September 10 2020

Positioning Your Financial Institution’s Promotional Strategy for Success

Website promotions for financial institutionsWhether you’re planning a website redesign or managing your current website, financial marketers can benefit from a thoughtful promotional strategy for their bank or credit union websites. This is both an art and a science, as too many promotions can be overwhelming and distract from the user journey, while too few promotions represent a missed opportunity to drive conversion. The marketing and business intent is to drive engagement while highlighting your priority products and services. Done correctly, it can also guide customers and members through the conversion funnel by presenting related offerings that work together to address visitors’ financial needs.

Craft Your Plan With Best Practices in Mind

There are a few factors to consider when developing your digital promotional strategy. Promotions are meant to showcase your most important products and services, so choose offerings that correspond to your business objectives. Consider seasonality as well, and use landing pages to highlight special deals or rates whenever possible. Ensure promotions are placed in locations that make sense and flow naturally—a mortgage promotion on a business checking account page, for instance, may be irrelevant to the target audience and fall flat. You may instead choose to promote business online banking or debit cards, which can be used in conjunction with a business account. Promoting related products and services can add value and enhance the user experience.

When mapping your promotions, it’s wise to employ a top-down strategy. As visitors drill deeper into the site, promotions should become more specific and pertinent to each page. A homepage promotion, for example, might link to a mortgage category page, where visitors can explore the full array of available mortgage products. A lower-funnel page promotion, on the other hand, might surface a special rate or calculator that corresponds to that particular mortgage product—or better yet, a conversion-oriented landing page. Promotions should draw users down the funnel to create a more targeted experience at every stage.

Use concise, action-oriented language and clear, prominent calls-to-action when crafting your promotions. As with all site elements, ensure promotional content adheres to your brand colors, fonts and treatments, as well as current ADA conformance guidelines. Promotions should feature editable HTML text to benefit SEO and translate seamlessly to mobile and tablet views.

If your website allows for content personalization, promotions are a great place to leverage this functionality. Website personalization enables you to serve up messaging that corresponds to pre-defined audience personas, increasing the likelihood that your users will be interested in what they’re seeing. It also creates a more customized experience, which can increase engagement and conversion rate. Someone who has previously engaged with your auto loan rates page will likely be more receptive to a promotion about auto loan rates on your homepage, versus the standard mobile banking promotion you might be currently running for more general audiences.

Introduce Key Products on Your Homepage

Your bank or credit union’s homepage is prime real estate for promotional content, as well as other critical links and information. Your homepage serves as a jumping-off point and should encourage users to explore your site content while helping them quickly and easily find what they’re looking for. As your homepage is likely your top traffic driver, it’s important to capitalize on this volume. The homepage banner, a common element on most financial institution websites, is the first thing a user sees when arriving on your website and an ideal place for your primary promotion. Reserve your homepage banner for your financial institution’s key value proposition or most timely, impactful promo. The homepage banner can also be personalized, so returning visitors will see custom messaging during subsequent visits.

When creating homepage promotions, use bold, inviting imagery or video, compelling copy and a call-to-action that drives urgency. Widescreen, static images are ideal, as visibility and engagement drop off significantly when rotating banners are introduced. If carousels are preferred, consider no more than 3-5 slider tiles and be sure your most important promotions are in the first and second positions. Carousels should feature automatic scroll and accompanying controls, so users can cycle through and pause on a promotion of interest. Note that data consistently supports a static, personalized banner approach.

Homepage banner promotion
Another common tactic is to include a series of secondary promotions below your homepage banner. These promotions can guide visitors to specific areas of interest or introduce your various business lines. Highlight main value propositions here, including any compelling rates or key differentiators. Three or four cross-promotions tend to be optimal, although this number will depend on your business model. If you’d like to showcase multiple products or services per business line, consider a tabbed layout. For example, one tab might serve up three personal banking products, while another surfaces three business products. Be selective and concentrate on your biggest-ticket items—the goal is to create the element of choice without overwhelming your audience. Note that while a carousel can also be leveraged here, you’ll see more engagement with items displayed on page load.
Homepage secondary promotions

Surface Related Content on Internal Pages

As you progress through the conversion funnel, promotions should become more targeted. If a page is meant to introduce a certain category of products or services, consider using the main banner to introduce a high-priority item within that category. This creates a cohesive experience while drawing attention to a specific offering. At this stage in the user journey, visitors have a sense of what they’re looking for, and you can use this opportunity to steer them toward a relevant offer.

It’s important to leverage compelling imagery and concise supporting text that conveys the key benefits of your promotion while supporting your page’s overall SEO strategy. Ensure your page title and H1 remain consistent and specific to the page at hand rather than a specific promotion, as promotions evolve and change. If you’re a credit union in Boise using this area to promote a fixed-year mortgage on your home loans category page, for example, you’ll want to include the term “Boise home loans” somewhere in the main banner, as well as meta title and H1. This positioning text also helps set up the rest of the page and gives users a clear understanding of what they can expect to see and learn as they scroll.

You can also use internal pages to showcase cross-promotions and related content. It’s important to choose cross-promotions carefully as you progress through the funnel toward the point of conversion. Cross-promotions should complement the product or service at hand—for example, you may opt for a debit card cross-promotion on a checking account page, as these two products work together. The idea is to select something that supports the user journey rather than distracting visitors and pulling them out of the funnel. Related resources and other content can be handled similarly. Blog posts, financial literacy articles, calculators and educational tools can help create a guided experience that assists in the decision-making process. The key takeaway is that all related and promotional content on a given page should correspond to and benefit the primary user intent.

Internal page cross promotion

Focus on the Big Picture

As you begin to brainstorm your website’s promotional strategy, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. Remember the primary intent of each page and build promotions to help support both your business goals and consumers’ needs. The kind of promotions you’d include on your homepage and other upper-funnel pages will be different than the promotions you’d surface on specific product pages. While it can be easy to miss the forest for the trees, keep in mind that promotions are only as effective as the strategy that drives them.

ZAG can help you develop a promotional strategy that supports the unique goals of your financial institution’s website. Drop us a note to learn more.

  • Banks
  • Content
  • Credit Unions
  • Website

posted by
Ari Mason
Ari Mason

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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