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Digital Marketing: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

April 6, 2017
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The digital space has evolved greatly since financial institutions first started using the email channel and testing online advertising in the early 2000s. Every year institutions must consider new social channels, allocate their paid online marketing spend to more places, and adapt to changes in Google algorithms that can make or break their websites’ search ranking, all the while seeing mobile views of their marketing campaigns steadily increase.

In line with these trends, financial institutions are seeing strong growth in consumer adoption of online and mobile banking products and services. 41% of consumers use mobile banking (including 71% of millennials). Customers’ expectations are also growing. Over 34% of consumers indicated that they would be very or extremely likely to use TouchID and 22% currently use Mobile Check Deposit (Raddon Research Insights, 2016).

As institutions quickly adopt digital channel marketing, they often overlook some key factors. Institutions who are considering spending more time and energy on digital marketing this year, may find the below list helpful. 

1.  Marketing emails and websites are not mobile-optimized

Over 50% of emails are read on mobile devices, and this percentage increases each year (see growth chart on Litmus.com). The best practice is to create mobile-friendly or responsive email templates that will resize or show different content when opened on mobile devices. It used to be an after-thought to even review and test the mobile design. With the rise of “mobile-first” mentality, companies are beginning to create for the smaller screen first – both for websites and emails.

Mobile and tablet internet usage now exceeds desktop usage worldwide. In 2015, Google started ranking sites based on “mobile-friendliness”.  And last year, Google started to experiment with making search indexing mobile-first – meaning that their algorithms will pick up content from your mobile site instead of the desktop version. This could be an issue if your mobile site has less content or is strictly built around online banking.

These changes along with the fact that consumers are using the internet as their primary source for financial services product information, make it more important than ever to evaluate the mobile user experience. Take a look at how your current website, mobile app(s) and email creative are viewed and function on mobile.

2. Not using targeting and segmentation

Another common mistake is forgetting to use targeting and segmentation in your digital marketing campaigns. Why would you need to target specific customers with a product offer? Why not send it to everyone since the email channel is inexpensive compared to direct mail? Even when using digital channels to reach your customers, you should segment your customer base, determine the best message to send to each person or household and determine which channels they prefer. You don’t want to waste a “touch” by sending a blast marketing email with the same message to everyone.  Sending a message not tailored to a user is a quick path to being unsubscribed, meaning you might never email that customer again.

Another concern is that many financial institutions have email addresses for fewer than half of their customers. Your institution should have a plan in place to reach these customers through other channels and develop campaigns to get them to opt-in for marketing emails.

3. Not looking at the complete picture: the conversion funnel

If consumers see your online advertising, will they be able to open a new account online? Your website needs to be follow best practices for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that consumers searching for your brand can find you and the information they are looking for. You may need to send traffic to landing pages that you test and optimize to get the most conversion. If you don’t have an online application, or if the one you do have has a very low completion rate, then you should have the phone number and local branch address front and center on the landing page along with any additional product or rate information they may need.

If you are advertising home loans online, consumers should be able to reach a landing page or product page that has home loan information and a strong call-to-action. It’s also beneficial to have interactive calculators and rate tables on this page.

4. Tracking and reporting are not in place

When you launch campaigns in multiple digital channels, you run into the same measurement complexities that you have when running TV, radio and billboard advertising. How do you know which channels are most effective and which ones are working together to drive the best results? The first step is to enable web analytics on your site such as Google Analytics or Omniture/Adobe Analytics. Each digital marketing channel will have its own cost and response/conversion metrics that you need to establish upfront to bolster your reporting.

For your email campaigns, you should be able to access reports with opens, clicks, and unsubscribe rates by campaign. But you will also want to look at your email member base over time to see who is opening and who is inactive in this channel. You can hold out control groups (customers whom you pull out from receiving marketing emails for a certain period of time) to measure against or you can take the entire mail list and run a match-back process to see who responded during a 30-day window. How many times have you seen a preview of an email, not opened it, but visited the website or store within the next week because it was top of mind?

5. Lack of social followers

You post to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and your blog on a regular basis. How many people are seeing these posts? How many followers do you have? You may need to build your follower base before you can depend on getting reach through this channel. More importantly, monitoring and responding in these channels to customer services concerns or consumers asking general questions may be of benefit to both you and your customers

Start by promoting your social properties to customers. During the onboarding process, you can send them a series of welcome emails with links to find/follow you on social media and include content from your blog or snippets from your posts. Include social links and call-to-actions in your email communications. Drive readers from your e-newsletters to your blog. It’s helpful to have a content calendar in place – this can drive your social posts, blog articles and e-newsletter content.

We hope these pointers on how to avoid common mistakes in digital marketing will help you as you set your 2017 marketing initiatives. Raddon Advisory Consulting offers marketing strategy engagements and can help support your digital marketing efforts. If you would like a digital channel assessment or help with your digital marketing strategy, please send an email to comments@raddon.com

Interested in Leaning More? Join our Raddon Strategic Consultants on April 25, 2017, for a no-cost webinar on Uncovering Secrets to Successful Marketing. This webinar will be useful for institutions considering spending more time and energy on digital and direct marketing this year and may need to refine their efforts to achieve stronger results.