In the Digital Age, your website is arguably the most important component in your marketing strategy. Whether a consumer clicks on an ad or gets a word-of-mouth referral from a friend, they will almost always end up on your website somewhere along the way. That’s why you need to do everything possible to ensure your website is helping — and not undermining! — your organization’s strategic priorities and business objectives. Here are seven ways to do just that.
1. Consumer Experience
To create a unified journey, each user’s experience with your brand should be consistent across all channels — from your branches and products, to your marketing materials and website. This is critical if you hope to generate positive brand impressions, build trust and gain consumer confidence. There are a few key ways banks and credit unions can create consistency across different platforms and devices.
- Design Templates. Create a custom, flexible design template based on the website look and feel, which can then be extended across applicable channels – including direct mail, social media, billboards, in-branch signage and more. Maintaining a consistent brand “lock up” for each marketing initiative, you can easily replace template imagery and content, making it easier to produce campaigns and provide a continuous brand experience. This level of consistency will help “train” users so they know where to look and what step(s) they are expected to take next.
- Responsive Design. Build your site using responsive technology to ensure your website automatically adjusts to various screen sizes and devices. This will help to assure that visitors on a laptop or mobile device have an equally positive user experience with your website. Plus, offering a responsive website combines all site traffic on a single domain and puts you on Google’s priority list, both of which help boost your ranking in search results.
2. Brand Image
Your website is the ultimate representation of your bank or credit union’s brand. As the online hub for your marketing efforts, your site dictates your bank or credit union’s image – from visuals to messaging. To change or update your institution’s image, financial marketers should first focus on their website.
- Refresh. If your brand has a solid foundation in terms of its meaning and mission, then a website refresh is a strategic way to update your image. Your bank or credit union can maintain the fundamentals of your brand — including the name and current color palette — and establish a new, enhanced visual image. This is a relatively efficient approach to modernizing and reestablish your online brand.
- Rebrand. If your brand no longer represents your institution’s values and vision, a comprehensive rebrand might be necessary. This may involve creating an entirely new name and branding guidelines to better reflect your institution’s core purpose. If an organizational refresh or rebrand is underway, a new website is ideal for its unveiling.
3. Page Relevance
Having a destination page that is consistent with the theme of your marketing campaign is important for conversions. It keeps the user engaged while guiding them through the consumer journey, from awareness to adoption. When creating campaigns, financial marketers should drive traffic to the most relevant page to the offer on the site.
- Product Pages. Create unique pages for each of your different products and services. This will increase the relevance of the information to the visitor. For example, if you’re promoting a specific savings account, sending visitors to a page focused on that product only will be more effective than driving them to a general savings page that features multiple different solutions. This also will have a profound impact on your SEO (more on that below).
- Landing Pages. Custom landing pages prove to be even more successful than standard product pages for lead generation and online conversions. With stripped out navigation, action-oriented content, and streamlined elements, landing pages keep the user focused on the offer and next steps.
4. Online Visibility
The way your website is built — from the architecture to its content — significantly affects your search engine results. When developing or managing a website, financial marketers need to be strategic when defining the structure and specs.
- Pages. Another reason to create individual pages for all products and services is to provide the ability to optimize for more specific keywords and phrases. This increases your ability to rank in organic search results for more queries related to your financial products and services. Each page on your website should contain strategic title tags and meta descriptions that align with the page content to optimize for search engine optimization. These tags should be based on keyword-research, character limits and other SEO best practices to improve position in organic rankings. Additionally, the pages should have optimized URLs, as well as follow coding standards.
- Content. Search engine optimization success is reliant upon the actual content of the page, such as mentions and variations of the product name, purpose, geographic location and more. While pages should be written for users first, the content needs to align with SEO best practices and appeal to search crawlers too. Offering additional search-friendly content, blog articles allow banks and credit unions to attract consumers by answering commonly searched questions related to banking solutions, such as the difference between a home equity loan and home equity line of credit. Blog topics should be thoughtfully researched to provide solutions to real consumer problems.
5. Offer Awareness
Your onsite promotion strategy is important to create awareness of your campaign among regular site users. Promotions help inform visitors, who have otherwise come to your site for something else, about a featured product or solution. When launching a campaign, financial marketers should create corresponding site promotions to support success.
- Homepage Promotions. Big banners are an attractive way to quickly capture the attention of customers and members before they log into online banking. Secondary promotions below the main header graphic are another way to inform website visitors as they scroll through the site to explore your solutions.
- Internal Promotions. Internal page promotions are important for notifying visitors of relevant promotions when they didn’t enter the site from the homepage. For example, a consumer interested in opening a certificate of deposit would visit your standard product page. If you have a timely CD special, this should be featured in a promotion on that page, as it could be the motivation they need to take action at that time. And yet very few institutions actually take the time to do this.
6. Conversion Rates
Something as simple as how the content on your page is arranged and organized can significantly impact your ability to convert visitors. From headlines and body content to call to action buttons, page content should be focused, easily digestible and action-oriented to encourage conversions, following a logical order, and structured with consistent and intuitive “design hierarchy”. When defining destination pages, financial marketers need to do so strategically.
- Calls to Action. Each page should contain relevant calls to action, whether you want someone to apply for a loan, open an account or contact you. If you’re using buttons, these calls to action should be distinct and “above the fold” to ensure visibility and maintain consumer momentum. If you’re using contact forms, include only the necessary information fields so as not to deter them from submitting.
- Content. Your headline should be strong and compelling. To quickly and clearly communicate the features, benefits and other important details of your marketing campaign – consider creating a bulleted list as opposed to a block of content that can’t be easily scanned. Encourage consumers to act and generate trust by including testimonials, positive reviews, or other reliable information. Also, to maintain focus, limit page elements to only the essentials, promoting a single product or offer if possible.
7. Measuring Performance
Website analytics platforms provide valuable data for determining the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. This includes anything from the number of page visits and source traffic to the number actions taken. To collect and evaluate important information, financial marketers can set up custom tracking and triggers.
- Custom Events. Set up custom analytics tracking on select page elements to determine visitor source and behavior – from clicking on a call to action to submitting a third-party loan application. Using a combination of Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, this will allow you to obtain insight into which marketing strategies are generating the highest quality results, and adjust your approach to maximize your budget and performance.
- Analytics Dashboards. Custom dashboards can be created in Google Analytics to provide a quick and easy overview of important activity that isn’t available in the out-of-the-box reports. Financial marketers can use these website statistics to review key performance indicators. Whether your financial institution is interested in simply understanding the basics or more advanced analytics, dashboards offer an at-a-glance overview that makes it easier to continuously monitor key performance indicators.