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Is it just us, or does it seem like a new retail bank opens for business every other week? Thanks to technology, consumers have a plethora of new retail banking options to turn to for their money managing needs. As with all industries, the more financial and banking options available to your target consumer, the more important customer loyalty becomes, the more your retail bank marketing initiatives become loyalty-focused.

After all, customer loyalty is what drives your banking clientele to stick with you through a negative banking experience and choose your financial products time and time again over a competitor. Money is made when customer loyalty is high. To increase customer loyalty, focus on creating a system that provides value and benefits your banking customers outside of the industry norm of mobile check deposits and higher than average interest rates. Build loyalty by deepening customer connections with your bank and providing additional value by adding an advocacy marketing campaign to your retail bank marketing programming.

 

What is Advocacy Marketing?

Advocacy marketing is a simple yet powerful tool that any industry can use to build customer loyalty. Sure, advocacy marketing has become a bit of a buzzword lately, but it isn’t anything new. In fact, even before the Internet existed brands used advocacy marketing to drive sales and build customer loyalty. Advocacy marketing is simply a more structured and formalized kin to word-of-mouth marketing.

With an advocacy marketing program, your biggest fans become your loudest supporters. By joining your retail bank marketing advocacy program, they can elect to receive your latest retail bank marketing content and then share that content on their personal social media newsfeeds – which means that content becomes visible to their family, friends, and followers, all potential customers of your retail bank.

Retail bank marketing advocacy programs can also build customer loyalty by providing your brand with the opportunity to more regularly engage with your consumer base. Customer loyalty is built on a foundation of positive interactions. The more positive interactions you have with your banking constituents, the greater the opportunity to build lasting consumer loyalty.

 

The State of Retail Banking

When it comes to offline vs online banking, statistics show that consumers are opting to use both traditional and digital banks to meet their money management needs. In fact, 83% of millennials, 79% of Gen Xers, and 62% of baby boomers have used banking and payment services provided by fintech companies like UpStart, Plaid, WeFinance, and NerdWallet. At the same time, 84% of people are also still using brick-and-mortar banks.

What does this mean for retail banking?

For starters, it means that consumers are more likely to shop around for the account or financial product that best meets their needs. They aren’t strictly choosing traditional banks nor online banks. They’re choosing based on needs fulfillment, which, in turn, indicates that both online and traditional banks have an opportunity to capture more sales by building stronger bonds with their retail customers.

 

4 Characteristics of a Loyalty-Building Advocacy Marketing Program

A successful customer-focused advocacy marketing program is built on a foundation of four key consumer-centric characteristics:

1. Customer Authority

You understand and approach your customers in a way that builds advocacy through understanding customers’ perspectives while linking the value of the customer to the enterprise.

2. Customer Dialog

You recognize the importance of and have the ability to, communicate with customers intelligently and responsively.

3. Consistent, Integrated Customer Experience

Your banking experience is consistent across all platforms including, mobile, desktop, emails, and all social media channels.

4. Solution Experience

You understand the impact that your products and services have on the overall customer experience. Thus, you offer products and services that address broader customer needs.

 

Best Practices For Using Consumer Advocacy In Retail Bank Marketing

Are you ready to get your retail bank marketing advocacy program off to a bullish start? Follow these three key best practices.

1) Create the Right Program for the Right Audience

One of the most marketable traits of successful retail banks is that they offer a plethora of financial services to a wide variety of individuals, families, and businesses. A great bank really has something for everyone. This variety is great when your diversifying your revenue stream but becomes a challenge when you start to focus on building customer loyalty.

Instead of launching a single advocacy marketing program that speaks to all your customers, we recommend niching your advocacy marketing efforts to focus each on a specific audience. Examples of niche retail bank marketing advocacy audiences can include:

  • Newlyweds: Content focused on tips and best practices for starting your financial journey together.
  • Retirees: Content focused on making the most of your golden years.
  • First Account Holders: Content focused on improving the knowledge and understanding of those new to the banking world.

By niching, you can better focus your efforts to produce content and create a program that fits the needs of your sub-audience.

2) Incentivize Recruitment Into Your Program

Sharing content is just one of the key parts of a strong advocacy marketing program. Your advocates can (and should) also be tapped to help drive enrollment into your campaign! To supercharge their recruitment efforts, consider offering an incentive to advocates that go above and beyond to recruit their friends and family into your retail bank marketing advocacy campaign.

While giveaways like free money can be costly, a better alternative is to offer free services. Free elite checking for a year or free consultations with a private banker or investor can be a more cost-effective alternative to cash. Services like these are “brag-worthy” and can do more for your customers in the long run. Which in turn, help to reinforce their value-built customer loyalty with your banking institution.

3) Think Dialogue, Not Monologue

Never think of your advocacy marketing participants as a one-way megaphone. The second you start taking their voice for granted is the moment your program will fall apart. A strong advocacy community is built on dialogue. Be sure to routinely solicit your audience for advice, recommendations, and program feedback.

Pro Tip: SocialToaster makes it easy to communicate directly with your advocates through our built-in survey and quiz functionality. Using our tool, your community manager can easily pose questions to your audience, solicit feedback, and even share that feedback back with the group at large.

 

You Can Bank On SocialToaster

Whether you already have a strong customer advocate presence or you’re looking to build from the ground up, SocialToaster can help. If you’re ready to see the power of our platform, email or call us at 855.62.TOAST today. We’ll get you set up with a free demo of the SocialToaster platform so you can start capitalizing on your most passionate customers.