5 Signs You've Outgrown Your Financial Calculators

January 12, 2020

The early adopters of financial calculators were pioneers; trailblazers who understood that customers have complex questions that can be easily solved with online tools. Fast forward 15 years and these same calculators have been left in the dust.

The truth is that the calculator options available at the time were limited and the market’s offerings were under-developed. In most cases, products were created as a one-size-fits-all solution and distributed to thousands of competing banks in the process. Some other calculators took shape in the form of home-grown tools forcing marketers to make do with inadequate (and sometimes non-existent) functionality.

Fast forward to 2019, and digital marketers are expected to do more with less, faced with shrinking budgets and rising expectations. And while those calculators solved a singular use case, they won’t cut it in the new world where the customer experience is king and a marketers job depends on increasing conversions while lowering acquisition costs.

Sadly, these calculators are often an afterthought of a larger digital transformation. The rest of the website gets updated, the content marketing budget grows, but these calculators remain stuck in the past – and consumers are starting to feel the pain in a big way.

Fortunately, most banks and credit unions are not heavily invested in their current calculators and now is the perfect time to self-assess and reset the foundation for the next generation of financial calculators.

We talked to hundreds of marketers, and here are the top 5 issues we’ve heard from online calculators, and our solutions to these problems

  1. "We are not getting qualified traffic to our website - no SEO value"
  2. "We are providing a bad Customer Experience"
  3. "We can't measure results or get customer data"
  4. "Our calculators look like they were built in the '90s"
  5. "We can't make updates without calling IT or our agency"

#1 "We’re not getting qualified traffic to our website - no SEO value"

Why it’s a problem: With over 50 million consumers searching for financial tools and calculators each month, they represent a significant organic traffic opportunity. By using calculators that aren’t optimized for search, that opportunity is being missed.

How to fix it: There are two main pitfalls with calculators out there today; they are embedded using iFrames, and they all have duplicated content. Both of these issues are fatal for SEO. The use of an iFrame essentially means search engines cannot see your content, giving you very little chance to rank for your target keywords. The duplicate content also means your calculators won’t stand out – you’re competing with every other calculator on the market.

How does Chimney fix this: Chimney provides calculators that leverage simple, embeddable javascript code, which, unlike an iFrame, can be read by search engines like Google. Secondly we give you the ability to fully customize your copy (we’ll even do it for you!) to ensure your content is unique from other sites out there.

#2 "We can't make updates without calling IT or our agency "

Why it's a problem: Many early calculators were focused on getting a functioning tool onto your website, but this over-simplified approach resulted in lack of flexibility to customize, update, and edit the tools. These legacy tools require marketers to have a deep understanding of JavaScript and CSS to make even basic updates. To make matters worse, marketers ticketing requests to internal IT teams are often met with delays due to “limited resources”.

How to fix it: Use a tool that allows marketers to make updates to all of their calculators at once without having to learn JavaScript and CSS code to make simple updates.

How does Chimney fix this: Chimney enables marketers to manage and update all of your calculators, without IT requests or learning how to code. Our flexible Calculator Editor makes it easy for marketers to make updates, edits, and changes to their calculators — all from a single platform. As a result, marketers can make updates in seconds. Brand refresh? Need to update a legal disclaimer? Simply make the update on your central dashboard and push it live to all your calculators instantly.

#3 "We’re providing a bad Customer Experience"

Why it's a problem: When legacy calculators were built, the focus was on function, not on the customer. The customer experience is simply the sum of all touchpoints someone has with your brand. As digital budgets and website updates have become more prominent, legacy calculators have been forgotten. If your tools are not simple and easy to use, consumers will simply move onto a consumer site Bankrate or Nerdwallet or even worse, a competitor! “90% of calculators visitors abandon your website completely because the tools are confusing, disconnected, and difficult to use.”

How to fix it: Calculators should be professionally designed with the customer journey in mind – it’s absolutely vital to map out how they are going to use your tools or they won’t use them at all.

How does Chimney fix this: Chimney was founded out of frustration with the lack of easy-to-use financial calculators on the internet. We started by evaluating the UX/UI of design-first companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Apple. We talked to product designers, attended conferences, researched user behavior, and held interviews to understand what makes best-in-class tools so beautiful, innovative, and easy to use. Once the designs were finalized, we found the best engineering talent to build these tools in the simplest, cleanest interface possible. The result of this process are calculators that people love to use, period.

#4 "Our calculators look like they were built in the '90s"

Why it's a problem: The early adopters of online calculators didn’t have to put an emphasis on an integrated look and feel because other parts of the digital experience didn’t have the ability to be customized. However today, all parts of marketing from a display ad unit to a billboard need to provide a consistent brand experience or risk losing customers.

How to fix it: Use your brand & style guidelines to launch calculators that can be customized to meet these needs.

How does Chimney fix this: Our flexible Calculator Editor makes it easy for marketers to make updates, edits, and changes to their calculators — all from a single platform.

#5 "We can't even measure results or get customer data"

Why it's a problem: Often times, calculators are some of the most visited pages on your website. But how do you know the true value they are providing if you can’t measure how many users are engaging with or converting from your calculators.

How to fix it: Ensure you’re getting valuable insights into the actions people are taking and the leads you’re driving into the funnel.

How does Chimney fix this

  • Pageviews: We show you how many people are engaging with your calculators.
  • Button Clicks: We highlight the number of users that have clicked through on either of the targeted calls-to-action (CTAs) on your calculators
  • Conversion rate: See what percentage of users are clicking through on your CTAs

All of these metrics are provided over time, so you can track the impact of your tests, optimizations and campaigns. ChimneyChimney

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