7 Bank Marketing Strategies to Increase Deposits

Use these proven marketing strategies to reach the right audience and increase deposit account growth.

With an effective local SEO strategy - leveraging local listings, region-specific content marketing, and customer reviews - community banks can out-perform bigger institutions.

In the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2009, community bank performance rebounded in tandem with the rest of the banking industry. By 2015, community banks had returned to pre-crisis levels in terms of noncurrent loans, net charge-offs and percentage of unprofitable institutions. However, profitability has remained below pre-crisis levels in recent years.

Core deposits became stagnant over a three-year period for community banks with less than $10 billion in assets. That dormancy meant that these banks’ flexibility was greatly limited, and their lending capacity was significantly reduced.

As loan interest rates have risen over the past few years, so too has the need for deposit growth has expanded. Many banks will likely raise deposit rates in response to this need, but there is more community banks can do to attract new deposit accounts. In addition to increasing internal efforts at each branch, community banks also need to harness the power of effective marketing strategies to reach their target audience.

This guide will shed some light on these questions and provide strategies that will allow you to put your bank in front of prospective customers and increase your core deposits.

Modern Banking Behavior

The average American’s banking behavior is very different now than it was in 2009. 6% of U.S. total banks closed following the financial crisis, and it is projected that 20% of all branches will close by 2020. The need for bank branches may be dwindling; many customers can’t remember the last time they walked into a physical bank.

In a battle of survival of the fittest, banks must move quickly to adjust. However, the prognosis doesn’t have to be negative. By enacting a strong internal strategy, your institution can grow its deposits and regain the upper hand by strengthening core deposit amounts. The challenges banks face in attracting new deposits is uncharted territory for financial institutions. With a finely tuned bank deposit marketing strategy and a special focus on digital outreach, there are several ways you can position your bank to ensure your long-term stability.

1. Local SEO ensures potential customers will find you online

A recent study found that 88% of consumers will shop online first for a checking account product. You may be the closest financial institution, and you may have the best rates for your deposit accounts, but if your competitors are dominating the top organic positions in Google and Bing search results, then you are missing out on new customers.

Local SEO is the key to maximizing your online visibility for each of your branches. Many elements play a role in creating a comprehensive local SEO strategy, but here are some essential strategies that you can use to get in front of your potential customers:

  • Local Map Listings: Create and verify map listings for each of your branches in both Google and Bing. This information typically appears above organic results when a local search is performed and provides a breakdown of the essential information that your customers need most: branch address, hours of operation, phone number, a link to your website, and directions to lead them right to your door. Getting some 5-star reviews for these listings will increase your credibility, giving potential customers a greater sense of confidence that you will be able to help them.
  • City-Specific Content: Create pages on your website for each of your bank’s branches. Flesh them out with contact information for the branch, a high-quality image of the building, and the address. Don’t forget to add few paragraphs of unique content that describe the services you offer, your staff, etc. Insert a link to your deposits page to help drive curious visitors into confident customers. These elements work together to help each branch location page rank higher in the search engine results. More branch location page best practices here.
  • Business Review Sites: Many people browse websites like Yelp and Yellow Pages to identify local businesses. Make sure that each of your branch locations is listed on these sites. Check each listing to ensure that your address, phone number and hours of operation are all up-to-date. Again, getting some 5-star reviews on these sites will bolster your credibility.
  • Content Marketing: Creating content that is valuable to your audience is an effective way to reach new prospects while providing useful resources that improve engagement with existing customers. This is an effective marketing strategy for any product or service. One method is to create content that answers the questions of your customers and prospects. Take deposits for example – do your customers frequently ask you about the differences between the accounts you offer, or if they should plan to keep a certain amount of money in their account? These topics can inspire new pieces of content that will educate your audience and open a line of communication to your community bank.
76% of financial services professionals believe buyer-centric content the most effective way to regain trust. -Kapost

Utilizing these local SEO strategies will also make it more likely for potential customers to find you through Google searches and business review sites. Once your visitor has landed on your site or visited one of your branches, this is the time to present an attractive offer for a new deposit account.

These strategies are generally useful for increasing your online visibility to a local audience and will yield long-term results. If you’re looking to target a more specific audience, keep reading to learn more.

2. Use multiple marketing channels to reach your desired audience

In today’s competitive climate, you can’t assume that any single channel will take your prospects through the entire buyer journey. Part of your bank marketing plan should be to identify the consumer and business personas who can significantly help you grow your deposits, then develop a multi-channel strategy to reach them.

Create a profile of the type of client you wish to pursue. What is their ZIP code, for example, and what financial products would they use? Are they lifelong residents in the area, or have they just moved here from out of state? Is this their first step towards organizing their finances, or are they looking to change financial institutions after many years? Each of these groups has different needs, and present unique opportunities to open new deposit accounts. Once you’ve mapped out this information, then you can design your bank deposit marketing and outreach plan accordingly.

An important consideration as you create your desired customer profiles is to research what you think may be attractive to your audience. Millennials and their impact on various industries are important to keep this sizable market in full view. However, with growing deposits, Baby Boomers are almost 50 times better to market, with substantially more assets under management at RIA firms.

Once you know who you want to reach, integrated marketing strategies that include multiple touch points from direct mail marketing, statement stuffers and inserts, educational website content, email, and digital ads can help you grow deposits from existing customers and convert new customers to boost your bank’s deposits.

3. Use paid search marketing to your advantage

In 2018, it’s become the norm for potential customers to turn to a search engine to research a product or service before they make a decision. Even the majority of people who decide to open an account at a physical branch gather information online first. As a result, it’s become essential to place your community bank in front of these searchers. This much is obvious, but many financial institutions aren’t leveraging the full potential of their online presence with an effective search marketing campaign.

By utilizing strategies like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising using tools like Google AdWords, community banks have the opportunity to push past their competitors to gain prominence at the top of the search engine results pages. Paid search campaigns are so effective because they can be targeted to a specific audience according to the exact phrases they are searching Google for. This is accomplished using target keyword groupings, specific ad content, geo-targeting and a host of other options.

Targeted marketing informs each aspect of your deposit growth strategy.

Paid search advertising offers a clear path to presenting your services out to a highly-qualified audience. Here are some things you should consider when building a paid search campaign if your goal is to increase deposits:

  • Build ads for each deposit service: Create ads that focus on individual deposit services and choose target keywords that will deliver those ads for relevant searches. Your ads should always align with the keywords you’re targeting. For example, if someone searches for “open checking account near me” then you’ll want to show ads related to your checking options, rates, etc. If ads for your premier checking accounts are displaying from a search related to CDs, then there’s little chance that users will actually click on them. This is a typical mistake by many search advertisers; in fact, the average AdWords account wastes 76% of its budget on misaligned search terms and ad content.
  • Use thoughtful geo-targeting: Specific targeting is key to driving qualified traffic and conversions. If your targeting area is too broad, then you may wind up with a rapidly-diminishing budget that is wasted by users who aren’t part of your target audience. If you have multiple branches, it’s smart to target prospects within a small radius around each of your locations.
  • Consider your competition: Keeping a watchful eye on your competitors is a standard practice in search marketing. If you see ads for your local competitors in the search engines, take a look at the services they’re promoting and how they differentiate. This can help you get an idea of what their customers are interested in, and how they’re addressing those interests. You can also target your ads to appear when someone performs a search for one of your competitors, giving you the opportunity to position your bank as a better solution to their needs. You’ll never outspend a megabank, but you can absolutely target megabank prospects or existing customers to help them understand the benefits of banking locally.

The world of PPC is vast, and there are many elements that we haven’t touched on in this article – budget, ad extensions, display advertising, remarketing, and more. If you plan to enhance your online presence with paid ads, your best bet is to partner with a digital marketing agency that is experienced in helping banks grow.

4. Leverage social advertising

Many financial products are designed to assist people throughout the various stages of their lives – higher education, relocation, purchasing a home, starting a family. Social advertising – the use of ads on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn – enables marketers to target these individuals with ads that address their changing lifestyles and countless other demographics or behaviors.

Facebook offers powerful audience targeting features and is still the most popular social network amongst Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

Social media platforms offer powerful targeting tools that allow you to deliver highly-focused ads to a specific audience based on their interests and lifestyles. Couple this with a comprehensive understanding of your audience, and you can create social media ads that drive highly-qualified traffic to your site. For example, a Facebook campaign promoting business checking accounts can be delivered to business owners or executives of a certain age group within five miles of your branch locations.

This targeting also allows you to create ads that are tailored to the needs of your specific audiences. This makes the most of your ad spend by only showing your ads to individuals that you’ve selected through targeting. It can even be your own list of customer email addresses. By tapping into these audiences and following social advertising best practices, banks have the potential to better reach their intended audience.

5. Create an effective mobile presence

In 2018, a few things are certain. One is that your customers spend much of their lives online and on their mobile phones. If your bank does not have a digital presence that allows simple transactions to be done anywhere, anytime, you will not grow your number of deposits and, in fact, you may lose existing customers. In order to make banking with your institution an attractive proposition, convenience is of the utmost importance.

If you do not already have a mobile app to offer your clients, create a simple option that allows customers to perform basic functions like check deposit, account overview, and funds transfer from their handheld device. With an estimated 224 million smartphone users in the U.S. in 2017, many of the high deposit customers your institution needs to attract are among this group. People’s lives are busier than ever, so offering time-saving options will make your bank more attractive and translate into growing your bottom line.

6. Deliver customer service that is both friendly and educational

There was a time when serving up a smile and a small gift was enough to gain new accounts. Now your community bank is competing against larger banks as well as online-only financial institutions for highly sought-after customers. That means you need to do your research, then roll out the red carpet. Identify the customers your bank would like to attract and try to understand their banking lives.

For example, busy people may not want to go through the hassle of switching their checking account, so you don’t want to lead with checking account marketing strategies. However, a competitive loan offer may entice the same personal or business customer. Once you establish a good relationship with this one product, it’s easier to cross-sell other products such as that no-fee checking.

On that note, make teller outreach a core part of your internal marketing strategy. In the era of direct deposit and mobile banking, customers don’t have to visit a physical branch. When they do, make it count with friendly, personalized service. This is often what distinguishes a community bank from larger, more impersonal institutions. As the teller processes the customer’s transaction, they can recommend products that would be a good fit, such as higher yield savings products or investment services.

When it comes to high net worth customers, pick up the phone and get personal. Relationships are everything and individuals and businesses will appreciate the special touch and attention to their needs and satisfaction.

Overall, don’t take any customer for granted. Remember you’re not the only bank trying to woo potential customers or sell additional products to existing customers. Win them over by being genuine, accessible, thorough, and proactive.

7. Good storytelling is a crucial part of your internal strategy

Unlike online financial institutions, community banks derive value from being long-standing members of their community who understand the financial needs of their neighbors and how to help them reach their goals. Lead with your strengths by prioritizing storytelling in your internal strategy.

From your website and social media to traditional paper marketing materials, embrace your brand. Be true to your institution’s history and strengths. Tell your bank’s story in a compelling way that is useful to your audience. All your content should aim to inform and educate your audience to help them make better financial decisions.

Stories are just data with a soul. Dr. Brene Brown, University of Houston

Effective storytelling can yield serious results. Research backs up common-sense that people purchase more often from companies that engage them with education. Invest in relevant educational content by creating high-quality website content and blog articles that will inform your audience.

Draw inspiration for these articles from common questions you receive on a regular basis, or highlight services that would be most beneficial for your target audiences. If you’re trying to sell a particular product – deposit accounts, for example – use your content as an opportunity to sell your audience by educating them about that product. By doing this, you’re creating an effective resource for your audience while simultaneously showing them why your services are the solution for their needs.

Your target customers are more likely to respond to a local bank that actively works to strengthen its community. Your fortunes are intertwined with those of your neighbors and that is a powerful selling point.

Take the next step to increase deposit growth today

Which of these internal bank deposit marketing strategies will you use next? With focus, strategy, exceptional service, and capitalizing on existing strengths, your bank can create winning strategies to increase deposits and thrive in a new era banking.

Ready to learn more about how digital marketing and local SEO can help your community bank grow deposits? Contact us today. BankBound can help you use marketing data for greater ROI when it comes to checking account marketing ideas and other strategies.

{BONUS} Additional Deposit Gathering Strategies:

  • Free gifts for opening a checking account
  • Cash incentives to open a new account
  • Tiered rates based on higher deposits
  • Referral incentives for signing up friends
  • Internal employee competitions
  • Offering completely free checking to earn new customers, with intentional up-selling strategy
  • Offering high-interest checking products
  • Lending discounts when loans are setup with an auto-pay checking account at your bank
  • Offering personal financial management tools that allow you to see other bank accounts your customers own, informing your sales efforts
  • Mergers/acquisitions of deposit-heavy banks (see our digital marketing checklist for bank mergers and acquisitions)
  • Manually calling customers with other products who don’t have a checking account or other product with your bank
  • Offer other free benefits like cyber-security as part of account ownership
  • Save to win contests
  • Direct mail promotions to new movers with a special offer
  • Introduce gamification through the bank’s mobile app to encourage saving

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