Football fans are eagerly awaiting the kickoff of the 94th season of the NFL scheduled for Sept 5th. Advertisers are already starting to think about Super Bowl Sunday. The simple fact is that commercials aired during this championship tend to take on a life of their own, with some people paying more attention to them than the game itself.
Shareholders and investors may question how prudent it is to spend millions of dollars for a 30-second television spot, but there is no question advertising has power and a good advertisement can be worth its weight in gold. It's why when you say the words "Can you hear me now?" people immediately think of Verizon Wireless and why
when you say "Just Do It," Nike pops to mind.
Retailers are really good at self-promotion and they budget
accordingly. Many community banks on the other hand, might want to consider what these retailers are doing as bankers work to boost their own brand. Every marketer will tell you it is important to get the word out, particularly when it comes to attracting small business customers.
Consider that there is a never-ending supply of press releases from large banks touting their services to small businesses. Large banks issue press alerts when they hire bankers to serve the small business market, when they tie their shoes or when they take a nap. They announce new products designed to serve small business clients and when they participate in community- wide events to benefit small business. There's no reason why community banks can't and shouldn't be doing the same.
Try this at home - do a simple Google search and type in the words "banks and small business". You will be led to the web sites of some of the nation's largest banks, touting their small business offerings. Since customers start first on the web to do research, this is all the more reason for community banks to develop appropriate web content that appeals and then play it up in local advertising efforts.
We're not suggesting you blow the entire marketing and advertising budget to attract small businesses, but to make money you often have to spend it first. Given the competition, there is a strong business case for spending money so you can attract small business customers.
The great thing about business customers is that if you develop a good relationship, they're very loyal. What's more, if you impress one small business owner with your stellar service and products, chances are they will tell friends about your bank. In fact, studies show referrals from friends are a prime way people get banking information. Indeed, according to a 2012 Ernst & Young study, a whopping 71% of customers turn to friends, family and colleagues for information on banking products.
Ideally, advertising should show small businesses the tangible benefits of working with your bank. For example, instead of telling potential customers that you offer good customer service, play up the services you offer that solve their problems. Instead of focusing on an intangible generic idea that you help small businesses, tell owners about some of your services and how they stack up against the competition.
There's no time like the present if you haven't yet kicked off a strategy to enhance your promotion for the second part of the year. The number of small businesses has increased 49% since 982, according to the SBA and that means there are lots of companies that desperately need your help with their small banking services. Who knows, if you play it right, there's a good chance you'll score some touchdowns.