The financial services industry touches the lives of almost every American. From financing our educations to our first homes, we rely on our banks to help guide us through our biggest life milestones—which is why we hold our financial advisors, mortgage brokers, and investment managers to high standards.

Thanks to the proliferation of technology, particularly through online and mobile banking, consumers are self-directing their research to find the right checking accounts, loans, credit cards, insurance policies, and investment opportunities. That’s why the next big opportunity in the financial services industry will be digital personalization.

Consumers don’t have time to wade through one-size-fits-all promotions and marketing messages. They’re looking for resources and products that are tailored to their exact needs. Banks, on the other side of the equation, have the resources necessary to make these personalized experiences possible in real time. With online and mobile banking platforms and website tracking and analytics, there is a wealth of user-level data available to study and act upon.

Here are 3 engaging, impactful, and compliance-friendly ideas to explore.

1. Introduce new services and products with in-app messaging

One of the most impactful ways to reach consumers is when they’re already engaged with your product or service. Rather than trying to flag their attention when they’re in a rush, busy while running an errand in your branch locations, or resolving a customer service issue, you can catch them online when they’re relaxed, casually browsing, and have time to invest.

While customers are banking, you can recommend new and relevant products that they might like to try. Personalize experiences and messaging to each person on an individual level, based on past activity and demonstrated need. For example, if someone writes a lot of checks to the same payees every month and isn’t using online banking yet, promote it with an in-app message and provide an incentive to try it.  Just think of the approach as similar to how you would treat an in-person customer—recommending services and products based on their personal needs.

2. Deliver engaging and relevant content to customers

Financial services firms have access to a wealth of customer data. In addition to demographics, you know when your customers are shopping for new homes, considering purchasing cars, or getting ready to send their kids to college.

When it comes to your customers’ life milestones, they likely have more questions than answers. There’s a window of opportunity for your marketing team to jump in with engaging, helpful, and relevant content like tip sheets, how-to checklists, and planning guides.

Be present and helpful with the information that your customers need to further their research. Bring relevant offers to the surface so they don’t have to search for it. Delivering personalized and targeted content in real time plays a crucial role in this process.

3. Listen and learn to improve customer experience

Take a step back from selling and focus on learning about your customers’ needs and preferences instead.

Both in-app and content marketing generate a wealth of data, which you can use to figure out what’s piquing your audience’s interest. You can easily run A/B tests to test new messaging among your difference segments.

Another way to better understand your customers’ satisfaction with your products and services is to survey customers while they’re engaged with your site or application. And then you can adapt the user experience based on their responses.

Use these personalization approaches to adapt and evolve your marketing strategy—to get more focused with messaging and resources that your audiences are likely to appreciate and take action upon. The end result will be an improved customer experience that will increase satisfaction, trust and loyalty.

Final thoughts

At any given time, your customers are bombarded with information. Instead of overwhelming them with all of your offerings or hitting them with irrelevant ones, take a step back to empathize with their biggest life priorities and learning needs. It’s this real-time personalization approach that will take your financial institution from ‘available’ to loved, and give you an edge on your competition.

Check out this on-demand webinar: Real-Time Personalization Strategies for Financial Services.