Discover the secrets to transforming your financial brand's website from a lackluster online brochure into a dynamic sales engine. Learn from the successes and failures of renowned brands like Toys R Us and Target, and understand the power of mindset and perspective in unlocking your website's true potential. By embracing a growth-oriented mindset, investing in your website's potential, and focusing on the digital consumer journey, you can transform your financial brand's website into a sales powerhouse, generating substantial loans and deposits for your organization's success.

The top 3 insights from this article:

  • Mindset and perspective are key: Avoid the mistake of self-diagnosis and involve potential account holders in your decision-making process to better understand their needs and preferences.
  • Learning from past failures and successes: Delaying website updates and underinvesting can lead to missed opportunities, just like it did for Toys R Us. 
  • Putting digital consumers first: Recognize that a significant portion of consumers begin their financial product search online, and the website's user experience greatly impacts their decision-making process. 

Mindset and Perspective: The Key to Transformation

The journey to creating a website that sells starts with two simple yet powerful factors: mindset and perspective. It's essential not just for you but also for other key leaders in your financial brand to have the right perspective about your website. How you view your website directly impacts your mindset, influencing your beliefs about turning it into an effective sales engine.

Learning from Tragedy: The Story of Toys R Us

Let me share a poignant tale about Toys R Us, a brand close to my heart. Back in 2000, Toys R Us had an exclusive deal with Amazon to be their sole toy vendor. However, they failed to see the significance of their online presence and delayed updating their website until 2016. By that time, they invested $100 million in revamping their e-commerce efforts, but it was too little, too late. Toys R Us ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 2017, closing all physical stores, breaking the hearts of many.

In contrast, Target recognized the power of the digital world and invested over $7 billion in a transformational strategy. Their CEO had the courage to focus on long-term growth, revamping the entire Target experience to compete with Amazon effectively. Their ship-to-store strategy, combining digital and physical shopping, was a hit, driving significant revenue month after month.

Lessons for Financial Brands

The tragic tale of Toys R Us and the transformative story of Target hold essential lessons for financial brands. Far too often, financial brand websites are treated as glorified brochures with little focus on lead generation and user experience. Many underinvest in their websites, despite their immense potential.

A significant part of the problem is self-diagnosis, where financial brands create lists of features they believe their website needs, leading to misguided decisions based on the past, not the future. Additionally, inadequate funding for websites is a concern. Financial brands readily spend millions on physical branches, yet significantly underinvest in their digital growth potential.

Putting the Digital Consumer Journey First

To truly transform your website into a sales powerhouse, you must shift your mindset and perspective. Put the digital consumer journey and potential account holders at the center of your thinking. Lead generation should be your website's primary goal, driving conversions through optimized user experiences.

Remember, digital growth is not just about marketing or online banking—it's about crafting outstanding digital shopping experiences that attract and retain customers. By investing in your website's potential and treating it as a growth engine, you can achieve remarkable results.

Take Action Today:

  • Redefine the website's purpose: Take the lead in shifting the perspective about your financial brand's website. Collaborate with key leaders to redefine its purpose from a mere information center to a dynamic sales engine. Highlight the significance of lead generation and user experience, emphasizing the potential for generating loans and deposits through an optimized website.
  • Understand the digital consumer journey: Conduct thorough research and analysis to understand the digital consumer journey. Engage potential account holders through surveys and interviews to gain insights into their needs and preferences. Use this knowledge to design user-centric digital shopping experiences that resonate with your target audience.
  • Advocate for adequate website funding: Work with the financial brand's leadership team to secure the necessary funding for website optimization. Draw parallels to the investments made in physical branch locations and demonstrate the potential returns from a well-optimized website. Highlight successful examples, such as Target's transformation, to illustrate the long-term benefits of investing in digital growth.

By taking these action items, bank or credit union marketing and sales team members can drive positive change, optimizing the website's potential and ultimately contributing to the financial brand's growth and success.

For more about financial transformation, reach out to James Robert Lay at the Digital Growth Institute.