How do banks get new customers? Given the ever-changing ways that consumers look for banks and financial services providers, an effective bank customer acquisition strategy is a must.
Here are some stats that paint a picture of banking customers’ path to purchase.
- How much does it cost a bank to acquire a new customer? According to research, the average acquisition cost is $200.
- The bank customer acquisition channels used most commonly by marketers today are: websites (89%), email (81%), social media sites (72%), direct mail (66%), and SEO / pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (65%).
As the stats suggest, the modern banking customer’s experience does not begin when they arrive at a bank location. In an on-demand economy where social media and mobile innovations have expanded the range of crucial touchpoints, the most successful bank customer acquisition strategies are the ones that diversify and personalize methods of engagement across the entire customer journey.
Read on as we share cost-effective strategies for customer acquisition in banking.
Bank Customer Acquisition Tactic 1: Increase Visibility on Social Media
Today’s banking consumers typically begin their investigation online, making it a priority for financial services brands to nurture their core digital channels.
Having a high-quality social media presence is a must. This can boost your banking customer acquisition strategy by simplifying access for potential banking customers and making it easy for current customers to encourage referrals to your business.
As a digital marketing channel, social media can be used to respond to customer questions and inquiries, as well as establish thought leadership and share high-quality content about what’s happening in the industry: trends, security practices, investment opportunities, etc. More importantly, social media helps financial brands truly understand their customers, in ways that benefit efforts in targeting, advertising, compliance, customer service, user experience, and customer experience management.
Bank Customer Acquisition Tactic 2: Become a Master at Managing Reviews
Online reviews on general and finance-specific business review sites impact your search engine performance, shape your brand reputation, and determine your ability to win new customers. According to customer reviews research, reviews are 5 times more influential than TV advertisements and 6 times more influential than social media ads. This makes online review management an important component of any successful bank customer acquisition strategy. Whether you have a centralized marketing team for managing reviews or choose to empower location managers to stay on top of customer feedback, it’s crucial to have a process in place for:
- Learning how to respond to negative reviews as well as positive feedback
- Driving a steady stream of new reviews and achieving optimum review velocity*
- Amplifying reviews to improve search visibility, build brand credibility, and drive conversions
- Analyzing review data with natural language processing technology to extract actionable insights
* Important note: Not all review sites allow companies to request reviews from customers. Ensure that your efforts are in compliance with each individual review site’s guidelines, as well as financial industry compliance requirements and regulations.
Bank Customer Acquisition Tactic 3: Understand the Multichannel Experience
For a banking customer acquisition strategy to work, you must first understand which channels are most relevant to your target customer. After all, you don’t want to waste your time and money on the wrong channel or customer acquisition tactic.
There isn’t a single correct answer here. Like in other sectors, consumers may switch from one channel to another on their way to making a purchase decision. Digital channels are important, but branches still play a big role. Recommendations from friends and family can be very influential, but so can traditional marketing and brand-building tactics. The pandemic has also caused new shifts in the consumer mindset and research behaviors, making the path to purchase more non-linear than ever.
The banking sector is ripe for a true multichannel customer strategy. Your company should be able to kick off the sales process in one channel, for example, then switch to another one to close the deal. Moreover, when an inquiry comes through in one channel, your team must be prepared to manage the lead in other channels to provide a more seamless experience.
By setting channel priorities and investing in infrastructure to deploy multichannel efforts, banks can navigate quickly shifting marketing channels and effectively drive customer acquisition.
Bank Customer Acquisition Tactic 4: Demonstrate Thought Leadership Through Content
Thought leadership content is a great way to capture your potential customer’s attention and trust. The financial services industry is constantly evolving, which means there will always be relevant topics your brand can talk about and leverage in order to demonstrate leadership.
More than promotional sales communications, it’s important to create educational and meaningful content that positions your brand as an industry leader. Talk about new areas of investment opportunities, online banking safety practices, emerging digital tools and trends — and pack your content with search-engine-friendly keywords and calls to action.
There are also plenty of channels for publishing your content: social media, a customer blog, mobile apps, video platforms, and (don’t forget) marketing materials distributed in all your branches.
Bank Customer Acquisition Tactic 5: Drive Referrals from Your Happiest Customers
In banking, recommendations from family and friends are powerful customer acquisition drivers. It therefore makes sense to develop a customer referral program that incentivizes your best and happiest customers to refer their friends and family to your business. Not only does this make for a low-cost, high-ROI banking customer acquisition strategy; the acquisition costs for these referred customers will also be lower than normal acquisition.
Common tactics and techniques employed by successful companies include: newsletter campaigns, rewards and loyalty programs, and influencer marketing campaigns that transform your promoters into brand advocates and evangelists. Remember: when you make customers happy, they will want to share their experience with people who matter to them. A customer referral program is a great way to capitalize on this opportunity, nurturing your relationships with happy customers and empowering them to refer your business to others.
Bank Customer Acquisition Tactic 6: Invest in Customer-Centric Transformation
Customer experience — more so than digital strengths, rewards program, or coverage options — could be the key for banks that prioritize customer acquisition. By providing an effective, easy, meaningful, and effortless experience, your bank can attract more customers without inflating customer acquisition costs.
Your entire organization, from the C-suite to the frontline, must therefore focus on becoming more customer-centric. Re-engineer your sales, service, and marketing strategies based on solicited and unsolicited feedback. Refine your operations and processes to deliver experiences that wow, delight, and inspire loyalty. Train your sales teams so they can more effectively communicate the product functionality and value proposition of your offerings, while also being able to handle customer questions, issues, and concerns.
Banks and financial institutions that keep their fingers on the pulse of evolving consumer demands and expectations are the ones most poised to acquire new customers. In the face of changing preferences, you need to build a bank customer acquisition strategy that nurtures your brand’s digital presence, enables insights from review data and feedback, and puts the customer at the forefront. By following the tactics above, you can position your company to drive customer acquisition and bottom-line impact.