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How to Become an Everyday Bank – Financial Literacy Month

All roads lead to an Everyday BankBanks want more share of wallet and to get it they have to be a bigger part of their customers’ lives. A recent report from Accenture suggests new ways to accomplish this goal.

Everyday Bank

The Everyday Bank philosophy is essentially about extending the banking ecosystem and creating connections. With branch traffic lowering, banks and credit unions have to evolve to compete.

The Accenture report stresses the need for banks to become better value aggregators, access facilitators and advice providers. Banks should be defining themselves through these roles as the role of the branch changes. The reason is that with more and more people doing their banking online, you’ve got more access to them.

They might not be coming to the branch, but your customers are probably interacting with you more than ever. 88% of Millennials check their balance once a week. And, according to internal Facebook data, smartphone users check their phones over 100 times a day.

So, if banks can supply value, access and advice in an everyday way, they can expect to have more engaged customers and thus more share of wallet.

Everyday solutions

Enhancing the customer’s online and mobile experience is key and the best way to do it is by sharing relevant, engaging information. Your customers need help with a million financial issues from buying a house or car to planning for a baby. During these types of stressful life events people are looking for information before they’re looking for a product.

Everyday educational information provides solutions to these sorts of everyday problems. This puts you in a position to provide advice before you try to sell anything. Moreover, it gives users a way to engage with your brand on a daily basis.

Literate customers are likely to buy.

  • 20% will purchase a product as a result of a great content experience
  • 90% are likely to recommend the experience to a friend
  • 94% will have a more favorable perception of the brand

Everyday resource

An ecosystem of educational content covering hundreds of topics–accessible in the branch, online and through mobile–helps you create schedules for stronger social media plans. It’s easy on your budget and builds your brand to make you an everyday resource.

Download our Guide To Content Marketing to learn more or check out your revenue opportunity with our calculator


3 Stats on Millennials’ Banking Behavior You Need to Know

The way people talk about Millennials sometimes makes them seem like a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Everyone’s trying to figure out how to best engage with this demographic. There might just be a simple solution. In the words of Charles Bukowski: “Don’t try.”

Let’s look at some stats and I’ll show you what I mean. A recent survey by TD Bank of 1,500 Millennials from around the country supplies our data.

 flofoonfnoedfcheckbal

A lot of numbers here that basically just mean:

  • Millennials look to their banks for financial info and advice, which they haven’t formally received
  • They are hyper-connected (i.e. they do a lot of banking online and through mobile)

So with this in mind, here’s what I mean by “don’t try.”

An essential part of your digital marketing strategy NEEDS to provide materials that “don’t try to sell”. Not only because Millennials are looking to their financial institution to help them out with financial education, but your other customers are too.

The term “Millennial” is sometimes used in a way that misses the point. It can be understood less as a demographic and more as a conceit about expectations of connectivity. Your youngest customers are hyper-connected and technology-dependent. If they can’t find the answers they need through you, they’ll go somewhere else. Older demographics are adopting these traits as well. You don’t need the proverbial “rapping grandma” to reach Millennials. You can employ a strategy that reaches everyone.

teach, don’t sell

People are looking for answers. No matter their generation there are people who need help with college planning, retirement planning, buying a house and a million other financial issues. If you can provide the answers they need–without pitching a product–you’ll find that your customers are more loyal and more interested in buying from you.

You can be the provider of the education and advice that 69% miss out on (and that they are even looking right to you to provide). This is great for reaching a hyper-connected audience. Customers are increasingly doing their banking online, but it’s almost entirely transactional. Devoting part of your online experience to education supplements these transactions with something more (and, if implemented properly, it can generate leads too).

None of this is to say that traditional ads don’t have a place, but when you’re trying to reach hyper-connected audiences online, don’t try to sell.

To learn how providing educational content generates sales without selling, sign up for our workshop


Banking Technology Pitfalls and New Content Solutions

The classic Atari 2600 game, "Pitfall" - Banking Technology PitfallsTechnology is changing the way consumers deal with their bank. Fewer, smaller and more automated branches looks like the trend. Banks would like to turn their branches into places customers can go for face to face sales of higher margin products. But a major pitfall of new banking technology is that it is quickly eliminating the dialogues that used to create the sales leads needed to make that happen.

3 in 10 haven’t been in a bank in 6 months or more.

Bank customers still have plenty of financial needs from buying a house, saving for retirement and on and on. As a matter of fact, according to Forrester Research, consumers are 43% more likely to buy a financial product around a life event. What is clear from our research at Truebridge is that people are desperate for easy to understand answers about the financial issues they have throughout their life and will buy from the one who provides them.

The solution is pretty simple. Banks need to become the resource for those answers.

Their big advantage in the financial services world is the multiple and frequent touch-points they have with customers. Banks should be leveraging these transactional touch points in a way that offers educational content as a value added service. They should help their customers make better-informed decisions that could help them save money and avoid mistakes. The result would be more face to face sales in the branches, more share of wallet and more satisfied and loyal customers.

download ‘using content to drive sales’ to read the story of one bank’s success as an answer provider

Using Content to Drive Sales


Fictional Characters Who Could Learn Something During Financial Literacy Month

If you ever questioned the importance of financial literacy, check out this list to see the damage illiteracy can do.

Let us know if you think we missed anyone!

Chester J. Lampwick

Financial Literacy - Lampwick

The rags-to-riches story of Mr. Lampwick sounds nice at first, but after an $800 billion payout from a court case, his principle investments become a solid-gold house and a rocket car. It’s little wonder that he eventually ends up back in rags.

Michael Scott

‘Nuff said.

The Bad Guy from Blank Check

quigley

Quigley, a convicted bank robber and all-around bad guy, accidentally hands out a blank check to 10-year-old Preston, who then cashes it for a million bucks. I guess you could argue that either of them could use some lessons in basic finance–I’m no lawyer, but presumably Preston is committing fraud.

Wikipedia has this to say, “Filling in an amount into a blank check, without the authority of the signer, is an alteration (covered in [the Uniform Commercial Code,] Article 3, Section 407), and is legally equivalent to changing the numbers on a completed (non-blank) check, namely that the check writer is not liable for the check. However, the check writer has the burden of proving that the alteration was not authorized.”

The Duke Brothers

duke brothers

The original wolves of Wall Street from Trading Places plan to use insider info to make a quick buck off frozen concentrated orange juice futures contracts. Someone ought to have reminded them that that’s highly illegal because things don’t quite go their way.


Did you know that Financial Literacy Month has only been nationally recognized since 2004? These old schools cats would probably have appreciated it too.

Harold Lloyd

safety last

Lloyd’s character in Safety Last! is a guy who can’t tell the difference between “a want” and “a need”. He spends all his money to buy his long-distance girlfriend a lavalier chain, even starving himself just to be able to buy it for her. The picture above should indicate that he is not a guy who makes a lot of smart decisions.

Chaplin’s Tramp

One of the more “literate” characters on this list–who mostly just has a run of bad luck–but a guy with a literal hole in his pocket was too good to pass up. Skip to 9:43 to see a waiter with the most ridiculously villainous eyebrows you have ever seen!

Toro Moreno

toro

Bogart’s last film, The Harder They Fall, sees fresh-off-the-boat Toro Moreno (Mike Lane) get severely taken advantage of by an abusive contract. After getting beat to a pulp in a rigged boxing match, Toro’s left broke as his managers make off with his money.


Stay tuned for our list featuring a few savvier investors, coming up as Financial Literacy Month continues here at Truebridge!

But before we go, how could we forget:

The Jerk!

 

Check out our upcoming workshop to learn how educating your customers can help get you more sales

 

 

 


Truebridge’s “eConnect” Takes Content Marketing to the Next Level

truebridge

Boston, MA: Truebridge is pleased to announce the launch of eConnect, a powerful email content marketing application designed to help financial institutions take their educational content to the next level. Truebridge’s eConnect technology delivers targeted, dynamic content on the customer’s terms, providing a service that’s customer-focused and drives sales.

Truebridge clients already have a vast library of financial content at their disposal through their Answer Centers. Now, that very same content can be used to connect with customers on a more personal level through proactive email delivery. The Truebridge eConnect service will provide your customers with content delivery through an email subscription service. This content is relevant and personalized for each individual customer. It puts banks and credit unions in position to give their customers the information they want, when they want it, in a way that connects them to the person who can help.

Customers can enroll in eConnect in the branch or online by simply supplying their name, email and selections of the life events that matter to them (e.g. planning for a baby; financing a mortgage). They’ll then begin to receive articles from your Answer Centers on only those subjects important to them. Emails can be sent with a frequency chosen by the customer and each one will have links to different articles in the Answer Center.

“We engineered eConnect to help our clients take their content to the next level” says Stewart Rose, President and C.E.O of Truebridge. Today’s customer wants to be taught not sold, and have a conversation, not be shouted at. “The days of one-size-fits-all marketing are over. What we’re providing with eConnect is 1-on-1 marketing” he added.

About Truebridge, INC: Truebridge, a thirteen-year-old content marketing company that caters to financial institutions, is a leading provider of innovative marketing solutions designed to attract, engage and educate a 21st century audience.

 

Sarah Smith

Manager of Client Services

Truebridge Financial Marketing

(617) 956-5020

ssmith@truebridge.com

[Learn More]

[View PDF]

 

 


The CFPB and Financial Education Benefits

Financial education outside of the classroomThere’s a push from regulators to educate consumers. If you’re in banking you’ve heard of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). It was set up as a response to the recent financial crisis and began operation in 2011. Financial education doesn’t just need to be a nicety that you provide to your customers, it can be something that helps you both generate leads and get more out of your website at a time when branch traffic is declining.

The CFPB has three goals: Educate, enforce, study.

They say, “Above all, this means ensuring that consumers get the information they need to make the financial decisions they believe are best for themselves and their families—that prices are clear up front, that risks are visible, and that nothing is buried in fine print.”

Regulators want consumers to be educated about their finances. Banks and credit unions not only have an opportunity to provide financial education (and make the regulators happy), but they can leverage this service to start important dialogues with their customers.

People need information that’s easy-to-understand and financial institutions are in a place to be able to provide it. Your customers have the option of getting this info from someone else, OR they can get it directly from you.

Financial Education Benefits

1) Expand feature-set of website

Today, online and mobile banking are all about transactions. It is orders of magnitude more convenient for your customers to perform day-to-day transactions online. No driving to the branch, no filling out a deposit slip, just take a photo of a check and deposit it.

Banks and CUs are offering these great services, but they haven’t yet been able to refocus this online, transactional relationship as something more. Your website can be more than a place for convenient transactions. Educational content can help keep your customers engaged while helping to define your bank as a resource.

 

2) Instill loyalty

Everyone values a good teacher and consumers want to do business with businesses that are pro-consumer. You want your customers to be able to say to themselves, “These people are on my side.”

Educational content can be a powerful value-added service. If you’re able to be seen as a resource, your customers will want to stick with you.

 

3) Create awareness of brand, products and services

Content shines when it’s properly delivered and a good piece of content can work through digital and physical channels. Tweet your content, post it to Facebook, email it to customers and have it available in the branch.

If you provide financial education through these channels you have the opportunity to put your brand on it, but you aren’t promoting a product. You’re creating awareness by sharing information.

Traditional ads have a place, but content allows you to put trust before the sale. Additionally, 90% of consumers who have a good educational content experience are likely to recommend it to a friend. The potential to get your content shared on social media is huge.

 

4) Generate sales

Content starts dialogues. Everyone wants to be seen as smart and informed. People want to feel equipped to converse when dealing with financial topics. Educational content helps people to be able to understand their financial needs and how to meet them.

The best content prioritizes education, but as branch traffic lowers (3 out of 10 people haven’t been in a branch in the last 6 months) banks need to find new ways to generate sales. Content can be developed to link users to specific branch employees and get a conversation started. It’s these conversations that are going to get people back into the branch and generate sales.

Food for thought as we kick off Financial Literacy Month

The CFPB just might be on to something with their push to educate consumers and simplify financial jargon. People are looking for easy-to-understand answers and they’ll buy from the one who provides them. Banks and credit unions have every reason to be on board with providing financial education. You can leverage all your channels (web, social, mobile, branch, call center) to provide an essential service to your customers, setting the stage for more meaningful dialogues.

Get started by downloading our Guide to Content Marketing

Guide to financial education content


Bank Marketing 101 – How to Be There When They Need You

The impact of life event marketing in the financial services industry has been known for years. When a couple gets married, they may be looking to buy a house. When someone has a baby, they may be in the market for life insurance. When someone changes jobs they may be thinking about rolling over their 401(k) plan. And when someone is getting into the retirement zone, lots more comes into play; retirement income, rollovers, and on and on. A recent Forrester Research study of 26,000 online households shows that consumers are 43% more likely to buy a financial product around a life event.

The whole Customer Relationship Management industry has promised that the data that is stored can predict a life event. If the right consumer data is gathered and the right modeling is done, it can, in fact, predict life events. But there is an easier way.

Just ask your customer.

They will be happy to tell you, if they see a benefit in doing so. So what benefit can you provide that will encourage your customer to tell you what life events they are facing? The promise of providing simple answers will do it.

Life events force decisions. When someone inherits money, how do they invest it?  They need information to help them make those decisions. They are desperate for simple and easy to understand educational information just when they need it. Just at the time of the life event they are facing. And guess what? They do business with the one who provides the educational information. Home Depot is a good example. Walk down the aisle sometime and look around. Chances are you will find educational information on how to build a fence near the lumber and educational information on how to tile a floor where you buy tile. People buy from the ones who provide the educational information they need at the time they need it.

Download our whitepaper: Using content to drive sales to learn more

Using Content to Drive Sales - Bank Marketing 101


Financial Literacy Month Extravaganza!

Lubieniecki - School-teacher - Financial Literacy MonthFinancial Literacy Month is just a week away and we’ll be going all out for it. Be sure to check back with our blog every week for new articles, interviews and insight through the month.

We’re looking to promote the best of what banks and credit unions can offer in terms of Financial Literacy.

If you’re doing something for Financial Literacy Month and would like to get the word out, please get in touch with us via Twitter (@Truebridge) or email me directly at ndesimone@truebridge.com.

But let’s not jump the gun! Before things kick off next week, here’s a brief history of Financial Literacy Month.

The History of Financial Literacy Month

Back in 2000, The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy started a movement to promote April as “Financial Literacy for Youth Month”. Their project quickly gained notoriety and in 2004 the US government officially passed a resolution with unanimous consent to recognize April as Financial Literacy Month.

The need was pretty clear since as the resolution reports,

only 26 percent of 13- to 21-year olds reported that their parents actively taught them how to manage money

But the goals of Financial Literacy Month extend beyond the youth.financial literacy month canada

only 30 percent of those surveyed in a 2003 Employee Benefit Trend Study are confident in their ability to make the right financial decisions for themselves and their families, and 25 percent have done no specific  financial planning;

[and]

between 25,000,000 and 56,000,000 adults are unbanked, i.e., not using mainstream, insured financial institutions;

Financial Literacy Month works to educate and inform the public about the importance of understanding your personal finances, raising public awareness about financial issues that are relevant to all Americans.

Today, National Financial Literacy Month has really taken off with banks, credit unions and schools around the country participating.

For more Financial Literacy goodness, check out our upcoming workshop on how education and literacy work to Bring Back Dialogues

bring back dialogues financial literacy month


Branch Efficiency In The Internet Era

branchOnline and mobile banking are changing the game dramatically. There will always be a role for the physical branch, but foot traffic will never be as reliable as it once was. Rethinking branch efficiency is something that all banks and credit unions will have to do.

We recently highlighted three ways in which banks are coping with less foot traffic: Cuts, caution and acquisitions. A strategy that goes hand in hand with these options is creating a more efficient branch.

A recent article from BAI backs us up:

If banks respond to [the challenge of low foot traffic] by closing branches, they are completely eliminating the chance for the all-important account-holder “face-time,” an element of service that mobile and online banking are already taking away. The solution, we believe, is for branches to become leaner and more effectively structured and to engage in targeted strategies that maximize opportunities to capture new revenue streams. They also must restructure their thinking.

BAI’s suggestion is smarter scheduling of part-time employees and reduced operating hours for low-traffic branches–great points, but banks can do more. It’s not enough just to be efficient, banks have to figure out new ways to create dialogues.

Mobile and online banking don’t need to take away face-to-face service, they just need to offer more in order to create those opportunities.

Part of a branch efficiency strategy should include more robust online/mobile offerings. These customer experiences are transaction-focused because that’s the benefit that’s offered to customers. The role of the website needs to be re-envisioned to offer more.

Here’s the prime example of what banks can offer:

Target recently had a massive data breach. Everyone was looking for answers about potential identity theft. Your website should be a platform that can provide answers.

Not just about identity theft, but the hundreds of financial questions that people have throughout their lives: How a mortgage works, how to plan for a baby, how to save for retirement. People want easy-to-understand answers.

Content on these subjects can be used to start dialogues. Content can put your customers directly in touch with your financial advisers. Content can create the opportunity for the face-to-face dialogues that aren’t coming from foot traffic any more.

Check out our workshop on Bringing Back Dialogues to learn more about how you can get face-to-face with an increasingly online customer-base.

dialogues workshop

 


Mobile Banking Switcheroos and Generating Mobile Leads

The growing role of mobile banking requires new strategies.Last year the primary bank switching rate spiked by 40%. Millennials cited a lack of mobile and online services as a big reason for changing banks. Banks that can’t adopt these technologies are going to be in trouble soon. Mobile banking is only going to get bigger.

Applications and services like mobile banking often have a “trickle up” effect. The prime example of this is Facebook, which gained popularity among college and high school-aged kids before becoming mainstream among people older than that. Mobile banking has this same potential for growth among older demographics. The convenience of mobile banking can’t be overstated.

The facts show that mobile banking is quickly becoming a necessary part of bank strategy, but it’s often seen as just transactional: It’s great for your customers, but banks don’t gain a direct benefit.

The way for banks to benefit on the mobile platform is to offer more. Here are two things to offer that can help banks drive sales.

 

1) Smart use of social media

Internal data from Facebook estimates that we check our phones 100x per day on the high end. So what are people checking? Social feeds like Twitter or Facebook, or email and texts.

Banks have the opportunity to reach their customers through these channels. Social media helps you answer your customers’ questions, listen to their complaints and provide them with relevant information.

You’re also able to keep your customers informed about your products or deals.

 

2) Mobile banking content

Mobile banking is transaction-focused because transactions make up most of what’s offered. Providing content gives your customers more to engage with.

Content is how you can get the mobile platform to really work in your favor. Content can be articles and information about the financial topics that are important to your customers (e.g. info about identity theft, or tax breaks). You can use content to generate leads and put your customers directly in touch with your financial experts.

Moreover, content can also enhance your social strategy, allowing you to tweet links to your own branded content. When a customer has a question about an event like the Target data breach, you’ll have answers  that are easily shareable ready to go.

 

For more on Content Marketing Strategy for financial institutions, check out our guide!

Your guide to content marketing