The financial services industry has been forced to change their marketing strategy to succeed. As a bank marketing manager, many of the traditional methods you’ve used in the past are no longer relevant forms of advertising for many of your customers. Digital marketing has increased in importance and marketing automation has become a necessity to thrive in the modern marketplace.
You need to automate your marketing campaigns and get your marketing and sales teams working together to boost your marketing ROI. If only it were that simple, right? Well, it is—if you use a marketing automation platform. Over 90% of those marketing execs who use automation agree it’s important to the success of their marketing efforts. Why don’t you join them—or better yet, one-up their production? Let’s take your current bank marketing plan and make it better with marketing automation.
How to Use Marketing Automation Platforms
First off, let’s define marketing automation. It’s a process where technology (in this case, software) automates repetitive marketing actions. Think of it as a combination of software and strategy. Modern-day marketers love it because it simplifies many of their repetitive tasks, like sending email responses, creating social media posts, and completing website actions.
In fact, about 80% of marketers say that marketing automation platforms generate more qualified leads—451% more. Most also see an increase in conversions. With all of that in mind, let’s look at some digital and print examples as they relate to your bank marketing plan.
Email Marketing Automation Guides Your Customers
Email marketing automation allows you to automatically send messages or perform other marketing tasks immediately after another action. For example, if a prospective customer subscribes to your newsletter via a form or landing page on your website, you could create a workflow that automatically follows up with them afterward. An initial email might thank them for joining your mailing list or downloading a free resource, but your goal is to move them along through the customer journey. Each email workflow should feature conversion goals that guide the customer from an initial contact to a loyal customer and proud promoter of your bank’s products and/or services.
Social Media Automation Helps Grow Your Accounts
One way to optimize your social media interactions is with automation. This includes everything from scheduling social posts in advance or republishing popular posts to automatically responding to inquiries. By automating your social media actions, engagement, and management, you can reduce the time you spend on maintaining and growing your bank’s social media accounts. Furthermore, automation tools allow you to analyze your social data in real time so you can quickly learn about your engagement, number of impressions, and reach.
Let’s say you learn that the peak time to post to your Twitter account is 7 p.m. Well, that’s probably not the most convenient time for your social team to post something. So you can automate the process to post at 7 p.m. no matter where you are. You could also set up an autoresponder (chatbot) to reply to any messages you receive during your “off hours.”
Automated Text Messages Are Almost Always Opened
There are currently five-billion people sending and receiving text messages—which amounts to roughly 65% of the world’s population. That’s why it makes sense to include SMS (short messaging service) in your bank marketing plan. SMS open rates are as high as 98%, yet only 35% of brands have a formal bulk SMS messaging strategy in place. You’ll stand out from your competitors by merely including SMS as part of your bank marketing plan. Here’s a specific example.
Digit is a financial services app that works with your bank to analyze your spending habits and help you save money. They thrive on automation, including automated texts—from the initial sign-up process through all of their service offerings—like budgeting for a vacation, paying off credit cards, or simply saving money for a rainy day. Digit began as a chatbot you could use via text. Now they use SMS to keep in touch, updating you with advice and account information, like how much money you have left in your budget for the week.
Make a Right Turn with Direct Mail Automation
Marketing automation is by no means limited to digital. In fact, automated direct mail campaigns can and should be an important part of your marketing strategy. Direct mail campaigns receive 5x more engagement when they’re automated—like a direct mail piece that’s triggered by a recipient’s own actions. Direct mail automation helps you reach the right customers at the right time with the right message. Here are some examples.
- Customer reactivation. After a specified amount of time, a customer receives a direct mail piece prompting them to reactivate their account. A customer who closed their bank account could then reopen it with an incentive to do so.
- Digital nonresponders. Not getting the response you had hoped for via email? Try sending a direct mail piece to prompt your customers to act.
- Thank-you notes. A handwritten thank-you note recognizes your customers for banking with you. Research shows this kind of message really resonates with your patrons.
- Scheduled reminders. You can trigger an automated direct mail piece with an event, like an appointment reminder or other scheduled date.
- Product offering. If a customer meets certain financial criteria, you could propose another product you offer.
Automated Marketing Campaign Example
We’ve already established that automated marketing campaigns work. Now let’s walk through an example using BlueSky ETO brand management software as part of your bank marketing plan. These “trigger” campaigns give you, the bank marketing manager, the power to execute repeatable, consistent, local campaigns on behalf of your local branch partners.
The Event That Triggers the Automated Marketing Process
Let’s say a potential customer wants to buy a new home. They visit one of their bank’s branch offices to talk about their mortgage options. The banker inputs the details of that conversation into a CRM system, thus opting the consumer into an automated follow-up campaign. The visit to the bank (and the ensuing conversation) triggers an automated marketing follow-up campaign.
Receive Data, Target Responses
In turn, the bank sends a series of customized direct mail and email marketing messages to each potential customer. You target these messages based on credit scores and the types of loans discussed during their visit to the bank. This data is compiled each day via the bank’s national system. It’s then added to the automated campaign software via secure API.
Process Your Prospect’s Data
Let’s look at how to process this data. The automation software receives the customer’s information, which includes:
- Name and address
- Type of loan they’re interested in (in this example a mortgage loan)
- Credit score
- Email address
The system also notes the local bank branch they visited and the employee they spoke with. The data is then verified and cleaned, and a sort of weeding out process occurs. Anyone whose credit score doesn’t meet a specific level is automatically removed. This ensures that the bank doesn’t spend any of its marketing budget on a prospective borrower who isn’t qualified in the first place.
Approval Process: Make Sure Everyone’s On Board
Before you create and send any marketing messages, each one follows an approval process. This happens via the software to ensure that all your campaign managers are on board before spending any marketing money.
Let the Marketing Automation Begin
This is where the real marketing automation begins. Within a two-week time period, the qualified candidate receives a number of automated marketing messages. Naturally, you can choose whatever channels and however many messages you want, but for the sake of this example, we’ll send a personal thank-you letter from the loan officer, two timed emails, and a follow-up direct mail postcard over a period of two weeks.
Details of the Personal Thank-You Letter
Let’s talk about the thank-you letter for a moment. Based on the customer’s data, there are three unique letter designs to choose from. The variables include several photo options, the type of mortgage, the APR rates, plus the body copy along with the signature and contact information of the loan officer. After selecting one of the designs, the letter ships with a business card via first-class mail. The mailing address appears with blue digital handwriting on the outside. This provides a personal feel that a typed address can’t offer.
Keep in mind that this is an automated process that’s triggered by each of the bank’s branches.
Focus on Your Follow-up Email and Direct Mail Messages
Now let’s look at the other automated correspondence. The first follow-up email is scheduled two days after the thank-you letter. The email design mimics that of the letter. This consistency reinforces the messaging and motivates the prospect to take action. The second email goes out a week later, but only if the prospect doesn’t reply to the first one. This message is slightly modified from the first to emphasize the urgency of taking action—which is to complete a loan application. If the prospect fills out the application: success! That action then prompts a new automated thank-you email and letter.
However, if no action occurs and the prospect hasn’t filled out the loan application, it triggers a direct mail postcard reminding them of their options and encouraging action.
What Story is Your Data Telling You?
About 75% of community banks and credit unions admit they don’t have a formal data analytics strategy. There’s no good reason for this, it’s just that these types of financial institutions are typically not as progressive with technological advancements as other industries. Those that do adopt a data strategy, however, have a significant competitive advantage over their rivals.
Your results are an important part of your marketing strategy. If you don’t know how your bank marketing plan is working, how will you know how to handle your next campaign? This is where robust reporting details not only come in handy, they’re vital to your bank’s success. The data you receive from one campaign to the next is always telling a story—if you’re listening.
Embrace Personalized Content
Marketing automation relies heavily on email campaigns to drive lead generation, nurturing, and sales. But it’s personalization that really makes those campaigns work. Personalization humanizes your brand and helps your bank develop a loyal, long-term relationship with your customers. Then there are the results. Approximately 75% of email revenue occurs from personalized campaigns. The more you know about your subscribers the better. Ask yourself questions like:
- Where are they in the sales funnel?
- Have they had an account with you before or are they new to your bank?
- Are they a direct contact or did they find you via organic search?
Understanding the buyer’s journey is a crucial part of marketing automation. If you know what your customers want, personalization via marketing automation can work for you to increase your conversion rates by more than 50%.
Automate Your Bank Marketing Plan Today
Now is the time to automate your bank marketing plan. If you follow the advice in this post, you’ll be well on your way. Naturally, if you’d like to talk about your goals and discuss marketing automation platforms further, we’re here to help you. Contact us for a free brand consultation today.
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