Why Financial Guidance? The Business Case

June 15, 2021

Your competition is tougher than ever....

Your budgets are getting tighter...but expectations just keep going up.

So how can your team increase qualified conversions across your digital channels?

Personalized interactive content at scale is a good place to start. And here’s some great news: 83% of consumers say they are willing to share their information to create a more personalized experience, as per Accenture.

Now that you know that your audience is on board, your biggest challenge may actually come from within. You have to present the strategy to your boss, your coworkers, your lending team, and who knows who else.

Whether you are revamping your website or trying to build a better online experience for your customers, look no further for the info you need to build a business case for your team.

How are things working today?

The Digital Banking Report from The Financial Brand revealed that most consumers want their financial institution to use their data. But get this: 94% of financial institutions admit they can’t deliver on the “personalization promise.”

In fact, according to a Salesforce study, financial services was the second lowest ranked industry when it comes to how well they’re able to engage consumers (only government was ranked worse – yikes!). 

Your prospective customers are telling you what they want, and yet so many financial institutions aren’t able to fulfill those needs. Sounds like a pretty huge business challenge to us!

Contributing to that major hurdle toward success are these other common digital challenges facing financial institutions today:

  • Competition stealing market share: Traditional competition and digital-first newcomers like Bankrate, Nerdwallet, and Fintechs are attracting customer eyeballs before you do.  Since they are dominating the SEO rankings with their vast libraries of content and rate comparisons, you have a lot of catching up to do. 
  • Slow digital adoption: Your existing customers are slow to adopt new technology and you need better engagement across your digital channels. 
  • Not enough qualified leads: You are not getting enough qualified visitors to your website and into your sales funnels. It’s not an unfixable problem, however. It just means that right now, you aren’t providing targeted answers to the questions that your customers are asking online. Questions like: How much mortgage can I afford? Should I refinance my home? How much will I make if I open a CD?
  • Low conversion rates: Even if you’re getting people to your site, if you’re not engaging them across SEO/SEM, via your email marketing, on landing pages and product pages, and across your website, it will be all for nothing. “Trusted advisor” status is what will differentiate banks from all other touchpoints that offer embedded financial services. 
  • High customer acquisition costs: Industry estimates put acquisition costs for banking around $300. In other words, it’s not hard to use up your budget on expensive paid campaigns like SEO and across digital channels and have nothing to show for it.
  • Disconnected systems: Especially for smaller banks and credit unions, a lot of your digital technology may be outdated and disconnected from the rest of your systems. The J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study actually called out this problem, citing a real gap when it comes to banks offering a great digital experience. 
  • Technology and development resources are expensive: Again, it’s about using your budget wisely and seeking out “bang-for-your-buck” partners that can help you stay competitive in a budget-friendly way.

So how can you level the playing field?

A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say. If you are able to provide personalized, interactive answers at scale, every digital channel you have will reap the benefits. 

As a marketer, that’s something you know and understand. But we get it – you need to share metrics to support that. Keep reading for tips on how to build an ROI analysis that’ll convince your team to pull the trigger on some shiny new calculators. 

What will the business impact of calculators be?

This is the key question you will have to answer in order to win over your team: What measurable impact will financial calculators have on your digital strategy?

Once you understand that, you need to put it into the language of the folks making the business decisions. So go ahead and tell them this: “I’ve found a solution that will help us tap into a new audience of qualified leads.”

Calculators allow people to find the answers they're looking for online, which gives you an opportunity to tap into a whole new audience. Now translate that to business-speak:

  • More qualified website traffic from your paid campaigns? Check.
  • Improved SEO Rankings for priority keywords? Check.
  • Lowered Customer Acquisition Costs? Check.

Perhaps The Financial Brand said it best: “Calculator pages will drive valuable inbound traffic to your website from search engines.” 

You will improve your website health

Interactive and personalized tools are more engaging than products, rates, and traditional digital content. However, most companies aren't able to afford expensive digital tools... until Chimney made it easy, that is. So here’s how you explain this in ROI terms:

  • Improved Website Engagement: In a study by DemandGen, it was revealed that interactive content gains 2x more engagement than written articles.
  • Increased Time on your website: 66% of marketers say engagement levels increased after introducing interactive content to their marketing plans.
  • Lower Bounce Rate: Marketing website Quicksprout estimates that interactive content can help you drop your bounce rate by15% or more.
  • More Pages Per Visit: As marketing expert Neil Patel explains: “If visitors are looking at a lot of different pages, spending a lot of time reading those pages, and leaving comments or reviews, they’re still interacting at a high level. Even if they’re not converting (yet) your goal should be to increase these interactions.”

You will win more customers online

Once people find the answers they're looking for, you need to be able to convert them – that’s when the “R” of ROI begins to really kick in. Calculators are a direct measurable channel to convert more people into your application and online account opening workflows. Show your team exactly how it’s done:

  • Higher conversion rates on landing & product pages featuring calculators: According to one study by Outgrow, conversion rates from interactive content are nearly 30% higher than your typical landing pages.
  • Increased Click Through Rate on email marketing campaigns featuring calculators: Get more people to your landing pages by offering them something they value.
  • More Online Applications directly from calculators: Dime Savings Bank saw 200 customers clicking into account applications flows within three months of working with Chimney.
  • More Online Account Openings directly from calculator CTAs: First Foundation Bank saw an additional 500 customers clicking to open savings accounts after launching Chimney calculator.
  • More Appointments for Loan Officers & Bankers booked directly from calculators: Direct Federal Credit Union, another Chimney client, had over 120 people click into their Mortgage Application funnel in just 3 weeks after launch. This led to a 71% increase in Mortgage Applications.

You will improve your digital benchmarks

Digital Transformation is one of the most important efforts facing financial institutions today. With 50% of customers interacting with their bank via web and mobile applications at least once a week,  banks need to evolve with the times.

Consumers expect a digital experience that is beautifully designed, easy to use, and simple to understand. Calculators provide that experience seamlessly integrated to the rest of your website and products. This can help your site achieve recognition including:

  • NPS
  • JD Power Website Rankings
  • Industry awards for a best-in-class digital experience

You will save money in development & opportunity cost

“There’s a reason why agencies often recommend third parties when they offer a product that can speed time to market and meet consumer expectations”

-Michelle Brown, ZAG Interactive

The average time to design and launch a custom calculator from scratch is 12-16 weeks (that’s not even counting the time it takes for you to build the business case and win budget). Not to mention that it ties up so many resources from across departments includings UX/UI designers, developers, your website team, compliance, legal, and your boss. Here’s just a few of the headaches that you can save by outsourcing to a trusted partner instead:

  • Billable hours of your agency to build, maintain and fix broken calculators 
  • FTE hours spent trying to fix outdated technology 
  • Frustration over poor integrated and unorganized data 
  • Missed opportunities that your team could be focused on other high impact projects

“Why try to reinvent the wheel when there’s already a capability in the marketplace to immediately begin creating value?”

-James Robert Lay, Founder and CEO of Digital Growth Institute

In other words, if you can save money by investing in a solution that solves all of the above problems, the bottom line improves.

Share some Chimney customer testimonials

“Our developers mentioned how easily these calculators were to work with and implement when we redesigned our website this year.” 

- Joe Raitano, Vice President, Digital Marketing Officer, Dime Community Bank

“We know the engagement is better than before we started with Chimney.” 

- Colin Kapp, VP, Senior Marketing Manager, First Foundation

“The backend of the product is easy to understand and use as well, which made the learning curve a nonissue.” 

- Cody Buchholz, Vice President, Marketing at Mobiloil Credit Union

Hit ‘em with big, bold numbers

Armed with all of the above information, once you’re in the home stretch of making the business case for adding calculators to your site, you want to end strong. Here are a few more stats to get you across the finish line:

Financial Advice and Interactive Content

  • 2 million people are searching for financial calculators everyday in the US! (SEO data)
  • According to one study by Outgrow, conversion rates from interactive content are nearly 30% higher than your typical landing pages.
  • 83% of consumers say they are willing to share their information to create a more personalized experience, as per Accenture.
  • In a study by DemandGen, it was revealed that interactive content gains 2x more engagement than written articles.  
  • 66% of marketers say engagement levels increased after introducing interactive content to their marketing plans.
  • 79% of successful marketers say interactive tools and content encourage people to return to their websites.
  • In The Financial Brand’s Digital Banking Report, a survey conducted among financial institutions worldwide, 88% of respondents said improving customer experience and engagement was their most important digital banking transformation strategy.
  • Another eye-opening stat from Kapost found that interactive content generates conversions “moderately” or “very well” 70% of the time, compared to just 36% for passive content.

Financial Calculators: A Great Solution

  • Calculator visitors show 7x more intent than website visitors. That means, they have the ability to generate more applications.
  • People are 3x more likely to provide their contact information when working with a calculator than when downloading a whitepaper or filling out a contact form.
  • 50 million people are searching for calculators every month. 

“A calculator can make a problem easier to understand for a buyer by offering quantitative data like pricing, ROI, savings, etc. — an intervention that goes a long way for buyers who don’t know what to purchase or why one product is better than another.”


Overheard in the Industry 

  • “Striking the right balance between simplicity and accuracy is what separates good financial tools from the bad.” Stephen Wendel, head of behavioral science at investment research firm Morningstar
  • “Most institutions outsource their financial calculators in order to benefit from some of the key features that users expect – a modern user experience, mobile responsiveness, ADA conformance, search engine friendly and use of the latest technology… There’s a reason why agencies often recommend third parties when they offer a product that can speed time to market and meet consumer expectations.” Michelle Brown, ZAG Interactive
  • “Why try to reinvent the wheel when there’s already a capability in the marketplace to immediately begin creating value?” James Robert Lay, Founder and CEO of Digital Growth Institute

>> The Financial Brand said it best:

“Calculator pages will drive valuable inbound traffic to your website from search engines.” 

The State of Digital Banking

>> “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. 

Brand Loyalty and Customer Experience

  • “75% of customers expect consistent experiences wherever they engage with a brand: website, social media, etc.” – Salesforce
  • Frequency of interaction builds loyalty and advocacy; people are 5x more likely to buy from a brand they interact with weekly than once a month.
  • “High quality content across the entire customer journey increases customer satisfaction and boosts loyalty.”  – McKinsey & Company 
  • “Consumers viewing a constant message across a variety of channels can improve brand perception by 68%. “ – Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) 
  • “Companies who focus on delivering consistent experiences are worth 20% more than those that aren’t.” – Techipedia 

>>  Better brand experiences drive content and marketing ROI!

Behavioral Targeting Statistics

The Power of Personalization

  • 86% of companies with high ROI reported that personalization made up 21% or more of their marketing budget. 
  • 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization, as per Forrester.
  • Businesses with a full or partial personalization strategy experienced revenue growth 78% of the time.
  • 93% of businesses with an advanced personalization strategy experienced revenue growth.

Customer Journey and Financial Guidance 

  • Consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they consume early-stage, educational content.
  • Gartner research shows that a prescriptive approach (which guides customers to information, decisions and options that matter most in the purchase decision) can increase a customer’s purchase ease by 86%
  • Consumers are most likely to turn to their primary financial institution (55%) when seeking resources for financial literacy, followed by online sources (45%), and family and friends (39%).
  • According to The Financial Brand’s Digital Banking Report, 33% of financial institutions globally said that financial education/advice will have the most positive impact on customer experience in 2021. 
  • “The most effective buyer enablement content identifies a key challenge, educates consumers, and offers a clear solution — ideally via a tool like a mortgage calculator… These tools empower buyers, letting people navigate a complex decision without explicitly selling to them.” – Contently
  • “Financial marketers can continue to expect that content is a key way to keep your customers engaged and fortify a sense of trust and brand loyalty.” – Everfi
  • “Banks and insurers can leverage ecosystems to deliver value to consumers in a number of different ways. These ecosystems should aim to respond to critical ‘life moments’ for consumers —for example, when they are buying a home or car, starting a family or retiring.” – Accenture

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