By Scott StellwagonYou’ve probably heard the adage you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
Sometimes, it can feel this way with your bank website. You can build a sleek site, write superb product page content, optimize your SEO elements and engage in any number of strategies to drive customers to your site. But all of this traffic is ultimately meaningless unless you have obvious and enticing conversion points.
A conversion point can be any number of elements on your site that generates actionable leads or indicates visitor intent to contact your bank or become a customer. You can easily track these goals with a combination of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to gain valuable insights into how your visitors are engaging with your website.
Typical conversion points might include:
- Clicks to phone numbers and email links.
- Visits to online account opening platforms.
- Visits to online loan applications.
- Contact form submissions.
- Clicks to receive directions.
If you have taken measures to track these goals, then you are already one step ahead of most bank websites. If you need some tips on how to get started with this process, here’s a handy guide to walk you through some basic bank website goal tracking.
But what do you do when you are tracking objectives, but are not happy with the results you’re seeing?
Take a critical look at your conversion points
Even if you have all the right conversions and tracking in place, there might still be some work needed to optimize your conversion points to yield higher clickthrough rates.
Before you take any action, you should first take a long, hard look at the conversion points on your website. Catalog each of the conversions you’re tracking and think about them from a user perspective. Here are a few questions that you can apply to your conversion points to assess them:
- Is it obvious that this conversion point is the next logical step in the process to contact the bank, open an account, or apply for a loan?
- Is the conversion point eye-catching? An effective button should stand out from the rest of the page, and it should be obvious that it is a button and not simply an image or visual element that a visitor might overlook.
- Is the conversion placed in a highly visible spot on the page? If your conversion points are near the bottom of a webpage, it’s likely that your visitors aren’t scrolling far enough to see them.
- Does the conversion point clearly denote what will happen when someone clicks it? For example, a button reading Open Online may be less clear than a button that reads Open Your Free Checking Account Online.
- Are you offering more than one conversion point on a page? If so, is there a clear hierarchy? Every bank wants more clicks through to their mortgage loan application portal, but what if your customer isn’t quite ready for that step? Give them options to call a mortgage lender, send a message through a contact form, etc.
- Does the conversion point show up in an optimal spot on your mobile site? Just because it is front and center on your desktop website does not mean that it is placed in the same position on your mobile site. You can test this by either visiting your bank website on your phone, or by opening the site in a window in your PC browser and decreasing the size of the window. You may see that the change from desktop to mobile causes your conversion points to shift into less optimal positions on the page.
Try to be as critical and as thorough as possible when it comes to reviewing your conversion points. Sometimes, optimizing a conversion can be as simple as adjusting the color of the button, changing where the button appears on the page, or changing the button text. Make a list of these potential issues so that they can be addressed. For some that are glaringly obvious, you might want to implement changes immediately.
But what if you are not sure whether changing a conversion point will yield better results? What if it actually has a negative impact on your goal tracking? Luckily, there’s a tool that allows you to test conversion optimizations so that you can make an educated decision backed by hard data.
Take advantage of Google Optimize
Google has provided a handy, free tool called Google Optimize that allows you to test conversion optimization strategies on your website. It integrates with Analytics and Tag Manager to test existing conversions by running experiments that allow you to run multiple versions of a web page at once. This is known as A/B testing, and it’s a great way to gauge the results of your optimization strategies.
For example, once you begin an experiment, Google will show 50 percent of your visitors a version of the page that still shows your original conversion point, while the other 50 percent will see your new and (hopefully) improved conversion point. This allows you to test your conversions in real time with your actual website visitors to see how they respond to the changes.
Optimize provides several options for experimentation, allowing you to run tests independently for multiple conversion points, over various periods of time, and much more. The tool provides an easy-to-use platform that allows you to create variant pages of your website right from your browser. Very little technical experience is needed for this, and you can have a simple Optimize experiment up and running in 20 minutes or less.
Use the information you gain when you review your conversion points and think about how you can implement changes to improve them. Here are a few sample experiments that you might want to run.
Call to action placement: Change where your conversion points are appearing on the page. Your visitors may be overlooking them, so make sure that your high-value conversion points receive the highest priority and visibility. Be sure to check how these conversions shift throughout the page on multiple devices to ensure that it will be visible to all visitors.
Additional CTAs: If you only have one conversion point on the page, you may want to experiment by adding a greater variety of conversion actions on the page. For example, you may offer an online account opening button as your primary call to action, but you may want to include secondary CTAs for customers who are not quite ready to open an account. Calling a bank branch, submitting a contact form or calling a support number may be additional calls to action that you could capture if someone is not in the final stages of the buyers’ journey.
CTA design: It may be the case that your call to action is visually unappealing. Try using Google Optimize to edit the button color, text, size, or placement to see if this yields any interesting results. Even making small changes, like changing the color of a button, can make your call to action more obvious and appealing to visitors.
New content: If you think that your content is not connecting with your audience, try revising it and running the new content as an experiment. You could try adding new sub-headings to break up the text and make it easier to skim, adding elements like customer testimonials or quotes from your team members, or simply rewriting the text itself.
It’s easy to get an Optimize experiment up and running, allowing you to begin collecting results quickly. You can even run multiple variations of an experiment to see which one performs the best.
Case Study: Mortgage Application Experiment
A community bank in Illinois had recently redesigned their website but had seen an overall drop in conversions on several pages. Most notably, their mortgage page was performing roughly 30 percent worse than it had the previous year prior to the redesign. After reviewing the page, their web marketing team discovered several factors that could be improved through conversion optimization:
Inconsistent buttons: Their mortgage application buttons were leading to two different landing pages, which was cannibalizing their own data. To fix this, all buttons were directed to lead to the same URL.
Button design: The designers who had created the site had built large, robust imagery with buttons integrated inside the images. Using Google Optimize, the bank ran an experiment to see if these buttons would be more visible and enticing to visitors if the surrounding imagery was removed and the text within the button was changed to be more action oriented.
The original CTA: When the bank’s new website was developed, their designers used similar styling for many of the calls-to-action across the website. The buttons, which led to their mortgage portal, were surrounded by imagery and text with a simple “Apply Now” as the primary CTA text. Year-over-year data suggested that conversions tied to theses buttons were performing worse than they had on the old website, so an experiment was run to determine whether the button design, text and placement would have an impact on conversions.
The new CTA: The purpose of the experiment was to simplify and streamline the primary call-to-action button to see if this would be more enticing for users. The surrounding imagery and text were removed and the text within the button was changed. The button itself was also larger to accommodate the increased amount of text. The position of the button on the page was unchanged. It remained at the top of the page and was duplicated in several locations on the page.
The results: The experiment was run over a period of 50 days, during which roughly 50 percent of traffic was sent to the page with the original CTA while the remaining 50 percent was sent to the page with the new CTA. Over this period, the pages received a combined total of 6,120 visitors. Of the 3,019 visitors who viewed the original page, 85 of them clicked the Original CTA button for a conversion rate of 2.82%. The page with the new CTA, meanwhile, received 3,101 visitors who engaged with the newly redesigned button 113 times, with a conversion rate of 3.64 percent. Google projects the page with the updated call-to-action to have a 94 percent probability to be the optimal page.
This led to an overhaul of the button design across the website in order to boost mortgage loan applications. The data shows even a simple change like revising the text and design of the primary call to action button can yield an increase in conversions. Just keep in mind that changes that positively impact one page may not have the same results on other pages. This is why it’s beneficial to test all of your optimization efforts with experiments before implementing site-wide changes for all CTAs.
Start running experiments today
It’s easy to get started with Google Optimize experiments, and it’s a great way to perform a soft test of your website changes before implementing them across your site. Connect your Optimize account with your Google Analytics and Tag Manager accounts today to start experimenting. If you need assistance getting started with your digital marketing and optimization efforts, consider working with an agency that can walk you through the essentials of Analytics reporting, configure goal tracking in Tag Manager and initiate some experimentation in Optimize to help you grow your community bank.
Scott Stellwagon is a digital analyst at BankBound, a marketing agency focused exclusively on growing local financial institutions.