In the dynamic world of financial marketing, evolution is essential. The strategies we employ play a pivotal role in shaping customer relationships, driving growth, and ensuring long-term success. Traditionally, the sales funnel has been the go-to model for marketers across industries, including banks and credit unions. The sales funnel is an outcome-oriented approach that aims to convert leads and prospects into customers. Although the sales funnel has historically been a successful model, more content marketers are struggling to get results using this strategy with their current prospects.
Instead, modern marketers are turning to a more customer-centric strategy: the flywheel model. The flywheel method generates a consistent stream of leads and prospects and focuses not just on conversion but on retaining them as loyal customers. By focusing on increasing customer retention, the flywheel strategy turns current customers into promoters, who then contribute to generating more leads and prospects. In short, the flywheel method is a self-sustaining strategy.
For financial institution marketers in particular, implementing the flywheel method in your marketing strategy can help you more effectively drive growth.
SALES FUNNEL VS. FLYWHEEL
While both the flywheel and sales funnel strategies focus on converting people from prospects into customers, the process for each is quite different.
The traditional sales funnel is a transaction-focused, linear model. It outlines the customer journey from awareness to interest to consideration and finally, hopefully, action. And that’s where it ends. Once a prospect has moved through the sales funnel and become a customer, there’s no dedicated pathway for retaining them and turning them into a loyal and repeat customer and advocate of your brand.
That’s where the flywheel strategy differs from the sales funnel. The flywheel puts the customer at the center at every stage. It helps you create a complete customer journey, identify touchpoints across that entire journey, and understand your customers’ needs and wants at each of those touchpoints. Where the sales funnel progresses only from attracting leads to engaging prospects to converting them to customers, the flywheel accelerates at the point of customer conversion to increase engagement so that customers become promoters or brand ambassadors.
ADVANTAGES OF THE FLYWHEEL MODEL
As a marketing leader in your financial institution, your role is to champion innovation and embrace strategies that deliver value and results. The flywheel model offers a transformative approach that aligns with the demands of modern customers – and provides key benefits for your financial institution.
- More Qualified Leads: The flywheel model focuses on delivering the best experience possible at all times throughout the customer journey. If your current customers are satisfied delighted with your financial institution’s products and services, they’ll be more likely to refer your bank or credit union to their friends and family.
- More Team Interaction: One of the disadvantages of the funnel method is that prospects and customers interact with different departments and team members at different times in their journey. That can drive some dysfunction into the process, creating friction that decreases the chances a new customer becomes a loyal customer. For instance, while the sales team may attract a prospect, slipups by customer service may result in the prospect abandoning your brand for your competitor. With the flywheel model, all team members work together across the entire customer journey, identifying pain points and prescribing solutions. As a unified team, you will be able to reduce friction and create a cohesive experience to keep the flywheel moving.
- Customer Retention and Bottom-Line Growth: With less friction in the process, the flywheel allows your team to enhance customer engagement to the point where happy customers become consistent customers and ambassadors for your brand. You net more revenue from long-term customers who will keep turning to your financial institution for additional products and services, and more referrals for even more revenue.
CRAFTING A FLYWHEEL-FOCUSED CONTENT STRATEGY
Transitioning from the sales funnel to the flywheel model requires a shift in content strategy. Unlike the funnel, which often focuses on closing deals, the flywheel’s content strategy revolves around three interconnected stages: attract, engage, and delight.
- Attract: Create content that educates and resonates with your potential customers. Address their pain points, offer solutions, and establish your financial institution as a trusted partner that genuinely understands their needs.
- Engage: Once you’ve attracted customers, keep them engaged with valuable, relevant content. Provide resources that empower them to make informed decisions, whether it’s through educational articles, webinars, or personalized financial advice.
- Delight: The delight stage is where the magic happens. It’s about surpassing customer expectations and consistently delivering exceptional service. Personalized communication, loyalty programs, and proactive problem-solving contribute to a memorable and satisfying customer journey.
REDUCE FRICTION IN YOUR FLYWHEEL
While the flywheel enhances the overall customer experience, it’s crucial to identify and eliminate friction points to help keep your flywheel spinning smoothly. This involves analyzing customer touchpoints, optimizing processes, and leveraging data to provide seamless interactions.
Friction refers to anything that can potentially slow down your flywheel, such as inefficient internal processes, poor communication between departments, or misaligned values between your employees and customers.
You can reduce friction by examining how your teams are structured, where prospects are getting stuck, and why customers aren’t becoming repeat customers. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are your teams aligned, or are they operating in silos?
- Is your pricing transparent or full of hard-to-understand fees?
- Are prospects able to connect with your bank or credit union the way they want?
By decreasing friction and increasing the speed of your flywheel, you’ll create more promoters for your financial institution. Those promoters will help your flywheel keep spinning, generating more leads and prospects.
WAYS TO MEASURE SUCCESS
As a bank or credit union marketing leader, you understand the importance of data-driven decisions. When it comes to the flywheel, metrics shift from focusing solely on conversions to measuring customer engagement, retention rates, customer lifetime value, and net promoter scores. These performance indicators reflect the flywheel’s impact on your institution’s growth and success.
By shifting from the traditional funnel to the flywheel, you’ll position your bank or credit union to drive efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and cultivate sustainable growth.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Developing a successful flywheel marketing model requires a strategic approach to attract, engage, and delight customers.
- Get your team on board. A successful flywheel requires buy-in from all team members. Communicate the shift in strategy to ensure that your marketing, sales, business development, and customer service departments are working together to support customers.
- Create detailed buyer personas. Gather existing data on your customers to analyze their buying behavior and identify and understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. Regularly collect and update data to refine your personas.
- Use the information you’ve gleaned from your research to guide content creation, advertising, and targeted marketing campaigns to connect with your customers and prospects.
At LIGHTSTREAM, we know what works for banks and credit unions, and we offer a full array of branding and creative services to help your financial institution succeed – like our Refer-a-Friend program designed to reward your current customers for referring their friends and family. Connect with us today to learn more.