We review dozens of bank and credit union websites each month as part of our Digital Growth Blueprint engagement through both heat maps and live user testing. 

Through these tests, we have found common website elements that help a website go beyond being a glorified online brochure.

One key element includes call to actions (CTAs).

By taking a minute to review the CTAs on your website, you have the potential to dramatically increase the positive impact your website has on your bottom line by increasing loan and new account volume.

The Direct Call to Action vs. The Transitional Call to Action

Every bank or credit union website has some direct call to action on their key product pages, usually as either a text link or graphical button to “Apply Now” or "Open an Account.”

But that’s not the only CTA a bank or credit union should have on a product page.

Our research has found that the first time a consumer visits a product page, they most likely are not ready to apply. Consumers are simply researching your products and services. Furthermore, there is a high chance they are comparing your offerings to your competitors as well.

This research period takes on average around 30-45 days, if not longer. And if the only CTA you offer is a direct CTA, you are losing the opportunity to acquire a consumer’s basic information, such as name and email.

Transitional CTAs bridge this gap by offering something of value in exchange for a name and email address. Often, this is a consumer buying guide that relates back to a specific product. For example, this could be a home buying guide or a debt reduction roadmap.

The easiest way to compare direct and transitional CTAs is to think about dating. The direct CTA asks, “Will you marry me?” while the transitional CTA is asking, “Can we go on another date?”

By having both CTAs on your product pages, you provide value to consumers who are in different stages of their buying journey, allowing you to build trust over time as you nurture them through the sales funnel.

Three Distinct CTAs Must Haves

Regardless of if you are using direct CTAs or transitional CTAs, a successful CTA typically has three distinct parts:

1. Use First Person Language

One study from Unbounce found that by changing calls to action to the first person, conversion rates increased by 90%. Another study found that 66% of top CTAs used the word “Get” as it is an encouraging verb that provides tangible value.

No consumer wants to feel as if they are simply just another number or account. Yet it’s not always easy to help a consumer feel personally connected to a product or service when shopping online.

That’s why using first person pronouns, like “I” and “my,” are more effective than using second-person pronouns, such as “you” or “yours.” The former helps to establish a personal connection with a reader to the product they are shopping for.

These first person pronouns help to humanize the digital experience as this is written from the perspective of how shopper. Remember, decisions are made on feelings and emotions, not just rates and features.

2. Add Social Proof 

Time and time again, our live user tests find that consumers want product ratings and reviews when shopping for a loan or new account.

Written testimonials are a good start, but these can be taken to the next level with short 30-60 second product specific video stories. In fact, one study found that using video on landing pages increased conversions by 80%

The ultimate social proof, however, is provided through the placement of consumers’ ratings and reviews directly on your product pages via a star rating and feedback system. This is very popular and helpful for online retailers like Amazon, Zappos, Tom’s, Best Buy, and many more.

When it comes to financial services, a BazzarVoice study found:

  • 77% of long-term customers say they would recommend their financial institution to others.
  • 32% of total product reviews come from financial customers.
  • 87% of Financial Services reviews are 4 stars and above.
  • 83% of consumers say it would be important to read user-generated content before making a decision about banking.  

3. Never Assume

Consumers are people. And people do funny things that defy logic. That’s why A/B testing of CTAs is critical to building a website that sells. Just imagine the impact you could have on your bottom line by simply changing a CTAs color or verbiage. Or better yet, what if the CTA were to change based on where the prospect was in their own buying journey?

Take One Minute and Make a Positive Impact on Your Bottom Line

Before you rush off to your next task, take one minute to review your CTAs on your bank’s or credit union’s website and ask yourself:

  • Do you have both Direct and Transitional CTAs? 
  • Do your CTAs use first-person verbiage?
  • Are your CTAs enhanced with social proof?
  • Have you ever run A/B tests on your CTAs?

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