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‘Tis The Season to Differentiate Online Credit Card Messaging and Offers

Guest Author

The holidays are just around the corner. Before you know it, the temperatures will drop, the ice rinks around the city will pop up and a massive spruce will become the center piece at Rockefeller Center. As the holiday season begins to shape all around us, we will undoubtedly see an increase in consumer spending. According to the National Retail Federation, the total holiday retail sales in 2012 increased 3 percent to reach a total of $579.8 billion. Predictions by Internetretailer.com indicate that ecommerce spending will jump up approximately 15.1 percent year-over-year this November and December – otherwise known as prime holiday shopping season.

Because of the convenience, ease of use and unlimited choices offered by digital devices, it’s safe to say that a significant portion of consumers worldwide will use digital channels – including desktop/laptop computers, smartphones and tablets – to browse, comparison shop, redeem coupons and make actual purchases this holiday season. For financial brands, these holiday ecommerce predictions should not go unnoticed. It’s an opportunity for financial brands to market and target specific credit card offers in Q4 to increase the number of credit card signups both among new customers as well as upsell additional credit card offers to existing customers. Ultimately, knowing that consumers are more likely to open a new credit card during the next two months (to buy gifts for their loved ones) means financial marketers need to focus on their messaging. Here are a few ways financial marketers can differentiate their online messaging to increase conversions for credit card signups over the next few months.

Tap into the emotions of your customers.

During the year, financial institutions often highlight various credit card perks, such as 2:1 rewards for bonus miles or no late fees. To get smart with your online holiday experience, take this approach one step further and relate the perk back to the consumer. For instance, a financial brand can target the following messages to holiday shoppers on its website. “Can you see yourself in the Caribbean with your loved ones this holiday season? When you spend $1,000 within the first month, you will receive a complimentary plane ticket.” What this message does is simple, yet very effective. It specifically plays on the emotional experience and connection consumers have with their “loved ones.”

Let your offers complement your customers’ financial needs.

Data is there to inform and communicate what your customers really want. If your data is telling you what credit card(s) a specific group of online visitors already own, leverage that to make their experience with your brand online feel both personal and relevant to their existing needs. Let’s take an example of a customer who owns a credit card that is tied to an airline rewards program. Rather than simply targeting messaging and offers to this customer for credit cards with another airline rewards program, be smart and present a complementary credit card offer where purchases are tied to a hotel rewards program. This way, the customer wins twice and they feel like an “insider” in the overall experience. They’ll use your credit cards more often, they’ll be more likely to sign up for additional credit card offers that give them what they want and they are more likely to be a long-term valued customer. That’s a win-win for both consumers and financial marketers.

Don’t make your customers wait for approval.

The biggest hurdle after consumers decide to sign up for a credit card can often be in the amount of time it takes to get “approved.” Making the approval process easier and faster will go a long way in creating a positive experience. For instance, putting the spotlight on messages like “Instant Approval” or “Get Approved in 30 seconds” could very well increase their comfort level with the experience itself and, in turn, increase the likelihood that they will sign up for a credit card. In addition, a financial brand would benefit from targeting this message based on the customer’s attributes and profile gained from CRM data. If you know that a current customer is already pre-qualified and approved for one of your credit cards, personalize your messaging to reflect that with a message such as “You are already approved.” You can even tie in a holiday message like “Since you’re already approved, breeze through your holiday shopping with our credit card.” These are much more effective than using a standard message such as “Sign Up.”

The lesson for financial marketers is simple. The more relevant and personable your credit card messaging is, the more effective it will be and the more conversions and revenue you’ll see across multiple channels.

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