The banking industry by definition is meant to be safe and slow, not fast paced and innovative. After all, you do want to leave your money with people who are not going to take unnecessary risks with it. But in this digital age, banks are far behind the curve in terms of digital marketing and they need to catch up. We sat down with the CloudRock SEO company from Singapore to discuss what steps banks and other financial institutions can take to level up their digital marketing.
Increased Search Engine Visibility
For the uninitiated, search engine optimization, or SEO for short, refers to the practice of improving your website structure and overall presence to increase your rankings in the search engines such as Google, Yandex, Yahoo or Bing. These search engines run thousands of tests a year to refine their algorithm, so it is not a static industry.
The whole idea is that if someone Googles ‘savings bank in Iceland’ or ‘best bank interest rates in Reykjavik’, then your website will appear at the top of the search results.
There are several ways a bank or insurance company can increase its search engine visibility. These include fixing their on-page factors, creating great content that is valued by their customers and building backlinks from authoritative and relevant sources.
On-page optimization refers to fixing things on your own website to facilitate search engine bot crawling and increase your website relevance with regards to any particular search query. This may include basic things such as improving your meta tags, including image alt text, using the proper hierarchy for heading tags and so on. At the more advanced levels on on-page SEO, you may decide to increase your site speed, prepare for mobile visitors by implementing responsive web design and using Schema.org markups to help Google create entities.
You also need to start creating high quality content to be published on your website. Google really loves websites that publish in-depth articles that answers a person’s search queries.
Off-page optimization refers to the number of links that are pointing back to your website. Links are like votes of confidence to a website – the more you have, the more authoritative Google or other search engine thinks you are. But it’s not quantity that counts – you need high quality links from respectable websites. This can be done through a variety of ways including guest posting or manual outreach. However, for all SEO activities you should try to keep to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines so that you do not get hit by what is called the Google Penguin Penalty.
Build a Community on Social Media
Another great way that banks can try to improve their online visibility is by building a community on social media. Most people are already on at least one social media network such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. It’s a good chance that your target audience is there as well.
If you’re just starting out, you may need to invest in Facebook Ads to build your community. But as time goes by, what you want to do is to encourage your fans and followers to engage with each other and help each other. Not only will this help you increase goodwill, but also lowers your customer service costs.
Targeted Online Advertising
One of the fastest and most popular ways to increase a bank’s online visibility is to invest in online advertising channels such as Google Ads or remarketing. These can be based on either pay-per-click (PPC) or pay per impression (CPM). The great thing about these online advertising channels is that they can give you results fast, unlike SEO. However, they tend to be much more expensive.
Banks should also be careful when it comes to PPC because it is not always easy for them to hit a required return-on-investment. Less experienced performance marketers have found it difficult to manage the pace of media buying in the financial industry. You need to have your figures on hand to ensure that you are spending money correctly.
Create Valuable Content
Consumers now have an insatiable desire to consume high quality content. Your bank or insurance company should invest in creating these assets as much as possible. Content marketing is also part of inbound marketing – a marketing discipline where you attract customers to come to you rather than pushing them to you using interruption advertising.
Creating content is in itself, not cheap. At the same time, many brands forget that it is not enough to simply create the content and leave it lying around in their website. They need to spend the time and money to promote this content across their owned, earned and paid media channels to achieve the best mileage.
Better Analytics Across Channels
Omni-channel measurement is becoming more important in banks and other financial institutions. Once upon a time, CMOs could get away with vague generalizations on how well their marketing campaigns did. These days, with digital channels so prominent and measurable, they find that they are accountable to the board for the ROI of their campaigns. One of the best ways to show results is to create connections between their various online assets and measure the impact these have on their revenue goals.
Increase Conversation Rates on Sites
Conversion rate optimization is the process by which marketers create hypotheses and conduct experiments to determine how well they can ‘convert’ customers on their website. ‘Convert’ can mean download an ebook, watch a video or even make a sale. They do this through various strategies such as multi-variate testing to determine which variation or offer might work best for which types of customers.
According to CloudRock and other digital companies like Ahrefs, we are sure that we have barely touched the surface when it comes to the types of digital marketing that banks and other financial institutions can implement to improve their online visibility. Do you have any other suggestions that you think might work? What digital marketing tactics are the big boys such as Standard Chartered, UOB or JPMorgan Chase using for their online marketing?