In case you haven’t heard, the banking and financial landscape is experiencing some major changes. Community banks have not been immune to the great digital migration, but it seems they have been especially hesitant to ride the technological wave. 20% of bank customers are digital-only users, preferring to prospect and purchase online[1]. Online and mobile banking were an effective change, but unfortunately they were just a drop in the bucket. With the digital world expanding every day, user expectations are higher than ever, and community banks and other financial institutions must adapt to survive.

Smaller, local banks can’t match industry giants in brute advertising dollars. Community banks have to spend smarter, utilizing their smaller scale to make quick changes to maintain optimization. This can be achieved using digital advertising, which can collect real-time performance metrics rather than being limited to post-campaign surveys and can be a highly cost-effective way to deliver highly customized messages to targeted prospective clients based on very specific traits. Using digital and online marketing increases brand visibility while being more affordable than traditional media, making it much more accessible to smaller banks. Online not only delivers excellent RROI efficiency itself, but it makes other media spend work harder, including traditional forms of media like print and out-of-home.

We go into this in great detail in our white paper, “Effective Digital Advertising: How Financial Institutions Can Reach Potential Customers.” Community banks should use digital advertising as an opportunity to set themselves apart from the competition, as 53% of Millennials don’t think their bank offers anything different than other banks[2].

Customize Messaging for Every Generation

Digital marketing is beneficial to reach every generation, from Boomers to Gen Z. In fact, understanding generational messaging, expectations and needs is key for success, and the bank-marketingflexibility of digital marketing allows banks to tailor their interactions accordingly. 54% of U.S. internet users said they would like to receive personalized marketing communications from their bank[3]. In reality, every generation is seeking educational materials to help them make more informed decisions, and regardless of age, consumers seek transparency from their financial institutions. One strategy may be to address a shared problem through multiple perspectives. For example, Gen Xers and Millennials are both feeling the weight of rising student loan debt, so banks can connect with these generations by providing information on accessing loans. And, it’s always important to be mindful with your messaging seeing as 71% of Millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks are saying[4].

Build Brand Trust with Educational Content

Community banks can establish themselves as accessible industry experts using content marketing by creating informative materials such as blogs, email newsletters, white bank-advicepapers, case studies, and even simple infographics and direct mailers. Content marketing is one of the single most important marketing investments an organization can make, as it allows banks to provide clients and prospects with the information that can help them solve their problems. It was once believed that Gen X and Gen Y were the drivers behind digital spending, but conventional wisdom tells us that consumers of all ages use digital channels. Take as an example the FDIC. They currently feature “The Learning Bank,” a webpage dedicated to educational materials for students, parents and teachers as a way of reaching Gen Z and Millennials as well as Gen X and Boomers to build a sense of trust and transparency. Their materials include downloadables, such as lesson plans and worksheets, as well as web games and podcasts. This variety shows how truly customizable the educational content can be.

Power-Up Your Strategy with Multichannel Marketing

Taking a multichannel approach and supplementing your content marketing with social media can increase the quality of your digital marketing. Social media doesn’t live in isolation, so using it to draw attention to blogs, case studies and white papers allows your investment to go further. 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media[5], and consumers actually have more trust in a brand that practices transparency by sharing informative content. Furthermore, social media can be incredibly beneficial in attracting and driving commercial client accounts. In fact, 64% of all visits from social media to corporate websites come from LinkedIn[6], proving that LinkedIn traffic is critical in the B2B world and its power shouldn’t be underestimated. To truly be successful in using digital marketing in conjunction with content marketing and social media, it’s necessary to have a documented strategy to guide you. Whether working with an in-house marketing team or an outsourced firm, a strong strategy can bring in the client accounts your bank desires.

[1]Accenture Strategy
[2]Millennials Disruption Index
[3]eMarketer
[4]Millennials Disruption Index
[5]New Jersey Institute of Technology
[6]Econsultancy