February 18, 2014
If you asked a person without extensive baseball knowledge if they would rather play small ball or hit home runs, they would likely say hit home runs. And who could blame them? There’s glory and fame that comes with hitting home runs.
This is a fine viewpoint, but dig a little deeper into the game of baseball and you will find that small ball strategy, when implemented correctly, tends to lead to more wins in a season.
It’s no different in online marketing; especially when it comes to banks.
What makes a person want to open a new account? Life changes, a better interest rate, fees, security, customer service... Everyone in the industry knows this. There are no home runs in the current game; you only win by playing small ball. (To be clear, new technology and business models have home run potential, but that is for a different conversation.)
Let’s bring it back to online acquisition. Small ball is played out on landing pages in the form of tests.
Landing pages are a good start for an online bank that has just taken the dive into testing because they're relatively simple to change. Your conversion funnel likely has many stakeholders, which means getting one test on the ground could take months. Focus on a quick win and then graduate to a bigger prize when you have a gang of supporters.
You can find those quick wins in the four Cs that move a person from consideration to conversion (no, these two Cs don’t count.):
Brand teams love to make unique creatives; banks tend to recycle the same images (people building houses or hanging out with the family). Fix the disconnect.
Take advantage of your brand team; test something new. Test the often used, but rarely fancy or effective, comparison chart. Better yet, test a new layout or video. Remember, very little differentiates banks; this is one area where you can distinguish yourself from the others. Just don’t rely on the same stock photos as your competitors; it's lazy and gets an article written about you (oldie, but goodie).
Even though you have a style guide and an idea of what gets people to convert, it’s likely not grounded in anything except an executive’s preferences. Leave nothing off the table. Test a text-heavy page and a page with very little text. Create different themes: Brand heavy, acquisition focused, and multiple products are just a few ideas.
Call to Action
Few things cause as many arguments between acquisition teams and brand teams as the call to action (CTA). Test the size. Test the message. Do anything except say “click here.”
In a mobile world, consider "click to call" if you have a good inbound sales team. Prospects considering a new bank account may not want a branch, but they may want to know that someone is around when they make a call.
I mentioned this in a previous post—alter your test strategy based on where your prospect came from.
In the banking world, a customer visiting from Bankrate knows your competition and has chosen to visit your landing page. Don’t mess it up. Just close the deal. And if the prospect clicked your ESPN takeover or a non-branded paid search advertisement, play up your brand a little bit.
Even when starting out with a small ball strategy, you can swing the bat a little bit. Don't run out of the gate with small, insignificant tests (whether to include “the” in your opening sentence will get you nowhere). The key is real differentiation, especially in the early stages. You will never get out of the statistical significance rabbit hole if you go bananas and test minute changes. I suggest starting with some high level A/B tests to get your feet wet. Though you won’t knock one out of the park, you'll see results.
Website landing page testing image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Rhett Brackeen is a digital marketer with extensive experience in the financial services and consumer industries. He’s currently AVP of Digital Marketing at Barclays, and was previously on the digital marketing teams at Capital One and ING DIRECT. Before Rhett got into digital banking, he spent time at GlaxoSmithKline and 3M.