Despite a rise in online banking, consumers still rely on physical branches for many of their financial service requirements. It’s vital that they provide a welcoming, informative and safe space for your customers to manage their money. Whether it’s providing leaflets with detailed information or designing your messaging to convey trustworthiness, in-branch marketing is a crucial part of the customer journey. In this article, we go back to basics to define what in-branch marketing is, the impact it has on your customers, and propose ideas to improve in-branch experiences.
In-branch marketing is the process of communicating with banking customers in physical branches. It involves the management of all marketing assets within each location to create good customer experiences, promote and signpost in-branch products or services, and increase brand loyalty.
With almost 80% of consumers visiting their local branch at least monthly and 68% of consumers acting on the advice received in person, it’s important to ensure you always create a positive experience when people step through the door. Your marketing plays a critical role in this. If you’re looking to better understand in-branch marketing, refine the content in your banks and ensure your campaigns are compliant in every location, keep reading.
Recent research shows that customers still rely heavily on bricks and mortar branches. An Accenture study of 49,000 consumers found that, across all age groups, and geographies, the majority of people like seeing bank branches in their neighbourhoods. Why? Physical locations confirm “the stability and availability of their bank”. It also found that 60% would turn to branches to solve specific and complicated problems.
Many customers still prefer the reassurance of visiting a physical location and discussing financial matters in person. Particularly when they are looking to make big business or life decisions, this desire to interact with your organisation in person makes your in-branch marketing particularly profitable.
From posters and leaflets to digital screens and floor stickers, your branches provide an opportunity to interact and share information with your customers – or potential customers – from the moment they arrive. You can inform them about your latest products, rates and incentives, boost their understanding of your organisation’s values, and strengthen their confidence in choosing your services and products.
With lending and saving rates constantly changing, it’s essential that your in-branch marketing is completely aligned with what you are advertising online or elsewhere. Trustworthiness is critical to acquiring and retaining customers, and mixed messaging, and poor in-branch experiences quickly damage your reputation.
Branches are usually the first point of contact between a financial institution and its customers. And, if bricks and mortar locations are providing a sense of stability, anything communicated in-branch needs to provide reassurance and credibility.
Thoughtfully planning and improving your in-branch marketing can dramatically impact your customer experiences. Not only that, it can also help you to position your bank above competitors, gain new business and increase loyalty. So what in-branch marketing tools are at your disposal?
Window posters and stickers are perfect for sharing your latest offers and promotions, and capturing the attention of local consumers.
Wall posters are great for highlighting your latest promotions, sharing brand-building company messaging, and providing an interactive way to combine in-branch and online services. For example, by including QR codes that take customers straight to digital forms or other educational materials.
Providing more in-depth information about different financial products or services, leaflets (and other printed take-away materials) are great for consumers in the consideration phase of buying or simply in a rush. Highly convenient, they can be picked up at service kiosks or on a display near the entrance or exit and taken away for further reading. Other in-branch marketing can also direct consumers to digital versions of educational resources online. Having options to suit different customer preferences is key. And, sometimes, physical marketing materials can serve as a more effective reminder than simply being directed to online content.
As soon as customers enter your branch, they should be able to see exactly where the help they need is. Whether they are looking for a self-service kiosk or the waiting area for a meeting with a branch manager, everything should be clearly signposted and visible from the branch entrance. Overhead hanging signs, combined with bollards and floor stickers, can instantly improve the customer journey through your branches. Compliance tools, like Colateral’s, can make sure they are always installed accurately.
Floor stickers offer an easy way to help consumers navigate through branches and streamline their experience. They can also be used to highlight rewards programs and other messaging, particularly when used in waiting/seating areas or as part of queue management.
Digital screens are a great way to bridge the online and offline experience for customers. You can use them to automate messaging, provide educational materials and deliver more personalised content to customers.
Digital signs can provide engaging content and real-time financial updates. They are also a good way of sharing your organisation’s community or charity work and achievements and boosting your credibility. Use them to distract your queueing or waiting customers. Just make sure the content is regularly updated and maintained.
While in-branch music has not been found to improve the customer experience, occasional overhead messaging can be beneficial. Use it to welcome customers and make them aware of new services or promotions.
From educational first-time buyer events to sessions about how to avoid scams, in-branch events are a brilliant way to encourage customers to visit in-person and interact with your branch teams.
Verbal marketing from your in-branch employees is a fantastic way to inform customers of your other services or products. For example, get all your staff at kiosks to ask if customers are aware of the rewards program after handing in their initial enquiry. To implement this well, you need great two-way communication with your frontline teams.
Make sure every branch has neatly displayed window posters (with your latest promotions, rewards or benefits), materials that welcome customers in, and in-branch displays and literature that helps them to navigate to the area or product they are looking for. Hanging overhead signage with directional information ensures the customer journey through every branch is seamless. A positive in-branch experience provides reassurance that future interactions, online or offline, will be handled well too.
You can plan brilliant campaigns with eye-catching and persuasive in-branch marketing, but if the materials are not displayed correctly, or the wrong ones are used, the result can be extremely costly. Both in terms of reputation and financial penalties and fines from the Financial Conduct Authority (or other regulatory bodies).
Ensuring marketing display compliance in branches can be hard work. But, like all other aspects of compliance when it comes to financial institutions, it’s incredibly important. Guaranteeing the right in-branch materials are installed accurately and at the right time also improves in-branch experiences and builds trust with your customers. Advertising different rates between branches and your online channels can instantly create a disconnect. Manual paper-based processes to check in-branch compliance are time-consuming and error-prone. Digital display compliance tools, like Colateral’s, can open two-way communication with branch teams, simplify campaign installation instructions and guarantee compliance.
Branches located in university towns? Display posters with the top benefits of your student accounts. And in areas where you know there’s an ageing population? Use your marketing materials to hone in on ways you’re making it easier for them to access banking advice, from one-to-one meetings to 24-hour phone lines. Or by providing lots of helpful educational materials in-branch to explain how your in-branch or online technology works and how they can use it.
In order to tailor your marketing content to local customers, branch profiling is really important. If you haven’t got a comprehensive way of understanding the unique requirements of each branch at a glance and the ability to segment your marketing to their needs, check out our location management tool here.
Depending on each branch’s location, you might focus on student overdrafts, first-time buyers, or investments in your marketing content to tap into the local customer demographics. However, in-branch marketing also offers a great opportunity to diversify, particularly when it comes to your window poster campaigns. Sure, your branches near a university might advertise student accounts and benefits, but if you have control and visibility of all the marketing spaces available in each location, there’s no reason you shouldn’t promote their offerings to local businesses – or other segments – too.
While there are strict rules around financial advertising, there can still be some flexibility in your branch’s displays. Allowing branch managers to use their local insights to choose one of several pre-approved designs can help you resonate with local communities based on their needs. Stock ordering systems can quickly share available materials with your in-branch teams and allow them to order what will work best for their location. This also helps to minimise print costs and waste of unused materials.
For more personalised in-branch marketing, provide brand-compliant templates that your branch teams can localise. Then they can be returned to HQ for approval before being forwarded to your suppliers for production. Another great way to reach more consumers in your branches is to provide budgets for your employees to conduct other in-branch marketing activities. With the right request and approval processes, both of these options empower your staff and encourage them to think of new in-branch marketing initiatives.
Your branch managers play a pivotal role in the success of branch-based marketing by ensuring staff are up to date with your latest offers, rewards and benefits. Your branch teams are responsible for the accurate implementation of your marketing materials. They ensure they are always displayed in the right locations at the right time.
Provide regular information about upcoming promotions and campaigns. And, detailed instructions about when and where marketing materials should be installed and removed. This is key to more efficient operations in branches. Clear and simple instructions (and providing only the materials that each branch needs) reduce the time it takes for staff to update marketing displays. This means they can quickly get back to providing brilliant customer service.
Your in-branch campaigns will likely be part of much bigger omnichannel campaigns. With TV adverts, radio promotions, social media posts, online adverts, OOH displays, and more, the most important thing is to keep everything online or elsewhere, and in-branch, consistent.
In summary, make sure your branches only have the campaign materials they need. Provide crystal clear installation instructions and offer opportunities for them to localise marketing messaging or activities. Ensure everything is accurately displayed, and get constant feedback from your branches about what works and what doesn’t.
To learn more about how Colateral streamlines marketing processes for financial institutions, take a look at our website here.
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