By Scott Stellwagon
Let’s face it. Too many banks are stuck in a rut when it comes to deposit account and loan pages on their websites.
At some point, these financial institutions started believing that less is more when it comes to their website content. Based on conversations with bank marketers, it seems that there are a few common reasons why this is now an accepted universal truth when it comes to bank websites:
- Customers don’t want to read a lot of product information.
- My products aren’t very dissimilar from my competitors’.
- Every other bank in my market is using minimal product page content.
- If customers want more information, they’ll just call us.
Does this describe your bank? Here are several reasons robust product pages are vital for your bank’s website and how to create them.
So, why bother creating product page content?
Looking at this line of reasoning, it’s easy to see why bank marketers would have a hard time justifying creating content for each of their product pages. Each of those four points is completely valid.
Customers don’t want to read a wall of meaningless text. They want to find the information they need right away.
It’s also true that every other financial institution in your market has deposit accounts and loans. And yes, all of your competitors are, in fact, using the same content strategy when it comes to their product pages—and they’re still opening new deposit accounts, getting lending leads and generating phone calls.
So, why should you bother to create unique, high-quality content for your product pages?
The SEO factor of bank product content
It’s no secret that having high-quality, unique content on your site is one of the most effective SEO strategies, but a lot of companies think that simply having a blog—and worse, posting syndicated content on your blog—is the cornerstone of a content marketing strategy. Product page content is potentially even more important.
The benefits of having content-rich product pages are numerous:
- Increased customer engagement
- More leads
- Better organic search visibility
But how do you create this content? What more is there to say about a free checking account?
Six ways to improve your financial product pages
There are so many ways to enhance your product pages, and you don’t need to implement every single one of these tactics to generate results.
Really, your product pages should aim to do two things: educate your customers about the product you’re offering and show them how to take the next step.
However, if you want to provide a truly exceptional customer experience that addresses your customers’ questions and shows them why your bank is their best option, here are six characteristics of successful sites.
1. Call to action
One of the most important—and often most often neglected—elements of a financial product page is the call to action. After someone reads your content and is interested in your offer, what’s their next step to generate a conversion?
- Do you want them to visit one of your locations to open an account? Give them a link to your locations page.
- Do you want them to fill out a form or call a specific phone number? Be sure to include clickable email addresses and phone numbers throughout your site, or links to your contact page.
- Should they fill out a form to get in touch with you? Put the form right on your product page.
- Want them to contact a lender or other professional? Include the lender’s contact information on the page.
Don’t wait until the bottom of each page to include a call to action. There’s no guarantee that someone will read your entire page or scroll all the way to the bottom to see it. Intersperse your calls to action throughout the page and utilize anchor links to guide your users to relevant conversion points.
2. Product features and rates
First things first. Give your customers the most important information. This is likely what they came here to find, so make sure that your essential product information is highly visible right away. This is a great opportunity to make a bullet point list of your product’s benefits. It’s a perfect way to give someone the basics in a bite-sized format that’s easy to digest. But don’t stop here!
Whenever possible, be transparent about your rates and terms. Even if you don’t have the best rates, this information will work in conjunction with all of the other product details you’ll be providing to help your customer make an informed decision.
3. Compelling visuals
No matter what you’re selling, visuals can have a huge impact on the appeal of your product page. Sure, it can be hard to find a compelling image for your free business checking account page, but high-quality images can really help your audience connect with your product and brand.
You can find royalty-free stock photos on sites such as Pexels or Unsplash. If you want to make this process easy on yourself, partner with a design professional or an agency who can create these images for you and align them with your current branding.
Oh, and don’t just use images of hands writing checks, disembodied hands shaking (especially in our new post-handshake era), a golden egg sitting on a pile of cash, an exterior shot of an unattainable model home, or a similarly impersonal photo. Instead, find images that feature people. Why? Because people connect to other people.
You can also break up your page using icons, graphs and other types of visuals. Use these as a visual aide to help your visitors find the information they’re looking for.
4. Trust signals
If your bank was recently voted as the number-one ag lender in your state, wouldn’t you want everyone to know about it? What if you received a glowing review from a customer who just purchased their first home thanks to one of your mortgage loans?
Trust signals—which includes customer testimonials, success stories, reviews, industry recognition, local awards—are a great way to build credibility for your brand. You probably already know that customer reviews are tied to some pretty amazing stats, like the fact that people are 12 times more likely to trust a consumer review than descriptions that come from a business.
Pair these with some visuals, like a star rating, an official seal or an image of an award you’ve earned, to visually reinforce your reputation as a reliable partner and resource. These trust signals are a great differentiator to help your FI stand out from the competition.
5. Frequently asked questions
FAQs are a great way to preempt the most common questions about each product you offer. By posting these questions and answers on individual product pages, you can address specific queries related to that product. The best way to generate FAQs is simply by identifying common questions that your customers ask on the phone, in your web forms or when they visit one of your locations.
You can also use FAQs as a method to proactively guide a user towards opening an account or applying for a loan by asking questions such as “How do I apply?” or “What documents do I need to apply for this loan?”
As an added bonus, FAQs are great for organic search. Oftentimes, potential customers will research their queries in search engines like Google. By providing a relevant answer to a common question, you are more likely to appear in their search results, increasing the chances that a highly-qualified lead will land on your site in pursuit of an answer.
6. Internal page linking
Whenever you reference a different product or service on one of your product pages, be sure to link that text to the relevant product page. This helps your users find other pages that they may be interested in. Moreover, internal links can help the search engines understand how your website is structured and interconnected.
If you have a blog (you should, by the way) or some other educational resources, you can increase their visibility and engagement by posting links to them on your product pages. If you have a blog about how to choose the right mortgage loan for your needs, this would be a great resource for anyone who is browsing your mortgage loan offerings. A downloadable white paper about planning for retirement would be a perfect fit for your IRAs page.
Forget the ‘less is more’ mentality
When it comes to product page content, the bottom line is that you are not helping your customers by withholding information in the hopes that they will take the initiative to contact you. When you’re competing with online banks that offer exceptional transparency with their rates, reviews and a wealth of product details, your bank site needs to provide an experience that is designed to educate and engage your audience.
Scott Stellwagon is a digital strategist at BankBound, a marketing agency focused exclusively on growing local financial institutions.