The start of a new year is often the motivation for consumers to get back on track with their personal finances. In addition to holiday-related spending in Q4, events in 2020 uniquely presented many scenarios prompting consumers to increase their reliance on electronic payment options, including credit cards. According to the Household Debt and Credit Survey published by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, as of Q3 2020, debt among U.S. consumers collectively exceeded $14.35 trillion. Even before the holiday season, the increased use of credit cards for everything from online grocery orders to subscription streaming services may have contributed to the growth of consumer debt.
In Q1 2021, personal loan brands have a unique opportunity to connect with high-intent consumers who are seeking solutions to their financial problems. Here are five recommendations for personal loan advertisers to consider when developing plans to connect with high-intent consumers during peak personal loan interest season.
1. Across Marketing Channels, Deploy Optimistic Messaging Related To Personal Loans
Consumers seeking personal loans are also looking for messages of positivity and hope. When it comes to finances, unfortunately, consumers struggling with debt are often connected to negative stigmas, including the perception that they may lack responsibility, knowledge or care with regard to their finances. The best way to connect with consumers shopping for personal loans is with messaging that promotes optimism.
The personal loan brand Upstart is a strong example of promoting supportive and encouraging consumer messaging, using the tag line, “You are more than your credit score.” Upstart incorporates this “you are more” content theme throughout its website content, blogs, social media pages and landing pages. The Upstart messaging sets the stage for consumers to feel more comfortable when applying for personal loans.
2. Implement Personal Loan Digital Advertising Strategies That Keep You In Front Of The Right Consumers, At The Right Times
While it is important for consumers to be able to quickly find your brand online, it is even more important to implement advertising strategies that keep you in front of the right customers. Brand advertising and content marketing can help personal loan brands build awareness and rapport with consumers. But, to scale personal loan application volume, brands need to leverage multi-channel digital advertising strategies that place the branded and unbranded messages where high-intent audiences are spending their time.
Now is the time to adjust your messaging to align with seasonal interest. Make sure your creative executions across all channels, from social media to search, are conveying the positivity and solutions that will resonate with what consumers need to see and hear right now. Additionally, examine your plan and consider diversifying your media channels.
3. Leverage Simple & Effective CTAs That Encourage Taking The Next Step In The Personal Loan Research & Application Process
Personal loan advertising strategies should promote simple and direct consumer calls to action (CTAs). Whether a consumer stumbles upon a landing page as a result of search engine queries, visits a website directly or clicks through a targeted marketing email, it should be easy for consumers to find the path that will quickly move them toward securing personal loans or receiving more information.
With fierce competition in the personal loan market, it is imperative that personal loan brands commit to positioning CTAs that are easily identifiable by consumers via both mobile and desktop experiences. Lending Club is a strong example of a personal loan brand leveraging direct and effective CTAs across their online marketing channels. The Lending Club website helps consumers take steps to borrow funds, check interest rates for personal loan options and respond to direct mail offers in just one click.
4. Provide A Frictionless Path To Submit Personal Loan Inquiries Online
In addition to implementing simple and effective CTAs across digital marketing channels, personal loan brands should also focus on delivering frictionless user experiences to convert high-intent consumers. Consumers interested in personal loans are likely to regard their financial situations problems that require solving. To move closer to a solution, consumers will be willing to submit inquiries online if the process is not complicated or time consuming.
A seamless personal loan inquiry experience starts with lead forms that contain only the most necessary questions. While brands may want to capture as much information from prospective loan borrowers as possible, if a consumer feels overwhelmed by the quantity of questions asked during the early stages of the sales funnel, it is likely that consumer will abandon the form before completion. No matter where the inquiry form is located online, advertisers should treat the first form completion as part of the consumer engagement process. Ultimately, form fills provide personal loan advertisers with first-party data to help move the prospect down the funnel. But forms also help consumers establish trust and comfort with personal loan brands. Consider measuring the amount of time consumers spend on lead forms. If it feels too long, or if the form-abandon rates are too high, determine if there are any fields that could be eliminated to boost early conversion rates in the loan application process.
5. Consider Partnerships That Leverage Personal Loans For Alternative Offer Selling
Partnerships can help scale customer acquisition efforts and generate high-intent leads. Consider the related industries that could connect back to personal loans. For example, a consumer who was declined for a cash-out refinance mortgage to complete a home renovation could benefit from a personal loan. Alternative selling opportunities become especially illuminated during call interactions with consumers. Call center teams can quickly evaluate the feedback they receive during calls to determine if alternative solutions are relevant to a consumer’s need. Partnerships with brands in adjacent areas can help personal loan companies scale lead volume.
For many consumers in the U.S., 2020 was a tumultuous year for personal finances. Many Americans experienced periods of unemployment, income delays or other financial challenges. The increase in time spent at home coupled with the surge in online shopping prompted more Americans to rely on electronic payment options as their preferred method of payment. Consumers struggling with debt want solutions, now. While investing in brand advertising is important, during peak season it is crucial that personal loan brands and advertisers leverage digital advertising strategies that help them connect and engage with the right audiences at the moments they’re ready to take action
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