. It is the number one way customers search for information. A GMB listing also gives people a way to review your branch. When people search for banks or credit unions in an area, your branch and your competitors will all come up with their Google rating, making this a critical signal.
Optimized branch location pages for your website
The branch location pages on your site are the cornerstone of any modern financial institution website with multiple locations. It gives you a place to host branch specific content such as hours, directions, people, offer information on services and products, and send the right signals to Google for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Not only this, but branch location pages also play a critical role in your company's local SEO. Having information about your local branches on your site increases your branch's chances of searching for specific terms.
Accurate business listings, also called NAP+W (name, address, phone, and website URL), are critical. There are hundred-plus places on the web where your bank branches can be listed. Everywhere from Google to Yahoo and Apple maps. Ensuring that they are accurate for each branch is imperative. According to MOZ, accurate NAP+W count for 10% of your local search ranking. Besides that, if a customer can't trust your primary business information's accuracy, they will be concerned about your ability to manage theirs.
Member reviews are an essential influence on a financial institution's local branch's online reputation and affect a bank's ability to draw in new prospective customers. 88% of consumers now use online reviews to find a local business and are potential customer's first impressions of how your company does business. Online reviews also affect a branch's local Google My Business ranking based on review volume and review rating signals. Again, according to MOZ, reviews count for an additional 9-12% of local search ranking. Lastly, online reviews provide valuable insight into how customers perceive your bank's brand and the quality of your overall member experience.
Creating and maintaining proper social media pages, especially a Facebook page, allows your financial institution to stay in contact with current and potential members. You can answer questions through the messenger feature, which can be a bonus for customers shopping multiple banks and credit unions. Lastly, social media is an excellent place to show your branch's human side and host contests or giveaways. If your branch has a fun costume party or festive gathering, sharing pictures can be a great way to humanize your office even more and help your members feel closer to your staff.
Creating unique content and sharing it on your branches site is a great way to show your expertise. It's an essential part of SEO and will help your website rank higher in Google, increasing your chances of being found. Unique content can also result in organic traffic growth, which can reduce your spending on paid campaigns. Modern branch marketing is nearly synonymous with local digital marketing. Like digital marketing, successful branch marketing requires a multi-channel approach to utilize all the web offers.
There are many other benefits to digitally marketing at the local branch level. By understanding your member sentiment and trends, you can get a very comprehensive view of performance at both a branch and company level. Hence local understanding yields companywide insights.
Benchmarking against the competition
By using readily available Natural Language Processing (NLP) software, financial institutions can sift through thousands of sources of data from review sites, blogs, websites, forums, and more to uncover trending topics. With many measurable touch points, your company can accurately and quickly determine where you stack up within the company for service, wait time, member experience, drive-through, and many more. This can be done at a branch or regional level and then compared to your competitors, allowing you to see where they are excelling and how you mimic their success.
Insights yield results
Insights also use NLP software to help transform member feedback into actionable data. Reviews, surveys, and member feedback are abounding with valuable information about your brand. NLP software decisively determines keywords to help uncover root causes for problems and helps drive corrective action. Further, insights help you identify positive and negative trends before they get out of hand.
Branch marketing has changed
Digital branch marketing has changed the ways prospective customers find and select a bank. It's also changed the way banks can measure themselves against their competitors while listening to what their customers are saying. If appropriately managed, digital branch marketing will improve your online presence, foster brand trust, reduce customer churn, and increase revenues.
It is vital to choose a digital partner that understand your business model and the importance of the customer/member experience. The Financial Reputation Group wants to make you the top local financial institution in your geographic area. The Financial Reputation Group drives growth by focusing on local Google ranking, optimizing your branch's digital footprint, local SEO, marketing operations, and stressing the importance of listening to your customer's.