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Pitch a Website Overhaul to Your Boss

written by: Alex VanHaasteren
Woman speaking in meeting and answering raised hands

Your credit union may be missing out on golden opportunities if your website is outdated and out of touch. The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the need for better digital member service through your credit union’s website. According to Digital Agency Network, fully 86% of consumers used the internet to find a local business. Pandemic or not, consumers have been forced to become more comfortable with technology and digital services, and your credit union’s members are no different. Credit unions have changed tremendously, too. In a rush to better serve members digitally during the pandemic, has your credit union’s site become disjointed? Your credit union has likely shifted its priorities, and perhaps even your strategy.

As a credit union leader, ask yourself: Does my current website support our strategic growth objectives? Review your website’s analytics to identify where bottlenecks might occur. Can members and potential members learn about your loans and other accounts in a single click? Are your call-to-actions clear and aligned with current objectives for the credit union? Consider the frequency of the clicks through your CTAs as well. If members aren’t clicking, they also aren’t joining your credit union or applying for loans.

Study your website’s bounce rate. The bounce rate is when someone arrives at your site and bounces right back out. According to Search Engine Journal, the average bounce rate for a website is 41% to 55% – the lower the better. How does your credit union’s website fare? The higher the percentage often means your website pages are loading too slowly, laden with storage-hogging images and overuse of poorly optimized JavaScript. People won’t wait around for your pages to load, particularly potential members, so your credit union is losing out on opportunities if your load times are slow.

Your credit union website should be revamped at least every two years to keep up with changing trends. That means technology, design and content upgrades that are on strategy and on trend. For example, in 2020 online shoppers were 4-6x more likely to purchase, protect and champion purpose-driven companies, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down, according to HERO, a virtual shopping platform. The trust members have in their credit union isn’t just about keeping their money safe – although that’s a piece of it. Trust is also about being aligned in purpose and providing a consistent, reliable member experience across all platforms. People don’t keep going back to McDonald’s because the food is great. They go back to McDonald’s because they trust that consistent experience (ugh, except of course for the unreliable ice cream machines).

As new technologies develop, ensure your website is keeping up with the times to optimize member service delivery and build trust. Your members trust you with their money, but they also must be able to trust your ability to deliver secure, streamlined technology that provides access to their critical financial information and funds digitally.

Check out Maple FCU’s website, for example. It loads quickly and is easy to navigate with CTAs to apply for a loan or membership right at the top. It’s brand, “The perfect place for imperfect people,” says a lot about who the Maple FCU team is and what they do, and it’s coupled with a real image that provides the flavor of its Lafayette, La., headquarters. In addition to the main navigation bar that clearly outlines how to find what you’re looking for, immediately below the image, it asks, “How can we help?” with branded tiles below that to guide users to their intended destination. Note there’s not a single mention of rates before the scroll.

And if you search for credit unions in Lafayette, it’s the fifth organic result you’ll see despite being smaller than most at $47 million in assets. Ranking highly in Google searches is critical because the top five results get 70% of the clicks, according to Break the Web Agency, an SEO company. And the ROI of organic SEO is an astounding 15% close rate versus 2% for paid search, which means more members, loans and deposits for your efforts. Keeping up to date on SEO trends is critical for your website’s success.

While some of this information is in the weeds, it is a foundation upon which to develop your argument to leadership for redesigning your website to meet strategic objectives for growth. When members and potential members arrive at your destination, what will they find? An outdated website indicating your credit union cannot provide them the digital services they need, or a clean, modern website that helps them easily determine that your credit union is the one for them?


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