Customer Journey Strategy Part One: How to Make Your Website Traffic Soar

February 22, 2021

Top of the Funnel Focus: In this 3-part series, we explore how financial services companies can do more at every stage of the funnel. That means getting more people to your website, engaging the people that are on your website, and increasing conversions so you can win more customers. 

The customer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that need to be answered. 

  • Part One: Awareness - Top of the Funnel: Learn on how you can attract more people to your website using SEO to increase overall website traffic, unique visitors, and rank higher for important keywords used during the buyer journey.
  • Part Two: Consideration - Middle of the Funnel: Learn on how you can engage the people on your website with interactive tools to increase engagement, time on site, and pages per visit. 
  • Part Three: Purchase - Bottom of the funnel: Learn on how you can convert more people on your website to become leads and customers. This means increasing the number of applications submitted, the number of qualified leads generated, and conversions on your website. 

There’s a real gap among smaller banking institutions when it comes to offering a great digital experience, as per J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. “Executing basic user-friendly functionality, providing a full range of services and offering easy ways to pay and move money are areas where banks could improve their digital offerings,” said Paul McAdam, senior director, banking intelligence at J.D. Power in a press release. 

Think back to when you were a kid, remember that house you lived in? That car your parents drove? Well someone had to pay for all that stuff and it was probably a pretty big decision for your parents at the time. Think about it, if your parents had a question about a loan, they had to go visit their local bank branch to get answers. Today, if someone has a question about a loan, they (of course) turn to the internet.

The same questions are getting asked today, but the way those questions are getting answered is dramatically different.

When U.S. consumers have to make big decisions, 8 out of 10 rely on their own research, according to a Pew Research survey. And since most people these days equate research with heading to Google to conduct a search, you need your site to be ready to provide answers. 

How much house can you afford?

How much money do you need to save for retirement?

Should you buy or lease that car?

These are life's most important financial decisions - people need answers at these key life moments and they should be getting their answers from you.

The ideal way to attract new prospective customers at the beginning of their customer journey is for them to figuratively “walk” into your online branch on their own. How it happens: They ask questions online, they discover your site, and then it’s up to you to show them why your institution is a perfect fit for their needs. 

Of course, in order to compete with publishers that typically dominate the search rankings, you have to be on top of your SEO game.

What questions are your customers asking?

You probably already know that a well-optimized site paired with smart top-of-funnel content can improve your search engine rankings and boost your traffic. But in addition to creating content that answers the research-driven queries your target audiences are performing on Google, you also need a competitive edge to improve your SEO – like an interactive financial tool that will make your site more discoverable and enhance your customers’ experience.

Top-of-funnel searches might look like: “Should I refinance?” or “Should I consolidate my debt with a personal loan?” People doing these types of searches do not want to be sold into a product right away. They are just looking for some insight into their own financial situation. As such, the types of content that will likely resonate with them will be informative articles (like a how-to guide or a list of strategies), or tools that will empower them to analyze their very personal situation. Financial Calculators that are interactive and personalized will put you ahead of the game.

Earning a strong SEO ranking for finance-related keywords takes effort. That’s why anything you can do to improve your search results – and at the same time, add value to your website content – will help attract more visitors. One solution to try: financial calculators. 

Ranking for finance-related keywords is incredibly competitive. In face, over 2 million U.S. consumers search for financial calculators each day!

Why Financial Calculators are amazing SEO tools

While most companies create dozens or hundreds of written text articles, well-designed Financial Calculators that are also SEO-optimized can be your secret weapon. Not only will they generate more organic traffic and improve rankings for key terms, but once new prospects have entered the top of your marketing funnel, your calculators will dazzle them with a sleek interactive experience. 

Here’s why financial calculators are amazing traffic drivers:

  • Google loves interactive tools. According to Financial Brand, “calculator pages can drive valuable inbound traffic to your website from search engines.” That’s certainly something that Chimney clients can attest to. When you consider that 90% of calculators that exist today are built on iframes, (aka, they provide zero SEO value), it’s no wonder why they are not on your radar. But what if we told you that some calculators, including ours, are built using Google-friendly javascript, meaning they are indexable and crawlable? What’s more, a customizable calculator allows banks and credit unions to edit and optimize copy so that they can rank for specific keywords instead of using the same duplicate copy as the other 100 sites sharing the same third-party calculator.
  • Your customers prefer interactive and personalized content VS written articles. The rise of Content Marketing and financial education means that a quick google search can find someone thousands of articles on a single topic. However, finding an interactive tool to answer for one person's specific financial situation is much more difficult. With financial calculators, for the price of one written article, you can have a calculator for the entire year.
  • Page speed & load times matter a lot. Site speed is one of Google’s ranking factors. If your site is slow, you have little chance of earning a high search position. As such, your calculators and other interactive features need to be quick and nimble. (Pssst… Chimney's calculators score in the 98th percentile in terms of Google PageSpeed tool.) iFrames can take forever to load (see more on iFrames below).
  • Mobile-First content is a requirement. Not only is mobile-friendliness an SEO-must as far as Google’s algorithm, but making sure each of your site elements works across all devices will help you stay competitive. When you consider that the number of financial institutions offering mobile onboarding features was 80% as of 2019, according to the Federal Reserve Mobile Financial Services Survey of Financial Institutions, you can’t afford to keep using old-school, clunky calculators that were built for desktop-only experiences.
  • Interactive content is where it’s at. The stats don’t lie: 79% of successful marketers say interactive tools and content encourage people to return to their websites. Remember, getting people to visit your site for the first time is just the beginning of the customer journey. Providing a simple, easy-to-use financial calculator up front makes a great first impression that can lead to an ongoing customer relationship. 

Financial Calculator Best Practices

  • Paid Search - Calculator pages are worthy choices for paid search. To help supplement SEO efforts, banks and credit unions may also deploy paid search to help grow traffic at the top of the funnel. Calculator pages can be a good use of that marketing spend, as they bring visitors directly into a highly personalized experience. Once visitors begin plugging in their numbers to get real-world insights, they will want to stick around. And when they are ready to move along to the next stage of the funnel, your brand will be top of mind. In the meantime, you have captured a qualified lead that you can follow up with. 
  • Test & Learn - Calculators with built-in analytics can help you measure and improve. Just popping a few awesome calculators on your site and calling it a day won’t really help you improve your marketing efforts. Tools should come with analytics so that you can monitor campaigns to see which pages are driving traffic and performing well on your site. With smart insights, you can figure out what works – and then do more of it!

Be a Top-of-Funnel Stand Out 

To recap, Chimney provides the industry’s only financial calculators built to attract more visitors to your website and improve your search rankings, you can check out all of our SEO benefits here.

As your search engine rankings improve and more qualified customers are coming to your website, next up is figuring out how to keep all of your new site visitors engaged and turn them into customers. 

So how do you engage them and convert them into customers?

As your search engine rankings improve, next up is figuring out how to keep all of your new site visitors engaged on your website. 

Don’t miss part two of our this Customer Journey series: How Financial Calculators Increase Engagement and Improve Customer Experience

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