For financial institutions, there are a number of objectives and categories of “results” at the heart of their marketing strategies. From the more concrete goals of higher visibility and new customer acquisition to the more abstract, such as customer satisfaction, the mission of the marketing function can be complex and confusing. Even with multiple, sometimes competing objectives, there are a few new techniques and principles that are fairly universal in their delivery of value to the organization.
MAINTAIN A STRONG WEBSITE
One of the more obvious principles is maintaining a strong web presence. Even
though the vast majority of institutions have a website, for many there is tremendous room for improvement. The key to determining your website’s effectiveness is to view it from the perspective of the customer. It helps to envision the top two or three objectives they will most likely try to accomplish online, so in effect, you will build a loose profile of your average user. After all, it’s much easier to market your products and services when you know your audience. Do your target customers typically log in after hours, and are they trying to pay a bill or check an account balance? Are they at work and trying to transfer funds from a savings account to a debit account in order to buy groceries on the way home?
No longer is it enough to assume that a well-designed site with a single home page will speak favorably to a wide breadth of clientele. The ability to serve dynamic content and options based on the users and their objectives is becoming more important, and the technology to support it, more accessible.
MEET YOUR CUSTOMERS ON THEIR TERMS: GO MOBILE!
Another marketing element that can give your financial group an edge is the smart use of mobile as a reliable access point to your brand. With advancing technology and more sophisticated security, mobile is becoming the go-to platform for customers and prospects to transact business. Developing an intelligent mobile strategy may be as simple as creating a mobile-friendly website that is easy to view and navigate with a smart phone, a tablet computer or other mobile devices. With a careful analysis of the customer base and industry trends, a more feature-rich mobile application targeted at specific devices may be the smartest move.
The user context is an even greater concern for mobile marketing than for web. There is a greater variety of scenarios that users could be facing when using their mobile devices, and the capabilities and limitations of each specific device must be considered carefully.
BE WILLING TO CHAT ... AND ENGAGE
Live chat on a corporate website offers a very real marketing opportunity for several reasons. It acts as a low-risk way for customers and prospects to reach out when they are very close to a potential “conversion” point, where the ability to find a quick answer may be all that is required for them to complete the transaction.
A well-staffed online chat solution can also bolster customer service and satisfaction. Having this option available on a FaQ page, for instance, or in a well-placed and prominent navigation space can encourage a more candid conversation and happier customer.
Operators can also leverage online chat to monitor site traffic and usage patterns in real-time. This creates opportunities to reach out to visitors proactively based on certain patterns or metrics (such as time on site, number of pages visited, etc.). While some may consider this approach too intrusive, a well-thoughtout “escalation” path and set of triggers coupled with a well-trained staff can service an otherwise frustrated customer quite well.