The customer journey has transformed in the digital age, as 81% of bank shopping journeys begin online and buyers use an average of nine information sources over 60 to 90 days when shopping for a financial product. The accessibility of information allows consumers to do most of their own research before they’re ready connect, which is especially apparent in an era where many, especially 92% of millennials, don’t trust financial brands to have their best interest in mind. So as a financial services marketer, how do you balance providing relevant value that encourages continued engagement with filling a sales funnel to secure purchases?
It’s ultimately a dance between inbound and outbound marketing, enforced by a marketing automation platform integrated with a CRM. But even with the right tools and technologies, the key to success involves strategy that understands and appeals to the emotional elements in the customer journey. As a competitor in this age of Digital Darwinism, you’re expected to target the buyer, earn their trust, and keep their loyalty while simultaneously expanding your reach and digital footprint.
This means you have to merge two unlikely strategies to crease adaptive marketing: automation and personalisation.
Marketing automation plays a central role as you map out the digital journeys for your potential customers, something only 16% of banks and credit unions have fully mapped out. The platform is able to provide real-time monitoring and analytics that influence the associated email marketing campaigns and build buyer personas with its lead scoring system, triggering segmented messaging as responses to their digital breadcrumbs.
When you create the digital journeys, think of every twist and turn that your prospective customer and existing customer may encounter and how you can set up automate engagements. For instance, between 70% and 90% of consumers abandon an application, so do what most of your competitors aren’t by establishing an application abandonment process. It can be as simple as a friendly reminder email that welcomes questions from your financial experts, or it can incorporate relevant content like a checklist of how to know which is the right loan for them.
Similarly, continue nurturing current customers and building their trust with an onboarding process. Show them how to navigate the website and where to access resources; this helps them recognise how much valuable information you have to offer. Invite questions and encourage them to visit their local branch because after all, mutual communication is essential. Gradually introduce other financial products you offer that are relevant to their lifestyle to plant the upsell seeds.
These segmented messages triggered by the consumer’s digital behaviours play into the personalisation aspect. A soon-to-retire couple’s onboarding experience should differ from a university student’s, and having one automated drip campaign isn’t going to provide the necessary distinguishable messaging.
Let’s take a step back and consider what you are marketing: your financial products, but what’s more, your financial brand that represents you are trustworthy to not only handle your customers’ money, but help guide them toward a better financial standing. Remember that consumers think with their right brain – in other words, they shop and buy based on emotions and feelings. They’re not just looking for another loan or credit card, they’re seeking something more from their financial institute. They want someone who can be trusted to help them on the path to a financially secure future, as well as offer hope and guidance to move beyond financial stress.
Highly segmented lists are the secret ingredient to personalised, yet still widespread, marketing. Buyer personas, and thus the path they follow on their digital journeys, are determined by the information they include in forms (i.e. aiming to contact you, accessing a whitepaper), their past actions engaging with your brand, and how they continue to engage (especially via email).
Did they register for your webinar on buying a first home, but not attend? Follow up with the recording, as well as several other resources (like a blog post or infographic) that pertain to both buying a first home and other topics such as paying off student debt or budgeting for a growing family. If they click on the growing family-related link and begin exploring that material, you now have additional knowledge for your marketing strategy; you’re learning that your prospect is most likely a millennial couple with at least one small child looking to purchase their first home. Recognising that as their buyer persona, you are far more able to personalise what content they receive and rise above the competition just sending out email blasts.
Tower Federal Credit Union saw a two-to-three times increase in their open and conversation rates, especially in follow-up emails, since taking advantage of segmentation and automated trigger campaign capabilities of Act-On’s marketing automation platform. Likewise, TruStone Financial Federal Credit Union implemented this solution and experienced open rates upwards to 83.3% for their highly segmented correspondences. Higher open rates lead to higher engagement, which means more opportunities for your financial institution to continually build trust and convert prospects into members.
About the author
Katie Jameson is the Head of EMEA Marketing at Act-On Software, a leading provider of marketing automation and one of the fastest growing tech companies in North America. Working on a global scale, Act-On Software specialises in adaptive marketing solutions that enable marketers to create Adaptive Journeys using customer behaviours, preferences and data to intelligently guide the engagement strategy. The company operates in a number of industries including automotive, construction, manufacturing, technology and the fastener industry.