Our article early this week on bank website productivity (HERE) garnered an avalanche of feedback. One of the most common questions was to expand on more details around personalization. Since we are in the process of upgrading our site to handle personalization, we wanted to explain the what, how and who of our effort in case you are looking to jump your website’s capabilities. Below, not only will you find our reasoning, but we also highlight our vendor criteria and our narrowed down list of solution providers that banks should consider.
The Fall of the Static Site
The concept of having one, static website is quickly becoming a relic of a bygone era (that being 2015). Since then, more and more banks have personalized their sites. Go to Chase’s site, and the site knows if you are a customer or not. If you are, it knows if you are a credit card customer and provides you with important information about that product if that is what your behavior dictates.
Marry your website with third-party data, and the site can know your location, age range, household status, homeownership status, education, income range and by analyzing your cookies, your interests.
That means that if you are a 33-year-old female small business owner from South Beach, FL, you will not only see pictures of successful 30-somethings having fun and doing business-like things around the South of Florida, but they will be shown a mix of treasury management and personal products to include college financing solutions, rewards programs and home refinancing offers. Depending on her behavior, the site will adjust to show the mix of graphics, colors, products, font and even tone that best engages her.
The colors and graphics of the website will change with the seasons (Ok, not the best example for Florida) and that 55-year-old CFO at a middle market company will see mostly commercial products when he looks at the bank website from work while mostly investment and retirement products when he checks the bank’s site from home.
Having a personalized website means that there is no longer be one site, but a dynamic organism-like site that adapts to the customer, the environment and the customer’s behavior. The website becomes an engagement system.
The advantages of personalization are several fold. Websites are overrated places to find information. Making the customer hunt around your site to find what they want, particularly on mobile, can be tedious at best and time-prohibited at worst. Serving content based on what the customer or prospect is more likely to want makes much more sense. This concept applies to product display as well as promotions. Offer a promotion that has nothing to do with your customer, and you slow them down, offer a promotion that is relevant to your customer and your chances of selling the product AND creating value in the process jumps. As banks, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for our customer to get what they need. Personalization is a big step to that end.
Personalization is not only about matching the interest of the customer, but the capabilities of the customer. A customer that looks at your site online has different capabilities than a customer that views your information via mobile. Products are displayed differently, buttons should be a different size and navigation should be changed. Being able to customize your site for different devices and browsers helps the usability of your site.
The second most important aspect of personalization is the true personalization of the website in the traditional sense. Welcoming the customer by name can help distinguish your bank and add a comforting touch. A recent survey by Accenture highlighted the fact that prospects are 56% more likely to use your bank, online or offline if they are proactively recognized by name without prompting.
Finally, there is the concept of mirroring that some of our earlier testings show that we can obtain a 20% lift by showing graphics that more closely look like the user. People are more comfortable trusting and forming a relationship with people that are similar to them. That means matching the demographics and language of the user in the representation of your bank.
The Cost of Personalization
These personalization engines vary in degrees of difficulty to use and capabilities. We have highlighted our six favorites below and provided our criteria of selection in order to save you time should you want to go down this path.
If you consider that the average community banks get about 16,000 unique visitors per year, utilizing personalization and the attributes mentioned above, traffic can grow to more than 200,000 unique retail and business customers and potential customers that will be engaged.
At that type of growth, these applications start at about $15,000 per year and run to about $150,000. The more expensive ones handle your analysis for you saving employee hours while the least expensive gives you excellent data, but you will need to interpret and react to the findings.
The Return on Personalization
What you get from using personalization are data-driven decisions that optimize the customer experience. That means more relevant content, more time exploring your bank’s site, more automation in the sales process and ultimately, more sales.
A good bank website with personalization can generate more than 200% more conversions compared to a good bank website without personalization. If you take into account new customer acquisition and the lifetime customer value improvement of existing customers, a minimum return expectation would be 50% per annum on the effort. It is hard to duplicate that return improvement in the branch.
Case Study – Aggregating Many Small Gains
Intellimize worked with Chime on banking products and enlightened us to the fact that personalization is about finding many small gains. The headline and display around “Banking made awesome” was the best overall performer, but Chime found an additional lift for a different display and headline by state, on mobile and even a different version for after 5 pm local time.
Putting This Into Action
Think about all the money you spend on your branch network and then compare that to your website. When you consider the scalability, effectiveness and your websites ability to offer customized content, you come to the conclusion that you are likely underinvesting in your site. Having the ability to personalize your content and site aspects is a huge step forward that is relatively easy to pull off. If this is not in your bank’s marketing plan, it should be as it is one of the most effective attributes that you can add to your bank’s capabilities.
Hopefully, this article will get you started down the path and if we can help, be sure to reach out to share your journey or let us know how we can help.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on March 20, 2019