The Do's and Don'ts of Online Enrollment Landing Pages

Picture this. Tia is 23 and recently landed her first real job. She is instructed to attend a meeting during which someone who sounds remarkably like Charlie Brown's teacher tells her that she should allow money to be deducted from her already woefully insufficient paycheck...because she needs to save for retirement. She is equipped with a rather thick packet of information to read and "learn" about retirement plans - what they are, how they work and all about investing. Right. In reality, the packet is placed in the desk drawer, on the kitchen counter, on the back seat of the car, with the intention of getting online and getting enrolled, until its eventual fate, the recycling bin.

At some point after that Tia receives an email nudge from the plan administrator to get going on that enrollment. The email contains some random numbers and a convenient link to an Enrollment site. She follows the link and encounters this...

Had Tia been somewhat familiar with retirement plans and their benefits maybe just maybe she might have followed through and completed the enrollment process. But alas, she wasn't, so of course she didn't.

Retirement plan providers must not only focus on the enrollment process itself, but also zone in on that first connection with the employee. Several providers stand out from the crowd in presenting a high impact first view of the plan.

Now, using the same scenario above, Tia clicks on the link in the email and lands here...

Now we're talkin'! Join the movement? Orange Money? Tia's curiosity is piqued and the chances that she will explore further have now increased exponentially.

A warm welcome, reassuring language, an appealing design can make all the difference in whether Tia begins saving for retirement at 23…or 27 when she moves on to the next employer.

Never underestimate the impact of the first impression!

Each task within the Online Enrollment process is crucial. Selecting a contribution rate, selecting investments (or allowing default), designating a beneficiary - all necessary actions, however the first order of business in the enrollment process is assuaging employees' fears and concerns and driving them to actually proceed with the enrollment.

So here are some basic Dos and Don'ts of Enrollment Landing pages:

Please Do:

  • Use motivational, action-oriented messaging
  • Use a conversational tone
  • Offer strong, clear calls to action
  • Lay out the benefits of participating in one's retirement plan- Currently, only 24% of providers present this information to new enrollees.
  • Offer Assistance if Needed- Enrollees should have the option of reaching out if needed when confusion sets in. Fortunately 74% of providers are aware of this need and have obliged.
  • Wow them! Make an impact. Make them willing to stretch those paychecks despite the student loans they are struggling with.

We kinda think John Hancock Retirement Plan Services' Welcome page feels like a party! Energetic images with super fun placement, great typography and upbeat messaging. Of course letting employees know that the process will be quick and painless definitely helps to lessen the potential level of anxiety.

Please Don't:

  • Drown visitors in text. Tia didn't read the fancy, full color, glossy, image-filled packet, she's certainly not going to read paragraph after paragraph of uninteresting Web text.
  • Forget to call out to new enrollees when sharing a portal between Account Access and Enrollment. Employees first encountering the plan should be offered a hand to hold.
  • Offer TMI. Employees need to know the importance of participating in the plan. They need the basics of how the plan works. They need to know about how they benefit from pre-tax contributions. They don't want to know about the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
  • Use Vague Labels. The resources now available to new participants are sophisticated, innovative and highly useful, but are so often prefaced by a link to "Useful Resources", "Helpful Tools" or "Financial Education". Think of Tia, what is the likelihood that she wants to receive a "Financial Education"? Slim to none. Show her the fancy projection tool or the helpful budgeting tool that will help her reduce her college debt and save more for her retirement.

DALBAR’s State of the Industry – Online Enrollment study takes a deep dive into 23 digital plan enrollment processes and reveals those providers that recognize the impact a streamlined, well designed and easily utilized process can have on an employee’s decision to enroll. Check out our research to view a Top 15 Ranking along with industry best practices!

  • By Shelley Ann Eramo
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  • 1/23/2018
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  • 1
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  • Categories: 401(k)
About Lou Harvey

Louis S. Harvey
President & CEO

Founder and leader of DALBAR, Lou Harvey is relentless in the search for the forces that are shaping the world of financial services today, tomorrow and for years hence. Using Dalbar’s research capabilities, Lou Harvey seeks insights from inside and outside the industry to understand and anticipate changes in customers’ needs and the ways products are distributed.