COVID-19 has given rise to a world that’s virtually online. According to the World Retail Banking Report 2020, “57% of consumers prefer internet banking in the COVID-19 era.” In fact, data by McKinsey claims that“The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital banking by two years.” More and more customers are opting for a cashless way of transacting, with “63% of respondents claiming they’d reduced their use of cash since the start of the crisis,” while 43% used social media messaging apps to send across payments according to a BCG survey.
Clearly, the era of digital banking is the future, and the future is now. As the lockdown eases and things go back to another new normal, new-age banks will need to alter their risk-averse mindset and innovate on-the-fly as well as carry forward their legacy and stay afloat via all tools digital, starting with their website. In this blog, we will look at the top-7 digital lead generation tactics that banks can leverage to their advantage and embrace customer-centricity in all its glory.
1. Integrate a Co-browsing Software for Real-Time Assistance
Co-browsing software can change the way users view your bank’s customer experience. Quite simply, co-browsing is a user-friendly interface that can visually eliminate barriers between customers and the support agents who want to help them. Confused?
Say a customer logs onto your bank’s mobile app/website and gets stuck on the payments page. The agents can offer assistance by way of visual clues and initiate a co-browsing session instantly. The agent can literally take over the customer’s browser and interact with them on-screen, that too, in real-time to highlight and draw features that indicate the next steps. In addition, it offers a host of wide-ranging benefits such as:
- Reduced query resolution time and, in turn, increased chances of lead generation.
- Faster issue qualification and problem assessment leading to more efficient help.
- Ability to help customers at scale, while remaining upbeat, courteous, and kind.
- Unparalleled convenience as customers won’t need to leave the site to download external apps.
Key takeaway: Oftentimes, agents are unable to understand or see where the customers are stuck on the web page. They have to base recommendations depending on the customer’s description of the problem, which can be inaccurate or ambiguous. This is where co-browsing software can empower agents to view exactly what needs fixing. In short, customers won’t need to take the pain of sending screenshots and sending emails to the company, which, as you know, can be time-taking, annoying, and ineffective.
2. Optimize the Website for Mobile
Banking websites are notoriously famous for being slow to load and operate at stone-age speeds. Truth be told, this kind of slow and dull service is not going to fly with the digitally-savvy customers of today. Plus, according to Google, the mobile version of a bank’s website determines its search rankings performed on smartphones as well as desktops.
To that end, banking institutions will need to implement AMP technology and optimize their mobile site speed to offer smooth navigation. By minimizing the site loading time, banking websites can boost the chances of lead generation. Some other mobile optimization techniques include:
- Compressing images and minimizing the use of code
- Preventing use of flash or pop-ups
Additionally, it is important that you understand the phrases most customers use when searching for banks such as “community banks,” “banks near me,” etc. so that you can optimize your SEO efforts accordingly. If you wish to know how mobile-friendly your website is, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Key takeaway: In today’s mobile-first economy, banking websites can hope to generate more leads and enhance their SEO by optimizing their website for the 6-inch small screen – a smart device that is actively being used by a staggering 5.15 billion users in the world.
3. Invest Efforts in Adapting to a “Semantic Search” Mentality
Technological advancements have truly transformed the way people search for things on the Internet today. For example, typing short phrases on Google – which was once considered a norm – is fast being replaced by intuitive voice-search capabilities. With intelligent voice applications such as Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, all users have to do is literally ask questions like: “Which banks offer the best car loan rates?”
Before we talk about what you, as a Banking organization, can do to leverage smart searching, let’s talk about semantic search.
Semantic search is simply the process of delivering search results based on user intent and contextual meaning.
You can work towards enhancing your semantic search capabilities by researching keywords and creating content that focuses on the user’s intent. The better the user experience, the greater the chances of lead generation.
Here’s a handy tip on where to start: Remember that content that is structured along the lines of a question/answer format is more likely to capture traffic from semantic searches. To that end, you can draft “what,” “why,” “how-to,” and “how much” questions and create relevant answers around it. Plus, along with primary keywords, it is best that you use companion words to contextualize the meaning of your website.
4. Perform A/B Testing of Your ‘Services’ Pages
A/B or split testing is the process of comparing two versions of the same entity – in this case, a website – in order to measure the difference in performance and optimize results based on the customer’s behavior and preferences. Basically, all you have to do is give one version of the web page to one group and another version to another group. The primary aim is to understand how each variation performs.
For a Banking institution, A/B testing your Services pages as well as your homepage can deliver unimaginable results. Take the use case of First Midwest Bank, which extracted an invaluable insight from its A/B testing sessions: The “ideal” person represented on the home page differed depending on where the lead was from.
For example, a home page (shown below) highlighting a smiling man boosted conversions by 47% in Illinois but lowered conversions in Indiana by 42%:
The end result? The company ended up creating 26 different landing pages (depending on the state) as they conducted more and more A/B tests.
Key takeaway: A/B testing is a powerful tool to check which type of design with specific visual elements, CTA button placements, banners, etc. can generate additional leads and drive revenues.
5. Put Your Money in Programmatic Advertising
“45% of U.S. digital display advertising is spent on programmatic.”
Programmatic advertising refers to automated, real-time bidding, and placement of online ads which can help Banks grow while retaining customers. The central idea is to get filtered publications with real-time advertising options so that you can target smart and target better. As with other forms of advertising, you need to first understand who your target audience is to create a website that’s relevant and beneficial to the user from start to finish.
It is also essential that you analyze your audience’s online behavior, in addition to understanding their preferred choice of platform to browse for banking products and services.
Key takeaway: If you wish to boost relevancy and efficiency across diverse touch-points in your customer’s journey, you need to invest in programmatic advertising. All in all, you can automate the ad delivery and purchase processes and target consumers at the right time, on the right device, and for the right product.
6. Level Up Your Content Marketing Game
If your website doesn’t pop up on the first page of the search engine results, you might as well shut shop. One of the best ways to capture and nurture leads as well as build customer loyalty is through content marketing.
Plus, whether you wish to educate your target audience on available products and services or whether you wish to improve your search traffic, creating a rich repository of a knowledge base can improve your content marketing efforts. Additionally, you can create blogs, case studies, and whitepaper to educate and inform users about the latest bank trends and developments. Finally, you can offer free e-books and webinars to further engage your audience and drive traffic to your website sustainably and organically.
Key takeaway: Content marketing, if done right, with usage of tools, can offer valuable and contextual insights on your target audience, build loyalty, and boost sales without sounding too aggressive. This data-driven approach can further help you tailor products/services based on the latter’s needs and wants. When creating your content marketing strategy, make sure to factor in key elements such as your brand’s voice, tone, and style that can allow your company to connect with customers on a deeper, more emotional level.
7. Drive Podcasts & Webinars on Safe & Secure Banking Best-Practices
When it comes to the Finance sector, in particular, customers have a lot of questions and queries circling their minds. This is why it is essential that you create a steady base of knowledge on key issues that plague customers day-in-day-out such as safe online banking practices, fraud protection, cyber-security, etc.
Since customers today prefer listening to content rather than reading it, podcasts have emerged as the new shiny toy that everyone wants to try their hands on. As per research, “In 2020, over 155 million people listen to a podcast every week.” Plus, “There are over 700,000 active podcasts and 29 million podcast episodes available today.” Morgan Stanley’s website houses videos, podcasts, and blog posts on current financial issues:
Additionally, providing free webinars sessions on interesting topics can engage your target audience better and drive brand loyalty.
Key takeaway: Instead of following archaic information consumption traditions, banks need to embrace the latest trends and drive user engagement. Add to the content marketing mix self-help tools such as audios (podcasts) and videos (webinars) on mobile devices, and you’ve got a winning combination at hand.
On a Final Note: Progressive Modernization & a Forward-Thinking Mindset are the Need of the Hour
“The total number of online and mobile banking users will exceed 3.6 billion by 2024.” – Juniper Research
Combining agile collaboration, dynamic innovation, and a seamless, customer-driven online experience using core banking technology can power banks to forge ahead. This makes logical and business sense as more than 4.57 billion people – or 60 percent of the world’s total population – use the internet globally. As far as your lead generation tactics are concerned, follow these tips and tricks mentioned above and ‘lead’ your bank out of any kind of crisis, with your customers backing you through and through.
Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional who works at Acquire and provides solutions in the digital era. In his free time, he loves to write on tech and marketing. He is a frequent contributor to Tweak Your Biz. Connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.