Q&A: What Search Engine Optimization Can Offer the Financial Services Industry

Entering search queries online is something that we, as consumers do all the time. This reason, among many others, is why marketers know that it’s something they need to pay attention to, if they aren’t already. To further understand the search marketing industry, Sabrina Sexton, Product Manager at Digital Insight, sat down with Angie Gibson, a digital marketing expert, to pick her brain and learn firsthand from a leader in the industry:


Sabrina: Angie, I’m first curious about how you got involved in search marketing. What do you find interesting about it?


Angie: This is one of my favorite subjects to talk about. After studying broadcast television in college, I joined an advertising agency as an account executive, when everything was starting to go digital, and one of the first projects I was handed was a client’s website. While working on the project, my team and I quickly realized that consumers were searching for the client’s products, but unable to find the company’s site. We started researching why the site couldn’t be found and realized that the website was built using HTML frames. In learning that, we started doing what has become known as “search engine optimization,” or SEO, and after that, we started experimenting with buy-and-pay search ads.


Sabrina: So given your experience and the time that you spent in the industry, why do you think search marketing is so important these days?


Angie: What many people fail to realize is that search marketing is about much more than driving consumers to a landing page or a website. It’s an experience for customers, potential partners and for potential investors. You need to step back and not necessarily look at search as just a marketing tactic because many times, it’s a big piece of a company’s branding. Whether consumers are searching specifically for your brand and using terms associated with your brand, or they’re searching for a product that you offer, each of these queries is a huge marketing opportunity and being present in those moments is huge.


Sabrina: That makes sense. For community banks or credit unions who are thinking about search, what would you say is the easiest way for someone to get started with a program?


Angie: It’s important for financial institutions to think about how they can improve their business through not only digital, but through search as well. For example, if a financial institution is trying to raise awareness for a new branch location, then they may want to think about hyper local search –that is, targeting a radius around that branch location as little as 5 miles away.


Sabrina: That’s a great idea! For banks or credit unions just getting started with some of these types of concepts, how can they tell if their efforts are paying off?


Angie: It’s important to set goals with anything that you do and search offers the opportunity to track against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). A financial institution’s goals should be something that’s really going to show engagement with a product that they offer or with the bank overall. There are great free tools out there such as Google Analytics that can help small financial institutions, who are just getting started with search marketing, measure their campaigns and efforts in an easy, affordable manner.


Sabrina: One last question I have for you –the world is moving toward mobile and we know that, in a lot of ways, we’re thinking about designing for mobile first. So when we think about the search experience, how would you say that’s changing with mobile?


Angie: Those of us in the search space have been talking about how mobile experience and mobile traffic are important for years. Mobile should be at the forefront of your plan and definitely at the forefront of your search marketing strategy. For the financial services industry, it does look like they skew slightly more to desktop than some other verticals, but still well above 45% or so, so again, mobile is still important.


Sabrina: That’s a great statistic! Well, this has been really interesting. Thank you so much again for your time today. We’re really looking forward to having you present more about search at Digital Insight’s Innovation Conference in October.


Sabrina Sexton, Group Product Manager, Consumer Relationship Solutions, Digital Insight

Sabrina leads a portfolio of solutions focused on helping Digital Insight’s clients drive more effective customer acquisition efforts and nurture deeper relationships to gain greater share of wallet. Prior to joining Digital Insight, Sabrina spent 10 years at digital agencies and consulting firms, where her clients included financial services firms such as JPMorgan Chase and PNC Bank. She later joined the digital leadership team at SunTrust Bank where she was primarily accountable for strategy and operations of their public websites. Most recently, Sabrina led the digital channels and marketing team at the American Cancer Society. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia.


Angie Gibson has over 12+ years of digital marketing experience, both agency and in-house, spans everything from regional franchises to SaaS tech start-ups, consumer packaged goods, new home sales, and online games. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Angie attended the Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a degree in Broadcast.

Written by Banking.com Staff