Making partner marketing your “always-on” deposit engine

December 17, 2022

Alana Levine

Experienced marketing and business development executive with a passion for partnership development and experience in sales, partnerships, strategic marketing and brand positioning, scalability and business expansion, product development, and project management.

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Making partner marketing your “always-on” deposit engine

Partner (affiliate) marketing is a measurable, low-lift, and high-impact channel for deposit growth. So why aren’t more banks taking full advantage?

Banks are in need of predictable, low-cost deposits, but often overlook one of the most powerful sources of new deposit generation – a digital channel that currently drives up to 40% of new deposit growth for the big banks. Partner marketing is a results-based marketing channel that is driving hundreds of new depositing accounts monthly for banks like yours, and when done right, could be the “always-on” deposit engine your bank has been looking for.

Tapping into results-based marketing

Paid search is typically the most common channel banks use in their digital marketing toolkit, but it is a short-term tactic that can be expensive, and when not measured properly, can end up costing the bank more than what it’s worth. Instead, the affiliate or partner marketing channel is a cost-controlled tactic that reliably delivers long-term results. 

The affiliate channel works by partnering with third-party websites or outlets that feature your product(s), and only paying those websites for customers they send that successfully open or fund an account. You may be familiar with some of these sites (think but there are thousands of similar outlets with high-value content that puts them at the top of the search-engine results (see below). These are the places where your future customers are doing their research, which means if your bank is not part of the consideration set, you may be missing out on valuable deposit relationships. 

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The value of partner marketing in driving deposits

The partner marketing channel can be a powerful tool to drive new banking relationships, and even beyond that, we see three key benefits it will bring your institution:

  1. Free brand visibility – This channel builds valuable exposure for your bank’s brand and deposit product(s) in a way you haven’t been able to before.

  1. Trusted third-party endorsements – These are trusted voices in the personal finance community that will build your brand’s credibility and educate audiences on the value your products and services have to offer, which means generating higher-value relationships that last over the long-term.

  1. Pay for real results – Don’t waste budget on channels that don’t return; avoid inefficient spending by paying a pre-defined acquisition cost for activated accounts, which means having a set formula for what it will cost to generate the deposits your institution needs.

Here’s an example of a live deposit-generating campaign in market targeting younger demographics:

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Making the channel a deposit engine for your bank

At Fintel Connect, our solution facilitates these partnerships that drive deposits for banks like yours. We create custom strategies that align with our bank partners’ budgets and goals, which is why it’s important to first evaluate whether your bank is ready to take on this channel and ensure your institution is set up for success. Here are five key criteria to consider:

  1. Clearly define your bank’s value proposition

Why would someone want to bank with you? Understand what the key unique selling points you have to offer that will become the pillar of your marketing messaging. It could be as simple as your competitive rates or interesting product features like free credit tools, unique rewards programs, or early access to paychecks.

  1. Set a clear always-on budget

    Do you know what you’d be willing to pay for a new checking account customer, savings customer, or CD customer? And do you know what this relationship is worth to your bank? This is important to understand before you invest in any marketing tactics. The minimum golden ratio is 1:3 – your customer lifetime value should be at least three times what you paid to acquire that relationship. Currently, we’re seeing cost of acquisition (CPA) for new deposit accounts ranging from $80-$150. If you’re paying more than this, this channel is one to consider.

  1. Create a solid customer experience

There is a delicate balance between creating a smooth customer account opening experience and ensuring the right protection measures are in place. Shortcuts you can do to improve the likelihood for conversion is to set clear expectations for the audience up front, have a dedicated landing page with helpful product information and a clear call-to-action, and make the account opening workflow as frictionless as possible.

  1. Track your funnel end-to-end

To pay out on a success basis, you must be able to measure the successes. This means being able to connect the dots of where a customer came from all the way to whether they were successfully approved for a product. (Bonus points if you can tie the campaign to the relationship over the long-term!) If you’re not sure whether you have this in place, we’d be happy to investigate with your team and support getting this in place.

  1. Be clear with your goals and be open to experiment

    When looking to grow deposits sustainably, clearly define what success looks like. Are new account holders in your current footprint a primary concern? Are you open to experimenting beyond your geographic footprint if cost is a concern? Is the value of the accounts most important? These considerations are important to shape your strategy with the channel.

Getting started

There is no better time to start experimenting with the partner marketing channel. Community financial institutions are poised to start taking back market share – and to do so, it means being where your future customers are. When done right, this channel can be a powerful source of predictable, cost-effective deposits for your institution.

If you’re curious whether this channel is right for your bank, the Fintel Connect team is happy to help walk through your current strategy and determine whether you’re ready to get started. We’ve had a number of learnings over the past year to best guide institutions like yours on how to be successful with this channel and where to invest first if your bank may not yet be ready. We look forward to seeing your banks continue to progress and are here to support your journey and see you succeed!

Get in touch with Alana or Fintel Connect.