In the era of digital transformation, the customer experience continues to be a top priority for banks and credit unions. A combination of legacy technologies and limited digital support and account opening capabilities has led many financial services marketers to launch brand new websites in 2020 – this should come as no surprise.
What is surprising is just how far many of the leading banks still need to go, “In an era of digital self-service, 50 percent of the top 20 banks don’t offer an option to open an account online, and several lack a mobile-optimized site.”EXTRACTABLE
The good news is that if you’re a digital marketer in financial services, there is still plenty of opportunity to stand out from the crown with a new site. If your company truly wants to offer a “digital customer experience”, it’s imperative to get these things right and capitalize on long-term digital growth.
The focus for new website launches should be value over volume.There are two key questions to ask:
- How will a customer or prospect use this website?
- How will the bank use this website?
- How will the technologies work together on the backend?
We have found that there are three critical pieces that should be a focal point of your bank’s new website.
1. The Technologies Matter – Focus on a delightful experience.
You are no longer competing with the other banks for people’s attention online – you are now competing with tech startups born in the digital era. This requires an entirely different set of requirements and it means that people’s expectations have changed. The visitors coming to your site may have just been browsing on Amazon or watching Netflix and they expect a fast, well designed experience. Below are some key areas that most banks overlook:
- Page Speed: Today’s consumer expects a website that loads quickly, and doesn’t take extra time for specific content or features to load. Not only is page speed an important SEO ranking factor, a slow website can hurt the overall experience and negatively impact conversion rates.
- URL Migration: If you’re changing the URL structure on your new website, it’s imperative that you go through the proper redirect process to maintain SEO value. This process is critical to maintaining your current traffic, for instance; if a current page gets SEO traffic, and you do not implement a redirect to the new version of the page, you might lose SEO traffic. Using a single 301 redirect to get from your old URL to your new URL will retain performance for your new site.
- Mobile-friendliness: With most website traffic coming from mobile phones, and a growing number of applications starting on mobile, it’s critical that your website is mobile friendly across all pages. This doesn’t just mean the homepage or key product pages – but tools, calculators, application and forms need to work seamlessly on mobile. In 2017, Google actually made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor, so there can be a broad negative impact for not thinking mobile-first.
2. Don’t Sell Yourself Short – Digitize the entire customer journey
The marketing funnel is not dead – it’s just more complicated. There are simply many more channels and tactics involved. The funnel was originally built around the stages of the buyer journey and those stages still exist today however most bank websites are not designed to offer full funnel support.
Most bank and credit union websites are built to provide information at the middle of the funnel – these websites do a good job of answering questions like: what products and services are offered? What are your rates? Where can I get information on your Mortgage products?
What is missing from most bank and credit union websites are the bookends: The top of the funnel financial education tools, and bottom of the funnel digital application and account opening capabilities.
- Lead capture: It’s becoming more critical than ever that prospects who aren’t ready to convert, or have to speak with some are able to form a relationship with your brand.
- Content Hub: Ensure your site has a content hub to attract qualified site visits at the top of the funnel. Content can be one of the best ways to educate consumers about your product and encourage them to make smart financial decisions.
- Tools & Calculators: The right tools and calculators can drive highly qualified traffic at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. With the financial landscape becoming more and more complex, calculators and interactive content is a great way to attract and engage highly qualified prospects. It’s imperative implementation is native to your site, on-brand and SEO optimized (no iFrames).
- Digital account opening: It’s great to be able to attract prospects to your new website, but without the ability to open an account digitally they will hit a dead end.
3. Consistency is Key – Ensure a reliable, branded experience
Since banks first started launching websites, the focus has been on one thing: the banks. These websites were designed as another way for banks to talk about the many benefits of all the products and services offered. However this meant that these websites were built for the banks, not for the customers.
This legacy approach to the customer experience has left many financial services marketers hamstrung by antiquated technologies. Many websites today are a quilt of different technologies layered on top of each other to provide the most capabilities. Here are three key items most site launches overlook:
- Third party platforms: It can be difficult to maintain consistency when relying on third party tools and platforms, but ensure your brand guidelines, colors, fonts and mobile usability are consistent throughout.
- Consistent Calls to action: Button color, placement are all imperative as users browsing your site will need to know how to move on to the next step.
- Site Structure and navigation: Prioritize information architecture and site navigability. Prospects and customers will likely browse across multiple pages to find the right product and come to a final decision, the flow of information is critical in aiding that journey.
In summary, there is a big opportunity to stand out and capitalize on the digital transformation wave with a new website. The keys are to focus on how people are going to use the site and then how the underlying technologies are going to work together.
At Signal Intent, we offer premier top of the funnel calculators that fit seamlessly into the branded design and the customer journey. Our tools are easy to use, beautifully designed, and drive real business results.
Get in touch today and we’ll show you customized calculators in one call.