The new year is upon us. And with the flip of the calendar to 2022, it brings along with it a sense of hopeful trepidation when it comes to nailing down your bank’s digital marketing strategy for the next twelve months. As the countdown began and the ball started to drop, perhaps you wondered if this year would be better for your community bank than the year before.
We believe a digital marketing strategy can set your bank apart from the competition - and we want you to flourish in the new year. So here’s our list of the top 2022 marketing strategies that you should consider.
Digital Marketing Strategies that Worked in 2021
There’s no doubt about it: the pandemic changed the face of marketing (forever). Sure, things were already headed in a digital direction, but COVID accelerated it and there’s no sign of turning back. That said, there are several marketing strategies that worked in 2021 and will continue to make an impact in the year ahead. These strategies include:
- AI. AI (artificial intelligence) technology can analyze behavioral and demographic data better than humans can. AI can also compile that information in an easy to understand format so you can make more informed marketing decisions later. It can also personalize content for individual users(see below for more on personalization).
- Chatbots. Chatbots allow customers to feel engaged, while leveraging the growing popularity of SMS-like messaging conversations. In fact, our very own Eric Cook wrote the chapter on chatbots for WSI’s 3rd edition of Digital Minds, which you download for free (along with all of the other 11 chapters). Be sure to check it out for some great insight on the power of chatbots.
- Voice search. Voice search is 30 times more actionable than text-based searches, and voice searchers have different behavior than text-based searchers. Users who search via text are likely to scroll through a list of options, but voice users stick with the first option that they hear. This means listings will become even more competitive, with everyone vying for the top spot in search results.
- Conversational commerce. Customers don’t want to hear about your brand - they want to know how you can help solve their problems. Conversational marketing helps you make an impact by listening to their problems and resolving their individual needs. Your customer will feel heard and you’ll benefit from their loyalty. Many brands use AI like chatbots (as mentioned above) to implement a conversational interface because there’s a quicker response.
- Influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is the fastest way to gain new customers - over organic search, email marketing, and paid search. It’s also the best in terms of cost effectiveness. Higher-quality leads are attracted to businesses due to influencer marketing, so don’t overlook this strategy.
- Personalization. Apps that provide a personalized user experience fare better than ones that don’t. Integrating AI into your app via chatbots is a good way to provide a personalized experience that will enable prospects to feel heard. Most marketing automation platforms also provide personalization options with their landing pages as well, which is worth checking out.
What is Expected to Work in 2022?
There are two sides to every coin. Marketing experts can predict specific trends, but the deciding factor in what works and what doesn’t is the consumer. We’ll start by talking about the projected trends of 2022, and then we’ll move on to talk about the overall focus: meeting consumer needs.
Digital Marketing Trends for Banks in 2022
Much of the groundwork for 2022 was already laid in 2021, but there are a few newer trends that we haven’t covered yet. As we move into the new year, here are some trends you can expect to take on greater significance:
- More widespread video marketing. Engagement with videos is much higher than it is with other forms of marketing, including text and image-based marketing strategies. At WSI, we encourage video marketing because it’s such an effective way to get your business out there, and short-form video content is still a great way to reach people.
- Content marketing isn’t going away. In fact, we think you need to be ramping up your content efforts and doing it even more in 2022. It’s important to optimize your content and incorporate SEO keywords into your blogs, articles, and web copy. Though the focus of content marketing is changing (see the section below for more info), the need for it isn’t.
- Compelling social media content. Interesting social media content will reach beyond your customers as it’s shared by other users. As stated earlier, social media outreach is even more effective with the help of an influencer (and don’t forget to train and empower your staff to represent themselves online as trusted, credible sources of information - things we talk a LOT about in our mentoring community, The LinkedBanker).
- Analytics and data. Analytics (like Google Analytics) will continue to help you fine-tune your marketing efforts and get in the minds of your customers so you can better serve them. By understanding the data behind the scenes, you’ll be in a much better position to modify your efforts and shift strategies when needed.
What Consumers Want in 2022
The expected trends for 2022 are the cogs in the machine, but what powers it all is the consumer. In 2022, the focus on consumers will increase in a number of ways, including:
- A focus on storytelling. Consumers don’t want to feel like they’re being “sold to,” they want to invest in your brand because they believe in it. The age of the hard sell is over, and storytelling has stepped into its rightful place. Create a marketing tapestry that has threads of consumer needs, your brand’s special backstory, and how your brand can meet those needs all interwoven together.
- Consumer boards will help make decisions. Also referred to as “focus groups,” involving the consumer in your decision making process provides tremendous opportunities for learning and refinement. It’s a good idea to include their perspective when making major decisions. Marketers will use consumer impact to make critical decisions rather than relying solely on analytics.
- More teaching, less selling. At the end of the day, the most important question to ask yourself is “Does my product/service/message add value to my customers?” Creating content geared toward helping consumers is a great way to do this, whether it’s in the form of video or text copy.
- You’ll need to keep their attention. As the world changes, competition is increasing and it’ll be even tougher to make a splash. You’ll need to grab consumers’ attention if you want them to care about your brand - and you’ll need to do it often to keep their interest.
What Does This Mean for Your Community Bank?
To keep pace with an increasing focus on convenience, more and more community banks are looking to add chatbot widgets to their website so consumers can quickly get answers to their questions and interact with them online. Many chatbots provide consumers with the option of chatting with a representative during office hours, so even consumers who have more detailed requests can be helped.
Here at WSI, we build bank websites that easily support third-party chatbot integration (as well as lots of other types of integrations). Recently, we’ve seen clients considering platforms like Glia, AgentIQ, Kore.ai, all of which are advanced chat platforms focused on the banking industry.
Social media is still a critical part of marketing, and one you may want to dip your toes into if you haven’t already. You can seek the help of local influencers to endorse your community bank and discuss what they like most about your brand (even better if you can get them to record a video about it). These could be your “super-satisfied” customers, heads of charities that your bank supports, or other people in your community who are recognizable and have valued opinions.
Heck, even your star employees could be influencers as they build their personal brand online (again, something that you’ll learn by becoming a member of our LinkedBanker mastermind community). You can also use your bank’s blog (hopefully you have one) to educate your customers on financial topics that will be of interest to them. You can choose topics like, “Five Simple Things You Can Do Now to Save for Retirement” or “Buying a Home: What You Need to Know Before Talking to a Realtor.”
Making these action-based and explaining the value the reader will get in the title is a great way to ensure that your posts will get read. You can even feature guest posts by community leaders (reach out to the local Chamber president) or volunteers at nonprofits you’ve donated to. Don’t forget to include SEO into your content strategy!
How Can We Help?
Do you ever wish you knew someone who understands the world of banking as well as the world of digital marketing? Here at WSI, we’re those kinds of people. We speak both banking and marketing, and we’ll bring these two worlds together to get your bank noticed online.
With 30 years of combined experience in banking and digital strategy, there’s no other partner out there that brings the focus and expertise like we do. So get in touch today to learn more and let us help take your bank to the next level in 2022 and beyond!