How banks can effectively compete — and win — online

Using segmentation based on observed online behaviors, banks can nurture leads and target consumers in an impactful and cost-effective way.

Banks face increasing challenges year after year, among them economic volatility, escalating consumer needs, fresh competitors entering the market and evolving regulations. In order to secure customers while sustaining profitability, banks must employ the correct strategies.

For example, when consumers are looking for a bank or bank product, they often gather information from websites, read user forums and opinion sites, and explore social media to learn from other people’s experiences. This demonstrates a crowded and convoluted “path-to-purchase” for banks aiming to pique consumers’ interest online.

With consumers having more information at their fingertips than ever before, how can banks stand out while focusing and maximizing marketing resources? To be competitive and cost-effective, they must spend in digital marketing in a smart, efficient, and data-driven way.

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If institutions can “divert” consumers’ attention at the right time on their online journey and invest in the right places to ensure ROI, they dramatically increase their chances of engaging those consumers and positioning themselves front and center as the best choice.

How can banks accomplish this?

Link conversions to early-funnel activities: One of the most successful strategies is to secure a consumer’s interest when they are just starting their search. This necessitates an awareness of the initial motivators that guide consumers down the purchase path, as well as the ability to connect them to the final conversion in a personalized way. By understanding the early-funnel activities that drive engagement and acquisition — consumer behaviors, tendencies and trigger points — banks can intervene at the right time with the information consumers need to make their decision.

Incorporate all shopper data sets: Some data sets are readily available, but banks must ensure that all data sets are included. They should seek out solutions that can evaluate all data sources, including unstructured data such as mobile and desktop browsing behavior, social activity, etc. With this information, banks can obtain a complete picture of shoppers that can empower them to nurture leads in a more focused manner.

Take advantage of prescriptive analytics: Bank marketers must shift from reactive competitor and market data monitoring toward proactive outcome prediction and action prescription utilizing tools like real-time analytics driven by artificial intelligence. Using these, marketers can determine what they need to do to enhance ROI by increasing conversions and minimizing acquisition costs.

It’s no surprise that different segments of consumers behave differently as they start their journey to opening a bank account or getting a credit card online. Following are two examples of how identifying key early-funnel activities, addressing complete data sets and leveraging analytics can help establish connections and drive consumer engagement and acquisition:

  • Environmentally conscious consumers looking to open a bank account are relatively heavy users of the search engine Ecosia (10 times more interactions compared to other consumer groups in these paths to purchases). There are specific trigger points that impact their decision-making process, including The College Investor and Money.com. Banks that meet consumers at these and other relevant trigger points are nearly four times more likely to convert them at the end of the funnel.
  • Parents of teens seeking to open a bank account for them have two priorities in their funnel: Find the best accounts with the attributes they are seeking (minimum balance, spend alerts and limits, educational content, etc.), and teach their children how to manage money in the right way at an early age. Banks who meet this segment at the touchpoints most impacting their decision-making have three times more chances to convert them. Examples of these touchpoints include Money Crashers and young and the invested.

The above are highly specific examples, but that is exactly what banks need to be and do to influence consumer decisions in their favor. By segmenting shoppers based on their online behaviors, fully understanding their journey and linking specific behaviors to other product purchases, banks can nurture leads and target consumers in an impactful and cost-effective way.

Danielle Michaely is co-founder and chief revenue officer at Konnecto.