The demand for web content is huge. But in order to use it as a successful conversion tool for your financial institution's sales, you need to keep it fresh. Content should engage your customers and inspire them to share online.
But writing a killer blog post and hitting the publish button isn’t automatically going to create an online revenue generator. You actually need a robust strategy behind the content you create.
And while it’s not rocket science, it does take a little forethought.
If you’re ready to take your financial institution's web content to the next level and convert your online leads into actual sales, keep reading as I take you step by step through the process.
Create Valuable Insight
When you’re creating content for your financial institution — whether it’s a blog, video, or social media post — look all around you for ideas.
Where can you find inspiration? Explore infographics, videos, online publications, and magazines. It’s also smart to listen to your customers. What are people talking about or asking about these days? Talk to your team members to find out some of the most popular products or problems people need help with.
It’s also important to create headlines that people actually want to click.
Financial services are often thought of as either dry or complicated — and sometimes both. Draw your reader in at first glance with a catchy headline and photo.
Here’s a great example from Bellwether Community Credit Union.
Debt is a huge challenge for consumers across the board. Bellwether helps by weighing the pros and cons of a personal loan versus a credit card. They also provide a direct link to their amortizing loan calculator so visitors can compare their personal options.
Once you’ve gotten your audience to click, it’s time to convert. Include a value proposition statement so that they have a precise understanding of how the relevant financial product can help them.
You could, for instance, write a quick blog post on retirement, briefly outlining ways to save. But to really provide value to your customers and go beyond what they could find in a quick Google search, hone in on some truly in-depth retirement strategies. Maybe you could break up the content into multiple posts geared towards different age groups.
Alternatively, you could do a deep-dive into different financial products and strategies.
This article from Fulton Bank of New Jersey is actually a subpage of their CD product page. Rather than just listing out their current CD terms and rates, they provide visitors with a step-by-step guide on how to use CDs to build their short-term wealth.
The value proposition?
“It's an FDIC-insured investment plan used to earn a higher average rate of return, minimize interest rate risk, and provide you with easy access to your money at planned intervals.”
How does that not sound like a good idea from the customer’s perspective? Of course, it’s also valuable to this financial institution.
Bottom line: don’t just list out your financial products and services with a basic definition and terms. Instead, use your content to demonstrate how customers can use each product or service to achieve their goals.
Make Your Content Relevant
While it’s great to get creative with your financial institution's web content, the key is to make sure it remains relevant to your objective. That doesn’t mean you can’t branch out and talk about topics and issues that aren’t directly related to banking with your institution, but always tie it in.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
Arvest regularly posts a video series about people who are making a difference in their local communities. To keep the content relevant, check out the paragraph at the end of each post in the series.
The bank explicitly spells out why they’re doing these features. Does it have anything to do with opening an account with Arvest? No.
Are people more likely to trust a financial institution that cares about its community (and posts videos with cute dogs?). Absolutely.
No matter what topic you’re covering in your blogs, don’t be afraid to include more information. Blog post lengths are steadily on the rise, largely because of search analytics attributing length to quality. Plus, there’s more content for crawlers to go through.
And on a personal level, a longer article that actually provides helpful information is going to continue to add to the level of trust and relevance for your target audience.
Clarity is a huge part of getting leads to become customers, or getting customers to become better customers.
Why is it so important to communicate clearly in your financial institution's web content?
There are two reasons. First, it positions your financial institution as a trustworthy expert in the industry. This is a big deal for financial institutions, because people are handing over their hard-earned dollars to be managed, and presumably, managed well.
Second, communicating clearly allows you to directly address a individual's problem and show them how your financial institution can solve it. Once you can effectively do that, you can include a call to action that’s hard to ignore.
Check out the beginning of this blog post from Chesapeake Bank in Virginia.
Not only is the headline compelling, the introduction clearly outlines the point that only a local financial institution can truly understand a local business’s needs and market. And within the first two sentences, Chesapeake Bank includes a convenient link that takes the reader to their business lending page.
The article then goes on to discuss the ease and flexibility of using a community financial institution rather than a large national bank. At the end, there are two more opportunities to convert: another link to Chesapeake’s business lending page, plus a link to the branch locator page to encourage small business owners to come in and talk to a specialist in person.
Think strategically about your content topic, how it can solve your customer’s problem, and what you want their next step to be.
Quality content alone won’t convert leads. You need to give visitors a direct path to where you want them to go.
Address the Entire Sales Funnel
Speaking of a direct path, there’s not just one when it comes to converting your audience.
In order to ensure your website is helping your visitors convert, you have to tailor your content to where they are in the buying process. I typically recommend breaking down your audience into three different phases to help you do this. Let’s take a look at each one.
The first stage is awareness, where they’re learning about the problem they’re facing.
Next is the evaluation stage, where the visitor is looking at all the options available — but not taking any action yet.
Finally, you have online visitors who are in the conversion stage, which is where you can ideally convince them to sign up for a particular financial product or service.
In order to maximize your conversions online, you need to address all three of these stages for each product your financial institution offers. While it’s easy to market solely to those in the awareness audience, that’s not going to help you convert them into leads and sales.
So let’s break down how you can utilize content directed for each specific type of visitor.
Top of the Funnel: Awareness Content
You may very well already be targeting these visitors. They’re looking for informational content about their financial problem in the form of blog posts, social media interactions, and infographics. Each one of these tactics can get your financial institution’s brand out there and reach a wide audience.
It’s a great start, but it’s not the end of the road.
Middle of the Funnel: Evaluation Content
Once a visitor learns more about their financial problem (say, getting a mortgage or consolidating debt), they need to find a solution. Here’s where you can create lead magnet content with pieces like downloadable white papers, online quizzes, and webinars.
You’re helping them delve deeper into the issue to explore all of the available solutions.
Bottom of the Funnel: Conversion Content
You’ve helped your visitors learn more about their problem and what they can do to fix it. Now it’s time to convince them to choose your financial institution to help. You can do this through your website in the form of testimonials, introductory rate periods, and comparison sheets. Each one of these things can help a visitor pick your financial institution over the competition.
Create A Sense of Urgency
Another way to use your financial institution's content to boost conversions is to add an element of urgency to your message. If you’re running a promotion involving a great introductory rate or some sort of sign up bonus, don’t be afraid to put a deadline on it.
After all, no one wants to miss out on a deal. But if they think it’ll be around forever, they might keep waiting. Give your online visitors a strong incentive to act now.
Check out this campaign from Pennsylvania-based Meridian Bank.
They actually advertise two separate promotions on the same page — only one is actually described as a limited time offer, but the effect is the same for both the CD and the checking account.
So not only is Meridian offering a limited rate of 1.55% APY for a 12-month CD, it’s only available for a certain amount of time and at a certain branch. Talk about a great way to bring in traffic to some of your slower locations.
The checking account offer is probably even more appealing because it offers a $200 cash bonus when the customer reaches designated deposit milestones.
There are a few more things I like about this offer page. First, both products apply to the same customer. For $500, an individual can open a new short-term CD at a pretty competitive rate. That same person can easily take advantage of the checking account bonus because the account minimum is just $200 and the monthly direct deposits only need to be $250 per month.
While that makes the customer do a little bit of work (and research shows that effort is a necessary component of the conversion funnel), it verifies the value of the bonus. Meridian even uses the phrase, “Ready to earn $200?”
Finally, Meridian gives a great call to action with a built-in appointment calendar. The urgency is there for a customer to quickly (and conveniently) get in touch with one of your organization's representatives to potentially open two new financial accounts.
Demonstrating your expertise through a wealth of information can be great, but avoid distracting your leads by giving them too many options. Your content should drive your visitors to the actual place you want them to go, rather than giving them every call to action possible.
If you’re promoting a particular mortgage product, for example, don’t overcrowd the page with other CTAs, like joining your Facebook page or joining your newsletter list. These actions only detract your leads from the business at hand: contacting your team to get more information on obtaining a mortgage.
Check out this fixed rate mortgage page from Huntington Bank. If you scroll down, there’s tons of useful resources on the services they provide and how to pick the right mortgage for your home.
But the very first thing you see?
A single CTA button: “Get a Mortgage Quote Now.”
With nothing else to distract them, the most interested leads will more than likely click that button and begin entering information about their financing needs.
If a lead isn’t ready for that, it’s ok — they can continue scrolling to learn more that can later lead to an informed decision. In the process, this is earning their trust with a slew of helpful resources.
Review your financial institution's existing content pages and see if there’s a way you can reduce distractions to help convert your leads.
Create Anxiety (Wisely)
This one might surprise you, but when you think about the anxious feeling you get when you’re excited for something new, it makes a bit more sense — as long as you do it the right way.
As a financial institution, you obviously don’t want to create negative anxiety. After the recent Equifax data breach, consumers want to know that their financial information is safe.
But you can get your website visitors to be anxious to find out more about a certain product from your financial institution. The best way to do this through content like blog posts is to utilize awesome headlines that immediately make the reader want to know more.
After all, the more engaging and valuable content you create, the better chance you have of converting your audience to join your institution.
Here’s a great example from CU Insights, a blog devoted to credit union marketing.
The content could easily work on a financial institution's website and they do a great job of enticing readers. Who wouldn’t be anxious to see if their company is a bad one to work for?
You could even link to your student lending page at the end of the article to grab readers who are considering a career change by earning another degree.
Creating a successful content marketing strategy that actually converts doesn’t have to be difficult — but it does need to be well thought out. By providing value and incentives while removing barriers to convert, you can create a smooth running online machine that works for you.
Need some help making it happen? Reach out to us and find out how we can work together to create content that leads to more business for your financial institution.