Few would question that websites are one of a financial institution’s most valuable marketing assets. But even for a platform that is so essential for guiding visitors along the consumer journey, there is still a large opportunity for banks and credit unions to better capture leads and nurture them into new customers.
Sure, visitors will continue to log into online banking from your website and that’s great. But, for institutions wanting to offer a more engaging experience, here are six essential steps that turn a functional site into a powerful lead generator.
1. Make it Easy to Connect by Adding Simple Inquiry Forms
While online applications are key to website conversions, there are many consumers who may be interested in a certain account or loan, but not 100% ready to take the next step. They might have additional questions or simply want to touch base with a human prior to taking action online.
At this juncture, it would be much more effective to offer users an easy way to connect with an expert directly, instead of requiring them to navigate a phone tree or rely on general contact form routing. Adding a simple account or loan inquiry form to your site is a great way to collect contact information and inquiries that will allow a bank or credit union to follow up with potential leads, answer questions, and ultimately encourage applications.
2. Offer Valuable Gated Content
Making useful content available to consumers — in return for certain information — is an increasingly popular way that banks and credit unions generate website leads. Gated content requires users to provide basic contact information on a web form to access specific information of value to them. Examples include a checklist of the different documents required to be preapproved for a home loan, or a customizable budget sheet. In exchange for these resources, consumers supply their contact information, which can be used for future marketing purposes and more immediate targeted emails based on the theme of the content.
Remember to request formal permission to add the person’s contacts to your email list to ensure compliance with CAN-SPAM and GDPR regulations. By collecting contact information in association with specific financial topics, bank and credit union marketers are able to gain valuable insights into consumer interests, which can make it possible to send highly relevant emails to a specific person.
3. Incorporate a Solutions Finder
Adding a solutions finder on your website is another strategic way to engage users and generate leads. Solutions finders are interactive tools that navigate visitors through a series of screens to present relevant products and services, based on the consumer’s response. They can help consumers select the right checking account or other accounts based on life stage or other criteria. In the process, banks and credit unions learn about specific goals, interests, life stage and other defining characteristics of the person.
When using a solutions finder, consumers can also choose to provide their contact information in order to obtain additional suggestions and guidance. Not only does this give your team an opportunity to follow up with them directly, but with the proper permission, you can add their contacts to segmented email marketing lists that will allow for targeted messages to move them along the consumer journey.
4. Use Web-Derived Data to Create Email Marketing Campaigns
A common theme here is that collecting contact information helps banks and credit unions create lists of email addresses for more personalized marketing. Email marketing continues to be one of the most powerful marketing strategies across many industries, banking included. Since email activity is highly trackable, 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI, according to Hubspot.
In addition to the other contact collection methods already mentioned, banks and credit unions can include a simple email sign up form in a prominent place on their website and highlight the benefits of subscribing to encourage participation. Don’t forget to provide a “What are you interested in?” dropdown field to allow for list segmentation and targeting, which can greatly increase the effectiveness of your emails. Hubspot finds that marketers using segmented campaigns saw as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
5. Use Marketing Automation to Increase Conversions
Automation provides an efficient way to send more targeted emails and nurture conversions. Using email automation tools, financial marketers can set up a series of emails in advance that are designed to guide recipients along a path to conversion. Once a consumer takes a certain action or reaches a particular threshold, they can automatically be added to an email marketing funnel and be sent the first email in the series.
An sample scenario might look like this:
- The consumer downloads gated content about saving more money.
- As a result, the person is added to the email marketing automation funnel consisting of a series of emails about saving more money.
- The first email contains tips and links to relevant educational articles on the bank or credit union’s blog. This is the awareness stage.
- The second email contacts information about different products and services the bank or credit union offers that can help consumers save more money. This is the consideration phase.
- Based on what the user clicked on in the consideration email, the third email might promote a specific product or service, with a “click to apply” link. This is the conversion phase.
- The series of emails is targeted based on known consumer interests and worked together to inform the decision-making process.
There are many third-party solutions that can help financial marketers implement an email marketing automation plan. Many website content management systems also have built-in email marketing and automation solutions that can make contact management and lead nurturing seamless based on on-site activity and other meaningful interactions.
6. Establish a Personalization Strategy
Having detailed contact information integrated into your website provides ample opportunities to tailor a visitor’s website experience. Personalization can also be based on a consumer’s previous behavior, interests, life stage, geographic location, and other known attributes. Customizing the content that a consumer sees on your website — from product promotions to educational content — can help create a more engaging experience that can drive conversions.
For banks and credit unions who struggle to get visitors to engage beyond the login, personalization can be a key tactic. One financial institution we work with saw a conversion rate of less than 1% on a standard homepage banner jump to 16% when the banner was personalized by a content management system.