Web Personalization Techniques for Financial Services Companies

ArticleOctober 16, 2018

Customer experience is the backbone of a successful financial service company. Customer retention and growth = revenue growth. The question for marketers is how to translate this customer experience into the digital space. 

Enter web personalization — the process of segmenting a user base and delivering custom content based on each segment’s unique wants and needs. Personalization means you put the right content in front of the right audience. The net result is a smoother user experience that makes customers feel listened to but also increases exposure to relevant product offerings. 

Personalized web experiences are preferred by 63% of bank customers and can boost profits by as much as 5.6% annually.

Where to start

Web personalization is not easy. It is the product of the seamless handoff between strategy, technology, and implementation. But, it’s also not as difficult as it needs to be. By starting small and addressing your most valuable segments and product offerings first, you can build a personalization strategy from the ground up.

Pick the most impactful pages in your website and experiment with how personalized content might grease the conversion funnel. Swapping simple on-page elements can go along way towards improving customer experience and cross-sell opportunities. 

Some on-page elements that can be personalized:

  • Calls to Action
  • Customer Logos and Testimonials
  • Hero Images
  • Headlines

Strategic Segmentation

Defining your user segments is a crucial step in your personalization strategy. Start with high-value customers with the most opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell to other product offerings. 

Let’s take a look at some segments based on common consumer archetypes in the banking industry:

New Business Owner

A small business owner on the phone in front of a laptop

Interested in: 

  • Small Business Loans
  • Business Checking
  • New Lines of Credit

Just Moved In

A young couple moving into a new apartment

Interested in: 

  • Checking/Savings
  • Credit Cards
  • ATMs

Recent Homeowner

A couple signing a mortgage on a new home

Interested in:

  • Interest rates
  • College Savings Plan
  • Estate planning

Each segment has a specific set of interests based on the products they are most likely to engage with. By extension, each segment is also associated with a set of up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. A “Just Moved In” user might be more prone to setting up a new savings account while a “Small Business Owner” is more interested in opening up a business credit card. 

Your job is to align the promotion opportunity with the relevant user segment. A detailed understanding of your customer archetypes is ideal for effective cross-selling opportunities, but we can start with some basic personalization tactics, like the “next best action.”

Defining the “Next Best Action”

“Next Best Action” is your cross-selling bread and butter. It’s the product offering that a given customer segment will be most responsive to based on what you know about their buying habits. 

Let’s use our “Recent homeowner” archetype as an example. They’ve just put down a mortgage with us. We can infer that they have a steady income and are considering starting a family. In this case, our next best action is the cross-sell to our college savings account.  

Personalization in Practice

So, what would a cross-sell promotion for our college savings account look like? 

If we define our “recent homeowner” segment as any user who took out a mortgage with us in the last year, we can set a cookie on this user when they log into our online banking system. This cookie tells our personalization engine that the user falls into our “Recent homeowner” segment. 

A sample financial services homepage with a personalized banner image for a college savings plan.

Investing in the right technology

With our segments defined and our content aligned through the “next best action,” we have the building blocks of a web personalization strategy. But we are missing one key ingredient. The technology to pull it off. 

Some digital consultants and agencies will tell you to immediately invest in one of the big time web personalization tools, which are powerful but also cost an arm and a leg.

Luckily, there is an alternative.

Drupal+ is a license-free digital marketing platform the employs “Smart Content” as a personalization engine. Using componentized web design, marketers can dynamically insert content variations from the Drupal backend.

An animated image showing Smart Content replacing generic content with personalized content

The process looks like this:

  1. Create a content variation (Generic Hero Image vs “College Savings Plan” Hero Image)
  2. Add conditions (If user is “Recent Homeowner,” deliver “College Savings Plan” Hero Image)
  3. Smart Content dynamically inserts the “College Savings Plan” content to the “Recent Homeowner” segment.

If you are looking to launch a web personalization initiative, drop us a line or download the Drupal+ Personalization Brief.