We see this all the time; a beautifully produced piece of bank marketing that fails to provide a clear call-to-action (CTA). That is like sending a salesperson to a client’s door, have them make the sale and then walking away before getting the transaction. Look at most bank’s websites. They give great information but fail to provide any mechanism for the reader to take action. Bank brochures and ads are often the same way. In this article, we will talk about calls-to-action and the best way to create a sense of urgency.
The Classic Study
If you have taken a marketing class and you were taught the topic of creating urgency in your ad copy, then chances are the instructor referenced a classic study by Howard Leventhal, Professor of Health Psychology at Rutgers. Leventhal conducted an experiment with the goal of getting more people to get tetanus shots.
The study created two sets of marketing pieces in the form of printed brochures. Set One had detailed information on the ravishes of tetanus complete with arresting pictures, while Set Two had a “low fear” version without the graphic detail. For both sets, a version “A” was created with a call-to-action of telling readers to get vaccinated while version “B” had the same message but included clear steps on how to do it and where to go.
Which set and version do you think did better?
You would think that Set One, Version B with the graphic detail and the clear path to action did the best. It didn’t. Both “B” versions did statistically the same with the conclusion being it isn’t how strong you made your case that correlated with conversions but how easy you made it for people to take action. In fact, the “B” versions produced 25% more conversions.
In follow up interviews, readers said they were often confused and in their confusion lost their purpose over time. Few readers remembered to ask for a tetanus shot the next time they saw a doctor.
Leventhal found that readers that didn’t have a path-to-action were prone to convincing themselves that, “I don’t need to take action because this won’t happen to me,” whereas those with a clear PTA more often mentally committed to taking action.
This happens all the time in banking. This happens when it comes to savings, with refinancing a loan, with taking action to build out a business and with a hundred of other financial actions that can benefit from a bank.
Call To Action – Your Website or Bank Name Doesn’t Cut It
No matter if you are creating urgency in a deposit or loan product, urgency such as a “find out more today” is most effective if clear follow-up instructions are given.
Look at most bank’s printed, and often digital, material. The majority of the calls-to-action consists of only a logo, a website and maybe a telephone number. Readers are left wondering how to get in contact with the bank, who to ask for if it is a telephone number or where to go on a website.
To increase advertising effectiveness, ads should have a clear task with instructions on how to accomplish that task. This is often referred to as the “path-to-action (PTA).”
This task and path-to-action may be as simple as a click to register on a digital ad or website. For printed material, have readers call a specific phone number that names a specific person or department to ask for a specific discount more than doubles conversions. For example, you might have readers call your “Customer Care group” or “Deposit Department” to inquire about the “Summer Promotion” for interest checking.
A more effective path is to set up a specific landing page that speaks directly to the advertisement. Instead of just including your website, banks can boost advertising effectiveness by creating a PTA that takes readers to a landing page just designed for a particular campaign. The landing page would have more value-added information and another CTA and PTA that would result in a conversion.
Whatever path you choose, the goal is to create a clear and easy to follow the connection between the CTA and the action itself.
Improving Your CTA
To the extent you can create some curiosity, greed, fear, pride or another emotional advantage for action, the higher your response rate will be. Further, any promotion that plays on the fear of missing out (FOMO) also increases conversions. Your promotion or offer should have a finite time frame such as a limited time offer.
Providing an additional incentive also helps create CTA conversions. An ebook about 1031 real estate exchanges, for example, or a video on how a loan sweep can benefit their cash management is added value that you can provide the reader to incent them to take the suggested CTA.
Putting This Into Action
The best marketing copy in the world is near-useless if you don’t provide a quality call-to-action and a path-to-action. Even if the suggested action isn’t taken, having a clear CTA helps promote better retention. In the Leventhal study, readers were able to recall more information in both brochures when given a path to action.
Without specific instructions, any urgency you created can be blocked in the customer’s mind. Rather than say “contact your banker today” or other vague path, tell your audience exactly what you want them to do and then make it easy for them.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on April 30, 2018