ctas-for-financial-institutionsOnce upon a time, businesses paid boatloads of cash to place ads on billboards, on the radio, or in the middle of popular television programs. Today’s marketers can track individual ad spend, delivery, click-through rates, and all the metrics they could want. But back before the internet, return on investment was relatively nebulous. Boosts in traffic or sales could rarely be directly attributed to any particular advertisement unless a call-to-action (CTA) was involved.

Old school CTAs were usually coupons or a phone call. But, digital-era financial institution marketers have so many more options from which to choose. Website links, click-to-call, meeting scheduling applications, enewsletter subscriptions, downloads, social media post widgets, and QR codes are just a few ways to give consumers fast, easy ways to respond. And, if the job is done right, the result is either a new connection or further nurturing for a lead or current account holder.

But how do you get someone to respond to your bank or credit union’s CTA? Here are three ways to make these handy tools work better.

Be specific about what needs to happen

The ATM is a great place for a CTA

· Unique 1:1 impressions

· Consumers 18-34 use ATMs to get cash 5.8 times/month

· On-screen messaging

· Custom receipt takeaway

For financial institutions, the issue with advertisements is rarely how vague they are. Instead, the problem lies in their over-complication. While those who have worked long-term with credit unions and banks know the terminology, legal requirements, and products, it is rare for the average consumer to grasp any of that information. Only eight states have implemented personal finance requirements in their high school systems. Most consumers want financial advice precisely because they don’t understand finance. But it’s not just potentially confusing verbiage driving people away; people don’t want to devote energy to figuring out what you want.

The average American consumes over fifteen hours of media a day. That is over one hundred and seventy newspapers worth of text and information. These consumer brains are already operating on information overload and want nothing to do with difficult advertising. So, the trick is finding a way to get your bank or credit union’s marketing message through the clutter.

So, how is a savvy financial institution supposed to grab attention and make an impression? The first thing is to use clear, concise language to tell the viewer exactly what they need to do. Use action verbs such as click, scan, download, or subscribe. Make any button, link, QR code, or action item large, contrasting, and highly visible for added clarity. This kind of clarity translates well outside of the digital realm, too. On printed materials or digital-out-of-home advertising, telling the consumer to “scan the QR code” to “get their offer” is much more motivational than “scan below.”

Make your next step match

With the increased fraud and awareness of cyber crimes, consumers are becoming warier of landing pages, websites, and forms. So, the landing page, phone message, or mobile response must look and feel similar to the triggering advertisement. However, this replication goes beyond matching imagery. Instructions must also continue to be as straightforward as possible.

Clear messaging for the next steps can include:

  • Enter your email address…
  • Fill in the form…
  • Select Download below to…

Each opportunity should be easy to understand and fast to accomplish. But there is one more piece to the puzzle of getting CTAs to work better, the offer.

Make an appealing offer

An attractive offer does not automatically mean bandying about $25 Starbucks gift cards. You might get a lot of responses, but that is a surefire way to spend time and cash with minimal return. No matter how much we wish otherwise, many more people are looking for free coffee than there are searching for a used car loan, investment portfolio, or a refinance option. So, what would appeal most to the specific target audience?

Keeping an eye on current consumer financial trends and active market research are two of the best ways to determine options that incentivize CTA response. Often, the information a bank or credit union needs is in their account holder data waiting to be mined. But no matter the offer, communication must continue to be simple and to the point. Because the offer is not only a way for your financial institution to receive leads, it is a representation of how the credit union or bank communicates with their current account holders.