FI GROW 2
Work with Us

Episode 15 - How Much Should a New Website Cost Your Bank or Credit Union

Meredith Olmstead
February 9, 2022

Screen Shot 2021-09-15 at 10.14.13 AM

Podcast Episode 15: The FIGROW team discusses the cost of rebuilding your bank or credit union website and creating a fully functioning "digital branch."  What's the difference? A website is like a digital brochure, but a digital branch offers all the same services and options a consumer would have access to at your in-person branch. Tune in to learn more!

Apple Podcast Spotify Podcast Google Podcast Amazon Podcast

Transcription:

Have you ever been talking about something that's really useful and thought, "That's a great idea, let's hit record so we can share this with everyone?” If you're looking for best practices for your bank or credit union, join us while we talk all things sales, marketing, and strategy for financial institutions. Let's make it happen with FI GROW Solutions.

Meredith Olmstead:

Hi there I'm Meredith Olmstead. I am the CEO and founder of FI GROW Solutions. We are a marketing agency. We work exclusively with financial institutions doing digital marketing and sales consulting. And I am here with our chief of strategy, Penne VanderBush say, hi Penne.

Penne VanderBush:

Hey there.

Meredith Olmstead:

So we have been having some really great conversations around the costs of rebuilding a website and creating a fully functioning digital branch. And we wanted to kind of hit record on some of these conversations, because it's been a regular question over and over again from new potential leads and clients that we work with already, how much should I be spending, or should we be spending on a digital branch? On redoing or, redeveloping your website into a fully functioning digital branch. So it's a big, hot topic and we wanted to talk about it.

Meredith Olmstead:

And the first thing I want to make sure we understand the difference between a website and a digital branch. In a nutshell, a website is more like a glorified digital brochure. There might be some apply now and those kinds of calls to action, but in general, it's not working for you 24/7, 365 to drive leads to grow your bottom line, to lead to new revenue impacts. So really a fully functioning digital branch offers everything you can do if a consumer or somebody walks into a brick and mortar location, you want your digital branch to be able to offer all those same services and options, as well as some human side to it. So you need some staff that supports that digital branch, and it's really working for you, even on off hours, on the weekends and the evenings and that kind of thing. So that's really the difference between a website and a digital branch.

Penne VanderBush:

Yeah. And I think that it works 24/7. It's the automation behind a digital branch is key. And with a website, traditionally, you're getting a content management system, right? That CMS. But what you need is that paired with a CRM so that you're using behavior. If a known contact comes to your site and is checking out your auto loan page, that site, that your digital branch begins to nurture them digitally through email or changing the content on the page, or change that homepage hero image out to something for auto loans, because we know that they're interested. So that automation pairing together a CMS and a CRM, so that it's working for you. Your digital bridge should be an asset, not a liability. It should be making you money producing revenue, not an expense item in the marketing budget type of look.

Penne VanderBush:

Every year, HubSpot we're a HubSpot agency, a host, an international conference that's called Inbound, which we highly recommend you check it out and attend it. But during the 2021 conference, there was a session on driving sustainable growth and they actually had some really great stats on financial institutions as part of that presentation. The stats were showing that of the people who leave large financial institutions, 62% choose another large financial institution. And of those who leave smaller institutions, 70% are choosing larger institutions as their next institution. There is a blog post on that with those stats and breaking it down a little bit more on our website if you go to figrow.com, just hit the search icon and the title of the blog is "The Big Banks Are Your Competitor. The Stats Prove It." So just search for any of those terms and you'll find that blog post, if you want to break it down more, but that's a lot of insight as to what the consumers thinking.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah. And I think really the takeaway from that from what you should be spending on a digital branch is this. Larger institution spend literally millions of dollars a year building their websites and their digital branches. They are constantly iterating. They're constantly improving, testing these, re optimizing, offering everything under the sun on their digital experiences for their customers. And if smaller institutions, smaller banks and credit unions, aren't investing in a likewise. If they're not going to match the numbers, obviously those dollars, those dollar amounts, but in terms of size, you need to be prioritizing that digital branch in a higher capacity when it comes to budgeting. And so that's something that we are all constantly running up against is that we see people who are really always trying to undervalue their website and only touch it every three years or five years even, and want to spend $30,000 max on a on the project.

Meredith Olmstead:

And let me tell you websites under $50,000 are a complete waste of money. I mean, they're really not going to get you what you need.

Penne VanderBush:

Absolutely.

Meredith Olmstead:

As a multimillion dollar financial institution, you have to turn the corner on this and start thinking of your digital branch as an asset, rather than an expense and an investment. If you are going to spend millions of dollars operating a brick and mortar location that has a fraction of the traffic that a website would, why wouldn't you put a similar amount of resources into that digital asset?

Penne VanderBush:

So, first thing, I think there's sticker shock, right? There's sticker shock when we start talking what the number really is.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah, absolutely. So the first thing I'll say is that from a cost perspective, is that you are going to be spending a significant, you should be spending a significant amount of money in order to really drive results and build a fully functioning digital brand and anything under $50,000 for a project like that, you're just scratching the service. You're not going to get where you need to go. So that's the first thing I'll say about cost.

Penne VanderBush:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you're a multimillion dollar financial institution, maybe a billion dollars plus in assets, if you're looking at a cost of $50,000, like that's a used SUV, right?

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah.

Penne VanderBush:

So for an institution of your size, being realistic about what you're spending on that. Typically if you can get a site in the ballpark of like $50,000 to $100,000, if that's the price you're getting and you're vetting out that developer or that vendor, and you're going through, what's included in that you should find most of the functionality that you need, like in that price range, however, you're still missing a significant part of that build, which is content. So a lot of times those prices in that price range, it'll be like a copy and paste of your existing content over into your new branch.

Penne VanderBush:

Or you have to write the content like that, or you might get some version of SEO optimization, but really make sure that you're diving into exactly what that includes. From on page headers, to behind the scenes metadata, to image alt text, ADA compliance, schema markup. There's so many things that you should be asking your developers for in that price range to make sure that you're getting what you need for a fully optimized site that will be found organically. It's going to be found on Google and that the modules that you're building on your digital branch, they should be lead capturing modules. They should be whether you're capturing the content or interactive calculators, whatever those are, but it should be doing significantly more than just presenting the exact same content to every single visitor that comes in. And even in that $50,000 to $100,000 range, sometimes you're not getting all of that functionality that truly changes out content and creates new experiences for every visitor.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah. I was going to say, I think at that number, I mean really closer to the top end of that number, you can drive solid design and development, but I don't think that even in range, you end up with high quality content. I think you have to work with another partner or with an agency that knows the industry that does the research that knows the niche and all of the product and service areas to create content for you that is going to drive results and organic traffic over the long term. So that's where we step in, where we work with a really high quality design and developers. And then we bring content area experts to come in, build out all the pages for the clients. So we kind of work in a project management capacity, but also we work to drive that content and the content creation. It keeps the projects on time and it keeps the result high quality and kind of checking all the boxes of SEO and ADA and all of those kinds of things.

Penne VanderBush:

Yeah. And I think when you work with an agency who specifically works with financial institutions, there's already such a wealth of knowledge available that you, as an institution don't have to provide or develop. And like when we build these digital branches, several hours and human resources are into like keyword research and what do we see trending and what do we see working on other client digital branches? Are more people searching home improvement loans, or are they just searching, remodeling my kitchen, or do they actually use the term heloc? So these are all questions that are significant for every page of content across your entire site.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah.

Penne VanderBush:

And then all your content of course, has to be structured correctly. You should be using pillar pages, internal backlinking structures, the content strategy behind how blog posts integrate with eBooks or landing pages and those product pages and where are you driving that organic traffic too? Is your content supporting your product page versus pulling away from it? That whole strategy is a whole other layer that's needed in these builds.

Penne VanderBush:

And so I think a lot of the times developers might have experience with financial institutions, which is great that they have that, but sometimes you need that third party perspective to kind of come in and help and connect the dots. And I think in our experience, has made the project much smoother and a much better experience across the board. So we'll work with a developer and say, oh that's a great idea, but this is a credit union and that won't work for regulation reasons, for compliance reasons that won't work.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah.

Penne VanderBush:

And we're able to kind of head off some of those conversations and the client doesn't even have to get involved at that point. So it's definitely a key role in building these digital branches for sure. Bringing in that expertise.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, if you really want to achieve a solid, fully functioning digital branch, you're looking at a cost, definitely north of a $100,000.

Penne VanderBush:

Absolutely.

Meredith Olmstead:

I think it's an investment that is well worth that cost if it's done well, and you are working with the right partners and you'll end up with a digital branch asset that will be working for you 24/7, 365, and that you can iterate and optimize continually over the next couple of years and not have to rebuild the entire site. So it can work for your favor in the long term with price. So awesome conversation. Thanks Penne for your insight.

Penne VanderBush:

Absolutely.

Meredith Olmstead:

And we have lots of great information on figrow.com so feel free to come and visit the website, learn more from our blog, or we also have some great case studies and otherwise just get out there and let's make it happen.

Subscribe by Email

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think