4 ways to track your bank’s marketing performance

Measuring the success of your community bank’s campaigns can lead to greater ROI, increased conversion rates and a game plan for future initiatives.

By Taylor Hugo

From mailers and e-newsletters to social media posts and events, there are countless ways to spread the word about your community bank and its offerings. But it doesn’t matter how spectacular your marketing campaign is if it’s not reaching the right people—or anyone, for that matter.

In a 2019 Marketing Evolution survey, 37% of marketing professionals said their organization experienced wasted marketing spend—roughly 21 cents in every dollar. This highlights the importance of a strategic plan to track your campaigns’ performance. Not only will it save you money and improve your return on investment (ROI), it will also provide clarity on what’s working and what isn’t, and give you a framework for future initiatives.

Here are some tips and advice for tracking your community bank’s marketing performance.

1. Take advantage of free analytics tools

Without any data to act as feedback for your marketing initiatives, cranking out campaigns can feel like screaming into the void. Enter data-collection tools like Google Analytics, which can perform tasks like measuring customer engagement with your website and social media posts, optimizing advertising costs and helping increase conversion rates—for free.

You’ll also be able to see where your website visitors are located and which pages they are clicking most frequently, which is key data for any community bank. “When you look at your website, it doesn’t matter if you have millions of page views,” says Michael Marriott, ICBA director of digital marketing strategy. “Ultimately, what you need to be focusing on is, ‘Who’s within my region?’ The beautiful thing about community banks is that they don’t have to think globally; they don’t have to think nationwide. They just have to think about their local markets.”

2. Create a unique URL, QR code or phone number

Even if you’re taking your marketing efforts offline by sending out flyers or running a print advertisement, you can still track the effectiveness of your campaign by embedding your marketing material with a unique URL, QR code or phone number specific to your campaign. “Maybe there’s a small offer to encourage them to actually type in that URL and not just Google your bank’s name,” says Marriott. “That way, you can actually test whether or not people are reading your mailers and engaging with them.”

3. Track email open and click-through rates

The email marketing software you use to send e-newsletters can track what’s resonating with your subscribers based on open and click-through rates. According to a report from Campaign Monitor, these numbers hovered around 24.8% and 2.7%, respectively, for the financial services industry in 2020.

4. Designate a control group

No matter what message or offer you’re projecting to your customers, a control group—a randomly selected group of recipients you purposefully exclude from receiving your marketing material—should always be part of your campaign. This allows you to compare the success of the product or service you’re marketing against the responses from the control group to “see how well your campaign is performing,” says Marriott. He adds that this strategy is also a smart way to test an initiative on a small sample, for a small expense, before rolling it out to all your customers.

Above all, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all measure of success when it comes to marketing campaigns. Your definition of success will vary based on your community bank’s customer base, asset size and even location. Instead of trying to compare apples to oranges, “start off with a benchmark,” Marriott advises.

“Look at where you currently are and say, ‘We’re going to be 5% better every year.’ And just go from there.”

Chelsea Groton Bank uses video bankers to serve customers.

Creative marketing pays off for Chelsea Groton Bank

When $1.5 billion-asset Chelsea Groton Bank in Groton, Conn., was set to launch a handful of video banking ATMs across its 14 branches, it gave customers an extra incentive to test out part of the community bank’s suite of digital tools dubbed “Chelsea LIVE.” Anyone who came to complete a transaction with one of its video bankers could cast a vote for their favorite local nonprofit. The nonprofit with the most votes would receive a donation from the community bank.

Advertised on the bank’s social media and in its e-newsletters, this marketing campaign was a simple way to promote the community bank’s new digital tools to a wider audience. All Chelsea Groton Bank had to do was count the number of votes received.

“This was one of many ways we introduced the video banking ATMs to the community,” says Barb Curto, Chelsea Groton Bank’s vice president and marketing manager. The bank also ran marketing initiatives like traditional advertising, PR efforts, social media, signage and more.

“We have seen an increased use of the video banking ATMs since we introduced them,” says Curto, “due in part to the many components of the campaign, as well as teaching customers how to use the new technology on-site and the installation of more video banking ATMs across our footprint.”

Taylor Hugo is a writer in Colorado.