As the financial landscape – and its customer base – evolves, banks of all sizes find themselves at a crossroads. The exclusivity of billboards, radio ads, and television spots and direct-mail campaigns is over, and the way banks choose to sell and market their services is shifting. Digital marketing is now a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to securing new (and legacy) business.
The biggest banks understand this. They leverage their size, name recognition, and budget capabilities to maximize their ad spend. But regional banks can take advantage of the digital revolution, too. For these smaller banks, local search is a key component of ensuring visibility and success – and local search agencies are at the forefront of those efforts.
Keeping Up With the Changing Digital Landscape
Traditional forms of media are fairly static. Media planners converse with sales representatives to buy airtime. Radio spots are still sold in 15-second segments; direct-mail fliers still end up in mailboxes. But digital marketing is trickier because search trends change on a daily basis. Algorithm updates may place your website at the top of the list in Q1 and bump you to the third page by Q2. Social media algorithms and bidding can shift the effectiveness of campaigns just as quickly. In addition, there is a whole host of terms, services, and practices that local search agencies know – from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital content strategy to Pay-per-click (PPC) – that, as bankers, you may not even have the time (or desire) to learn.
Regional banks have unique needs, priorities, and difficulties. This can make it difficult to take the time to delve into these topics. That’s where a local search agency with digital expertise comes into play.
Local Search Agencies Help You Understand Data
Local search agencies place a high premium on data. It’s what drives our decisions about budgeting, targeting, and even content strategy itself. But more than that, local search agencies are experienced at taking data (of which there is a considerable amount) and synthesizing it to get results. But more than that, it’s important that you understand the data: both in how it’s gathered and what it means for your bank. Local search agencies can tell you on a branch-by-branch basis what strategies are working – and which ones aren’t.
In addition, because we make data-driven decisions, performance is a primary focus. In addition, digital marketing allows you a level of flexibility that traditional marketing does not. Airtime is purchased well in advance, and television and print campaigns take time to produce and deliver.
Digital marketing, meanwhile, works on a much shorter timeline. Good local search agencies can pivot to new strategies almost instantly; if a campaign is lagging and customers (or potential customers) aren’t converting, we look at areas of opportunity and make the necessary changes in a prompt fashion.
Full Support for Your Team
As budgets become even tighter for regional banks, internal marketing teams are thin for many industries, and digital marketing teams even more so. Local search agencies offer expertise and full support for your digital marketing strategy, so your internal teams can focus on the marketing specialties in which they excel.
Digital marketing efforts require this amount of support because there’s more effort involved than many companies expect. Anyone can write a Facebook or Twitter post, but it takes a mixture of insight and data analysis to know not just what to post to your page, but when. Google and Facebook try to make advertising accessible to smaller businesses, but the more robust tools – like targeting, writing ad copy, and utilizing tag manager to ensure conversions are being tracked accurately – require a deft hand.
What About My Traditional Marketing Agency?
If you’re already partnering with a traditional agency, you may be tempted to let them handle your entire marketing strategy from top to bottom for cost or legacy reasons. But this approach can sometimes backfire. With so many campaigns to manage, sometimes legacy agencies allow digital marketing to take a backseat to more traditional efforts. And in many cases, traditional agencies may not even possess the skills that digital marketing requires.
A local search agency, by contrast, focuses exclusively on digital marketing. But because we specialize in the field, we’re able to react to the constant shifts in strategy, tools, and best practices. Our number one priority is your company’s growth through digital outlets – and customizing a strategy to ensure that it happens.
So, faced with this conundrum of legacy advertising versus digital marketing, what is a regional focused bank to do? With limited spending capabilities on marketing, the options could look like:
- Using the same agency for all pieces of the marketing puzzle
- Devoting internal resources to digital marketing and continuing to outsource traditional advertising to legacy partners
- Dropping digital marketing entirely to focus on traditional marketing
- Dropping traditional marketing entirely to focus on digital
However, we wouldn’t advise any of these strategies. Putting all your eggs in one basket is almost always a bad idea. So what do we suggest? Play to each agency’s strengths! There’s nothing wrong with using multiple agencies to handle your marketing needs. By allowing both legacy marketing agencies and local search agencies to do what they do best, you’re maximizing your chances at telling the right story to all prospective customers, not just one audience or the other.
Digital marketing and traditional marketing are both key methods of getting customers into the sales funnel, especially for regional banks who serve a wide clientele.
Choosing a Local Search Agency for Your Digital Marketing Needs
How do you choose a local search agency to help you grow? Simple: Look for a partner whose goals align with your goals. Ask for case studies and previous references, and ask about their commitment to due diligence. Consider how they view their role in your overall marketing strategy and what campaigns and programs they’ve built for other, similarly sized banks.
If these are questions that you’re excited to ask (and you should be), we can answer them. Our team of content, SEO, and paid media experts can help develop a strategy to achieve your goals. To learn more about how Go Local Interactive fits into your current marketing plan, reach out today.