As most of our readers know, we are big fans of using content to inexpensively acquire customers. The tactic helps to pull prospects into our brand, helps generate leads and helps with conversions. Content is an approach that can differentiate both the bank and the relationship manager. As they say, if you are using content, there is no such thing as a cold call. In this article, we will discuss the five ways to use content and highlight six reasons why banks struggle making content their single most effective tactic when it comes to gathering commercial loans and deposits. In addition, we highlight a free webinar on using content in bank marketing - the same webinar that we use to train our relationship managers on how to leverage content to drive new business.
Matching Content With The Sales Process
All content is not the same and as such should be used in various ways. Below is a breakdown of the type of collateral, whether it is best for conversion or lead generation and the effectiveness as a percent of total conversion or leads. As can be seen below, webinars are excellent for both, while in-person events work best for conversions.
Where To Use Content
Content used in the following manner by banks in order of frequency of use:
- Blog & newsletter
- Social media
- Landing page conversions
- Handouts at events
- Third-party sites
The Problems That Banks Have
Lack of content strategy: Banks often struggle with content as they don’t know what success looks like. For some banks this means leads, for some it means conversions, and for others, it means to brand recognition. Make sure your bank has stated objectives and then work backward on the type and amount of content that is needed.
Your content is average: Banks can’t peddle “How to protect your passwords” and expect to generate deep enthusiasm. Once you have a strategy, as you work backward, it is important to define the quality and type of content that needs to be produced. Producing 52 short blog articles for social media is much different than producing a string of webinars or four ebooks. At CenterState, we usually target some key association surveys and studies that can not only help our relationship managers get smarter on the industry but that we can incorporate into content.
Target your content: Every piece of content should be aimed, with appropriate wording, targeting a particular point of the customer journey. If we want to generate more owner-occupied leads, then we might design ebooks and calculators designed to solve a particular problem and create typography and wording to elicit enough interest where the potential customer will want to provide an email address. We not that this is different than generating a checklist or educational piece that serves only to promote our brand and/or introduce a prospect to CenterState.
Substance over sales: For best results, content should be long on value and short on sales pitches.
Content Takes Time: Banks often generate a bunch of leads or produce content and expect a tidal wave of conversions and that is rarely the case. Bank content unusually takes six months to measure the impact. The average sales cycle for commercial loans, for example, is measured in years and content may only reduce the sales cycle by three to 12 months. Long-form content such as 1,000-word blog pieces don’t get read right away but is ideal for generating organic search leads. Long-Form content gets almost ten times more page views for us, five times more shares and six times more leads.
Social Media: Banks shouldn’t expect too much from social media. The average bank content only gets four shares. That said, banks shouldn’t stop trying to leverage social media to get the word out.
The Five Ways Banks Drive Revenue With Content
Content directly impacts revenue in four primary ways:
- Shorten the sales cycle thereby reducing acquisition costs – On average, content helps CenterState by reducing the sales cycle by approximately 20% which equates to a $1,000 per commercial customer.
- Increase prospects to the sales funnel – Content can account for 10% to 80% of customers for bank products depending on how it is used. Part of the attraction of content is that banks can track its effectiveness and know exactly how many conversions were a result of the utilization of content somewhere along the customer journey.
- Increase cross-sell – Content can help do some of the heavy lifting to move customers from a loan to a deposit account or the opposite. Almost any product set can benefit from the content, and it is recommended that banks constantly have cross-sell campaigns running in the background on a programmatic basis.
- Increase up-sell & volume– Moving customers from one tier of product to another or helping to increase deposit volume can be easily accomplished by content tactics. A video explaining how to refinance your loan and extend maturity or why your elite tier of checking might be worth the fees for a certain customer type can work wonders. Content that educates about retirement or health savings has also been very successful at banks.
- Administration – Education around administrative tasks can serve to reduce cost and risk for the bank. Cyber-issues, privacy, identification protection, password resets, problem resolution, and similar items are just some of the more popular topics that banks have produced high-traffic content around.
Putting This Into Action
Content, like loans and investments, should be thought of as a portfolio with multiple content types used on various channels for various reasons. Banks should start with developing content that answers their most frequent questions and then generates content that takes advantage of topics in the media (i.e., cybersecurity, tax reform, etc.) and topics that helps educate target prospects on important issues.
Content can serve to shorten the bank product sales cycle, increase engagement, jump sales conversions and extend the reach of your bank’s brand. In short, content will generate revenue. For 2019, we predict that the use of video and audio (podcasts) by banks will continue to grow as will the use of content in general.
If you are interested in adding content tactics to your marketing arsenal or want to fine-tune your content approach, we will be discussing our ideas and data in an upcoming webinar.
This will be a masterclass on using content to establish authority to drive commercial loans and deposits. Join Eric Cook from WSI and Chris Nichols on this webinar that will distill decades of experience into less than 60 minutes. They will cover how not only to leverage and create valuable content for your target audience but how to turn an audience into commercial customers.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on October 03, 2018