I attended the nefma.org conference yesterday (October 16, 2009) at which Internet Marketing Trends for Banks were discussed. As an Internet Marketer I was excited to see an entire conference dedicated solely to social media and Internet Marketing in general. My feeling in speaking to some of my clients at this event and with other attendees is that while it is a scary proposition to enter the world of social media for banks and credit unions, it is just too hot a movement to merely dip your toe into. There are legal issues to contend with and technological hurdles to overcome but the risks of not taking part are likely greater than getting involved.
If you don’t secure your branded page names at ALL the top social media sites you could get hijacked and have to deal with other people writing on your behalf. Those posts can get indexed in the search engines and then you will have to work even harder later to outdo them.
So the big takeaway for me was that the days of bank marketers waiting on the sidelines for the right time to jump in are gone. The constant chatter about how the president won’t allow it and doesn’t believe in it won’t work anymore when the competition is eating your lunch and hijackers are damaging your brand.
Top Reasons to do Internet Marketing for Banks and things to consider
- Organic search placement can lead to an incredible amount of traffic and sales with a very high ROI and save you almost unfathomable amounts of paid search spend.
- Social media is supposedly more about branding, extra traffic and connecting with customers but when you factor in it also helps boost your organic ranks you will see that it may not only boost your actual site rankings (because Google factors that into their algorithm) but will be what actually ranks. Just look at the YouTube videos, Twitter posts, blog posts, flickr results etc. in the top placements at Google and you will see how radically the results have changed.
- Generation Y is a critical group to market to. They may not be highly profitable yet but they will be one day and are the most likely to use the sticky products like Online Bill Pay etc. They are hard to reach and demand truth in advertising more than flashiness. So listen to them, give them more features and explain it to them with tools they use like Youtube and Facebook. GenY and their parents will thank you for being informative and up to date and you will create loyal fans in all age groups. After all, don’t kids often show parents how to work things like online banking? And stats show that social media sites are increasingly inhabited by people of all ages.
- So start a blog with YouTube Videos that relate to key phrase categories, Facebook groups to match and let customers discuss what you share and respond to their opinions. Otherwise they will think you are hiding and will start to trust other brands more while you sit in the shadows. If you want to go deeper you might also test Twitter by sending out rates or asking users to review new products. Don’t bite off more than you can chew as a well planned small strategy is better than doing a lot of things poorly and abandoning them.
- Strategy. You need to document the reasons to do seo, social media and all forms of Internet Marketing before you begin. Sort out your brand with your agency but don’t let the “webmaster” or “Facebook kid” go off and running without tying it to business goals and profitability through improving seo ranks, unique visitors, leads and a sales. Sketch out a 6 month goal, take some simple steps and know that things will change and new ideas will emerge as you go. Do small things like monthly or weekly blog posts consistently and you will be off and running. You can always add more bloggers or test new social media sites and strategies later. The biggest mistake is to try to do it all and do nothing.
Example sites using blogs and internet marketing in general:
John McDougall – Founder of WebNow