The most common website conversion metric for a bank, credit union, insurance or other financial services company is the act of filling out a form. It can be a simple request for a visitor’s zip code in order to provide a more personalized quote or a more substantial form asking for a visitor’s complete contact information in order to start the account creation process.

Building the right kind of submission form for your financial products and services can be contentious. Your legal team may demand that all credit card applications include country of citizenship while another department requires a source of income and monthly housing payment declaration. This challenge is only magnified when attempting to capture these business-critical applications and store the data in the appropriate back-end system – or worse – systems.

Not surprisingly, marketers often ask us how they can optimize the application and form-fill process in the face of these challenges. Like a broken record, we respond with ‘data analysis.’ Webtrends has always believed that the answers marketers and customer experience professionals seek can be found through a clear understanding of visitor behaviors and attributes. With this focus, and our experience partnering with financial services organizations including international banks, the nation’s largest credit unions and the most trusted insurance companies, we have collected best practices to drive the completion of applications and other forms.

If I were to select my three favorite recommendations, it would be the following:

  • Measure all relevant data points within the application process.
    It all starts with measurement and analytical insight. A clear understanding of visitor behaviors, their entry and exit paths for each step in the form’s application process provides a foundation for experimentation and optimization to take place and can contribute to many quick insights and wins. For instance, if I knew that my current checking customers under the age of 25 were visiting the landing page for a rewards credit card in response to a broad email campaign at twice the rate of other segments, I could easily optimize the landing page content to be more attractive to young customers.
  • Optimize for mobile.
    This may seem like a no-brainer at this point but mobile experiences offer incredible opportunities for experimentation and improvement to the visitor’s ease of use. We all know firsthand that entering large amounts of data on mobile is more challenging than on a desktop. Identifying which fields visitors find troublesome, how far in the application process visitors get, and testing alternate layouts like single vs multiple form pages or pre-filling fields based on existing, native identities like Google or PayPal are all great steps in the process of finding opportunities for improvement and capitalizing on them.
  • Identify treatments for application abandonment and exit intent.
    Application and form abandonment happen. Make sure that you are proactively reengaging with abandoners either prior to abandonment, based on signs of exit intent or following, via email retargeting or upon return. Email remarketing has long been an effective conversion rate optimization tool to recapture revenue through personalized offers or messaging. And new advancements in user behavior tracking enable experiences that encourage a user to continue even when they show signs of abandoning. For example – visitors who navigate back to the top of the page and move their cursor out of the active page can trigger a modal window which asks them if they would like to speak to a representative about the current product or service.

Whether you own part or all of the process or design for applications on your website, start the conversation with key stakeholders today about the opportunities to learn about how current visitors interact with your forms and applications. Then use these insights as the starting point for testing and targeting as you optimize not only the submission forms and applications themselves, but the ways in which you are driving traffic to your site through online referrers and campaigns.

As always, if you need a little help collecting and analyzing visitor behaviors or optimizing your digital properties in any way through testing and targeting, the Webtrends Optimize team of experts is here to ensure you are successful.