Turning Your Banking Website Into a Sales and Marketing Workhorse

Promotional campaigns are a key component of a financial institution's website strategy. But it's not enough to simply push checking accounts and home loans on a home page banner and expect results.

Whether you’re pushing a limited-time offer or just generally promoting your products, it’s essential to make your marketing messages both visible and valuable to your site visitors, or people will develop “banner blindness”.

Bank and credit union marketers need to understand the concept of “promotional positioning”, which aims to create connections with your products and website users based on their goals, interests, lifestyles and life stages. Because this type of promotion will be more relevant to your audiences, it increases engagement and ultimately conversions – the goal of every financial marketer.

Positioning Financial Products For Maximum Relevancy

Making website promotions appeal to people requires financial marketers to understand their target audience. Here are a few solid approaches to establish relevance when it comes to your financial product promotions.

Align With Consumers’ Goals. Appealing to visitors’ objectives is an effective way to gain their attention and encourage them to explore your offerings. Common financial goals include saving more money, paying off debt, and building credit. By promoting products and services as ways to achieve these goals, financial institutions can increase the perceived value of their solutions, and even the number of products a person uses. For instance, if someone wants to save more money, they might simply come to your website, navigate to your savings section, and hopefully open an account. But, if you have prominent promotional positioning focused on saving money, you could present your free checking account to save on fees, or your direct deposit offering as a way to automatically save a portion of each paycheck. In doing this, you’ve increase the relevance of several products among visitors that have a goal to save. So, instead of them possibly opening only a savings account, they are more likely to take advantage of your free checking account and direct deposit service, too.

Focus on Life Stages. Relating to life stages is another strategic way to connect with website visitors. Traditional life stages might include opening a first account, saving for college, getting married, buying a home, having a baby and getting ready for retirement. But today’s society introduces some other less traditional stages – such as cohabitation, being a single parent and more – which present an interesting opportunity for financial institutions to capitalize on. Highlighting how your banking solutions support individuals in these life stages increases their significance to the user. For example, someone who is getting married not even be thinking about the influence that might have on their finances – from paying bills to grocery shopping. With promotional positioning, you can focus on that life stage and surface a joint checking account as a great solution for newlywed couples managing money together. Everyone can be categorized into a life stage, making it a relatively easy, effective way to relate to all website audiences.

Address Common Lifestyles.Although similar in concept to life stages, appealing to lifestyles is more personal. Instead of relating to someone based on a standard, socially-defined category, you’re connecting with them based on the way in which they live, or what that they choose to identify with. A person’s lifestyle could be on-the-go, entrepreneurial, active, adventurous, healthy, high-tech, or social – just to name a few. Addressing lifestyles and positioning your banking solutions alongside them adds to their relevance, while increasing audience interest. For example, someone who characterizes themselves as adventurous will inherently be drawn to a promotion for products that fit this lifestyle, such as mobile banking. Simply using lifestyle language in your website marketing content will allow different audiences to associate with your promotions, making your products and services seem more valuable and appropriate as part of their identity.

Highlight Potential Interests. Like lifestyles, appealing to your audience’s interests and hobbies is even more personal. People are typically passionate about their interests or hobbies, which may include travel, hiking, DIY projects, reading, shopping, music and so much more. Linking your banking solutions to these interests significantly boosts audience appeal, as it’s a direct association to something someone really enjoys. For example, a shopper might be excited about your mobile payment solutions. Someone who enjoys traveling might like to know about your ATM network or online banking services. And a person who enjoys doing DIY projects around the house might find value in a home equity line of credit. By strategically speaking to these interests, you’re able to connect with your audience in a very unique way, making your promotions more effective.

Incorporating Promotional Positioning Into Your Website

Once you have a promotional positioning strategy focused on goals, life stages, lifestyles, interests, or any combination of these, financial marketers will need a method to implement it. There are several techniques to consider when integrating promotional positioning into your site.

Website Widgets. At the most basic level, a widget can be thought of as feature of a webpage that has a defined purpose and functionality. To appeal to various audiences, financial marketers can create a custom widget that surfaces existing product and service pages on your website in alignment with specific criteria. When users select an option – a goal, lifestyle, life stage or interest – they will be linked to relevant product and service pages on the site. This approach minimizes the initial work and the ongoing management, as it’s simply content, links, and sometimes images or icons that can be easily updated.

Solution Finders. A solution finder is similar to the aforementioned website widget, but is a bit more robust. While it presents solutions based on select criteria, it allows financial marketers to surface not only products and services, but also tools (e.g., calculators and rates) and educational content (e.g., articles and infographics). Solution finders can be incorporated into a page, like a widget, or they can exist in an entirely separate section of the site. Sometimes, they are a combination of both. Also, while you can leverage existing product and service pages, a solution finder offers the ability to create unique pages for each goal, lifestyle, life stage and interest. This presents additional inbound marketing opportunities, as you can leverage those pages in your offsite marketing efforts to specific audiences.

Promotional positioning is key to increasing the effectiveness of your bank or credit union’s website promotions. Attracting visitor attention and generating action, this approach may even cause a typical online banking-only visitor to connect with your promotions and click to learn more. Planned and executed properly, promotional positioning can contribute to additional product adoption among existing customers and members, and can attract new ones to your institution’s offerings.

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