Digital Marketing

21 Digital Cross-Selling Strategies for Financial Institutions

by Zach Williams

We’ve all heard the statistics that it’s easier (and cheaper) to sell more products to an existing customer than it is to acquire new customers. This is true in any industry, but moreso for financial institutions.


The more financial products a customer has, the less likely they are to leave. And with online banking making it easier than ever to shop around for amazing offers, customer retention should be at the top of every financial institution's priority list.

Enter the art of the digital cross-sell. Your financial institution can no longer rely solely on your in branch team members and financial advisors promoting additional products and services. Instead, it’s imperative to leverage your digital marketing efforts to maximize your cross-selling success.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools and tricks available to help your financial institution come out on top.

In this post, I’ve broken up digital cross-selling strategies into three sections:

  • Setting up your digital infrastructure to cross-sell effectively
  • Must-have features for your financial institution's website
  • Using quality content for cross-selling

While each section is meant to build on the previous one, you can very easily pick and choose any strategy to get started today. Some tips are simple and low-cost, making it possible to implement them right away, while others may require a little extra thought and investment. All of these ideas, however, are extremely valuable tools that can elevate your financial institution's core business by cross-selling to the right customers.

Let’s jump in.

Setting Up Your Digital Infrastructure to Cross-sell Effectively

1. Use Analytics To Prioritize Your Marketing.

When you’re first starting to delve into digital cross-selling for your financial institution, it’s important to identify your best leads, just as you would with any other type of marketing campaign. Based on your findings, you can then pick out targeted segments of your customer base who are either the most likely to purchase related financial products or will bring in the highest conversion ROI (or ideally, both). Any kind of data analytics tool can get this process started.

2. Micro-Target Your Communications.

Because targeted digital ads have become the norm in today’s world, consumers are used to — and oftentimes expect — extremely personalized offers. You’ll get much better results by avoiding mass market ad campaigns. In fact, a recent case study from Michigan-based Talmer Bank revealed a major jump in click-through rates after personalizing their ads. The mass campaign had just a 1% CTR, while that number jumped to 5.7% when using targeted ads.

3. Utilize Digital Retargeting.

Even if your financial institution's website has high bounce rates, you can still promote your products by implementing a retargeting strategy. Using cookies, retargeting essentially allows you to follow individuals who have visited your website and follow-up with relevant ads during their future online browsing sessions. It’s a great tool to use in conjunction with other digital cross-selling tools, like inbound marketing (more on that later).

4. Empower Your Employees With Digital Prompts.

Make sure your branch technology is up to date by investing in the right software. There are plenty of financial services tech firms that prompt your tellers with cross-sell opportunities for each individual customer they assist. These programs can even automate special offers to be included in the interaction. It’s an easy way to reach out to your warmest leads: your existing customers who are standing right in front of you.

5. Grow Your Email List.

Don’t underestimate the power of emails; in fact, one study shows that 73% of marketers rate email campaigns as either “excellent” or “good.” But even if you create an amazing email offer, it won’t mean anything if you don’t have people to send it to. It’s easy to embed a sign-up opportunity directly on your homepage, just as Johnson Bank (based in Wisconsin) has done on theirs:email-signup.PNG#asset:21357

Alternatively, you could create a newsletter opt-in prompt when existing customers sign into their online accounts. Once you have the email addresses of individuals interested in your financial institution, the potential of cross-selling opportunities is wide open.

Every Financial Institution’s Must-Have Website Features for Cross-Selling

6. Incorporate call to action buttons.

Too many financial institutions pack their websites with tons of information, then promptly forget to make it easy for visitors to sign up for their products and services. Here you’ll see how the Bank of Little Rock keeps their CTA button front and center — there’s no way to miss it and they embedded several offers that scroll across their homepage.


7. Use Simple Language.

While CTAs are important, it’s definitely possible to get carried away with them. Oftentimes, the best results can be found by limiting the user experience on your financial institution's website. Look at how Gateway Bank in Arizona uses clear and concise language to directly address customers’ needs. clear options.PNG

You can then click through to browse multiple options, many of which complement each other rather than compete with each other.list.PNG

All of the information is easy to understand, so that the visitor is being accurately funneled towards the service he or she needs.

8. Make use of required fields on application forms.

Once an online user starts to fill out an application for a particular product, your financial institution should incorporate extra account features as required fields on the application. For example, when you go to fill out a checking account application at Citizens Community Bank in southern Virginia, you’ll see related services that must be manually opted in or out of — you can’t just ignore the offers or you won’t be able to submit the application. account app.PNG

Think about what services you can include on each financial product’s application, whether it’s overdraft protection, personalized checks, or something else.

9. Keep your homepage looking current.

You may have done all sorts of group testing to find the perfect look for your financial institution's website, but it’s also important to keep things looking fresh. You can market temporary promotional offers as seasonal in a relevant way. And it draws the visitor’s attention to the offer more so than if it was simply incorporated into your usual branding. Here’s a great example of how Star Bank used this technique to cross-sell personal loans over the summer.

summer bnak.PNG

10. Implement a “know your location” prompt.

Data gathering is key to any successful digital marketing campaign and the more information you know about a person, the more targeted your marketing becomes. By capturing their geographic location, you can better tailor rates and offers during and after the customer’s visit to your financial institution's website. Plus, this prompt allows you to get this information without the person having to log into their account, so you can build a history of both existing and potential customers.

Here’s what a location prompt looks like from Umpqua Bank: location.PNG

11. Create a micro-site.

Creating one or more microsites for your financial institution is a great technique to expand your branding, build customer loyalty, add value, and convert customers. This can be done in any number of ways. You might create a separate website specific to a large marketing campaign you’re running. Or you might have an ongoing website devoted to your financial institution’s community service activities. You can also create a separate resource page that is meant to provide educational materials but can also direct visitors to related products.

US Bank, for example, created a website called the Credit Wellness Center, which helps visitors understand why credit is important and how they can work to improve their personal credit scores. As part of the resources, US Bank offers customers tools and services to use to help in this process, such autopay, chip-enabled debit and credit cards, mobile banking, and more. They’re providing users with value while also leading them directly to relevant products.

credit wellness.PNG

12. Enable real-time conversation with chat.

Exceptional customer service is key for community financial institutions and it’s still possible to deliver this personal touch with online interactions. Incorporating a live instant messaging feature on your website not only allows your staff to quickly address customers’ needs while navigating the website, it also allows them to follow-up with relevant cross-sell opportunities.

13. Get mobile — like, now.

The demand for mobile banking continues to grow and this isn’t a trend you want to miss out on. According to the Federal Reserve, 43% of smartphone owners who have a bank account used mobile banking features in 2016. That number has seen a steady rise over the last several years. By adding mobile technology to your financial institution's marketing strategy, you can meet customers’ immediate needs with in-session banner ads and recommendations that are specifically targeted to them. This is the type of service that many customers are going to expect as the norm — if they don’t

14. Turn on push notifications.

Once you’ve launched a mobile app for your customers, you can continue to communicate with them on your own timeline by using push notifications. This takes text alerts one step further because you can offer completely customized offers based on individual accounts. So if a customer’s car loan is almost over, you can send a notification to their phone about current new car rates. Or if they’re close to their credit limit, send them an invitation to extend their card’s line of credit.

Cross-selling with Quality Content

15. Produce quality content.

The majority of shopping research for financial is performed online, with nearly 70% of surveyed consumers using this channel. Out of those shoppers, about half prefer to make their purchase in the branch, and nearly all of the other half make their purchase online. So not only do you need to provide those opportunities on your website and mobile platform, this also shows the importance of empowering your teller staff with targeted prompts, as we talked about earlier. Blog posts and customer case studies are both a great place to start and can also start to bring in organic traffic from online searches.

16. Develop online calculators.

People want to make informed financial decisions. Online calculators can help them do that, as well as connect your financial institution with an additional selling opportunity. Ideally, you should have a calculator for every relevant product your financial institution offers. This would include mortgage and refinancing, retirement planning, college savings, and other general savings vehicle calculators.

This calculator from CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union lets visitors compare their IRA options. All together, CommonWealth One offers eight different online calculators to help their customers and leads.


17. Host webinars.

These can be personalized based on the real needs of your customers, whether it’s on homebuying 101, preparing for retirement, or preventing identity theft — the options are truly limitless. Webinars minimize physical resources while reaching new leads and building loyalty among your existing clients. It’s a great opportunity to provide your customers with true value, by sharing your financial institution's expertise when it comes to complex (but important) topics. A comprehensive market research plan can help you narrow down topics to suit your target audience

18. Perfect your email campaigns.

We already talked about why you should grow your email list and how you can do it. Once you’ve crafted the right personalized offer, you can increase your chances for success by studying the best email delivery techniques for your demographics. Research suggests that cross-selling emails work best on stand-alone emails, while up-selling is maximized in emails about existing transactions. You can also test which days of the week and times of day result in the most successful sign-ups.

19. Run promo contests and other giveaways.

There are countless ways you can engage customers and promote additional products through a promo contest. Check out this recent sweepstakes from United Bank in Connecticut. bank giveaway.PNG

Not only are they encouraging customers to use the financial institution’s debit card, they also provide a link to sign up for one. This is also the type of content that’s extremely shareable over social media, which can result in more leads.

20. Produce a podcast.

This is a more sophisticated digital marketing technique that requires time, talent, and equipment. But some financial institutions have successfully launched podcasts series that offer listeners valuable information while basically serving as one long commercial for the organization. If you have an episode about saving techniques, that’s clearly an easy way to direct listeners to your financial institution's related products. Umpqua Bank’s podcast, cleverly called Open Account, tackles real life financial issues that resonate well with customers. podcast.PNG

If producing a podcast isn’t possible with your current resource allotment, consider sponsoring an existing popular podcast. There are countless personal finance podcasts out there, and your financial institution could use the ad time to promote one specific product or offer that would resonate particularly well with the audience.

21. Market with digital influencers.

Similar to popular podcasters, social media outlets like Instagram are becoming an ideal place for financial institutions to find cross-selling partners. US Bank, for example, started the #ISaveSoICan campaign and enlisted several popular Instagrammers to share their personal saving stories. All the posts were linked to the US Bank Instagram profile to help grow their followers and continue promoting their financial products. influencer.PNG

Start Cross-Selling Online Today

Maximizing your financial institution's digital cross-sell efforts can take some time, especially if you don’t already have strong analytics in place. But once you’ve got that infrastructure in place, you can create a well-oiled machine that is consistently targeting the right people with the right offers.

Let me know if you need help getting started — no matter what level of assistance you need, Achieve has the resources to get your digital marketing strategy where you want it to be.

Reach out today and get started.

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