In this article
We’ve pulled together the highlights and key takeaways from our recent webinar on meeting your customers in the online space.
Thanks to all who attended MK Decision’s webinar Going Where Your Consumer Are: Online. We’re always excited to collaborate with the MK team and, in this case, to discuss opportunities to win new business online.
If you have any questions or want to know more about what was discussed in the session or on performance marketing specifically, we welcome you to get in touch!
Poll: What’s your financial institution’s primary goal with improving your digital presence?
To kick off the conversation, we asked our attendees from financial institutions what they wanted to accomplish by improving their digital presence. The majority (59%) are looking to leverage digital to attract new customers. With many of them seeking ways to grow, we focused a lot of our discussion on how to expand brand reach safely and effectively.
- Attracting new customers 59% 59%
- Cross-sell existing customer 20% 20%
- Improve efficiencies 20% 20%
- Increase deposits 2% 2%
Four Personas to Target for Digital Customer Acquisition
Har Rai details four key personas to target, including each one’s distinctive psychographics and behaviors identified by the FIS 2019 PACE Report. With every persona are different opportunities that FIs can leverage.
- 18-26 years old
- Peer influenced: friends that share lunch over Venmo; parents that share funds with children
- Seeks advice: how you give them that advice is the modern challenge – print mail, for example, is less likely to be effective than digital mediums
- Uses FinTechs: for P2P cash transfer and payment; looking for modern experience to open accounts and apply for loans
Opportunity: With only 8% using a financial advisor and 32% expressed interest in social media posts from financial institutions, brands can take the opportunity to create that first relationship. Once trust is built, they can then progress Young Millennials over their lifecycle and retain them for a long time.
- 27-37 years old
- Future planning: looking for lower cost of living and higher income
- Online & mobile-only: not keen on visiting a branch
Opportunity: Senior Millennials seek financing, loans and mortgage products as they look to create lives outside of downtown cores. Social, email and text message are all great ways to reach them over their preferred device: mobile.
- 38-52 years old
- Highest income: not necessarily the most amount of savings
- 10+ years at bank: loyal and not looking to switch institutions; open to additional products like cashback accounts
- Banks over FinTechs
Opportunity: As the biggest users of bank-sponsored products, product promotion is key to retaining Gen X’ers in the long-term. They are relationship-oriented and want to have a personal relationship with their financial services provider.
- 53-72 years old
- Open less accounts: very stable and have the account they want; largely focused on investments and securing their wealth to their children
- Main bank customers: holding deposits at the bank
- Slow to adapt tech: will use telephone banking in lieu of branch visits
Opportunity: Optimize your website to be displayed correctly on tablets and desktops. This generation is still online and a large majority of them are tablet users.
Before You Start Marketing, Establish a Digital Foundation
Before investing in your marketing, establishing a strong digital foundation is fundamental. A digital foundation means having a user experience and path to becoming a customer that is easy and seamless for the consumer. It is essential for FIs to scale their digital distribution. Without this foundation, any marketing budget spent is at risk losing its impact to your bottom line. A brand would be pouring its money into marketing, only to lose customers at the bottom of the funnel.
Your foundation at its core should deliver a clear web experience, simple customer journey, efficient processing and transparency.
- Clear web experience: Can your customer direct themselves in finding the information they’re seeking?
- Simple customer journey: Is there any friction that’s interfering with them becoming a customer?
- Efficient processing: Do you have the infrastructure to onboard to support the influx of new customers?
- Transparency: Where are you performing well? Are there any potential breaks in your funnel to address?
Once your digital foundation is in place, start strategizing your consumer acquisition funnel to target specific personas.
86% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, reading at least 10 before feeling able to trust a local business (Brightlocal 2018)
Create a Consumer Acquisition Funnel
A consumer acquisition funnel is fundamental for all industries, products, and services. Whether conscious or subconscious, consumers pass through a psychological journey for everything from buying a pair of jeans online, ordering food, to considering financial institutions with whom they’d like to do business.
Financial institutions must choose the right fit of technology and marketing to attract and drive customers through the funnel.
- Awareness: becoming aware of your brand via both offline tactics (print, billboard, television) and online tactics (content marketing, social media, SEO, SEM, paid advertisements, affiliate marketing)
- Interest aka Recognition of Need: finding more information via online store, customer testimonials, newsletter, sales sheets
- Decision aka Benchmarking: comparing options via email marketing, promotions, remarketing
- Action: ready to make a decision via shopping cart, checkout, request review, and referrals
Problems to Anticipate with a Funnel, and How to Solve
Effective consumer funnels do well when they’re strategically planned, but there are several challenges to be aware of at each funnel stage. When you planning and evaluating your funnel’s performance, here are some key areas to look out for.
Problem: Awareness channels are costly, competitive, and difficult to attribute to sales
Fintechs and larger financial institutions often have bigger budgets and take up more room online with their awareness campaigns. With these budgets, they also have the infrastructure to know precisely how much they’re willing to budget for everything from awareness to acquisition, and how much the customer is ultimately worth.
Smaller financial institutions, community banks and mid-size banks, on the other hand, may struggle with gaining transparency into the ROI of their own awareness channels, and understanding the lifetime value of customers.
Solution: Performance marketing to scale digital distribution
In the absence of big budgets, brands can partner with financially-focused influencers and publishers, who can be a credible source that tells the story of the brand and its products, while simultaneously moving consumers further down the funnel. This channel is also highly budget-friendly because it’s performance-based: brands only pay for new customers gained.
Additionally, performance marketing can be hyper-targeted: working with niche influencers and publishers enables financial institutions to direct their performance marketing to refined, captured audiences.
Problem: Consumers lose interest in poorly written and designed landing pages.
With many generational cohorts being avid mobile or tablet users, your website must fit into these device viewports to avoid disrupting your online experience. Common problems for websites include:
- A call-to-action that’s buried in the middle of text, leaving the customer unaware of where to click next
- The look and feel of the website appearing dated, impacting a customer’s perception of the financial insitution’s technical abilities
- Too much information presented, making it difficult for your customer to grasp your key messages.
Negative online experiences can impact a prospective customer’s interest in your brand and dissuade them from moving further down your marketing funnel.
Solution: Optimize for mobile users.
To capture and retain customer attention, make mobile a priority. Simple, intuitive interfaces must be available on the mobile site and app. Content should be written and displayed for readability, with direct call-to-actions like “Apply Now.”
A frictionless mobile experience ensures your potential new customer stays interested in what your financial institution has to offer.
Problem: Customers reach the bottom of your funnel but don’t purchase.
If your customer hasn’t pushed the “submit” button to open an account or apply for a financial product, their pain points (convenience, time, value, etc.) might not have been fully addressed. Instead, they might leave your checkout process to conduct more online research on comparable products. Your brand might also not have acquired enough information at this stage to re-market to these prospects and bring them back to finish their checkout.
Solution: Showcase your brand and product’s value to the customer through credible partners.
Your financial institution can use industry research to identify the optimal channels to re-market to your audience. It can also partner with influencers via performance marketing, which can reach customers already at the bottom-of-funnel stage of completing a purchase decision. Partnering with publishers and influencers reinforces your values and can be the tipping point that converts a customer’s “maybe’ to a “yes.”
Problem: Paper applications in lieu of forms for account opening
Though easy to make available online, printable PDF applications remove all the advantages of digital and cause your financial institution to lose out on critical parts of a customer’s digital footprint. Extra lift for the customer is required to print, scan, or visit a branch to complete. This additional lift is then transferred to your staff, who need to file, validate, input, scan or otherwise manually transfer the PDF into your company’s core system.
From a compliance stance, paper also increases resource requirements. In lieu of an automatically compiled digital customer file that’s easily made available to regulators on request, your staff would need to manage pages within physical files and visually scan for information required.
Solution: An efficient check-out system that puts your customers first
An effective account opening system is seamless and minimizes the effort both applying for an account, and managing the application. Platforms like MK Decision, for example, provide this technology: customers have the option of adding multiple products to cart, have pertinent information like addresses and name pre-filled to reduce typing inaccuracies, and their platform authenticates their accounts for immediate funding.
Importance of Measurement and Transparency
Much of a financial institution’s success through digital is tracked and measured via analytics software. They must ensure their solutions implemented can manage conversions and tie to the data to your customer management systems. Once this is in place, they can attribute the value and behavior of the customer to the entry point at which they converted.
Fintel Connect’s technology, for example, allows financial institutions to easily implement a tracking code to identify and track the influencers and publishers that are successfully winning new customers on their behalf.
- Marketing needs a strong foundation to be effective
Without a quality, modern online store with a checkout process for your customers, investing your budget heavily in awareness and traffic-driving initiatives be costly and ineffective.
- 3rd party technology can make a positive – or negative – impact on your brand
Choose your tech partnerships carefully: integrating through the wrong partner could create friction for your potential customers that dampen your conversion rates.
- Be where your customer are with performance marketing
When someone else is vouching for you, it’s powerful. There’s a reason word-of-mouth marketing continues to be so prevalent in both online and offline
- Consumers want simple, intuitive experiences
Uber, Skip the Dishes, DoorDash, AirBnB – consumers are accustomed to seamless digital purchase experiences that’s fast, convenient, and reinforces the trust they have in your bank.
Thanks again to everyone who attended. If you want to learn more about how performance marketing drives new bank customers in a cost-effective way, please get in touch us, or follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with the latest in performance marketing for financial services.