How to turn your bank’s website into a lead generation engine

If your website traffic is lacking, consider adding personalized, interactive content that supplements your SEO strategy.

By Chase Neinken

Personal finances are personal. But all too often, when consumers are searching for financial guidance before making a large purchase they often first turn to Google, instead of their financial institution. This is a missed opportunity for banks to convert prospective borrowers into loyal customers.

A strong conversion strategy begins before potential customers even reach your bank’s website. That’s why banks benefit when focusing on getting the right people to their institution’s website and engage them well enough to create a lasting customer relationship.

Here’s what banks should do to increase qualified conversions across their digital channels:

Consider your SEO strategy

Before the days of high-speed internet, if someone had questions about a loan, they likely visited their local bank branch. Today, they often turn to Google. Therefore, your bank’s search engine optimization strategy is crucial.

Ensuring your bank’s website is SEO-friendly will increase web traffic and will help your site rank higher in search engine results. Showing up in search engine results is critical because when consumers have a major decision to make, many turn to the internet. In fact, a Pew Research survey reveals that 81 percent of consumers rely on their own research before making a major life decision and that research most frequently begins on the internet.

To improve search engine rankings, most organizations produce written content, such as informative how-to articles or a list of steps with the keywords that consumers are using in their search. However, the average consumer’s attention span is about eight seconds, which means a long-form article probably won’t keep them engaged for long. On the other hand, interactive content that’s optimized for search engines is more likely to attract website visitors and hold their attention.

Financial calculators are one form of interactive content that consumers are searching for. In fact, more than 2 million consumers in the U.S search for financial calculators every single day. That’s three-quarters of a billion people each year, and growing. Yet, financial calculators are nothing new, as a majority of bank websites offer them today.

The problem is most calculator pages on bank websites provide zero SEO value.

Think about the questions that a potential customer might be asking or researching on Google:

How much home can I afford? Should I refinance? How much money should I save for retirement?

Banks should edit and optimize copy within their calculator pages to align with the most frequently-used search terms. In addition, banks should consider supplementing their SEO efforts with paid search. To help grow website traffic and get the most out of your bank’s marketing budget, it’s worthwhile to boost your calculator pages with paid search, aiming to bring more visitors directly to a highly personalized experience and keep them engaged on your site for longer.

Make each website visit personalized

Now that your bank is attracting more website visitors, the next step is to personalize each interaction. This requires creating content that’s relevant for each consumer and their unique financial situation.

However, there’s no real way to really know what website visitors’ finances are like when they land on your bank’s site. The good news is that 83 percent of consumers are willing to share their data in exchange for a more personalized experience, according to Accenture.

You just have to give your website visitors the opportunity to provide that more personalized experience through interactive content. Financial calculators are one ideal way to do that. By collecting information from visitors, like their monthly budget for saving and their savings goal for example, your bank can guide each potential customer to the right product, such as a new savings account. This also makes it easier to capture demographic data from visitors your site is attracting and what they are looking for most. All of these insights will help your bank optimize its website and ultimately, increase online conversions.

Inspire visitors to take action

Attracting and engaging website visitors is just the beginning, as the ultimate goal is to gain new customers. After interacting with website content, inspire web visitors to take action with a strong call to action (CTA). Banks should determine what the next steps should be, such as asking website visitors to share their email address or phone number so the sales team can follow up.

Keep in mind that interactive content is also a great way to pre-qualify leads. When website visitors share details about their financial situation and are searching for specific answers, banks can rest assured the consumer has intent to move forward, whether it’s now or in the near future. These are not just random visitors that have landed on your site, so be sure to treat them as such. In some scenarios, an appropriate CTA will encourage visitors to open an account online or complete an online loan application.

A website for the win

The ideal way to attract new prospective customers is for them to figuratively “walk” into your online branch on their own. They start by asking questions online, they discover your site and then it’s up to you to show them why your bank is a perfect fit for their needs.

Your bank’s website should inspire web visitors to take action. If your website traffic is lacking, or if people are visiting your website but failing to convert, consider adding personalized, interactive content that supplements your SEO strategy. This approach not only provides valuable guidance for consumers based on their unique financial goals, this also gives your bank meaningful data to create a predictable and scalable lead generation funnel to grow your customer base. In this scenario, everyone wins.

Chase Neinken is cofounder of Chimney.