Most financial services consumers start their journey by finding and comparing providers online, often through search. Many don’t have a specific provider in mind. When it comes time to make a purchase, most financial services consumers place a phone call. This is because financial decisions like investments, loans, and mortgages are often highly considered and require a live agent to field the questions and concerns prospects will voice. In addition, the financial uncertainties presented by COVID-19 have driven an increase in call volumes to providers.
To acquire more customers in 2021, financial services marketers are optimizing SEO and digital ads to drive more high-quality calls. And, to increase phone conversions, they’re personalizing the caller experience.
The Financial Services Consumer Journey Begins Online — Often with a Search
1. 90% of loan and mortgage consumers, 85% of check cashing consumers, and 76% of tax return preparation consumers start their journey with an online search. For many financial services consumers, search is the first step to assess their options (Source: LSA).
2. Mobile searches related to financial planning and management have grown 70% over the past two years. In our mobile-first world, many financial services searches are run on smartphones, which makes calling an agent more seamless than ever before (Source: Google).
3. Mobile queries for “what should I invest in?” have increased by 65% year-over-year. If you can optimize your SEO or create paid search ads for these terms, you’ll be able to entice consumers looking for investment advice (Source: Google).
4. Mobile queries for “retirement calculator” have increased by 115% in the last two years. Reach consumers planning for retirement by optimizing for these search terms (Source: Google).
5. Mobile queries for “bank near me” have grown by over 60% in the past two years. More than ever, consumers are using local searches to find and evaluate financial services providers (Source: Google).
6. Mobile queries for “financial advisor” have increased by 75% in the last 2 years. Financial services consumers are increasingly making searches on their mobile devices — placing click-to-call extensions on your ads can create a seamless link from searching online to speaking with an advisor (Source: Google).
7. 93% of check cashing consumers, 81% of loans and mortgage consumers, and 54% of tax return preparation consumers did not have one company in mind while searching. This presents a golden opportunity to convert these undecided searchers (Source: LSA).
8. After running a search, loan and mortgage consumers spend an average of $28,435. Banking consumers spend an average of $3,432. Accounting consumers spend an average of $683. Each undecided searcher represents a major revenue opportunity for your company (Source: LSA).
Financial Services Marketers Are Investing More in Digital Ads to Acquire Customers
9. Financial services advertising spend is projected to increase by $3.94 billion from 2020 to 2021. Providers pulled back advertising budgets in 2020 due to the uncertainties of COVID-19, but this year ad spend is poised to bounce back in a big way and reach an all-time high (Source: eMarketer).
10. The financial services sector makes up over 14% of overall spend in online advertising. Financial services companies spend more on online advertising than almost any other industry (Source: eMarketer).
11. Financial services keywords are among the most expensive in Google Ads and Bing Ads and some can cost $50 or more per click. Financial services customers have high lifetime values and, as a result, paid search competition is fierce (Source: WordStream).
12. The average conversion rate for a financial services search ad is 5.10%. For a financial services display network ad, it’s 1.19%. Despite the comparatively high cost of financial services ads, their conversion rates are consistent with most other industries (Source: WebFX).
13. The average cost for a financial services lead is $160. Financial services leads are expensive to drive — ensuring you provide a smooth experience to convert them to customers is critical (Source: Sales Lead Automation).
14. More than 50% of banks either do not measure ROI (return on investment) for their marketing at all or measure it in less than 25% of their campaigns. Despite spending aggressively on digital ads, many financial services marketers don’t have proper attribution in place to measure the return on their spend (Source: Blue Fountain Media).
Most Financial Services Consumers Convert by Calling
15. 66% of banking consumers and 57% of investment consumers call to make a purchase. When it comes time to make a purchase, financial services consumers prefer to speak to a live agent (Source: Google).
16. 72% of loan shoppers made at least 2 phone calls to the financial institution during the loan vetting process. Complex financial services often require more than one call with a live agent to finalize a purchase (Source: Market Cube).
17. 95% of check cashing consumers, 93% of accounting consumers, and 75% of tax return preparation consumers call a business after running a search. Since these services are complex purchases that deal with sensitive financial data, consumers often feel most comfortable speaking with a live agent to make a purchase (Source: LSA).
18. The price point at which financial services consumers are most likely to call to make a purchase is $416. The more expensive the purchase, the more likely consumers are to convert over the phone (Source: Google).
19. 64% of calls to financial services providers come from organic search. 36% come from paid search. A strong SEO strategy is a must-have for driving calls (Source: DialogTech).
20. 49% of financial services phone leads from organic search come from mobile devices. To drive more organic search phone leads, test and optimize different call button placements and CTAs on your website (Source: DialogTech).
21. 52% of financial services phone leads from paid search come from mobile devices. Mobile is an important channel for driving phone leads from paid search — to maximize phone leads from mobile devices, use call extensions (Source: DialogTech).
22. January is the month financial services providers receive the highest call volume. To maximize your revenue, ensure you’re providing a frictionless call experience — even when your call volumes are at their highest (Source: DialogTech).
23. 12pm is the time of day financial services providers receive the most calls. Ensure your call center is adequately staffed during this time (Source: DialogTech).
Inbound Phone Calls Are A Valuable Conversion for Financial Services Marketers
24. Calls will influence over $1 trillion in US consumer spending this year. In our mobile-first world, calls are often the most convenient way for customers to convert (Source: BIA/Kelsey).
25. Phone calls convert to 10-15x more revenue than web leads. Calls are one of the most valuable conversions financial services marketers can drive. By tracking the calls driven by your campaigns, you can measure your full ROI and optimize accordingly (Source: BIA/Kelsey).
26. Callers convert 30% faster than web leads. Calls provide a more immediate return on your marketing investment (Source: Forrester).
27. Caller retention rate is 28% higher than web lead retention rate. Driving calls from financial services marketing campaigns is also more profitable in the long-term — callers are more loyal than web leads (Source: Forrester).
28. 84% of marketers report phone calls having higher conversion rates with larger order value (AOV) compared to other forms of engagement. Phone calls are often the most valuable conversions for marketers (source: Forrester).
29. 41% of organizations report having increased phone conversion rates by 25% or more in the past 12 months. Not only are consumers calling more due to COVID-19 — they’re also calling with higher intent to make a purchase. Both the volume and value of calls are increasing for many businesses due to COVID-19 (Source: Forrester).
30. 85% of marketers believe inbound calls and phone conversations are a key component of their organization’s digital-first strategy. Financial services marketers plan to tap into phone call data to better understand their customers and inform their strategies (Source: Forrester).
Conversation Intelligence Data from Phone Calls Helps Financial Services Marketers Deliver Better Personalization and Drive Revenue
31. 48% of marketers have provided or expect to provide enhanced customer experiences as a result of scaling conversation intelligence across the enterprise. With conversation intelligence data, marketers can enhance ad targeting, segment email campaigns, serve personalized website experiences, and more, based on the content of phone conversations (Source: Forrester).
32. 43% of marketers have improved or expect to improve customer acquisition and retention as a result of scaling conversation intelligence across the enterprise. When you tailor consumer experiences based on the content of their phone conversations, you better meet their needs and earn their loyalty (Source: Forrester).
33. Marketers who have scaled conversation intelligence across the enterprise have seen or expect to see improved analytics efficiency, increased business efficiency, improved employee productivity, and seamless integration with existing systems. Conversation intelligence allows financial services providers to get smarter insights into their consumers and make more informed decisions to drive efficiency (Source: Forrester).
Marketing Personalization Is Critical to Success in the Financial Services Industry
34. Callers to financial services call centers wait on hold 1.3x longer than the average time of other industries. Long hold times harm your ROI, since they frustrate customers and increase abandonment (Source: Talkdesk).
35. 88% of companies now prioritize the customer experience in their contact centers. Most companies understand the call channel is a critical phase of the consumer journey and are taking steps to make it as seamless as possible (Source: Deloitte).
36. 63% of financial services organizations ranked customer experience as their top priority. Financial services companies are shifting their focus toward the customer experience — and that includes inbound phone calls (Source: Adobe).
37. 85% of financial services professionals believe that responding to customer expectations faster is an urgent need for the business. To provide great experiences, financial services companies need to keep a finger on the pulse of the customer experience and customer sentiment (Source: Bizagi).
Failing to Deliver a Frictionless Experience — Online and Over the Phone — Results in Lost Revenue
38. 32% of consumers say phone calls are the most frustrating customer service channel. Simply fielding inbound phone calls isn’t enough — it’s important for agents to have data on each caller so they can quickly and efficiently address their needs (Source: Aspect).
39. 57% of consumers say they would likely choose an institution for their loan after a positive call experience. Financial services customers want to do business with companies that make them feel heard, understood, and valued (Source: Market Cube).
40. 34% of callers who hang up after being on hold too long will never call back. Long hold times can alienate many of your potential customers forever (Source: VRI).
41. 64% of consumers would choose another financial institution after a poor call experience. If you fail to provide frictionless call experiences, it will cost you customers (Source: Market Cube).
So What Can Financial Services Marketers Do to Drive More Call Conversions?
- Make it easy for consumers to call you. This includes using call extensions on Google ads and making “call now” an action on web pages.
- Track calls from marketing source to conversion. This will help you understand the quality of the calls your marketing sources are driving and allocate spend accordingly.
- Enhance your call routing and call management. To convert callers, it’s important to provide a frictionless, personalized experience that makes them feel valued and known.
- Capture the questions callers are asking on calls and address them in your online content to improve SEO traffic and boost conversions.
- Analyze conversations to measure what percentage of calls aren’t being answered at each location/call center, if long on-hold times result in high call abandon rates, if the caller was a good lead, if they converted, and which agents or locations are best (and worst) at converting callers to customers. You can then make the appropriate adjustments to your marketing and coach your agents if necessary.
- Integrate call data with your CRM, marketing, and digital advertising tools. In turn, you’ll gain a holistic view of the consumer journey and the data you need to allocate your budget more effectively.
- Target past callers and lookalikes with the right ads based on their conversations. Your callers provide a wealth of targeting data you can use to more effectively acquire new customers and retarget qualified callers based on whether or not they converted.
- Optimize, analyze, repeat. Once you start generating more calls, it’s important to continually test and scale your processes, while correcting issues that hurt your ROI.
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