As you began to look towards planning your digital marketing, I’d like for you to stop.

Stop thinking about your website.

Stop thinking about your blog.

Stop thinking about your online video.

Your email marketing.

Your social media.

Your digital advertising.

Your SEO.

Just stop for a moment.

The things I have just listed are nothing more than tools, technology, and tactics.

And as the great military strategist Sun Tzu noted, “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

As you plan for 2017, I challenge you to take a different approach to digital marketing.

The following three steps will help to guide you in the right direction.

Step 1: Determine How You Want to Grow

Before thinking about any of the above digital marketing tactics, ask yourself how you want to use digital marketing to grow your bank or credit union.

Ultimately, there are just four choices to choose from:

  • Build a digital community 
  • Generate leads
  • Convert leads
  • Grow share of wallet

If you are just starting out on your digital marketing journey and currently do not have a defined strategy, your primary digital marketing goal should be to build a digital community.

And it is from this digital community your bank or credit union can begin to attract leads just as you have done for the past 50+ years in your physical community.

Step 2: Establish a Digital Growth Blueprint

In our 2015 State of Digital Marketing Survey for Banks and Credit Unions, we found that 70% of banks and credit unions DO NOT have a defined digital marketing strategy.

That’s because most banks and credit unions continue to operate with a business model built around branches and broadcast marketing.

But when it comes to digital marketing, it is important to remember your two major competitors:

  1. Big regional and national financial institutions with much deeper digital pockets 
  2. Neo-bank start-ups with business models built around digital and mobile delivery

While you may feel like it is impossible to compete with them, all hope is not lost, and there is an opportunity for you to thrive.

I believe you can grow your bank or credit union like never before, but you must transform how your bank or credit union views on digital marketing because digital marketing is not just another channel.

As branch traffic continues to decline, digital marketing will have the greatest impact on your acquisition, onboarding, and overall growth for years to come.

According to Bank 2.0, the average consumer in 1995 visited a branch around 2.2 times per month. However, in 2012 the average number of branch visits dropped to 3.2 times per year. And odds are, this number will continue to decline further.

That’s why it is important for you to establish a digital growth blueprint.

Just as you have used a blueprint in the past to build your branch network, a blueprint will guide you as you build and optimize your digital marketing acquisition and onboarding programs.

Step 3: Ask the right questions

When establishing your digital growth blueprint, it’s important to ask the right questions as you focus on the nine key areas that will have the greatest impact on your future growth:

  1. Goals for Growth: How is your business model evolving beyond branches and broadcast marketing to keep up with changing consumer behaviors?
  2. Consumer Segments: How do your consumer personas and market segments go beyond basic demographic data?
  3. Product Offerings: How do you differentiate yourself from other financial institutions who promote "great rates and services?"
  4. Staffing and Processes: Does your staff have the proper digital marketing training and processes needed for you to achieve your goals for growth?
  5. Consumer Journeys: Have you mapped digital journeys to guide consumers from intent to conversion and beyond?
  6. Technology Platforms: Do you have the marketing technology platforms needed to achieve your goals for growth?
  7. StorySelling: Do you have a defined process for planning and producing digital stories that connect emotionally with consumers?
  8. Distribution Channels: Do you know the most effective distribution channels needed to communicate with your key consumer segments?
  9. Key Performance Metrics: Do you know how to quantify your digital marketing success back to your goals for growth?

If you don’t have the answers to these questions, don’t worry.

Remember, 70% of banks and credit unions DO NOT have a defined digital marketing strategy.

You’re not alone in this journey.

You are the reason we are on a mission to make digital marketing simple because we want to see you grow.

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