How does your website reflect your credit union’s brand?
That doesn’t simply mean all the logos and colors match up, although that’s important.
How does it represent your credit union’s values and membership in a way that potential members are jumping to join?
According to Stanford, 75% of users admit to judging a company’s credibility based on its website design. Additionally, 57% of users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website.
Your credit union website must provide an excellent mobile experience to enhance your brand’s reputation both on and offline.
Consider your current website. Are you confident that it is properly conveying your credit union’s story? When members (and potential members) visit your website, can they easily find the application, contact details, or product they’re looking for? Or, are they met with an unresponsive experience that’s hard to navigate? If your answer to the latter is “no” or even “I’m not sure,” it’s time for a website overhaul.
Credibility and trust are characteristics upon which credit unions are built, and members must find you credible and trust you can serve them digitally. Your credit union’s website is crucial to your long-term success; therefore, investing in this area is critical to attracting new members and loans while retaining your current ones.
When it comes to designing your next website, ensure you have the right process, expertise and people involved.
Here are the keys to improving your digital user experience:
- Follow a tested, logical process
Before your project begins, start with a discovery phase. Get to know your prospective partner and let them get to know you. Whether it is being respectful of each other’s boundaries or establishing expectations and timelines, quality communication in this stage is imperative to ensure both parties understand the project scope and what will be required of them for it to be successful.
This stage is critical to selecting the right partner to lead your website makeover. During discovery, share what you envision for your credit union website. Expressing what you want regarding features and content upfront will save you time and money in the long run. As initial layouts and designs are created, you should feel comfortable giving constructive criticism. The right website design partner should welcome your feedback! This is your website and your brand reputation you are spending your members’ money on to be able to better reflect and serve them. Be respectful, of course, but don’t be shy about your honest feedback.
Throughout the build, you should have sufficient opportunities to continue providing feedback until finally, you’ve fallen in love with your website and set a launch date!
Launching your new website should be timed to reduce possible member service disruptions. For example, launching your website early in the morning before your members are awake is likely better than launching it at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday as they are getting ready for the weekend. These are details that matter to you, and likewise, they should matter to your prospective web design partner.
- Create a frictionless user experience
Now that you’ve picked a website design firm, your credit union should trust their expertise to produce the user experience your members deserve. To reach potential members, ensure the website is search engine optimized. SEO is how search engines rank your credit union website’s credibility based on keywords, site speed and other factors your firm will be able to define and use to amplify your targeted, digital reach.
It also must be mobile friendly. Search Engine Land reported that 39% of banking-related web searches begin on a mobile device, and this figure only continues to grow with the popularity of mobile. Once on your website, visitors should be drawn in to learn more. Engage them with images and messaging that are meaningful to your ideal members, clear and concise navigation to the information they want and need, and fast-loading pages. You only have about two seconds to make a great first impression before they abandon your site. However, if they can swiftly find and move through your website, your credit union’s chances of adding new members and loans – also known as website conversions – will improve.
Take a look at Atlantic City Electric Company Employees FCU in Mays Landing, New Jersey. ACECEFCU recently overhauled its website to better represent its brand, streamline navigation and improve conversion. It is SEO and mobile friendly, features bold colors, provides a frictionless user experience and is ADA-compliant, while also emphasizing the strategic goals of the credit union. Since launching in October 2021, the credit union has been thrilled with its new website.
- Choose a partner, not a vendor.
A vendor will take your money. A vendor will complete the task (probably).
However, a business partner is invested in your success because they understand that success is a two-way street. When their clients achieve their goals and are successful, that is also a success for them. A true partner will challenge you and push you. While this may be uncomfortable, you’ve trusted them this far. Trust them to break you out of your comfort zone. Remember, you’re the expert on your members; they’re the expert on website design.
They should be honest and direct with you. If they’re saying ‘yes,’ all the time, something’s not right. Understand and respect each other’s expertise, share the rationale for your suggestions, and collaborate to find creative ways to achieve your strategic goals. Partners are experts in their field and should be trusted to provide service in alignment with your credit union’s objectives.
Finally, your outsourced web design firm has to deliver. Talk with your candidates’ existing clients. Does the firm regularly miss deadlines? Constantly reschedule meetings? Play the blame game? Lock you into a contract that helps them maintain control (and could cause problems for your credit union down the road)?
Your credit union’s website will be the first point of contact for an increasing number of potential and existing members. It should reflect a brand of professionalism and tech-savvy through a sleek design with simple navigation and pages that load quickly. Your choice of who will build it is critical to your credit union’s continued relevance. Choose your credit union website design partner wisely.
Originally published on cuinsight.com.