Many banks overlook one of the cheapest and most effective ways to market – content. Print and radio advertisement have been less effective for banks looking to land commercial customers over the last three years, but digital marketing is on a sharp rise. Digital combined with content gives banks the backbone of a very effective marketing effort. One often asked question in bank marketing circles is what digital channels are the most effective? A bank marketer has to choose their mix of emails, webinars, case studies, videos, and other forms of content communication. In this article, we look at our data that shows each digital channel’s effectiveness on getting commercial customers and how each tactic can help banks for both lead generation and sales conversion.
Conversions vs. Lead Generation
As we discussed in our article on bank marketing priorities (HERE), banks can get a significant boost in marketing effectiveness if they are clear on the tactics they employ. Many banks stumble as they make their marketing try to do too much without clear objectives. Some marketing efforts should be designed to generate leads (lead gen) while others should be focused on moving existing sales leads (a qualified lead) or marketing leads (unqualified) through the sales funnel to convert them into loans, deposits or fees.
Below, we step through some of our most popular tactics and rate their effectiveness based on cost per lead or cost per conversion.
eBooks and White Papers
As can be seen below, using eBooks and white papers that educate your commercial customer are one of the most effective ways banks can generate leads. While an ebook or white paper works well as a lead generator, it is important to recognize that the tactic works only modestly well (in our experience) converting a lead from a prospect to a customer. For that, the webinar is one of the most effective tactics that we have found.
The ability to effectively present to a group of customers or to a single potential customer is highly efficient. By our estimation, webinars gain bankers about 40% of the value of being there in person. When you can’t be there, an interactive webinar is the next best thing as you have voice, video of you and the ability to show a presentation or graphics. Also important is the ability to record the webinar and use the content later.
For example, holding a webinar for prospects on how your cash management suite can help increase cash flow is fantastic for getting leads comfortable with your application and to a place to make a decision.
Of course, the webinar is one tactic that works almost equally well for both conversion and leads as it is our second most effective tool to generate leads behind the ebook and white paper. Lead gen webinars on tax reform, dealing with rising rates, using debt for M&A, and many others are correctly working exceedingly well.
As most banks know, you can never go wrong with an in-person event be it an educational speaker, a cocktail party at a cool venue or a dinner. Getting creative with in-person events and then using the event to have existing clients bring potential new clients has always worked amazingly well to both generate leads and to increase the retention of existing customers.
The Workhorses – Emails and Case Studies
Two solid tactics that are often overlooked in banking is the email drip campaign and the case study. We have discussed using email drip campaigns before, but in 2018, it continues to be one of the most efficient methods we know of to continue to both generate leads and help move prospects to the next stage of the sales process.
As for case studies, telling a story of how a successful local business used a loan to acquire another business or to expand almost always has a noticeable impact on conversions and is lead gen gold.
While video works better for the retail customer (as do podcasts), it has a growing place for the commercial customer. Using video to educate and get familiar with your bank staff has proven effective for us in the past, and it is only picking up steam. At present, video has worked better for conversion than for lead gen, but we are in our early stages of experimenting with video. We have found the reluctance of many commercial customers to play video in the workplace, so we suspect that has something to do with the lack of effectiveness to date.
Putting This Into Action
While nothing takes the place of the classic in-person sales call by a knowledgeable banker, banks need to make it easier for them to shorten the sales cycle. It takes an average of 30 months to land a new commercial customer, and the goal of any bank marketing program is to attempt to shorten that sales cycle. Shortening your sales cycle cuts your acquisition cost which makes every product more profitable.
We spend an average of about $1,000 to produce an eBook or white paper with a target of producing 100 qualified leads. That comes out to a $10 cost per lead. Compare that to the “old school” way to market which was to require your business development officers to make 40 calls per day for at least two days per month. That effort used to produce about one qualified lead per day which worked to a cost of $120 per lead. This is in addition to the opportunity cost, as the business development officer’s time is better spent using their expertise to convert a lead.
If your bank is not familiar with content or inbound marketing, be sure to read our overview where we detail the four elements of a successful bank content marketing campaign (HERE). If you are familiar with the tactic, hopefully, our data above gives you some ideas on how to fine-tune your content marketing effort to make it even more effective.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on March 05, 2018