For harried the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who tend to run community bank marketing departments, putting together a digital marketing campaign can be a huge challenge.? Managing a myriad of marketing functions already, few have the time to get up to speed on digital strategies never studied in school.

Research from Cornerstone Partners found that on average banks employ one marketing staffer per $450 million in assets.? That leaves community bankers spread so thin that in most cases, an extensive digital program may not be feasible or practical.? On the plus side, older customers which typically populate neighborhood banks are the least likely candidates for digital solicitations.

Saying that, digital has become marketings go-to advertising vehicle, the primary tool for many financial marketers.? 2016 marks the first year digital expenditures exceeded television, and now constitute 70% of all marketing expense.

Faced with few resources and limited time, many small bank directors are exploring ways to dip their toe into the digital waters.? Some may squeeze enough funds from their budget to hire a digital agency but many must develop their own program, turning to vendor webinars and articles for instruction.

Novices can easily get lost in the exploding choices of digital tools and channels.?? Immersing oneself in the merits of SEO, pay-per-click, content and backroom analytics are enough to make anyones head spin.?? Thats why Im offering a simple educational shortcut for the busy executive that allows them to zero in on the most productive digital strategies immediately.? Call it the Cliff Notes of Digital Marketing, gleaned from years of practice and dozens of research studies, heres five insights, cautions and suggestions provides a quick primer into successful digital marketing.

  1. Dont let others stampede you into digital marketing. Up to 60% of all digital expenditures are wasted according to a study by Proxima, a global consulting firm.? An estimated 35% of all web activity is fraudulent or artificial generated by bots or non-human scripts, and 54% of online ads are never seen by a human but are still counted as billable impressions.
  1. Skip digital display ads; they rarely pay off. Across all formats and placements, the number of readers clicking a digital ad is less than 1/10 of one percent, to be precise 0.07%.? Besides fraudulent activity and phony clicks, another big factor contributing to low click-through rates is ad blocking.? Consumers are downloading ad blocking software in greater numbers every year.? Last year, it grew 41% globally.? A better alternative to digital ads is paid search where returns are four or five times higher.
  1. Concentrate on emails, which is the most effective (and easiest to implement) digital marketing channel for generating new accounts. Although neck and neck with content marketing for effectiveness, content is far more difficult to implement according to Marketing Charts.??? Email has a lot going for it ? you can pinpoint your audience, easily track results then optimize your efforts. Email marketing can drive more traffic to your website, increase newsletter subscriptions, nurture a lead to a sale through content sharing, and more. Plus, theres three times more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook accounts combined. A recent UK report on email campaigns found an open rate of 24.45% compared to an average read rate of brand messages on Facebook of only 6%.
  1. Social media isnt worth your time. I know thats a controversial statement but according to a review by research firm Forrester, business leaders say Facebook?creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity.? You might think youd reach all your friends with one post, but thats not the case. Facebook typically distributes posts to only 16% percentage of your friends.? Furthermore, S. adults are twice as likely to sign up for emails to stay in touch with a brand than to interact with that brand on Facebook.
  1. Remarketing is critical for digital marketing success. Your top prospects ? the ones you should spend the most time and money on ? are those who have visited your website, responded to your email or clicked on your display ad. ?Responding quickly to visitors with a series of customized messages can triple your conversion rate. ?Retail marketer Kimberly-Clark reports 50 to 60% higher conversion rates among retargeted customers (DIGIDAY).? An easy way to set up a remarketing campaign is through Google AdWords. And because your emails are relevant, 30% of consumers have a positive or very positive reaction towards retargeted ads (comScore) ? a situation very few display advertisers enjoy.

Retailer marketers are big promoters of digital channels but remember that their interests diverge from those of most bank marketers.?? Retailers are primarily interested in efficiently generating efficient leads, a function less important to financial institutions which are more interested in selling additional products to existing customers.? The bottom line for the harried bank marketing executive is to avoid moving too quickly or embracing all digital marketing channels.? Remember, Apple didnt have a Facebook or Twitter account until a couple of years ago and they managed to build one of the strongest, most recognized brands in the world without it.

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