Financial institutions suffered a blow to their image in the financial crisis of 2008. One 2016 study found that only 8% of Americans had faith in financial institutions. Granted, the crisis was experienced differently in Canada, but Canadians are considerably influenced by American events and perceptions. This lack of trust is universal, but most pronounced among millennials, almost half of whom prefer to look into financial matters without the help of an advisor.
The irony is that an advisor is still the best source of financial information for potential customers (and the best source of customers for financial institutions). So how do you convince people that you offer value, if they distrust you? Well, if you can provide skeptical customers the tools they need to do their own research & calculation, to the point that they know enough that they feel confident enough to talk to an advisor and know what they’re talking about, you’ll have gained not only customers, but trust.
That’s where interactive, customizable digital experiences come in.
Interactive calculators let users learn first-hand what a financial product can do for them. They can put in their own values, experiment to see what a little more investing, or a little less, will do, and see how what’s being offered differs from what they have now. It’s more or less what an advisor would do for them – but without the advisor, without the scheduling hurdle, and without the perceived pressure to buy.
Dynamic video works much the same way. If you have a complicated product that requires some explanation, and want to reach customers who aren’t ready to reach out to an advisor, a video is the standard way to make this information available to them remotely (and make it effective and shareable to boot). But with dynamic video, you can let users input their own values, and choose the specific products they want to learn more about. They don’t just get static hypothetical examples: they get their own personal hypothetical, in concrete numbers, explained in the amount of detail that’s right for them.
And, of course, by employing analytics, you can track all of this, and learn a ton about your (potential) customer base.
With well-placed calls to action (CTAs) in interactive tools, you can offer your services at a time when the customer is more knowledgeable, more curious, and more willing to listen to what you have to say. An advisor’s advice is much more helpful when the customer has an understanding of what’s being said – an understanding that they reached independently, without being guided by the person trying to get their business. And because financial products are in the customer’s best interest, recommending them is easy – once the hard part of getting customers in the door or on the phone has been achieved.
These interactive tools amount to a very persuasive “passive” approach to lead generation. When the target audience is distrustful of and resistant to active approaches, passive marketing is the only way. Of course, you’ll still need to let them know that these tools exist – and that’s where shareable content, banner ads, and all the other tricks of the marketing trade come in.
But the most important point is this: give the customer credit. They know what they want, and they know what they don’t want. The specifics differ from person to person, but most want a friendly, objective way to learn about what’s best for them. If you give them that, it builds trust. Not everyone who uses your tools, or watches your videos, will give you their business – but many will, and they’ll think all the better of you for it.