October 05 2023

Planning 2024 Digital Initiatives? Let Us Help.

2024 digital planningFor financial institution marketers, it’s that time of year to begin thinking about what will help you achieve your 2024 goals. The digital world is ever changing, but without a solid plan and a budget to match, your institution will not be able to effectively compete. ZAG Interactive has identified five key initiatives to think about incorporating into your 2024 plan.

Custom Analytics Tracking

By now your institution has already transitioned over to GA4 as Google sunset its former product in mid-2023. But did you know that you can get very powerful data from Google Analytics by making a simple one-time investment? Custom analytics tracking allows you to go well beyond standard Google Analytics tracking, giving you powerful insight into how well your website delivers for users and your institution. Most institutions don’t have in-house expertise in this area, so consider hiring an agency to help:

  • Setup custom goals aligned with your top institution goals

  • Setup custom tracking code on all key site interactions so that you can know what users are interacting with, and what they aren’t

  • Setup cross-domain tracking to your third-party providers so you can understand what happens when they leave the site for critical conversions like submitting a loan or account application.

  • Setup custom reporting in Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) so that you can see data that is most important to you in an easy-to -comprehend format.

Increase Search Engine Driven Traffic

Competing for search engine-driven traffic is essential for any financial institution. While the competition is intense, there is room for everyone provided you invest wisely in a combination of services. Most institutions have a defined geographic footprint which allows you to target a very specific suite of locations. This means that unlike large national institutions, you can market your institution with a hyperlocal approach. This is typically achieved with a combination of the following services:

  • Organic SEO (search engine optimization) services help increase your ranking on terms but only if you carefully follow best practices. Your site architecture should include pages that are specific, relevant and trustworthy, and you will want to ensure that you are also following all technical best practices. A great place to start is with an SEO audit which can identify what you are doing right and wrong, along with a plan of how to prioritize and fix issues.

  • Paid search (aka pay per click marketing) helps drive immediate, targeted traffic on terms that are most likely to result in clicks to your site. It’s important to ensure that campaigns are closely monitored and optimized to deliver against defined goals. If you are paying for site traffic, you want that traffic to be relevant. If you are already investing in paid search campaigns, a paid search audit can reveal issues and opportunities to continue campaign success.

ADA Conformance

All digital properties should be designed and developed against current WCAG guidelines, so if your website isn’t, then this is a big red flag. Not only are you creating difficulties for your many site visitors with disabilities, but you are also opening your institution up for a lawsuit. Take these actions immediately:

  • Have your website scanned for any violations, and come up with a plan to fix any violations immediately.

  • Be sure to have a regular scanning service in place (at least quarterly) to catch additional violations resulting from your site being frequently updated. While automated scans will catch issues, manually scanning the site too can help prioritize issues and identify the best solutions. In addition, as guidelines evolve, manual scanning can add a critical human common sense element that automated programs can’t.

  • Your website is a key digital channel but other digital properties like mobile apps should also be scanned. Check with your providers and see what they do, and invest proactively in native app scanning services if what they provide isn’t sufficient. The last thing you want to do is provide a user experience that is negative.

Improve Your Social media Marketing

Let’s face it – people don’t open up Facebook hoping that they can see an ad for a home equity line of credit. But if they are in the market for a financial product or service, or shopping around for a new bank or credit union, social media marketing can be extremely helpful in targeting audiences and helping cultivate a positive brand impression. If your institution’s social media strategy involves posting content that isn’t your owns, posting photos of things that may be interesting to the institution but not audiences (hello ribbon cutting photos), or posting when there are holidays or critical business messages, it’s time to up your social game. At the minimum your institution should invest in:

  • A social media audit to identify strengths and weaknesses of your institution’s current social plan.

  • A formal social media content plan which includes crafting messaging and design assets aligned with your brand and other integrated campaigns.

  • Paid amplification of select posts to reach highly targeted audiences.

  • Custom analytics tracking to understand how these tactics are performing against your goals.

Website redesign

A website redesign is a large and often daunting project that should happen every few years. User experience expectations change, technology gets outdated, and as sites evolve, they sometimes don’t accurately support your current business goals. If it’s been a while since your last redesign, it’s time to make a plan and sufficiently budget so you can achieve your needs. Here is how to start:

  • Make a list of what you like and don’t like about your current site.

  • Consider having an outside agency identify opportunities for your next site. Sometimes it takes someone not close to it to see things you may not, but it’s also tough to know what you could be doing when you’re immersed in your very busy day-to-day job.

  • Put together an RFP so that you can keep as organized as possible internally but also ensure that all agencies are bidding against the same set of needs.

  • Set a reasonable budget given the importance of this key digital channel, and set expectations internally that this is not a short project but one that takes input from so many stakeholders and will have a lasting impact on the institution for years to come.

Before you know it, we will be ringing in 2024 so the time is now to think about what you may need, how you can compete and importantly how you can deliver on your brand promise to your customers and members. The integrated teams at ZAG Interactive are happy to help you start off on the right foot, so contact us to schedule an initial conversation.

posted by
Michelle Brown
Michelle Brown
VP of Sales & Marketing

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.