Building a new website for your bank or credit union can be a complicated and time-consuming process. And considering the fact that as much as 80%-90% of your business comes from your website, this process should not be taken lightly.

The Problem With Website RFPs

Each month, we get RFPs from banks and credit unions interested in helping them build a new website.

And each month, we politely inform them we are not interested in responding to the RFP but are happy to help guide them if they are willing to take a different approach to building a website that sells.

This is not because we don’t want to work with these banks and credit unions. Instead, we challenge the RFP process because it is very limited and often focuses around three areas:

Budget: Your website is the heart of your organization, and we often find new website underbudgeted. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Design: While important, design is only one of many elements needed to build a website that sells. Just because you get a new responsive website with a fresh look does not mean you have a website that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Technology: We often find website RFPs are simply a tactical checklist of different technology platforms, such as an easy-to-use CMS (content management system). However, as these lists are developed internally, they may lack the perspective needed to truly build a website that sells.

How to Fix the Website RFP Problem

You can simplify the website development process by considering the six following points that go beyond budget, design, and technology.

1. Consider the Production of Digital Content

While a new design might bring a fresh face to your website, this new design will be worthless if you simply copy and paste the content from your old website into your new one.

When working with banks and credit unions to help them build websites that sell, it is not uncommon to find the copy on their current website is 4-5 years old, if not older, as it has been passed from one website to the next with little to no changes.

It is the copy on your website that will help to attract, capture, nurture, and convert leads for loans and new accounts.

Recommendations: When planning to build a website that sells, plan to have each page of content rewritten and simplified. Use the StorySelling process as a guide so that you may go beyond promoting only “great rates” and “amazing service” alongside a commoditized list of product features.

Careful consideration for website content must also be paid when it comes to formatting. For example, a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy should include the writing of localized H1 and meta tags for each page.

Finally, in addition to writing new content for the website, it is important you plan an ongoing content marketing strategy to help first and sell second as you guide and nurture consumers through the buying process for different products and services. Use the Content Marketing Guidebook to help determine what types of content will be best for you to produce and distribute.

2. Consider Mapping Digital Consumer Journeys

It is important to remember that 80%-90% of visits to your website’s home page are from current account holders logging into home banking. Therefore, only 10%-20% of visits to your website are from consumers shopping for financial products.

And with such a small percentage, it is important that every interaction on your website helps guide these consumers from intent to conversion and beyond.

When planning and mapping out digital consumer journeys, remember the average consumer takes 30-45 days, if not longer, when making a decision to open an account. And during this time period, they use 8-10 different resources throughout their buying process.

Use this knowledge to map out digital journeys on your website for your key products. Determine what types of content and information someone needs in the different stages of the buying process. This can include awareness of a need, consideration of products to solve that need, and contemplation of converting and applying for a loan or opening an account.

Recommendations: Mapping digital consumer journeys requires you to first assess the journeys currently established on your website and other digital channels. What’s working? What can be improved? What does not exist yet?

To get answers to these questions, we recommend you first start with user testing of the current website. This will require you test your website with current account holders as well as consumers from the markets you serve. Ask them to perform different tasks, such as applying for an auto loan, mortgage, or credit card.

In addition to analyzing qualitative data from live user testing, it is also important to review quantitative data collected from heat maps, click maps, and scroll maps. These maps visualize how consumers are interacting and using your current website when shopping for financial products and services.

Another key element of mapping digital consumer personas is to talk with your sales team. This will include your front line, call center, and business development representative. When preparing Digital Growth Blueprints for clients, we always uncover new opportunities for each of these different sales roles for how a new website and related technology can enable them to sell more.

Finally, once the research has been performed, we recommend using this data to help facilitate the wireframe and UX prototyping phase of a website development process.

3. Consider Technology Beyond the CMS

Building a website that sells is much more than having a CMS that makes website updates easy to manage. And while a modern, secure, and compliant CMS serves as a solid foundation for your new website, it is only one piece of technology needed to build a website that sales.

Recommendations: As you explore the following technologies, you will find they provide a benefit beyond the marketing department as they enhance your digital sales team while also improving operational efficiencies. It is, for this reason, the budget for these technologies, as well as the website for that matter, should be allocated from each department accordingly.

Other technologies required to build a website that sells include:

  • Marketing automation platform
  • CRM platform
  • Online application platform
  • Referral platform
  • Ratings and reviews platform
  • Online video platform
  • Remarketing platform
  • PFM platform
  • Live chat platform
  • Call back platform
  • Call tracking platform

4. Consider Content Distribution and Digital Advertising

When preparing Digital Growth Blueprints for clients, we often find they are lacking a content distribution or digital marketing plan. This, in turn, limits the traffic driven to the site. When building a website that sells, ensure you have a digital marketing and content distribution plan in place to ensure you maximize the investment of your new digital asset.

Recommendations: Driving traffic to a site is oftentimes the most challenging part of the process. But it does not have to be as we simplify digital marketing and content distribution into three key areas:

  • Email marketing, including personalized campaigns, triggered campaigns, nurture campaigns, and surveys
  • Social media marketing, including publishing social posts as well as placing geographically/persona targeted ads on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yelp
  • Digital advertising, including placing geographically/persona targeted Google AdWords, remarketing, display, local news websites,
  • Rich media advertising, including Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, and Hulu

5. Consider Measuring KPIs and Future Optimization

One of the most beneficial aspects of building a website that sells is the ability for you to measure KPIs and optimize the website based on performance. However, when planning Digital Growth Blueprints for clients, we find they are measuring nothing more than vanity metrics. These include:

  • Website visits
  • Page views
  • Pages per visit
  • Time on site

The problem with vanity metrics is they do not impact the bottom line.

Recommendations: When building a website that sells, it is important to go beyond vanity metrics and tie KPIs back to four organizational goals for growth:

  • Building digital community
    • Content marketing
      • Total visits/page views
      • Average pages per visit
      • New vs. returning visits
      • Referring visit source
      • Keywords
      • Top pages viewed
      • Heat and click maps
    • Email marketing
      • Open rate
      • Click rate
      • Bounce rate
      • Unsubscribe rate
      • List growth rate
      • List attrition rate
      • Engagement rate
    • Social media
      • Fan/Followers
      • Reach
      • Comments
      • Likes
      • Favorites
      • Shares
      • Visits
    • Video marketing
      • Views
      • Engagement
      • Subscribers
      • Comments
      • Likes
      • Shares
      • Traffic sources
  • Generating leads from that community
    • Leads per channel
    • Leads per product
    • Click rate
    • Conversion rate
    • CPC (cost per click) 
    • CPL (cost per lead)
    • Product pipeline potential revenue
  • Converting leads for loans and new accounts
    • Click rate
    • Conversion rate
    • CPC (cost per click) 
    • CPA (cost per acquisition)
    • Conversion rate
    • Channel attribution
    • Product revenue attribution
    • Abandonment rate
  • Growing share of wallet
    • NPS (Net promoter score)
    • R&R (Rating and review score)
    • Referral counts
    • PPH (Products per household)
    • Click rate
    • Conversion rate
    • CPC (cost per click) 
    • CPL (cost per lead)

6. Consider Training and Ongoing Partnerships

There is so much more that goes into building a website that sells than just a pretty design.

And as a strategic focus on digital marketing continues to grow, we have found many bank and credit union executives grow frustrated as they lack the proper training and resources needed to build a successful digital marketing and sales program.

In fact, a study from Adobe found that only 9% of marketers know their digital marketing is working. And another 82% are having to learn digital marketing on the job.

Recommendations: We know you are already extremely busy. And we don’t want your pretty new website to go to waste.

That’s why it is important to consider your current staff and capacity when building a website that sells. Do they have the proper training? Do they have the capacity to properly manage your website, content, technology, digital ads, reporting, optimization, etc.?

If not, it is important to consider partnering with a digital marketing expert who can continue to train and guide your team along the way to digital marketing success while also assisting digital content production, distribution, reporting, recommendations, and optimization.

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