In our first post of this series, Customer Acquisition Strategies for Financial Services, we discussed the foundational concept of Drivers, Destinations and Dialogue, and how FSIs can transform their advertising strategies with CRM data. Now, let's check what is often the next step in the journey-customer onboarding.

The phrase "you only have one chance to make a first impression" has always been true in our personal lives. In digital however, by the time marketers get someone to raise a hand, embrace their brand, and provide coveted personal data, many impressions have likely already been made on multiple channels. Advertisements, social mentions, in-branch experiences, advisor conversations, and even peer-to-peer recommendations all have the potential to shape the opinion of a brand and where it fits in their consideration set.

Before you reach out to a customer for the first time with a personalized message, you must realize that their journey with your brand is well underway. Your actions and messaging in the Drivers you place, the calls to action you provide, and the Destination site content you present must be driven by data. You need to leverage what you've observed about each prospect's behavior, and supplement with third-party information from their unique profile. It is a symbiotic orchestration of content, driven by behavior and predictive content, across all of your channels that sets the stage for the context of the ongoing Dialogue.

After all, I've always believed that "Happiness is defined by shared expectations". And when you are onboarding a customer or prospect, it truly is the most crucial step in establishing expectations for how your relationship will progress moving forward. A great initial experience begins to build trust and reinforces confidence that your brand listens and cares. A poor experience opens the door for questions and doubt, greatly increasing the odds that the relationship will not grow beyond solving preliminary tactical needs.

Journeys are Key to Financial Relationships

Gone are the days of generic "thank you" messages. Likewise, pre-defined cadences of triggered messages that don't take into account each customer's actions, history, and needs are also antiquated. Customer journeys are complex, and each customer's desires are unique. Look at a representative lifecycle graphic below and think about the number of interactions that may occur prior to the onboarding period. And remember that onboarding can occur once a prospect becomes a client, when they sign up for a newsletter, register for a webinar, download a mobile app, or countless other areas.

Onboarding Isn't Just for Customers

Many marketers tend to overlook that the same techniques used to onboard new customers can also be used to welcome and engage employees and partners. That's not the case for Calamos Investments, which leverages data about how financial advisors interact with the company's website to deliver personalized experiences from initial contact.

Calamos uses predictive intelligence to generate personalized recommendations in real-time based on the firm an advisor works for, the content viewed by other similar users, or even an advisor's unique browsing behavior. The results? If an advisor clicks on any recommended content, they visit twice the number of pages and stay on the site twice as long as someone who doesn't click on the personalized content.

This and other data collected by Calamos is then used for an onboarding journey that consists of four-emails. This welcome series begins when a new advisor signs up for the portal. The emails recommend personalized content based on the advisor's browsing history as well as content based on what's most popular on the site.

In another email campaign during the onboarding series, Calamos targets advisors that visit fund pages on their website. The company took a page from commerce sites and created an abandoned-browse campaign that triggers emails to advisors who clicked on a specific fund page. Three days after viewing a page, the user receives content with recommended resources related to that fund.

More Digital Marketing Tips for Financial Services

Interested in learning more? See how digital marketing can provide 1-to-1 experiences throughout the financial services customer lifecycle. Sign up for Any Journey is Possible, and you'll receive a series of cross-channel communications powered by Marketing Cloud. Experience the possibilities first hand! You'll see emails, ads, mobile messages, recommendations, and more that a customer would see.

About the Author

As a Master Business Consultant within the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Matt delivers transformational strategies focused on unlocking the moments of value that exist between customers and their journey with your Financial Institution's sales, service and marketing efforts. He has 23 years experience leading digital in consultancies, agencies and technology companies.. He relishes spending time with his wife and two sons, traveling, writing and producing an art show. @mclement