Digital Marketing

Loyalty-Building Acquisition Strategies for Financial Services

Robbie Freeman

Acquisition Trends Shaping Financial Services Marketing

Crafting a thoughtful acquisition strategy is critical to acquiring new customers and nurturing them into users with a high customer lifetime value during the early stages of tenure.

The opportunity in acquisition journeys is especially great for financial services marketers, but many struggle to meet everyday customer needs. In fact, three specific trends reflect exactly why customers drop off their acquisition journeys early:

  • Only 1 in 4 credit card customers in the conversion funnel actually purchase. This is a relatively low conversion rate, considering that 40% of credit card prospects are actively planning to buy, meaning that it’s paramount for brands to be thoughtful in their targeted content to better capture mindshare.
  • Mobile purchase journeys are 22% shorter than offline campaigns—customers who interact with one or more non-digital touchpoints—allowing marketers to save over 20% per acquired customer. Customers who do not finish their purchasing journey often drop off due to a lack of follow-up and educational content from the brand.
  • When it comes to personal loans, a higher number of men enter the conversion funnel, but the drop-off rate is also higher, reportedly 2.5x that of women. For men, drop-off is usually due to jargony, complex financial language that’s difficult to understand; for women, excessive information bundled together into one message can motivate them to churn.

With these trends shaping the industry, three key strategies emerge for combatting challenges that are common to financial services marketers: driving product and offer awareness, highlighting unique value propositions, and ensuring a frictionless application process. Here, discover the ways you can use your marketing messaging to support each of these strategies.

Driving Product and Offer Awareness

There’s no way around it. In the financial services space, welcome offers are often complex. Whether it’s multiple onboarding options or various requirements per customer, it can often be challenging for marketers to create a comprehensive message that’s simultaneously easy to digest and legally compliant. Ironically, when there’s an information overload, your customers’ brand awareness can plummet.

A quick but effective solution for this issue lies in templatization. Rather than trying to jam-pack every email with as much information as possible, marketers can rely on a single HTML framework using real-time customer data to personalize the template and ensure every send is perfectly tailored to the customer. For instance, a long-time customer onboarding to a new product could skip the “Account Creation” and “Company 101” content.

But even if there isn’t much data on hand for the customer, as is typical during the acquisition journey, marketers can use the templated approach to test various language options, hero images, and CTAs. Each variation can be analyzed to determine which drives the highest engagement and should be sent to the bulk of the brand’s email database.

Co brand credit card gif

Take this hotel’s co-branded credit card, for example. The hotel brand was trying to determine the best way to convey a complex welcome offer to potential customers. One option highlighted a free one-night stay by simply enrolling with the credit card, and the other showcased the number of points that would be earned and redeemable for the same free stay. To determine the winning message, the hotel used Movable Ink’s Content Optimizer to test each image and found that the 15k points call-out drove a much higher CTR.

By streamlining the messaging and prioritizing the most relevant information, the brand succeeded in driving stronger awareness among customers, and as a result, more conversions.

Highlight Value Added

The next strategy to enhance your acquisition marketing is clearly displaying how your product will bring value to the prospect. Don’t wait for the potential customer to find what they’re looking for; instead, be quick to highlight the clear benefits within your messaging.  

Fintech rates list

This fintech brand does just that by displaying each prospect’s best available interest rates from various banking partners. To comb through this mountain of information and produce an easily digestible message, the brand leveraged a single CSV file to pull in data regarding rates, term length, and minimum deposits, and then cross-referenced it with each prospect's individual profile. To quickly execute and scale this data-heavy task, the brand leveraged an automated API data source.

Ally Bank landing page scratch off

Ally Bank took a similar approach, but with a gamified twist. In their contextual scratch-off, each prospect got to “unlock a lower mortgage rate,” where clicking the image directs them to a landing page that highlights the best mortgage rate available based on their specific information. With this winning combination of a clear value proposition and gamified fun, Ally Bank drove an impressive 4x lift in CTR.

Frictionless Application

Frankly, if applications are an arduous experience, many prospects will be quick to look elsewhere for their financial needs. This insurance brand understood the importance of an easy acquisition journey, and how a personal touch—especially a phone call—can go a very long way with potential customers.

Anonymized insurance block

To ensure that their agents were always easily accessible, the brand dynamically populated the contact information for each prospect’s insurance representative in their email messaging. Prospects could also use the “Add to Calendar” option to ensure they booked a call within a timeframe that worked for them and their agent. This module was automated, making it quick for the marketers to implement, and most importantly, easy for prospects to use.

The Acquisition Checklist

The foundation of each of these three strategies is data. Without the right data, marketers will struggle to create the level of relevance customers need to engage, causing their email to feel generic and forgettable. To get your acquisition journey off on the right foot, here are some questions you should ask yourself when thinking about key data points to capture:

  • Do you have prospect data beyond their email address and first name? Use a cohesive email journey to capture prospects’ preferences through zero-party data.
  • Where in the conversion funnel are the majority of prospects dropping off? Once that is identified, analyze the data to understand why that's the case and whether the three strategies discussed can be applied to the problem.
  • What metrics reflect a successful acquisition journey and reflect  strong customer lifetime value?

By pairing strategic data with the three strategies of driving awareness, highlighting value added, and prioritizing frictionless onboarding, financial services marketers can increase acquisition rates all while setting up their customers for success. To further enhance the early stages of your customer journeys, explore the related resources below.