In 2015, financial marketers will be working overtime to increase share of wallet; It’s a top-three priority among 70% of senior marketing executives (Aite Group, Bank and Credit Union Marketing Trends, 2014). Deeper customer engagement can make it happen.
To be successful in cross-selling, financial institutions need to engage customers beyond transactions. Research from Gallup Consulting demonstrates it sweet and simply: “[O]rganizations that engage their customers outperform those that do not.” Their study revealed that engaged customers net you 23% more in terms of share of wallet and profitability compared to the average customer. These fully-engaged customers have an attachment to their FI’s brand and are rationally loyal. But that’s not all you need to know. Disengaged customers generate 13% less.
What Engagement Is
- Engagement can be measured in likes, clicks, page views, downloads, interactions and ultimately sales.
Tools for tracking these metrics are a necessity. They help you figure out what your audience likes and who your audience is. A lot of likes on a Facebook post about college loans might tell you that Millennials are interested in your brand. You would want to continue coverage of that topic for that audience – not ignoring other demographics, but making informed choices about what’s engaging.
- Customers get engaged when they’re offered something of value.
This can be anything from a chance to win tickets to a football game, easy-to-understand tips on home-buying, ways to save money or even just something that makes them smile. When you’re thinking about customer engagement always ask yourself, “How is this (article, video, photo etc.) benefiting the viewer?”
- Look at engagement as a lifetime proposition to your customers. If they become engaged they’re more likely to recommend you to a friend, will buy from you more often and help you generate more profit.
What Engagement Is NOT
- Keep in mind that customers do not see direct product offers or ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing as engaging.
A new low rate on a loan is an enticing offer, but does not correlate to “engagement”. Anyone can advertise a low rate. Similarly, something like a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mailing campaign, with letters addressed “Dear Resident” or “Dear Occupant,” can be a strong marketing tool, but is not engaging. People value personalization.
- Another important pitfall to avoid is content aggregation.
If all your money-saving tips are coming through CNNMoney – or any other source besides your brand – customers will not become engaged with you. When you send someone somewhere else for the “benefit” then you’re only a middleman. It’s great to share articles and help promote others, however, profitable engagement takes more than just that.
The key to a strong engagement marketing strategy rests in the following facts.
It’s estimated that 10,000 boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 15 years. As they move into retirement they will need help with plan distributions, retirement income, healthcare costs and so on. Additionally, Gen-Y customers see their financial institution as a resource. A research survey from TD Bank has shown that 62% of Millennials look to their FI first for info or advice. Everyone needs easy-to-understand answers.
Customers are desperately looking for helpful information and guidance from someone they trust. They want to save money and avoid mistakes. They often need help in seeing and understanding issues that may not be apparent to them today, but could blindside them later on.
This is the basis for engaging customers around financial issues. They really stand to benefit if you can give them the right help, just when they need it. Here’s what you need to do it.
A Content Library
Financial institutions’ websites are often underutilized for sales. An FI must first and foremost define itself as a resource if it plans to provide more to customers than just transactions. The most effective way to do this is to have a one stop resource center where customers can easily find the info they need right when they need it. This resource center acts as a content library and can integrate into current initiatives to engage customers and drive sales.
The content of this center should include easy-to-understand articles and tips that run the gamut of financial life events. From planning for a baby to planning for retirement, customers should be able to find the help they need.
Once customers see the benefits of saving money and avoiding mistakes through these resources, they’ve already started to work with you, before you’ve ever been in touch. They’re engaged and willing to listen. The sale only becomes a matter of connecting them to a person who can help.
Content On Your Blog
A blog is a great way to improve your search engine optimization and engage an online audience. A content library instantly gives you content for a plethora of blogs. Think of a content library like aisles in a grocery store: Highly organized and easy to find what you need. A blog post is more like an impulse buy in the checkout line: Limited shelf life, snazzy colors to capture attention. Adapting content to your blog is a great way to drive traffic and get people interested.
Social Media Content
Many FIs see the value in social media, but lack the time and budget to really develop a presence. A resource center makes scheduling posts simple. People dislike sales messages on social media (they’re regarded as spam) so with meaningful content backing you up you always have something to say. Most importantly, followers stay under the umbrella of your brand if you link to your library. You don’t need to send them to another source that can help them. You can help them directly.
Content In Emails
Email marketing is a great way to get in touch with customers. No one wants to end up in the spam folder and appropriate, relevant content can help you stay out of there. As customers engage with your content library you can track their interests to better target them. Send them personalized messages that address their specific needs. It’s easy to automate with the right system in place.
Your onboarding process should affect an attitude of engagement. Let customers know how they can stay engaged with you. Show them something of value – a clear benefit – in what you have to say. You immediately have a reason to reach out to customers after they open an account, so get in touch with info that can help with their specific goals. From day one, establish yourself as a resource.
Content isn’t just digital. We’ve been turning FIs into successful content marketers for over ten years and one thing we’ve heard a lot is that it’s tough to get tellers on board with the marketing and sales process.
Content helps branch employees succeed in their customer service role, while also creating engagement and awareness around products. Employees can hand out guides culled from a content library that act as in-hand marketing collateral. They aren’t pushed into a sales role and instead work to help customers first.
Engagement Marketing 201
Engagement begins with content. Drop by one of our next workshops for an intensive rundown of engagement strategies that will lead to more share of wallet in 2015.