Financial industry marketers face unique challenges: Balancing creativity with strict regulatory requirements. Navigating digital transformation in a slow-moving industry. Generating growth even as the larger economy falters.With the Fed actively waging war against inflation, and the rate increases that come with it, it’s enough for any financial industry marketer to cry for “help!”
Fortunately, help is here, in the form of marketing automation. This technology allows finance marketers to personalize their communications while standardizing their operations at scale. A survey of marketing leaders found businesses use marketing automation to “streamline marketing and sales efforts” (38%), “improve customer experience” (34%), and “improve customer engagement” (28%).
Of course, technology alone is never the sole answer, but marketing automation for financial services is a powerful tool that marketers can use to get ahead despite difficult market conditions.
Marketing Automation Examples for Financial Services
Marketing automation tools can help you create unique, tailored brand experiences that nurture customer engagement, no matter the size of your team. While organizations may achieve different levels of financial services marketing automation maturity over time, the core goals remain the same: streamlining and personalizing customer experiences at scale.
With a solid automation strategy, you can set up technical integrations, customer segments, and personalized campaigns once, and then deploy them repeatedly to drive results with minimal manual effort.
Here’s what this day-to-day reality looks like for financial services marketers, whether in the context of a bank, credit union, insurance brokerage, or wealth management firm:
Financial Services Email Marketing Automation
Automating your email marketing for financial services involves integrating your email service provider with your CRM, running A/B tests to improve open and click-through rates, personalizing content, and automating nurture campaigns throughout the customer life cycle. Use cases abound. You can use automation to enroll new leads in nurture campaigns that send educational content over time. You can send new clients onboarding campaigns to drive engagement with their new accounts. And you can promote new offerings like credit cards or loan products through upselling and cross-selling campaigns.
Social Media at Scale
With social media marketing automation, your team can save valuable hours when it comes to notoriously time-consuming activities. Automate repetitive tasks like scheduling and publishing content, and use advanced features like social media listening and employee advocacy to stay on top of conversations and comments while driving positive engagement.
SMS Marketing Automation
Depending on how you use SMS marketing for your financial service marketing, you can use automation to schedule text messages within your ongoing campaigns, track performance, and include engagement data in customer profiles. This could include standard alerts and notifications, promotional texts sent to a targeted segment of your audience, or even behaviorally triggered SMS messages that you send after a client or lead takes a specific action. (And even though it should go without saying, we’ll say it anyway: Make sure to stay on top of the SMS marketing regulations that protect consumer privacy.)
Landing Pages and Web Content Personalization
Automation tools help you personalize and optimize the content on your website and landing pages to deliver a better experience to visitors while improving campaign results. For example, you can conduct A/B tests to increase conversions andbuild templates to help create variations of pages at scale to power your campaigns. Additionally, you can use dynamic web forms to improve lead capture and gather behavioral tracking data to personalize site content on future visits.
Building advanced customer segments is the foundation for providing personalized experiences down the road. Automation tools help you segment your prospect and customer lists based on “firmographics” like company size, demographics like location or gender, and behaviors like webpage visits or email click-throughs. You can use these segments to send more targeted communications and drive results across the entire customer life cycle.
Financial services marketing teams can put these different automation use cases into practice to achieve bigger-picture goals like improving the customer experience, generating leads, driving customer lifetime value, and ensuring compliance.
Marketing for Financial Services: Improve the Digital Customer Experience
Marketing automation makes it easy (or at least easier) for financial services teams to create a better digital customer experience. It allows you to achieve the two key outcomes we mentioned earlier: personalizing and streamlining digital customer experiences at scale. Here’s how:
Streamline: Create Consistency Across the Customer Journey
Today, most customers start their journey to choosing a financial services institution by doing online research. To communicate your organization’s story, value proposition, and services clearly while building trust, you need to deliver a consistent experience across every touchpoint.
One of the biggest reasons that financial institutions struggle to improve the digital experience is they haven’t mastered optimizing the complete buyer’s journey, cutting across multiple channels.
This is where marketing automation comes in. Financial services marketers can first develop the strategy and messaging that should run throughout every campaign and touchpoint. Then, they can use automation tools to build templates and create assets at scale, develop repeatable communications, and integrate campaigns across the web, email, SMS, and other channels. With this kind of consistent execution, rather than one-off messages or uncoordinated activities, customers experience less friction and a more cohesive brand experience.
Personalization: Deliver Relevant Messages at the Right Time
In addition to consistency, financial services clients expect personalized experiences relevant to their needs. One survey reported that 72% of banking customers rated personalization as “highly important.” Only 8% said it didn’t matter at all.
Personalization is about meaningful relevance: delivering the right message at the right time to meet a current need. This is where marketing automation for financial services can help. By mapping your marketing activities across the customer journey, segmenting your audience according to their current stage, and delivering communications and content tailored to those moments, you can achieve truly impactful personalization at scale.
Generate Leads With Automated Content Marketing Campaigns
Your prospects are doing a lot of research online before they ever reach out to a bank, credit union, or advisor. This presents a real opportunity to attract new leads through organic search and content marketing. Fin-serv marketers can connect with potential customers by creating and sharing relevant, helpful content tailored to the early stages of the research process. This allows you to build trust and become a go-to resource by focusing on education instead of selling (for now).
Marketing automation for financial services makes achieving meaningful results from your SEO efforts easier by creating pathways for customers to gradually move along the customer journey toward a purchase or account. For example, after a visitor clicks on a search result page to read your blog post about online investing, you can guide them to sign up for your newsletter. Another possibility is enticing them to download a gated guide with more in-depth information or, at the very least, click through to another related blog post. Ultimately, the goal is to nurture these visitors to sign up for an account or contact your sales team.
With automation, you can collect the right data and send the right follow-up messages to make that journey a seamless one. And research shows content marketing can be incredibly effective for financial services marketers, with organic search driving up to 64% of calls.
Drive Customer Lifetime Value With Advanced Targeting
Across industries, it’s usually much more expensive to attract and convert a new customer than to keep an existing one. Financial services are no exception, and marketing automation for financial services can help you collect and use customer data to power targeted marketing campaigns that will drive engagement and improve lifetime value.
Collect First-Party Data to Understand Your Customers
Over the past few years, government agencies and tech giants have introduced new privacy-friendly policies that restrict how marketers can collect, purchase, and use data from third-party sources like programmatic advertisers or aggregators. In response, marketers across sectors are adapting by focusing on first-party data.
First-party data is data that you own because you collect it directly from your customers. Examples of first-party data include form submissions, website behavioral data, email click-throughs, SMS engagement, and phone call success rates. These data points can be used to better understand what your customers care about, what questions they have, and how they prefer to be contacted by your organization.
Financial service marketing automation collects data for you throughout the customer journey, from tracking beacons installed on your website to assigning unique phone numbers for paid campaigns to recording email engagement metrics across recipients.
Use Data to Build Better Segments
With the data your marketing automation software collects, you can build out more advanced segments of your customer list. You’ll know which customers clicked on an article about car loans in your recent email newsletter, who checked out the business lending page on your website, and who downloaded your new guide to online investing.
You can also create segments based on your customers’ account types, age of accounts, past purchase history, life events, and other data points that capture their current stage in the customer life cycle.
Target the Right Customers With the Right Offers at the Right Time
Financial service marketing automation helps you put your data-driven segments to use by laser-targeting your customers with the messages they’re most likely to be interested in at the right moment. Are they checking out new credit card options on your website? Send them a limited-time bonus offer when they click to sign up. Did they just leave you a perfect score on a customer satisfaction survey? Ask them to refer a friend, and offer an incentive to do so.
Bottom line: By using first-party data to tailor your messages and offers, you’ll create a more personalized experience that will lead to more engaged customers over time.
Marketing Automation Financial Services and Compliance
Financial marketers know that securing legal approval for marketing content is time consuming, and let’s be honest here, sometimes it’s downright frustrating. Here’s the good news: When you’re executing repeatable, automated campaigns, you only need to go through the approval process with your legal team once. Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Just think about how much time you’ll save.
And if your marketing automation solution includes a BCC archiving solution, you can achieve FINRA-compliant email marketing within your existing tool stack.
Case Studies in Financial Services Marketing Automation
Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. Commercial banks, credit unions, insurance agencies, and wealth managers are putting marketing automation to use with outstanding results. Here are just a few examples:
Georgia United Credit Union: 96% Increase in Application Volumes
Georgia United Credit Union implemented marketing automation to improve the member journey and create segmented marketing programs, offering personalized content to attract and retain new members. Using marketing automation for financial services, they achieved a 77% open rate on their welcome email, cross-sold thousands of new products via the marketing automation platform, and experienced a 96% spike in application volume.
“Having our member data file integrated into Act-On gives marketing the ease and independence we didn’t have in our old system, allowing us to send more frequent, more segmented and personalized communications.”-Amanda Hullinger, Marketing Supervisor, Georgia United Credit Union
Tower Federal Credit Union: Increases Open Rates by 300%
Tower Federal Credit Union uses marketing automation to automate email campaigns and improve segmentation efforts. They also use data and analytics tools to more effectively understand member behavior and run reports. The credit union is experiencing a 300% increase in open rates and follow-up emails.
“We’ve seen a two to three times increase in our open rates, especially to the follow-up emails, and we’ve seen a lot more customers starting loan applications.”-Marc Wilensky, Vice President of Communications and Brand Marketing, Tower Federal Credit Union`
RATESDOTCA: Increases Total Annual Email Revenue Target by 15%
Canada’s largest and most trusted digital financial acquisition platform uses Act-On to achieve more dynamic segmentation and personalization. Using marketing automation for financial services, they support the entire customer life cycle, moving beyond a traditional website shopping experience and delivering more personalized communication to customers’ inboxes. The company has achieved a 20% average click-through rate for marketing campaigns and increased the total annual email revenue target by 15%.
“Act-On allows us to build automated programs that power our entire outbound efforts. The Automated Journey Builder, in particular, helps us map our content and then visualize and facilitate our customer journeys from start to finish. It’s actually the main selling point of our new product — totally automated renewals.”–Lydia Ku, Senior Marketing Manager, RATESDOTCA
It’s Possible for You Too!
These stories show that with the right strategy and tools, financial services organizations can use automation to accomplish exceptionally personalized marketing (and achieve exceptional results) at scale.
If you’d like to read a few more stories or to share the potential results of marketing automation for financial services with stakeholders, we’ve compiled an entire collection into a single, easy-to-read document.