Last updated: Banks and customer engagement: How to connect with curious consumers

Banks and customer engagement: How to connect with curious consumers


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Banks and customer engagement don’t necessarily go hand in hand. For years, financial services companies resisted the call of digital marketing. And who can blame them? These organizations must navigate a complex world of regulations and rules, many of them dictating how companies can communicate with prospects and customers.

But the world of marketing is changing, and financial services companies must adapt their strategies accordingly to solve their challenges.

Conventional marketing and ad spends are delivering diminishing returns, marketers say. Indeed, nearly seven in 10 financial services marketers say digital marketing is more likely to deliver ROI.

The industry is adapting. Its digital ad spend is projected to reach $168.4 billion worldwide next year—or nearly 30% of all ad expenditures. That’s up from $95.7 billion in 2013.

Banks and customer engagement: Keys to success

Thanks to the affordability and reach of digital marketing and banking websites, it’s easier than ever to reach new customers—not to mention entirely new domestic and, when appropriate, international markets.

Through a savvy combination of translation and technology, major banks can find and engage new customers in their preferred languages, online.

Several trends and best practices that help banks make authentic connections with curious consumers. Here are a few:

  1. Differentiation of services
  2. Authenticity in messaging AND business practices
  3. Cultural awareness
  4. Activate social and paid to engage customers

1. New to the party? Differentiate yourself.

Institutions eyeing new domestic or global markets should find a strategic, and different, position from other banks currently serving these customers. This unique perspective—be it in messaging, or market-specific services—can intrigue prospective customers, and attract them to your business.

“Every brand wants to expand into new and previously untapped markets,” wrote a marketer at global information services company Experian. “Brands can make inroads into new segments by taking a closer look at market sizing and how they compare to others in the industry. This way brands can spot gaps and anticipate customer needs before competitors.”

2. You must talk the talk

As the web has matured and access to it has increased, customers are no longer willing to read and transact on sites published only in English. These days, most global customers, even when they’re English-proficient, avoid English-language websites.

The solution is launching localized websites for these consumers—which requires accurate, and culturally resonant, translations.

My company helped one major Canadian bank engage the country’s thriving French-speaking market by translating its site into Canadian French. Since its debut, the French-Canadian site has grown by more than 60% each year.

Targeting Canada’s increasingly affluent Chinese-speaking population has paid off for another bank. When these customers visit the Chinese site, we see surges in engagement, and return visits.

Some conversion rates rose by 130%. The site has seen a nearly 40% increase in sessions, year over year.

The takeaway: Communicating with customers and prospects, in their languages of choice, contribute greatly to your organization’s growth in new markets.

3. Be culturally fluent

A demonstrable knowledge of your new customers’ unique needs of services—not to mention their cultural preferences and consumer behavior—will build trust within this new market.

Optimizing your localized website’s content will contribute greatly to this goal. We recommend examining your new customers’ in-language on-site searches, and noting the localized site’s most popular content. Those will provide invaluable insights into what content to promote for these clients.

Also consider highlighting on-site content that educates consumers on how banking systems work. While this seems like something every visitor should know, remember that recent immigrants may come from countries where governments control banks, and funds can be frozen. This helpful information can help your bank appear sensitive and trustworthy to prospective customers.

4. Try in-language PPC and social

Finally, paid in-language search campaigns can help reach new customers, too. We’ve seen great success in pay-per-click campaigns targeting Chinese Canadians. One bank saw a 70% increase in site traffic when complemented by an in-language PPC initiative.

We’ve also helped companies engage consumers with in-language social media marketing. This shouldn’t require a “reinvention of the wheel” to generate results. This tactic is something your company probably already uses in its primary English-speaking market.

By distributing content in appropriate regional social networks such as VK (for Russia), Sina Weibo (for China), LINE (for Japan) and others will lead to more inbound traffic, engagement and conversions.

600 finance execs.
3 key insights. 
One report.
Get it HERE.

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