According to the ABA, two-thirds of Americans are using online and mobile banking as their primary banking channels. As a result, banks are seeing decreased foot traffic and increased competition from online financial institutions. However, it’s still important to complement your online services with a local bank branch that is useful, accessible and friendly. Local bank branches understand the needs of their community and help neighbors reach their financial goals. Once you’ve chosen the perfect location, staff and equipment to serve your community, how will customers find you?
Today’s customers rely on the internet to find what they need, when they need it. They may drive past your branch every day and never stop to notice it. Instead, they’ll rely on your website, search engines, social media, and online reviews to find relevant information that will help them make an informed decision. That’s why it’s vital to have a comprehensive and consistent online footprint!
You may already have a web marketing strategy in place to promote your website and your existing branches. But when it comes to promoting a new branch or location, you need a surefire strategy to let the neighborhood know you’re coming before the doors open. With a branch promotion strategy that combines online advertising, direct marketing and a highly anticipated event, your opening will be a success!
Create a Branch Location Page on Your Website
Search engines like Google rely on location landing pages to send customers to your door. This is a search engine optimization best practice, so you should already have branch location pages on your website for each of your bank branches. If you haven’t done so already, give your new bank branch its own page on your website with an optimized meta title and description. Then complete the location page with helpful details that answer customers’ questions and appeal to their image of the ideal bank. The following information is essential to maximizing the SEO and usefulness of your page.
- Location Image: A professional photo of your location will help customers find you and increase familiarity.
- Phone Number: Make it clickable to serve the many customers who will be searching for you on their cell phones.
- Address: Your physical address paired with a dynamic Google Map API makes it easier for customers to get directions to your branch.
- Hours of Operation: These should be consistent across all your location listings online. Don’t forget to include holiday closings.
- Branch Manager: Build trust by providing the name and a professional photo of your branch manager.
Once you’ve got these basics in place, consider making your page more useful with additional information. List the features and services unique to this bank branch like an ATM, drive-thru banking and lenders on site. Also consider providing the names and contact information for additional lead employees like lenders, VPs, managers, and customer service representatives. This will direct customers to the service they need. For more tips on maximizing your branch location page, see our article SEO Best Practices for Branch Location Pages.
Once you’ve created a Branch Location Page, it’s time to optimize your presence on the web. Set up listings for your new branch on the following websites: Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook Places, and www.usbanklocations.com. You may be hesitant to go through the rigmarole of claiming these profiles and fully optimizing these pages. But consider the benefits: for each listing that you optimize, you’re providing one more way for a potential customer to find you in the search engines!
Optimize each listing by claiming the business and providing as much information as possible including:
- Branch description: Each local listing platform allows you to provide a description of your business. Write about your history, the products you offer, your impact on the community, how you help individuals and businesses in your area, etc. This is your chance to help potential customers understand why you’re different from your competitors, so make the most of this content! Also, keep in mind that each description should be unique, even if you find a new way to say the same thing for each listing.
- Contact information & hours of operation: It’s up to you to make sure the information on these sites is correct. Outdated addresses, operating hours, phone numbers, photos, and website links will thwart a potential customer’s efforts to find you. More information about navigating this process, specifically on Facebook, can be found here.
- Images: Include a high-quality image of your branch, photos of your staff and a high-resolution copy of your logo.
- Website link: A link back to your website using a https:// address. If you have individual pages for each of your branches (you should), then this link should lead to the corresponding branch page on your website. You can even use UTMs, also known as customized URLs, to track how many visitors you are receiving from these listings!
As the opening date for your new bank branch approaches, Facebook is going to be one of your most powerful promotional outlets. You’re probably already promoting the event on each of your branches’ Facebook pages, which is a great way to reach a local audience at no cost. You can take this one step further by creating a Facebook Event page for your grand opening. This helps you reach additional users by inviting them to the event, create buzz, promote your business, and build relationships with customers. Maximize the effectiveness of your Facebook event page with these tips:
- Give your event a catchy name, thorough description and end time.
- Pair it with an interesting photo.
- Fill the tags section with relevant keywords.
- Make the wall public and reply to all questions and comments.
- Start a countdown and pin it to the top of your wall.
- Post the event across your other Facebook profiles.
If you have a budget for digital advertising, you may also want to consider running some ads. Facebook offers sophisticated audience targeting features that will allow you to place your branch opening promotion in front of potential customers who may be unfamiliar with your bank. Create some custom ad images with relevant information, decide on a budget, create a customized audience that you’d like to reach, and run the ads within a certain timeframe. You might want to target customers within a certain radius of the new branch or Facebook users who have “liked” your bank’s page. Don’t have the time to setup laser-targeted PPC ads on Facebook? Consider using a Boosted Post to generate interest in your branch opening.
AdWords is a powerful tool for promoting your services, but it can also be used to promote your new branch opening. With the right targeting, PPC advertising for banks can allow you to reach a whole new crop of potential customers to spread the word about your new bank location.
Start by writing ads that align with your goals. Tailor the message in each ad group to your intended audiences. You may want to create ads for your grand opening event, ads that inform new customers about the services you’ll be offering at the new branch, ads that promote incentives for new customers, and so on.
Create an ad group for the new location or add the new bank branch to the geo-targeting of existing campaigns. This will allow you to show your ad to individuals within your new market, increasing awareness and allowing you to target new customers.
You may even want to do some research and identify competitors with branches in the area of your new location. Once you have a list of your competitors, set up region-specific ad groups that target your competitors as keywords. This will allow you to show ads in Google whenever someone performs a search for one of these competitors. This strategy might win you customers who are looking to switch banks, especially if your new branch is offering incentives for new customers.
Want to let your current customers know about your new location? AdWords offers remarketing campaigns, which allows you to show ads to individuals who have visited your site in the past. Set up a remarketing campaign for website visitors who login to your online banking portal but live in a close proximity to the new branch. Once they know about the new, more convenient location they may be more inclined to visit your branch in person for their banking needs!
The content on your website is a powerful marketing tool for banks because it allows you to rank for geo-specific and relevant keywords in the search engine results pages, which in turn brings new visitors to your website. When properly utilized, content can also be a great way to spread the word about your new branch location and promote an upcoming event.
Write some high-quality content on the blog or news section of your website about the new location. This content should be totally unique (like all the content that you write for your website) and should cover the services your new branch offers, how it benefits the community, which towns, cities or counties you’ll be serving, the reason for the new location, and so on.
Promote this article on social media and create a link to the content on the homepage of your website. If you have any events, such as a grand opening, contests, giveaways, free food, or other promotions, be sure to mention these in the article!
Email marketing remains a useful marketing tool, with 73% of companies rating it as ‘excellent’ to ‘good’ in terms of ROI. Don’t forget to send your existing customers who live nearby an email blast informing them of the new branch opening.
Traditional Marketing & Local Promotion
Sometimes customers aren’t looking for a new bank. In this case, getting your name out the old-fashioned way is the best way to generate interest. While the internet may provide the broadest reach for your bank promotion, a local offline presence can catch the attention of your new community and generate excitement. Get your name out to the community with local radio ads and billboards. Sponsor a local sports team or event. Try connecting with nearby schools and colleges to promote financial literacy.
Transactional & Direct Mail
Create eye-catching postcards and mailers to announce the branch opening and any promotions that you may be running in tandem with the opening. Direct mail isn’t cheap, but you can save money on postage by using smaller postcards (4 1/4″ x 6″) or by taking advantage of the USPS EDDM (every door direct mail) program. For existing customers located nearby your new branch, add inserts or onserts to their monthly statements. Tracking methods can be implemented to inform your marketing efforts and accurately measure ROI; click here to learn more about Digital Tactics for Measuring Traditional Bank Marketing.
As you plan your branch opening event, don’t forget these important attention-grabbers:
- Place clear signage at the new location announcing the opening date.
- Offer an open house for prospective customers to learn more about your services.
- Provide entertainment and food.
- Offer door prizes, contests, giveaways, and perks.
- Operate sweepstakes and raffles
Take the next step towards a successful new location
Will your new community see you coming? When you open a bank branch, you need marketing expertise that will maximize the opportunities a new location brings. Whether you need help updating your local listings, improving content, effectively targeting your online ads, or promoting your opening event, BankBound has the expertise to help financial institutions through every stage of marketing. If you have plans to open a new bank branch location, contact us today to learn how we can help you with this and all of your marketing needs.