Digital marketing is a critical component when engaging and retaining customers in the financial services industry, and marketers are working hard to make processes easier for potential customers in the competitive credit card space.
“Financial institutions are very aggressively using the digital space, particularly in mobile,” says Margot Vaughan, group head, svp global customized marketing, MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide. The financial industry will should reach $6 billion this year—making it the number two overall spender in digital marketing behind retailers. That number is expected to rise to $10 billion by 2018, says Vaughan, who spoke on how to engage and keep customers through digital marketing at the DMA2014 conference in San Diego this week.
Vaughan also highlighted the optimal channels for financial institutions in the digital space, with optimizing organic search results through SEO best practices being a top priority for marketers. Financial industry marketers need to develop strong keyword strategies, optimize their webpage elements and content for search and leverage social media to keep their pages on search engines’ organic search radar.
“Organic search and perfecting it can take a while, and it requires testing to perfect,” Vaughan says.
In the paid search arena, she says the credit card market is fiercely competitive, with keywords for credit card-related terms driving Google AdWords prices driving skyward. When dealing with paid search, Vaughan says to remember that clicks are more important than searches, and that continuous tracking of KPIs should be performed to identify the most successful strategies.
In the credit space, driving consumers to card application pages is the real endgame, and Vaughan says there are several things marketers can do to improve submission rates.
First is making sure that prospects are led directly to an application page when clicking on a campaign.
“It is important that prospects are not taken through unnecessary steps or provided with distractions and opportunities to abandon the application process,” Vaughan says.
Keeping a campaign’s messaging consistent throughout all channels is also critical to success, with the message and value proposition on the application reinforced and matching the on the channel the prospect is coming from.
The ease of the application process should also be reinforced by keeping the application to a single page and utilizing collapsible fields, as well as up/down scrolling functions and drop-down menus to minimize length.
Incorporating secure messaging and icons can increase consumer confidence to apply, and using real-time error correction on the application is essential.
“This functionality has become a must-have, with issuers offering it on their applications to ensure a great user experience,” Vaughan says.