If you categorize website functionality using the crawl, walk, run framework, the types of features that fit into each of those stages have changed significantly in the last handful of years. While strategically placed call-to-action buttons in the latest 'must-click' color and mobile responsiveness were considered "run" stage features not too long ago, they're now "walk" level functions at best.
At this point in the digital evolution of online banking, your institution's website should be working harder for you, offering far more value than simply looking good on a mobile device.
Your institution’s website needs to be an agile digital asset that delivers a unique, individualized, value-added experience for each of your members or potential new members. If it’s not your largest fully functioning branch, top sales producer, and the premier face of your credit union you should consider these three areas for improvement.
The website featured in this post is America's Credit Union. They're a 230M organization based out of Garland, TX. We worked with ACU on the design, development, and strategy behind their new website in 2019. Here are our 5 favorite functions implemented on this new site!
1. Online Account and Loan Applications
It's probably no surprise this is first on the list. Today's consumer expects to be able to apply for anything from the palm of their hand 24/7. If your website still doesn't offer online applications you're very much still in the "crawl stage" of website functionality.
Keeping your online applications front and center is also important. If you have more than one vendor for your application types, you can keep them organized in your mega menu making the option to open an account or apply for a loan the first choice in each line of business.
We've found that many credit unions and community banks with online applications are severely limited by third-party technology and stipulations from contracts signed years ago. If this is you, aim for some quick wins with your vendor.
For example, simply ask for the savings account to be automatically selected on the application when someone joins your financial institution. If they can't handle simple requests to remove friction in the application process it may be time for a new vendor.
2. Dynamic Content
This is a feature we LOVE about the new ACU website! The homepage hero image, text, and elements on the page all change based on the users past experience with the website and information they already have about them.
If you've recently visited the Auto Loan page for example, you'll see a homepage banner with the same graphic from the product page if you revisit the site within a week.
Similarly, if your most recent visit was to the Credit Card page, you'll see a Credit Card related banner.
And, if you haven't been on the site recently, they'll be sure to grab your attention with a personalized banner.
If that wasn't enough homepage customization for you, ACU also changes the on-page modules based on membership status and other variables. A non-member for example will see this module right below the homepage banner:
While a member will see the following two modules:
Through individualized messaging and graphics the ACU website is working 24/7 to deepen relationships by offering relevant, timely information to its visitors.
3. Dynamic Campaigns Driven by User Behavior
Beyond the graphic and module changes, every person in their CRM (customer relationship management) tool receives an email within 20 minutes of the site visit about the product or service page they just visited. These emails are restricted to only one per product, per week, and can never be sent twice for the same product line to ensure they maintain a pleasant experience.
There may have been a time people considered this behavior to be "creepy" or "stalkerish" but today's consumer expects it. ACU has experienced a 37.5% open rate and a 25% click through rate with their Auto Loan email send 20 minutes after an Auto Loan page visit. There have been 0 unsubscribes and 0 SPAM reports from this email.
Your website should be working in conjunction with a robust CRM tool to deliver value-add messaging that builds trust and deepens relationships. Having your website and CRM on the same software platform helps significantly.
We're big fans of HubSpot here at FI GROW Solutions. We're also an agency partner. If you have questions about how their tools can help your credit union or community bank contact us to learn more. We're happy to help!
4. Live Chat, Chatbots, and Lead Flow Pop-Ups
Wait, did we just say "Pop-Ups?" Yes... we did! When used responsibly, lead flow pop-ups can help grow the number of leads in your CRM by delivering value-added content. They must offer something a user would fine useful, like a guide or checklist, that's helpful in some way to the visitor.
Ask for as little information as possible on the pop-up and don't barrage them with non-stop emails after they've given you their contact information. Always be providing value.
Chatbots are another fantastic way to provide assistance to your website visitors. Today's consumer is accustom to chatbots that help through automated workflows that provide relevant answers and resources. You must be thorough in building them, but done well, they're a fantastic addition to your site.
Preferable to all others is Live Chat.
ACU launched live chat on product pages shortly after their new site went live. With a real person available to answer questions, deliver resources, and problem solve, your website visitors are getting the best live help available when they need it.
5. Data, Data, Data
An agile website can only deliver an experience as good as the quality of the data that fuels it. This is why having your website and CRM hosted in the same place is so important.
Knowing if an marketing email drove traffic to your website which then ultimately ended in a booked loan is valuable information for marketing, sales, and operations. Knowing which pages are the most popular on your website, or which competitor sites are ranking higher or lower than yours, is also valuable information to make data driven decisions from.
One data point considered at ACU is how many leads each website page is generating and how much value-added content is being provided to visitors. To this end, every product page on the ACU website offers a content piece with a lead capture form. Analytics can tell us which pages are capturing the most leads and which pieces of content are being downloaded.
In just a short time after launch, the Auto Loan and Checking Account pages were garnering the most leads and downloads of all the product pages.
With 36 total submissions for a total of 15 new leads, this tells us that 21 existing contacts also downloaded the information available on those pages. This is a measurement of continuing to deepen relationships with existing members by providing them educational content they are finding valuable.
We recommend offering content available for download on every product page you have. A budgeting eBook for example, can be used on several pages until you have a custom offer for each product line.
Many financial institutions struggle to measure the impact of their content or produce a metric that signifies how many relationships they've deepened with their content strategy. A robust CMS (content management system) combined with an equally robust CRM gets you the results you've been looking for!
The new ACU website offers a ton of great new features. It was difficult to pick just FIVE to highlight here. From ADA compliance to an integrated digital On-boarding Program, there are many, many other considerations in a new website build.
If you're building a new website in the near future let's chat about your goals, expectations, and strategy. Ensuring that the investment you make in your largest branch is going to meet your needs is a critical starting point.
Congratulations to the ACU team! The new site is fantastic.