How to kick off your digital strategy with a low (or no) budget
By Grace Bruins
When digital marketing options are endless, marketers are left wondering “where do I even start?” (And bank marketers are left wondering “where am I even allowed to start?”) Add in shrinking budgets in preparation for a recession, and it would be easy to throw in the towel on digital and make it 2024’s problem.
Let me encourage you, friends — don’t give in. Even with a low (or no) budget, you can kick off your digital strategy today. Here’s how to start:
Claim Your Bank on Google
Create a Google My Business account and set up a profile for your branch(es). This allows you to own your profile on Google and optimize it for future searches. Which brings me to…
Ask for Reviews
Did you know people are two to three times more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one? But I’d be willing to bet you have two to three times more happy customers than unhappy ones. So, ask.
When a customer has a great experience, or tells you in person: “I love this bank,” take a minute to ask if they’d be willing to leave a Google review. This may feel like a vanity metric at first, but Google will organically serve up those businesses that are more highly rated on their platform than those that aren’t. (And if you’ve ever Googled anything before, you know the importance of appearing highest in the search results.)
Make a Habit of Responding to Reviews
Good or bad — engage with the people taking a few minutes to talk about you. Google ranks those businesses that engage on their platform higher in searches than those that don’t.
Want to take it one step further? Add in key search terms to your responses. Of course, you want your responses to be authentic, so #checking #account may not be the way to go. But responding with:
“Thanks for stopping in our branch in [your city name]! Our team works hard to provide the best customer service possible and we’re proud to be your community bank! If you ever need us,
don’t hesitate to call [your bank’s phone number]. We’re here to help!”
can be genuine, helpful, and includes a few key terms your prospects may use in the future to find you.
Create Relevant Content
Creating content has become status quo — so much so that we may begin to overlook it as a marketing strategy. But if you can show off your expertise and make it your goal to become the single best resource in your field, people will pay attention. (I wish I could say they will pay attention right away, but they probably won’t.) Don’t let that discourage you, friends. Keep at it. Content compounds in a way that other marketing channels can’t.
Lastly, Don’t Forget to Engage
It’s called social media for a reason. Tag local businesses in your area, congratulate people in your community when they accomplish great things, and use hashtags to be included in the conversation. Bring that sense of community customers feel walking into your branch to the online experience.
Friends, let’s not wait for 2024. You can start your digital strategy today. Just remember to be consistent and be present; keep putting out quality content and engaging with your fans and you’ll bring that sense of community you work hard to create in person to your online audience in no time.
Bruins is assistant vice president – marketing officer at Horicon Bank and vice chair of the 2022–2023 WBA Marketing Committee.