A top concern among organizations across industries is a lack of brand awareness, which is the degree of familiarity consumers have with a specific brand. It is what allows an organization to differentiate itself from its competitors, build an audience and ultimately, acquire new customers. Your financial institution likely has great things to offer, but without a unified brand, your target audience may not know you exist. Fortunately, the ability to consistently build that personal brand is within every institution’s reach.
So, what are some steps you can take right now to maximize your bank or credit union’s brand awareness?
1. Leverage the value of blogs.
Regardless of your institution’s size, blogging is crucial in maximizing brand awareness. A consistent blog schedule that covers relevant topics can help drive traffic to your website. When visitors arrive on your site it is usually from a search engine, like Google or via social media. Each time you publish a blog post, it creates more opportunity for your institution to show up higher in search engine results. Using similar keywords in the title and body of your blog boosts your search engine optimization (SEO) and is a key step in beating your competitors in the search engine results page.
Blogging also helps position your brand as an industry leader. Well-written posts demonstrate your knowledge of the challenges or issues that your audience faces and visitors tend to react well to advice-driven blogs that teach them more about your industry and offer best practices. Adding a call-to-action or asking for an email address in return for a helpful download or offer can also turn site visitors into prospective members or customers that you can then follow up with
2. Use media relations tools to increase credibility as a thought-leader.
If your bank or credit union is looking for media attention to establish itself as a thought-leader, consider using a service like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) or Qwoted. By subscribing to these free services, you can receive regular email alerts with questions from reporters of top news outlets. Alerts from Qwoted are focused exclusively on the financial services industry. Emails from HARO are organized by topics, making it easy to locate relevant media requests and respond quickly, which means your commentary is more likely to be included in an article. If you are quoted, getting your bank or credit union’s name published in the media will drive your institution’s visibility and brand awareness.
3. Create a social media strategy to drive visibility and engagement.
Social media plays an important role in digital marketing and public relations efforts for your financial institution. Sharing blog posts, news articles, upcoming events that your institution will be participating in and other activities helps create brand recognition. Social media serves as an outlet for reaching your target audience in a more personal and conversational way, which boosts engagement. When audiences are able to easily connect with your financial institution on a familiar channel, your brand loyalty will grow. Social media also increases inbound traffic by pushing online followers to your website, where those visitors can potentially turn into new customers or members. A well-executed social media strategy is one of the most cost-effective ways to significantly maximize your brand awareness.
Following these simple steps can boost and strengthen your financial institution’s brand awareness, but building your brand doesn’t stop there. Maximizing brand awareness is an ongoing effort that never stops, so it is crucial to be consistent with these steps.
This is a guest blog post by William Mills Agency, the nation's largest independent public relations firm focusing exclusively on the financial services and technology industries. The agency can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or its blog.