Tell the Neighbors You’re Here
One day I drove along a route I seldom took and glanced toward a mini-mall along the street. I saw a big Going Out of Business sign in the window of a coffee and tea products specialty store. A store I hadn’t seen before. Since traffic was heavy, I was moving slow enough to turn into the parking lot.
While he was ringing up my purchase, the owner said, “Now that I’m going out of business, I’m making more sales than ever.”
I answered, “I didn’t even know your store was here.”
Why? Because the storeowner didn’t advertise.
Sure, advertising is a big expense for small businesses, but what’s the alternative?
Like the small business in my example, are consumers unaware of your branch office locations? Some they might drive past most days?
What can you do to get people’s attention? To persuade them to pull into the parking lot? To switch to your bank or credit union?
I’m convinced business picked up for the shop owner because people noticed the oversize sale sign. You can do something similar with banners. Advertise a loan sale. Or your free checking account, especially if your competitors are dropping free checking.
Are there neighborhood newsletters? Place an ad for your branches in those. Rates are probably modest. Any areas with public bulletin boards? Put up a poster. Hang eye-catching window clings in visible-from-the-street windows of your branch.
Don’t overlook the power of direct mail marketing. Send mail to areas around your branches. This is especially helpful to under-performing locations. Make it an Un-Grand Opening event or tie it to a holiday or local celebration. Promote a product “sale.”
I see many financial institutions that treat their branches like their children. They try to care for each one equally. An admirable idea. But face it. Some territories are tougher than others. Like the small shop I mentioned, a branch might be tucked away in a little-noticed spot. If it’s not a personnel problem and your branch is under-performing, give that office special help and attention.
Whatever methods you use, you’re simply trying to accomplish one thing: Get people in the neighborhood and those who drive past to notice your branch and come in.
Don’t wait until you need to hand a Closing Soon sign on the door.
Here’s more on this topic: Why You Must Advertise.
This project helped a branch overcome a number of disadvantages.