6 Features to Turn a Financial Institution Website into a ‘Digital Branch’

Your website can be your most profitable 'branch,' capturing leads every day of the year. Incorporating a few modern features enables banks and credit unions to provide a personalized and efficient user experience 24/7. Real-world examples illustrate how modest upgrades can have a big impact.

In today’s banking landscape, every financial institution needs a website that will set it apart from the rest of the crowd. Designed properly and creatively your website becomes a digital branch, generating leads and producing deposits and loans 24/7, every day of the year, because your site is always open for business.

But many financial institutions still have work to do — in fact we feel traditional bank and credit union marketing is broken. Here are six ways your financial institution can revamp an old-school website and turn it into a robust digital branch ready to compete in digital-first world. Each concept listed below is illustrated by actual examples in the article.

  1. Smart content.
  2. Intelligent lead capture.
  3. Fun partnership highlights.
  4. Robust resources.
  5. Select Employee Group (SEG) lead capture.
  6. Video content worth viewing.

1. Smart Content

Smart content is basically website content that adapts to the user to display personalized content based on user behavior on a website. It can also be driven by the user’s past behavior on the site – including blogs, landing pages, and forms.

Smart content can also be based on data you have about the visitor. And behavioral data and statistical data can be used together to create a plethora of different digital user experiences. It’s how you take personalization and customization to the next level.

America’s Credit Union utilizes smart content on their digital branch to stay relevant for whichever product or service the visitor is actively searching for. Here are two smart content scenarios:

Scenario 1 – The visitor has recently visited the Credit Card page and is not a known member. This visitor will see credit card specific information in the homepage hero space and lower on the homepage they’ll see a module to join the credit union.

America's Credit Union credit card offer and membership

Scenario 2 – The visitor has recently visited the ATV & Motorcycle page and is a known member. This visitor will see ATV & Motorcycle specific information in the homepage hero space and lower on the homepage the join information has been replaced with digital banking information for members.

America's Credit Union atv moto website and digital banking for members

The greatest advantage of smart content is that you can make it as detailed as you’d like by adding several variables together. You could use recent page views, clicks in recent marketing emails, eBook downloads, form or application submissions, online calculator usage, and data from your core system to create a unique, fully customized experience for each visitor to your digital branch.

To learn how America’s Credit Union created a website that operates as a digital branch, watch an on-demand free workshop.

2. Intelligent Lead Capture

Most commonly, lead capture is done simply through a content download or by running a contest. We believe that making intelligent lead capture part of your digital branch is key to delivering a meaningful experience.

Payment calculators are an easy way for financial institutions to capture leads of consumers further along in their buyer’s journey. They’re calculating what their loan payment could be, which means they’ve already picked out what they want to buy and/or know how much money they need. These visitors are ready to buy which means you need to be ready to service them.

The calculators on the Copper State Credit Union digital branch do exactly that. Strategically placed throughout the website, the mortgage and consumer loan calculators organically capture over 20 leads a month from regular site traffic. This is a great way to turn a page visitor into a qualified lead and gives you permission to email them and make that connection.

Copper State auto loan calculator

Lead capture through calculators is just one way to give your sales team prospects that are in-market and ready for a product you offer. They are one of the best bottom-of-the-funnel lead capture tools. Try to experiment with more intelligent ways to capture quality leads.

3. Fun Partnership Highlights

Another feature of the Copper State Credit Union digital branch making waves is the “GO LOPES” toggle in the header that demonstrates their Grand Canyon University Lopes support. Copper State CU is the primary banking partner for the University, and they opted to take that partnership beyond their on-campus brick-and-mortar branch presence and fully incorporate it into their digital branch.

When visiting their site, any GCU student, staff, alumni, or fan can use the “GO LOPES” toggle at the top of the page to activate the Lopes signature purple color across the site.

Normal appearance:

Copper State Go Lopes off

With “GO LOPES” toggle on:

Copper State Go Lopes toggle on

Including GCU in the development of their digital branch is just one way Copper State CU supports the Lopes. Think of how you can incorporate your community partnerships and involvement visibly on your digital branch in a fun way.

4. Robust Resources

Allegiance Credit Union is doing a great job bringing valuable resources to its membership. Using the prime real estate under their homepage hero image to highlight video banking, convenient loan payment options, and free financial counseling services is an excellent choice. These are all useful resources their members need at their fingertips regularly.

Allegiance Credit Union financial counseling

Another useful tool Allegiance has worked into their website strategy is a chatbot. We’ve seen a lot of chatbots that don’t create a good experience, but Allegiance keeps theirs updated with the trending topics and relevant information so it’s always helpful. During business hours there are live staff members to help answer questions and give digital branch visitors the same service as they would if they walked into a branch.

Your website receives more visitors than all of your physical branches combined, so it only makes sense to dedicate time and resources to turn your website into a digital branch.

Allegiance Credit Union chatbot

Allegiance Credit Union’s robust Resource Center is impressive too. It highlights trending featured resources at the top, followed by the ability to filter resources by both topics and types. One of the types is “A Live Person,” which provides options for speaking to a financial coach or video banking. This resource center is a great way to give the website visitor options to learn on their own terms and allows the financial institution to diversify and learn which type of content engages their customer base the most.

Allegiance Credit Union resource center

When you plan out your content strategy think of ways to engage your audience as well. Get started with this simple course to create a content strategy that helps you win with Google and generate leads every step of the buyer’s journey.

5. Effective SEG Lead Capture

For Select Employee Group (SEG)-based credit unions their Business Development team has their work cut out for them. It’s a lot of work to find new employee groups that might want to join the credit union. Then, of course, once you’ve found them, it’s a lot more work to follow up and nurture the decision-makers in those companies to choose you as their banking partner.

Peach State Federal Credit Union has done a lot of great things to support its Business Development team. One of them includes an SEG lead capture page on their website.

On this page, interested SEGs can learn more about becoming a SEG, read testimonials, meet the Business Development team, and download a brochure full of helpful information. This public-facing page of information can be shared by any employee at the credit union to help the Business Development team in their efforts to find new partner employee groups.

Peach State FCU SEG brochure web page

6. Video Content Worth Subscribing To

As your website turns into your most profitable digital branch, it is important to keep the content fresh and personable. The human factor will still have an important role to differentiate your brand in the digital world. Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union is achieving this by having a dedicated Brand Ambassador. On their website they have a dedicated page that regularly gets updated with video content that is entertaining and educational at the same time. It also features local businesses and partners in the community so it is a win-win.

Carolina Trust FCU video date ideas web page

Incorporating your staff and team members to get engaged with creating regular content to build a dedicated following for your financial brand can go a long way. As you evolve your website spend time strategizing how to incorporate a humanized digital brand.

Is It Time to Build a Digital Branch?

We feel as though a robust digital branch is imperative to the success and future growth of financial institutions. These are just a few recent ways we’ve noticed financial institutions using intelligent features and functionality in their digital branches to grow and develop their institution. We encourage you to consider any of these solutions to help turn your static website into a more robust digital branch that works harder for you.

Learn more about building a digital branch here.

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