Let’s talk numbers for just a moment. According to Google, 71% of financial shoppers use search at least twice in their decision-making process (Google ZMOT). In addition, 50% of consumers report searching exclusively online for financial products (Filene). This little thing we call the internet has transformed the way we research and buy, and that includes financial services.
So it comes as no surprise that ensuring a high volume of qualified visitors to your website is now a primary goal for your financial institution’s marketing plan. But how do you go about getting people to discover and return to your site?
There are a variety of inbound marketing techniques, but let’s start with the five key drivers of website traffic. Think of them as the main ingredients for your marketing recipe. And remember, as with cooking, “You can always add, but you can’t take away,” because the internet is (sometimes) forever.
Having a beautiful website and great marketing content has limited value unless your site can be found and the content can be connected to ROI. It’s critical to have a Content Management System where you or your agency are able to continually monitor what’s happening. SEO methods of the past – such as stuffing keywords in meta data and building large volumes of inbound links to increase what was once seen as “authority” – no longer help with organic search results.
Today, authoritative websites are well-designed and well-structured with a seamless user experience, providing content as a resource. Without these key factors, your bank or brand will not be able to compete in organic search against the countless websites that naturally offer complete and compelling experiences.
What is a good starting place for SEO? Begin with an audit. Website software like SEMrush can give you a good overview of your website. You can also see what competitors are doing. Next, you can use Google's Keyword Tool to find long-tail keywords that are not as competitive, and to create compelling content around those words. If you are in a competitive niche, this is a particularly effective way to build a stream of recurring traffic and engage your users.
Social media is now considered the #1 driver of all website referral traffic. Taking an active approach to promoting your website content via social advertising is imperative. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn now provide many options for targeting and promoting advertising. Additionally, Facebook and Twitter offer remarketing, which is great for B2B and B2C marketing. By simply installing a tracking pixel on your site, you can continue to market to customers after they’ve visited your site, which is a great way to create return traffic to your bank or credit union.
Email marketing is a powerful tactic for reaching your existing customer base. Email segmentation is great for delivering custom messages that are meaningful to your audience. Consistency is key with email marketing. That’s why monthly newsletters and client bulletins are so successful. Subscribers begin looking forward to new content on a regular basis.
SEM is the paid advertising within the Google and Bing search engines. Both give you immediate website traffic. Google AdWords is the most widely used pay-per-click model, where users can bid on keywords and pay for each click on their advertisements. You can target specific geographic areas and regions and select keywords specific to your offerings and services to drive traffic to your website.
Blogging is the backbone of successful traffic building. Crafting and sharing valuable, rich content can help with your search engine results. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound marketing report, about 57% of marketers acquire customers from blogging.
Diligent practice of these techniques will help drive more traffic, but that is only part of the story. To successfully deliver a “high volume of qualified visitors,” the content on your site must meaningfully connect with your audience. This will ensure they are the right type of visitors and that they come back. Consistently high traffic requires a steady stream of regular visitors, not just newbies.
Fortunately, it takes the same thing to successfully execute these techniques as it does to produce attractive content: a solid understanding of your customers. Get the first right—driving visitors—and you are well on your way to getting the second right—bringing them back again and again.
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