Digital banking as a marketing tool.

A quote recently from a leading retail bank says “more people visit our mobile app in one minute than visit all our branches combined in one week”. This says a lot about society at the moment, with the main message being people like convenience and that digital interactions are becoming the new norm. Consumers are beginning to use their mobile phone, desktop or tablet more and more to access their money, groceries, clothes, and absolutely anything.

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This is because it is convenient and provides them with rapid service. Therefore, businesses should take the same route, and this is through the use of digital marketing.

Bank branches are becoming more and more irrelevant and useless. Consumers are beginning to utilise mobile phone banking apps, which have become a norm for every bank to have. Consumers can transfer money from one person to another, consumers can keep watch of their transactions history, they can create different virtual accounts for different purposes without having to use a new bank card, the opportunities are endless. Banks, therefore, are often competing on the service they provide rather than the interest rate. Good service these days can largely be judged by the convenience to customers when accessing their money, organising their money, and saving their money. The best internet banking apps will do this.

ING is an online-bank, that operates with no ATM or retail branches. You may ask how they are able to attract consumers? Well, because they do not have to pay wages or fees for retail branches or ATMs, ING has the money to be able to pay each consumer with a large interest rate that is greater than that offered by the other four major banks (ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank, and Westpac). To incentivise consumers, they offer $100 for when you sign-up with ING, and also offer you $100 when you recommend ING to someone and they subsequently sign up. Consumers pay no monthly fees with ING, as well as no ATM fees when using another bank’s ATM. This is revolutionary in the banking industry, as no one would have though before that a bank could be successful without bank branches. It shows how consumer behaviour is changing and the growing digital world of banking and how this can impact marketing.

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Banks can better their business through digital marketing and the use of internet banking by optimising the apps they offer and the features of the apps. Apps should:

  • Provide new updated features every couple of months to show consumers they are evolving and keeping up with digital trends (also keeping ahead of rival banks)
  • Provide information pop-ups to show consumers how to utilise features of the app. This ensures consumers are confident in using all sections of the app, which will further help keep track of their money, transactions and savings to better their experience with the bank

With financial institutions, many digital marketing opportunities exist. Digital marketing is most effective in the younger generation, say 15 – 30 year olds. The former (15-18 year olds) will just be starting out in creating bank accounts and joining a bank. Thus, banks should make use of digital marketing tools to persuade these younger consumers to join their bank. Bank’s should make use of social media to educate these consumers on how their bank will provide them with better opportunities to save and invest their money. They should advertise the use of their app and show these younger consumers how easy it is to use and how this can assist them in their saving and spending. This way, banks can reach a vast number of consumers in a very cheap and effective way to better their business.

Disclosure in digital advertisements.

For marketers, the digital disclosure of online advertising can have many pros and cons. Previously, the disclosure that a paid advertisement was actually a paid advertisement was not known as the law. However, in recent times it has become strictly regulated that influencers and businesses must ensure they recognise and disclose that a promotional deal/paid advertisement is in fact that. This can be through the use of  #sponsored or #ad.  This is due to social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram making it easier for businesses and influencers to reach target markets through sponsored content in a less obtrusive way, and almost an unethical way. Sponsored content consists of promotional messages that are disguised to look like normal content unsponsored, and show great likeness in format and style embedded in peoples Facebook and Instagram feeds among regular posts. This approach makes it harder for consumers to recognise commercial posts from non-commercial posts, and thus makes these advertisements more realistic and persuasive. This can be seen as unethical from businesses and influencers, as it can be seen as ‘manipulating’ consumers for their own financial gain. This is why regulations have been put in place for disclosure.

Marketing influencers these days can get in trouble for not properly disclosing sponsored posts, due to regulations put in place by governing bodies in different countries. For example, in America the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent warning letters to approximately 90 popular Instagram influencers about the disclosure of sponsored content. The FTC has strict regulations on disclosure and ensures you must not have assumptions that “an audience can work it out for themselves”. Disclosure through the use of a hashtag must not be hidden amongst a ‘more’ button or an abundance of other hashtags. It must be clear to the consumers eye. Similarly, in Australia the AANA has a code of ethics setting out similar guidelines, and apply to all influencers and businesses that (1) have a reasonable degree of control over the material, and (2) produces material that draws attention to the public in a manner calculated to promote a brand or product. These regulations have undermined the whole reason businesses and influencers alike began using this approach in the first place. Without disclosure, however, businesses are destroying trust in social media even further and possible destroying the effectiveness of this approach.

Rules to disclosure.

  • Required disclosures must be clear and conspiscuous. The placement of the ad and the proximity to the content must be closely looked at. The closer the disclosure is to the content of the advertisement, the better.
  • Other parts of the ad must not distract from the disclosure element, it must not be avoidable, and depending on the nature of the ad it may need to be repeated. Advertisers should also take into account the different devices that the ad can be viewed on and ensure any disclosure is sufficient enough to prevent the consumer from being misled.
  • Advertisers should design advertisements so that ‘scrolling’ is not necessary for disclosure to be seen, as this may be seen as potential to ‘avoid’ the disclosure.
  • Ensure disclosures can be seen and recognised before a consumer has the opportunity to purchase said product in advertisement.
  • When using a hyperlink for disclosure, place the link as close as possible to the relevant information, make the link obvious, use hyperlink styles consistently, and label the link appropriately to convey its importance.
  • Disclosures should be repeated when consumers have multiple routes through a website.
  • Disclosures should not be ‘passed off’ to “terms of use” sections of websites etc.
  • Advertisers should review the entirety of the ad to assess whether the disclosure is effective in light of other elements that might distract the consumer’s attention from the disclosure

Below are some examples of how to simply disclose that your content is a paid advertisement (notice the use of #sponsored, #ad, and hyperlinked sponsored disclosure):

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Negative consumers experiences from misleading advertisements can result in lost consumer goodwill and a loss of trust in social media. So although these regulations may seem defeat the purpose of this approach to advertising, they are important for consumer confidence and trust and assist in keeping advertising ethical.

Internet of Things (IoT) combined with event-based marketing.

The IoT refers to the pervasive presence of devices and sensors connected to computing systems and networks. It has received a huge amount of attention over the past few years, mainly due to the proliferation of connected devices over the years, now standing at almost 5 billion. IoT initially assisted with the digitisation of business processes related to mechanics etc. However, recently it has had a major influence on different consumer processes related to marketing. Digitised processes are able to provide continuous streams of data and allows businesses to understand how processes are performing, how to improve them and how to resolve issues faster. Because consumers are infatuated and connected with and through their devices more than ever, marketers are able to use IoT concepts to better understand their target consumer, understand where their marketing processes fail (e.g. when they lose consumer loyalty), and how to improve their customers experience.

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Event-based marketing

To be able to enhance the customer experience through IoT, marketers should take advantage of event based marketing (traditionally used in manufacturing processes), which involves analysing consumer data in order to identify key events in the customer journey that provide opportunities for effective customer interaction. This enables businesses to offer targeted and personalised marketing. Event based marketing involves  using data to identify significant events in customer’s journey, and then using data about the consumer to determine what action should be taken on these events in order to take advantage of the customer interaction opportunity.

Event-based marketing is great for personalising the customer experience, which will in turn improve brand loyalty and brand recognition as consumers will feel as though they connect with the brand personally. For example, Pizza Hut introduced an event-based marketing campaign during the SuperBowl that involved rewarding customers with $15 or $10 coupons every time they logged into the social media site ‘Foursquare’ and mentioned the Superbowl.

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IoT not only helps identify significant events that occur monthly or yearly, but also specific times of the day and week that customers are increasingly active on their connected devices. Being able to identify these moments/events will enable businesses to schedule when to release marketing campaigns, email marketing campaigns, promotions, SMS campaigns, social media posts etc. at the time when they are most visible to consumers and when consumers are most likely to respond to them.

The whole point of event-based marketing is to use consumer behaviour to identify marketing and profit-making opportunities. Effective content before, during, and after an event can increase the reach of your brands message and increase conversation about your business.

How to avoid annoying email subscribers

Benefits of Email Marketing

Email Marketing involves sending a commercial message to a group of people promoting a brand/product, via email. It is an ideal tool for customer relationship management and encourages brand loyalty, repeat business, and helps acquire and keep new customers through sending and sharing content.

Email marketing statistics show that every email sent generates approximately $44 for every $1 spent, meaning it has a great return on investment (ROI). Marketers therefore tend to gravitate towards email marketing the most because it is a cheap and effective way to share promotions and content.

Email marketing is able to bring all of a business’s marketing efforts together. Promotions and deals can be sent out to all subscriber’s via email, new products can be sent out via email, content can be shared out via email etc. Once subscriber’s opt-in to an email subscription with a brand, they have the opportunity to receive personalised messages about the business, and even personalised offers and discounts that a brand may reward them with for subscribing with them. For example, General Pants Co. (online and in-store retailer) offers email subscribers $25 gift cards and special discount codes as a reward for their loyalty. This keeps customers subscribed to their email and allows for new customers to join once they hear about the benefits.

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Email marketing also reaches more consumers than social media does, as more people still rely on email daily more than social media to communicate, especially the older generation, with 2.6 billion email users and only 1.7 billion Facebook user. 91% of people check email first thing daily, whereas 57% and 14% check Facebook and Twitter, respectively, first thing everyday.

There are clear benefits to email marketing, and although it is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to reach new and existing consumers, businesses must ensure they don’t annoy consumers with too many emails but also send enough emails to engage consumers.

Tips to avoid annoying email subscribers!

Prioritise the needs of your customers. 

Customers are the primary asset of your company, so ensuring their needs are met is the upmost important factor of the companies marketing tactics. If consumers don’t feel as though the company values what matters to them, customers will react by ignoring messages or even unsubscribing. Relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails, thus personalisation is key to making the most of email marketing. Use data to segment email subscribers and create groups of what these segments want to see from the business, e.g. male or female shopping categories. This will help increase open-rates and even click-through rates and conversions.

Diversify the delivery of every email.

You don’t want to bore consumers with the same email every day, promoting the same thing. This will lead to consumers not opening the email or simply deleting it before reading, as they already know the contents of the email. If your business is trying to get a big promotion across, such as a 20% off all products for a week or a couple of days, the brand should construct multiple emails that are very different and stagger the sending of these emails over the days. This will keep users engaged and interested in the promotion enough to click-through to the website and explore the promotion they have on throughout the time-period.

Send emails in a timely manner.

There are many different types of content that can be sent via email, and knowing the right type of content to send at the right time is integral to keep engagement among consumers. The distinction between “seasonal” and “evergreen” content is important. Evergreen content is content that continuously remains relevant to a business and its consumers. Seasonal content is content that isn’t relevant for the foreseeable future, or has an end point. An effective way to mix these two types together is by posting evergreen content at random times with seasonal content mixed in between these emails. This way, consumers will feel as though they are being valued with personalised seasonal promotional emails and businesses are still engaging consumers with the general happenings of their business through evergreen content.

Reward and be helpful to email subscribers.

The best way to keep consumers engaged is by rewarding them and helping them as this will earn consumers’ trust and increase brand loyalty. Include useful links and interesting information in each email that you know will help target segments explore your business more, or even just help them with their day. As previously mentioned, rewarding consumers for staying loyal to your company through email subscriptions and purchases is also an effective way to build brand loyalty. If you help and reward subscribers regularly, they may even become an advocate for your business and spread the word to other like-minded and target consumers, further growing your brand and email subscription list.

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Follow up with customers.

Ensuring you always follow up on customer purchases, or even customers not following through with a purchase, will be integral in keeping customer engagement. Customers want to feel as though they are valued, and personalised follow up emails will help do this. For example, General Pants Co. send emails to every online customer approximately a week after their purchase to ask for feedback on their experience and to also leave a review on the product on the company website, for future customers interested in the product to see. They also send emails to inform you when you have left something in your cart and didn’t follow through with the purchase to remind you of it. This keeps customers feeling as though the company values their input into the business and hopes they had a positive experience with the business.

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Email Marketing is the cheapest and most effective way of marketing your brand and promotions to consumers who want to hear it, and using these tips will keep consumers engaged rather than annoyed, and also encourage future and new customers to join an email subscription with your business.

 

Pros and Cons of using social media for business.

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With the rise of social media, companies now have a new and FREE way to market their brand and products. They have new ways to reach targeted consumers, new ways to network with consumers and other brands, and most importantly a new and more effective way to build a brands customer base.

PROS

  • Reduced marketing costs
  • Increased traffic to your website
  • Greater customer engagement
  • Increased networking and interaction opportunities
  • Increased brand awareness

Marketing costs are greatly reduced when using social media as a marketing strategy because it is, essentially, free. Apart from extra add ons and paying for sponsorships etc. the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are completely free.

Using social media as a business is a fast an inexpensive way to reach almost half of the World’s population, as 42% of the population is active on social media. On Instagram alone, 80% of the people active follow at least one business on the platform and approximately 60% of people on the platform say they discover new products on the platform. Being active on social media will allow for greater customer engagement and better interaction with different customers and businesses.

Social media platforms are a way of reaching new and potential customers, as well as reaching customers from a businesses targeted segments. A lazy search on social media by consumers may lead to them coming across new brands, allowing for greater brand awareness. For example, Absolut Vodka released a campaign across social media platforms about a limited edition Vodka bottle. This helped them achieve a five point lift in brand awareness. This shows the great reach and effectiveness social media can have as a marketing strategy for businesses.

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CONS

  • Less control over marketing
  • Mistakes made on social media are hard to rectify
  • Web is continuously being flooded with more and more content
  • Not having a clear strategy may result in reduced benefits
  • Needs daily monitoring

Using social media as a marketing strategy means a business will have less control over it. This is because multiple users can interact with content shared by businesses through retweets, likes, comments and shares. These interactions are often the reason why businesses utilise social media as a marketing tool, however when these interactions turn negative it will result badly for your businesses marketing campaigns and social media platforms.

Mistakes made on social media are hard to rectify and often they are followed by negative customer reviews, which can be seen by all social media users, which can harm your business further.

For example, the New England Patriots (NFL team) set up an automated system on Twitter to thank fans, however the system had no filter on it. This enabled inappropriate language to be filtered to the 1 million fans that follow the twitter account. This mistake made by the New England Patriots caused uneasiness amongst fans.

ChryslerAutos (car company) posted a tweet to the business Twitter page saying “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to *** drive”. Customers located in Detroit would take offence to this, which would be very damaging to the business and hard to rectify.

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As social media becomes more and more popular worldwide, the web is becoming more and more crowded. Because information sharing is free on most social media platforms, the web is getting crowded with more spams and content that is irrelevant to users day by day. This makes it harder for companies to reach segmented audiences with valid messages to resonate.

 

Location based marketing services and it’s benefits.

Location-based marketing refers to online and offline tactics used to target consumers in segmented geographic areas. The growth of mobile integration, data management and consumers trusting technology more have all contributed to the increased effectiveness of location-based services.

What are it’s benefits?

Location – based marketing helps you market your product to consumers when they are most interested in learning about it and purchasing it, which is the goal of any marketing campaign. Businesses are able to target consumers in specific areas with tailored campaigns or coupons/discounts to improve customer loyalty, improve the customer experience and generate a ‘buzz’ for the business. Thus, it is very useful to a businesses segmentation strategy.

Ways to use this marketing tool:

The popular sandwich chain ‘Subway’ in the UK began a location-based marketing campaign. It involved sending SMS messages to consumers, who had previously opted in to the service, alerting them of special discounts when they were in close proximity to a Subway location. This is a smart way of utilising the service to increase brand loyalty as consumers will feel valued and as though the brand takes notice of their loyalty, and subsequently offer discounts to increase the likelihood of them visiting the Subway chain. This marketing campaign was based on geo-fencing, which allows businesses to send consumers push notifications, SMS messages or see location-based content when they are in a certain location.

Location tags are vital in social media sense for the marketing of your business. Tagging posts with a geo-tag on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram of Twitter alerts consumers where posts occurred, which can increase the visibility of your posts. Consumers searching for content based on location may come across your brand and further explore it, increasing brand awareness. Location tags can also be used in a customer perspective, in which customers tag the location of the business known as a ‘check-in’. This advertises the businesses location to other consumers in a similar market, acting as a ‘recommendation’. This will further persuade new customers to try your business.

Location services can also be used for online reviews. When consumers research local business on online platforms such as Google+ Local and Yelp, they can find reviews and information on the business. After visiting a business location or searching the business on these platforms, consumers may receive alerts from Google+ asking them to review the business. This can help businesses generate a positive view of their business and further increase brand awareness.

Geo-targeting can be used to target consumers that have visited a specific location in the past. This involves using historical data to assist businesses in developing marketing campaigns that are much more relevant to its audiences as the location data acts as an indicator of a consumers real-world preferences.


Tips to make the most of Instagram as a marketing platform

Instagram now has around 800 million users visit their app/site per day. This is very encouraging for anyone looking to invest in Instagram as a platform to market their business, however you need to make sure your brand stands out, and switching to a business profile could be the best way.

Switching to a Business Profile

Instagram has a feature where profiles can operate under an Instagram Business Account setting. These profiles offer additional features compared to a personal profile; such as an Instagram analytics tool called “Insights”, a contact button, ability to create sponsored advertisements, and more.

Contact Button – a business profile allows your users to easily reach you via a ‘contact’ button underneath the follow button on your brands Instagram page. You can provide users with a phone number, email address, or even a street address. You can also communicate via Instagram DMs. The business profile feature allows brands to communicate with followers on a customer service level, as well as with other brands to potentially collaborate.

Instagram Ads – a business profile allows brands to create sponsored advertisements. These ads appear with a ‘sponsored’ symbol next to the user name, and can be targeted towards users that view similar and like-minded brands. This allows business to expose their brands to users from their target market and better their reach

Instagram Analytics “Insight” – this tool is similar to Google Analytics in that it provides your business with statistics about the number of profile visits, impressions and reach of your posts, user demographics (i.e. who your followers are), when your followers are online, what your top posts are, and what posts your followers are attracted to the most. This allows you to realise exactly what posts are best for your brand and its reach, as well as how to better target your followers and attract their attention.

Linked Instagram Stories – a business profile with above 10,000 followers has the opportunity to link web addresses and products to their Instagram stories. This involves indicating to users to “swipe up” from the Instagram story, which will then lead them to the linked web page. This allows brands to offer behind the scenes insights and also provide another touch point for businesses.

All of these features attached to an Instagram Business Profile Account are special marketing tactics that businesses should take advantage of. They are free and assist greatly in understanding your audience, keeping in touch with your audience, and reaching out to your target market to better your brand awareness.