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Using digital tactics to connect banks with homebuyers and renovators

With its evolution into online operation and the needs of its customers changing by the day, banking institutions are always looking for new ways to connect with customers—and stand out from the competition. 

At this time of year—as home improvement projects are conceptualized, and many look to purchase a new or their first home—banks have an ideal opportunity to attract customers in need of a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or mortgage support. Assisting with these very relatable, home-focused life events provides financial institutions with plenty of impressive testimonial opportunities of how they’ve transformed lives with their fiscal capabilities, superior support, and ability to enable a central picture of the American dream.

While the current lending climate isn’t ideal for those who’ve decided this is the year for their long-awaited new home or kitchen, there are still plenty of ways to elicit consumer interest and engagement. But with increased competition and so many ways to reach consumers, how can banks cut through the noise to both promote their offerings and earn new customers who could utilize a wide range of consumer banking services?  

Over the past few years, The Martin Group has worked with numerous banking clients to identify digital marketing tactics that meet their consumer banking goals. Intent-based strategies—such as search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns focused on mortgage/HELOC products—have had resounding success. Here’s how we addressed each of the issues facing financial institutions with the power of paid search.

Competitive, wavering market

The desire to buy a first home or improve one’s longtime residence doesn’t ebb and flow with the fluctuations of our financial markets. These wants arise when they arise—but this year hasn’t been ideal for those looking to fund, either.

According to Deloitte, from 2023 to 2024, rising interest rates have grown to be one of the top three global macroeconomic concerns. The average HELOC interest rate passed 10% in November 2023, which is the highest rate in over 20 years, making it increasingly difficult for borrowers in need of home equity loans, lines of credit, and mortgages.

But “difficult” isn’t “impossible.” In recent years, The Martin Group has launched multiple SEM campaigns for banks eager to link with interested consumers, and lead them to learn about its HELOC applications, credit offerings, and the particulars of current interest rates.

Being top of mind while customers are searching with the intent to purchase has proven to be an effective method for banks to generate new top-of-funnel leads, which can be nurtured toward future products and services; promote awareness of offerings; and ideally, capture long-term clients amid a crowded marketplace.

Difficulties with new customer acquisition

New customers are the lifeblood of any banking institution. With every home-buying season comes a fleet of individuals looking for financial guidance, presenting golden opportunities for banks to answer mortgage inquiries—and with superior service, possibly score long-term customers in the process.

With this considered, The Martin Group has run mortgage-lending SEM campaigns for banking clients—complete with established buyer personas, market analysis, and keyword research—with the stated goal of increasing the number of general inquiries regarding mortgages. Once inquiries are fielded, banks can share more about home buying, mortgage services, and related products, and connect customers to mortgage officers to learn more about their unique, personalized options for each customer.

This allows for banks to learn who their customers are—and know how to best serve their needs. Plus, with interest rates changing daily, and general confusion about how and why to utilize certain banking products, customers are looking for help. Whichever bank provides the best customer experience is the one most likely to earn customer loyalty.

Inability to reach customers with purchase intent

With customers continuing to navigate high interest rates on credit lines and mortgages, many are looking for ways to both save money—and maybe even earn a little more while doing it.

One way to do this is through high-yield savings accounts, which are currently bringing in large dividends due to the higher-than-usual Federal rates. A high-yield account can be the ideal place to keep money that you may not need immediately, but still want access to—and is perfect for those planning on buying a home or making renovations to their current abode. High-yield accounts offer higher returns than most traditional savings accounts, and are a low-risk investment since deposits are federally insured for up to $250,000.

In recent years, The Martin Group has utilized paid search campaigns for our banking clients to recruit prospective consumers who have shown intent or interest in opening new high-yield accounts. These SEM campaigns have nudged consumers to visit the bank’s landing page to check out the current rates and product offerings. The end goal was to increase the number of high-yield accounts opened; but as a byproduct, the effort also promoted additional brand differentiator messaging to prospective customers, such as convenient products, award-winning service, or specialized insight into various financial matters.

And whether remodeling your basement or buying a home with an already-fantastic family room, knowing everything you can about your neighborhood bank is never a bad idea.

To learn more about The Martin Group’s extensive work with financial organizations, click here.

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