How Often Do You Visit Your Bank?

It’s no secret that today’s consumers want the best of both worlds—flexibility and connectivity on their time. Technology is helping consumers achieve that goal.  Whether in the office, at home, or during a daily commute, consumers are staying connected through Smartphones, tablets, laptops and a myriad of social media. Every industry sector is taking advantage of these new technologies to provide more capabilities for the end-user consumer, and the financial services world is no exception. Online and mobile banking have made it easier for consumers to stay connected with their finances. The result: People are cutting back on branch visits. As reported by Intuit Financial Services’ Third Annual Online Financial Management Survey, only 20 percent of consumers physically visit their bank branch on a weekly basis.

When survey respondents were asked, “How Often Do You Physically Visit Your Bank Branch?” the survey found that:

  • 20 percent: Once or twice a week
  • 21 percent: Every two weeks
  • 26 percent: Once a month
  • 17 percent: Once every three months
  • 16 percent: Never, I do everything online

For financial institutions, these results point to a timely opportunity to enhance their e-branch services. As consumers begin visiting physical branches less, they will rely on the financial management tools provided by their financial institutions. Our recent IFS survey also found that consumers are using online tools for varied banking tasks; 83 percent use online banking to track account balances, 60 percent pay bills and transfer funds, and more than one-third are using financial management tools.

 

What is your financial institution doing to keep consumers engaged online? Leave us a comment below.

Social Media Statistics: By-the-Numbers, October 2010

Below are interesting statistics on social media usage. Feel free to share your favorite social media statistics in the comments section.

  • 3 million users for the location-based social network Foursquare (Source: Foursquare)
  • 76% of Internet users ages 50-64 get news online, and 42% do so on a typical day; among Internet users ages 65 and older, 62% look for news online, and 34% do so on a typical day (Source: Pew Research)
  • 2 billion views of YouTube videos with ads each week, a 50% increase over last year (Source: The New York Times)
  • 1 billion people use Google each week (Source: TechCrunch)
  • 82% of Twitter users have fewer than 350 followers (Source: TwitterCounter)
  • 200 million check-ins have been made to-date by users of the location-based service Foursquare (Source: Foursquare)
  • 2 million websites now use the Facebook “Like” button to enable users to share content (Source: Facebook)
  • 35% of U.S. adults have apps on their phones, though only 24% use them (Source: Pew Internet & Nielsen)
  • 175 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in September 2010, averaging 14.4 hours per viewer (Source: comScore)
  • 19.4% of viewers abandon an online video after 10 seconds; 44.1% do the same after 60 seconds (Source: Visible Measures)

Reaching Small Business Customers & Members

Linda O’Connell of Barlow Research Associates, Inc. recently reported on the small business market and the financial services industry. Often mixed in with start-ups, smaller businesses represent a large part of the financial services market and are mature companies with diverse banking needs. As reported by O’Connell:

On average, companies with sales of $100,000 to <$1 million use almost seven financial products for their business. Approximately, five products or 78% are used at their primary bank. The products used the most by this segment are deposit, card and savings products. So it is vital that banks can answer the basic questions, open/activate and service these products at the branch, online and on the phone.

For more insights and statics on the small business and finance landscapes, Linda’s full article is available here.

How is your institution reaching small businesses? Leave us a comment below.

Tapping Into the Gen Y Audience

Is your bank or credit union reaching the Gen Y audience? In the era of text messaging and social media, Gen Y consumers are accustomed to processing information in real-time. How does this mentality convert to the banking industry: Debit vs. credit.

As James Van Dyke from Javelin Strategy and Research reports, “By and large, young people don’t eschew credit for debit because they lack access to the former. Rather they choose debit because it matches the way they process information: In real-time.”

James Van Dyke of Javelin Research explores this topic further on the Javelin Strategy and Research blog.

Money Matters Town Hall

Intuit’s “Money Matters” Town Hall series is dedicated to providing consumers and small businesses with the resources and advice needed to make their money matter, even in an economic downturn. These Town Halls provide insights and tips on surviving and thriving in the “new normal” economic climate. Consumers and small businesses will share their challenges and successes, and experts will provide tips and advice on saving and making money.

This glimpse into the “College Debt Problem” is moderated by Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and the author of “You’re So Money,” a best-selling personal finance book, and Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit.

In order to help your customers and members manage debt, ensure you are continuing to educate consumers about their overall financial picture. Financial institutions that build a relationship with its members will lead to consumers seeing their bank or credit union as  a one-stop shop for understanding and managing debt.

FI Spotlight: Truliant FCU Explains How Consumers Should Choose the Right FI

In a blog post, Truliant Federal Credit Union showed how they showcase tips for consumers on how to choose the right financial institution for their needs:

“Selecting a financial institution for your personal finances or your small business is an extremely significant step to ensuring financial success. Many times, the importance is underestimated which can cause unnecessary and costly challenges. The relationship you have with your financial institution should be a partnership, where you both work together to manage your spending, grow your assets and plan for your future. You will depend on them to work with you in finding solutions to your financial needs and to create a plan to achieve your goals. Whether you chose a credit union or a bank, there are a few things you should do before making the right choice for you.”

The full post from Truliant FCU can be read here.

Please leave a comment with any tips you offer members on how to choose the right financial institution!

7 Simple Steps to Better SEO for Local Banks

By Lisa Wehr, CEO Oneupweb

Banks discovered the internet years ago, but even the largest banking institution has yet to fully harness the power of successful search engine optimization (SEO), turning its multinational operation into your equal online.

Some have begun to bellow that SEO is dead thanks to Google Instant (the constantly changing results page that appears with each keystroke). SEO is different, but it is far from dead and it can help you win customers.

True, your bank may not be able to afford a commercial spot during the Superbowl; but, with 58% of Americans (according to a recent Pew study) likely to do a bit of online research before deciding who to entrust with their money, it is here, online, that you can compete (and win) no matter who you’re up against. Simply follow a few easy guidelines.

1. Don’t let keyword density hinder the usability of your site. True, the more keywords you have the more likely you are to appear on the coveted first page of search results. But, the danger that lies within keywords is overuse. Don’t shove so many keywords into your website copy that it becomes confusing or nonsensical. In the end, you are marketing to consumers, not search engines. Talented copywriters can load your site with keyword rich copy while maintaining the sense and feel that you and your clients desire.

2. Don’t forget to socialize. By using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and FourSquare, or by starting a blog, you are helping to spread your “local is best” message.  Interacting with your prospective clients in real time allows you to show off your personality and address any concerns, questions or comments they may have, something a billboard cannot do. Well optimized social profiles will also increase your number of top search engine positions.

3. Mix keywords. Yes, many banking laymen may be searching for services, but so too may be banking industry pros who know the language. Market keywords to beginners and seasoned pros alike as both are equally as likely to be searching for banking options.

4. Cash in on Google Instant. This reworking of Google not only displays a results page while you type, but it also ranks certain results according to the searcher’s location. This means that the people you care about attracting the most, your neighbors, can see your website at the top of their results page simply because your bank is near to where they are, as long as your SEO set up conveys that point to Google.

5. Be positive that your website’s copy is error free. Nothing turns off prospective clients faster than a misspelled or misused word or phrase.

6. Easy navigation is key. Attention spans are short online, don’t hide your pages, provide plenty of links. This helps search engines as well and will increase your site’s search engine ranking.

7. Provide effective “Calls to action.” In other words, get people clicking. Your site is only as good as the business it generates. Make people want to click to find out more, then compel them to your point of conversion, whether that be online or in your lobby.

This is not a comprehensive guide to success. You’ll need trusted partners and advisors that share your drive and vision. Partners and advisors that are committed to helping your bank become more relevant. Most importantly, you’ll need the drive that brought you to where you are today. Be different from the others. Stand out. Make people take notice of your bank. Make people want your bank.

Can it really be as easy as better SEO to start pulling ahead of your competition? Yes, it can. I’ve helped many companies reorganize their website’s focus and pull back from perceived oblivion. With a few tweaks and keystrokes, success can be yours as well.

Written By: Oneupweb Founder and CEO, Lisa Wehr

Lisa Wehr is recognized as an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and a 2010 Enterprising Woman of the Year.

Drew Brees Tackles Financial Literacy

Drew Brees discusses the importance of educating children and young adults about finance from an early age and previews the game: Financial Football. Financial Football, which is sponsored by Visa and the National Football League, is designed to teach financial concepts through an interactive game. Answering questions correctly moves your team up the field to score touchdowns. To watch the full video and see a demo of Financial Football click here.

As a financial institution, it is important to tap into the younger customers and members to jump-start their financial knowledge from an early age. What is your institution doing to educate children and young adults? Let us know in the comments section below.

Drew Brees on CBS News

Demo of Financial Football

Women: Today’s Chief Household Financial Officers

Across the U.S., 95 percent of women are involved in a multitude of financial decisions in their households, from paying the bills and booking family vacations to filing taxes (according to a 2010 Prudential Financial study). Of these women, 25 percent act as the sole decision-makers when it comes to household finances, marking a growing opportunity for financial institutions to reach female customers.

These “Chief Household Officers” are tech-savvy and utilize the Internet for a wide range of activities, including using Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends to managing the family finances online. In its third annual online management survey, Intuit Financial Services found that 61 percent of womenuse online banking to pay bills and transfer funds, and nearly one-third use it for budgeting purposes.

The survey underscores how women are at the forefront when adopting online solutions:

  • They rely on online banking tools offered from their financial institutions – more than one-half would leave their current bank or credit union for one that offers these tools.
  • They’re busy! More than one-quarter of women visit their bank or credit union branch only once a month and show a preference for managing accounts online.
  • Seventy percent find the most useful feature is the ability to see their complete financial picture, including all accounts, bills, 401K, brokerage, and more – all in one place.
  • Women want to track finances on-the-go. Nearly one-fourth of women already use or plan to use mobile banking in the next year.

 

Despite the adoption of online banking, Prudential’s Financial study found that 50 percent of women “need some help” making informed financial decisions. This leaves an opportunity for financial institutions to educate female customers and help them gain the knowledge they need to feel confident in making financial choices for their families.

Does your institution offer classes for women? Let us know how you’re reaching your female customers and members in the comments section below.

Twitter Lingo

To help you get started on Twitter, below are some basic terms to note.

Follow: Twitter is a great way to meet new business colleagues, stay up to date on industry news or learn more about a business/organization. All you do is ‘follow’ those that interest you and you’ll receive their updates.

Tweet: When a user publishes a message/updates their status. Keep in mind that these messages must be 140 characters or less.
Example: Learning about Twitter.

Retweet (RT): When a user reposts a message previously posted by another user. Copy the original message into your own Twitter post and prefix it with RT and the originator’s name. Keep in mind that messages must be 140 characters or less.
Example: RT @Bankingdotcom Learning about Twitter.

Direct message (DM): When a user wants to send a private message to another user. Start the tweet with d, followed by the user’s name.
Example: d FinanceWorks I’d like to learn more about your solutions.

Public message (@): When a user publicly comments on a message posted by another user. Start with @ followed by the user’s Twitter name.
Example: @FinanceWorks Love the latest version!

Hashtag (#): Users can create a hashtag to facilitate searching for specific conversations/topics/content. For example, BAI Retail Delivery created a hashtag for its annual conference – #RetailDelivery. By doing so, any Twitter user could search for #RetailDelivery and find relevant content related to the conference.

Twitter Lists: Twitter users can now organize users they follow (or users that they don’t) into groups, or “lists.” There are a few ways to create a new list, the easiest way is by clicking “New list” on the Twitter sidebar. You can also make the list public (everyone can see it) or private (only you can see it). Following a list is as simple as following any other Twitter user. Simply navigate to the list page and click on “Follow,” underneath the name of the list.