Neobanks are the new black. In the past few years, hundreds of new digital banks have emerged, offering compelling services that transform banking functions into engaging experiences. 2020 fanned the flames of fintech competition, as consumers of all ages were catapulted into mobile and online banking – and more digital engagement overall.
With rapidly shifting consumer demands and an increasingly crowded market, how can neobanks stand out to attract new customers and grow their business?
3 most important things for neobanks to focus on
Creative, strategic communication has never been more critical to attract customers. As a challenger bank, you may have amazing fintech capabilities and a big story to tell. But so does everyone else. What, how, and where you communicate about your business can make all the difference.
Based on years of working at the forefront of customer experience and fintech innovation, here’s what we think are the three most important things for digital banks to focus on:
1 – Build a brand strategy that makes more impact
With fierce competition among digital banks, it’s essential to find unique ways to create brand impact. For instance, your financial services content marketing should include social media strategies tailored to key customer segments, with visuals geared to spark interest and viral sharing.
Some of the most innovative engagement strategies we’re seeing are coming from challenger banks in Europe. For example, Italy’s super-app Tinaba, backed by Banca Profilo, really understands young digital natives. In addition to gamified simplicity for money management, the app offers a “Hit Account” with cards designed by Italian celebrities and social influencers. And Hit cardholders gain membership access to exclusive products and events.
Making customers feel special is a powerful way to make more brand impact. Whatever your services, your neobank can stand out with clever communications crafted to resonate with specific audiences.
2 – Communicate how your digital bank supports financial wellness
After a rough year, communicating about financial wellness needs to be a top priority for financial services – and it’s a key area of engagement for neobanks.
Who’s doing it well? Dave, a digital bank with over 10 million customers, offers innovative ways to help people improve financial health and stability. For example, consumers who may have difficulty building a credit history can tap into a service that adds their rent payments to their credit report. And the neobank’s gig economy job board, Side Hustle, has helped customers earn more than $200 million.
A handful of other challengers are going after niche markets. Greenlight is nurturing financial wellness in childhood, and Friz is making financial management easier for digital entrepreneurs.
Yet in every case, it’s not just about the offerings. The key is strategic communications that demonstrate the bank understands the specific needs of various customer segments. As Beyond the Arc’s CEO Steven Ramirez notes, “The right messaging and engagement strategies are critical. Your customer experience, including your customer communications, can be an important part of how you differentiate.”
3 – Convey why customers should trust you
Whether your neobank caters to specific audiences or a broad base of digital consumers, what you say and how you say it really matters. To attract leads and build relationships, you need to earn trust – and that takes nuanced messaging that connects with the lifestyle and attitudes of each audience.
For example, niche challengers like Bunq and First Boulevard infuse an empowering spirit into their communications, highlighting a sense of diversity and inclusion. Wealthfront aims at building confidence. The core idea is to convey a tone and sentiment that positions your bank as a trusted partner for meeting financial needs.
To be successful with marketing messaging, banks need to invest in customer insights. Using data to understand attitudes and behaviors of current customers is critical to increasing retention. And those data-driven insights enable you to better identify likely prospects and the best ways to communicate with them.