Every financial institution must reach new customers in order to thrive. Like any business, credit unions that fail to capture new members are at risk of losing to the competition. This is a fundamental truism that has been the challenge of marketing pros for generations that will likely never change.
Modern day marketing initiatives and lead-generation campaigns are changing fast, however. With the rise of new online and social media techniques old-school approaches no longer make the grade. Researchers tell us that the average consumer is hit with over 5,000 marketing messages every day. As a result, marketers need to find new ways to reach new customers and get heard through the noise. Instead of blasting customers with mass advertising and email, organizations are finding success by building continuous relationships with customers instead. Here are four best practices to consider as you map your strategy.
#1 Know Your Audience
It can be difficult to craft the right message if you don’t know much about who you are speaking to, so it is important to know your target audience. It starts with demographic data, but you need to look at the psychographic information as well – what are the values, opinions, attitudes, and interests of your best customers? From there, understand the offers and message platforms that will resonate with these prospects. In other words, companies find that taking the time to do some research to really know their audience pays significant dividends by providing the ability to develop campaigns that speak more directly to customers and deliver greater return on investment in lead generation efforts.
#2 Content is King
In our information-intense, social-media driven world the old adage “Content is King” has never been more true. Indeed, content marketing is the hottest trend in marketing today and if you are not paying attention to you lead generation and marketing content you can bet that your competition is. The question is: How can you leverage content for lead generation? It starts with step one; knowing your customer. From there you are in a better position to create relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience. Content is important because the way the internet, social and mobile has changed how most customers buy – they don’t call the bank, they go online and research for themselves and marketers must fill the gap. This means providing an array of educational content – made available online and via social media – that is designed to influence during the early stages of their evaluation process.
#3 Test, Tweak and Test Again
Even the most well-planned lead generation campaign can miss the mark the first time around. Effective lead generation programs require testing and adjustments in order to be effective long-term. One way to test your campaign is to select a small sample size (less than 10%) and run a portion of a campaign to that sample. Evaluate the results to learn what the winning elements were and what aspects need improvement. From there, roll out the tested and tweaked campaign to the rest of the audience. Another approach is to split your database in half and run a side-by-side comparison for performance.
#4 Automate the Effort
Marketing automation is quickly gaining traction in most business-to-business companies. Studies show that spending on marketing automation software is on the rise and organizations are rethinking old-school lead generation tactics. It is now possible, through marketing automation, to design lead generation campaigns that are multistep as well as track and respond to customer behaviors. This goes beyond just clicks – but also website visits and other digital behaviors. One tool to do that is our own 366 Degrees, that helps organizations find new ways to target, nurture, and acquire customers and move from a traditional high cost effort to a more nurture oriented sell. Marketing and campaign managers can create, collaborate, target and deliver multi-channel lead-oriented processes through landing pages, email marketing, social marketing, banners and traditional print centric channels.
By doing research to know your audience and testing your campaigns before they launch, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions reduce the risk of making sub-optimal investments in lead generation. By streamlining the process with next generation tools for marketing automation you can a leg up in terms of market penetration. And by doing so, you will not only gain greater brand recognition with your prospects, you will help educate and nurture your prospects through the buying process. This will result in significantly improved campaign performance that will differentiate you from your competitors.