Promotional domain names are nothing new in the financial industry. Many major bank and credit union advertising campaigns use microsites with a custom URL like TheGiantDeal.com. These domains often have short life spans, used for a single purpose for a limited time and are summarily abandoned.
But have you ever considered using your financial institution’s slogan as a domain name? Avis, the world’s favorite “#2 car rental company,” used its famous slogan as a URL — WeTryHarder.com — for many years, rerouting visitors to avis.com. Wheaties, the venerated breakfast cereal, replays the content found on wheaties.com at BreakfastOfChampions.com. Now your bank or credit union may not have a tagline as well-known as “Snap Crackle Pop,” but that’s no reason you can’t do it too.
There are some financial institutions who turn their slogans into URLs — like Mastercard who uses Priceless.com as its consumer-facing website — but the overwhelming majority don’t. For instance, BofA didn’t use BankOfOpportunity.com back when its slogan was “The Bank of Opportunity.” Similarly, neither TheNextStage.com nor WithYouWhen.com pointed to Wells Fargo when it was using those brand slogans. It’s not just banks and credit unions blowing this opportunity either. ItsMillerTime.com isn’t used by Miller Brewing, and Volkswagen should have used DriversWanted.com to support their advertising campaigns.
Read through the seven reasons to pursue this strategy and you’ll probably wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
1. The URL for your primary website sucks.
Let’s face it, most financial institutions have ugly domain names. If your bank or credit union is like countless others, your name looks and/or sounds like someone else’s. You have to cross your fingers and hope consumers find you through search engines. This fuels intense competition for desirable URLs. For instance, think about all the “First National” banks out there, yet only one can have firstnational.com. The runner-up gets 1stnational.com. Everyone else gets garbage for their domain name, like all these unrelated “First National” banks spread around the U.S. who chose to abbreviate their names with the “FNB” acronym:
Look at all these “First National” banks and their URLs and you’ll quickly see how easily confused consumers could get. Any one of them could be using their much more memorable tagline or slogan as a domain name…but they don’t.
|First National Bank of River Falls||fnbrf.com||SimpleSecureSmart.com|
|First National Bank||fnb-bank.com||ServingYouBetter.com|
|First National Bank||fnbbastrop.com||Since1889.com|
|First National Bank of Ft. Smith||fnbfs.com||LocalSince1872.com|
|1st National Bank||fnbsite.com||LivingstonsCommunityBank.com|
|First National Bank & Trust Co.||bankatfirstnational.com||SoundBankingAdvice.com|
|First National Bank of Utah||fnbutah.com||PuttingPeopleFirst.com|
|Bank First National||bankfirstnational.com||ThinkFirst.com|
|First National Bank||fnbnorcal.com||TheFamilyBank.com|
|First National Bank of Walker||fnbwalker.com||TheresADifference.com|
|1st National Bank||fnbelkhart.com||GrowWithUs.com|
|1st National Bank||fnbtexhoma.com||AtHomeWithFirst.com|
|1st National Bank of So. Florida||1stnatbank.com||YourFirstChoice.com|
There are no fewer than three different “First National” banks in Tennessee, and yet how do they choose to differentiate their URLs? One is fnbtn.com, another is fnbotn.com, and the third uses fnbforyou.com. Good luck sorting that out.
Despite calling itself a “national” bank, at least First National in Kentucky uses hometownbanking.com to separate its URL from others (even though another First National in North Carolina uses “Hometown Banking” as its slogan).
When Vandenberg FCU changed names, it found that all the obvious URLs it wanted — CoastHills.com, CoastHills.org and CoasthillsFCU.com — were already taken. So they secured a domain name using their new slogan — BankAmongFriends.com — which reroutes to the functional-but-dull CoastHills.coop.
Check out The Financial Brand’s database of over 1,100 slogans and taglines for banks and credit unions around the world.
2. Slogans are more interesting than bank names.
Most people know the “Got Milk” slogan even if they don’t know that the ads come from the California Milk Processor Board. That’s why the California Milk Processor Board wisely uses GotMilk.com as their web address instead of camilkpb.org. Blech…
Taglines can express a brand promise and personality that your financial institution’s name simply never will. Most taglines are much more evocative than the dry geographic labels most commonly used in bank names. Who would you rather spend 10 minutes with? “Pacific Community Credit Union?” or “TheUnbank.com?”
3. It aids consumer recall.
How many things are you asking consumers to remember? Your name? Your slogan? And your web address? Why make them remember three things when it takes just two? When you turn your tagline into a URL, you’re making it much more likely consumers will remember your domain name. A jumble of acronyms and abbreviations confuse consumers. Throw in a hyphen or a .net address and it’s basically a lost cause.
4. It’s efficient and saves space.
When time or space is constrained, it’s easier and faster to say the name and slogan.com than the name, slogan and URL.
THE WAY IT’S USUALLY DONE
ABC Bank | “Your Personal Banker” | abc-bank.com
A BETTER WAY TO DO IT
ABC Bank | YourPersonalBanker.com
5. You can build a custom landing page.
It can be difficult trying to conform your promotions and marketing messages to fit within the rigid grid of your primary corporate website. This is where microsites and interstitials come in handy. Your marketing team can liberate itself from the challenges and restrictions imposed by a traditional, boxy layout.
6. You can use the URL as a virtual turnstile to track marketing.
If you limit the use of your sloganized URL to special promotions or specific media channels, you can gauge the effectiveness of your marketing tactics. Whether you create a dedicated landing page for your tagline.com domain or simply redirect people to your main website, it’s vital to install tracking software that automatically tabulates visitors’ clicks and activity.
7. Your promotions never have to end.
Your bank or credit union may be in the habit of buying a unique domain name for every marketing initiative. But do you need to? If you use your slogan.com URL only in your promotional materials, you’ll not only have an accurate measure of the level of web activity your marketing stimulates, you’ll be able to host promotions continually throughout the year.
Consider this hypothetical example. We’ll use Sterling Bank, who might use a sloganized URL like SaveWithSterling.com in all its promotions. This ensures that everyone who visits Sterling’s promotional microsite sees the current offer(s), even those who may be clicking off an old ad/link or looking at a dated printed pieced. When Sterling doesn’t have a special sale, the bank can put up a snazzy looking page with its basic rates and offers.
ING DIRECT set up ingdirectmobilecontest.com to host one of its social media promotions. But what does the domain’s future hold? ING DIRECT should run another “mobile contest” on the heels of the initial campaign, then sustain the site with more promotions directed at mobile banking prospects/customers. The ingdirectmobilecontest.com domain accrued significant SEO value, so why abandon it and start over with a new URL? The site has important backlinks, plus an established following. While ingdirectmobilecontest.com may not be a slogan with pizzazz, ING DIRECT should have milked it for all its worth.