We’ve defined the job of your credit union website (see this post for a refresher), and that’s a great first step to creating a stellar site. But you won’t get very far if you stop there. Next we need to dig into how your website should successfully do its job. To make it simple, we’ve broken it down into six simple things your website should be doing in order to convince people to choose your credit union.
1. Make a good impression.
Your website is often a person’s first impression of your credit union. First impressions make a big impact, and people don’t trust credit unions with ugly websites. It’s as simple as that. In fact, Vistaprint conducted a survey and found that 42% of consumers are very unlikely to buy from a poorly designed website.
Here at BloomCU, we focus on helping credit unions wireframe, style tile, and design simple, modern websites. Here are some of our favorite examples:
2. Show how your credit union is different from other financial institutions.
You have to find a way to stand out from the crowd. One of the most impactful ways is to tell a story. As we work with credit unions, we seek to truly learn about their business and what they stand for, so we can write a compelling story depicting their brand. That story should clearly answer the question, “Why should I bank with you?” Then we use the website as a medium to articulate this story and emphasize why your credit union is different.
We’ve found the story framework to be extremely helpful for communicating a credit union’s message, telling the story of their brand, and winning business. Check out this story framework template.
3. Help users easily find what they’re looking for.
Give your users great directions—because if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave. Simple navigation begins with a well-organized sitemap, with its structure backed by research. Here are some quick insights and takeaways we’ve gleaned from our own research:
- Insight: Noun-based labels make websites nearly twice as easy to navigate. In a navigation study, users given verb-based labels took a median of 19.8 seconds to find the correct pages. On the other hand, when given nouns, users took only 10.6 seconds
- Takeaway: Use nouns for your navigation rather than verbs (i.e. accounts, loans, resources vs save, borrow, and manage)
- Insight: Don’t put credit cards under “loans.” From card sorting studies, we’ve learned that consumers are more likely to put credit cards into a category called “Cards” as the number of card products increases. For credit unions with only one or two cards, study participants sorted them into “Accounts” or “Cards” about evenly. But with three or more, they usually created a group just for “Cards.”
- Takeaway: If you have one or two card items (including related services like CardValet), bucket them into the “Accounts” section of your navigation. If you have three or more, then organize them into a new category called “Cards.”
In addition, there are some general laws of design that can guide your navigation choices:
- Hick’s Law: The more options you show, the longer it takes someone to make a decision.
- Miller’s Law: The average human can hold around seven items in working memory at once.
- Jakob’s Law: Users spend most of their time on other sites. Therefore, users prefer your website to work the same way as other sites they’ve visted.
We rely on these insights to initially create your sitemap. Then we wireframe and design a simple navigation system. Finally, we take navigation to the next level with Instant Search and chatbot technologies.
4. Educate and clearly explain the benefits of your products.
People are coming to your site because they want to solve a problem. Make it easy for them to understand how you are the solution, and you’ll both benefit.
We strive to have a deep understanding of financial products and services so that we can write clearly enough for even the most un-experienced visitors to understand. Allow your visitors to easily identify what you are offering and what value it provides them. Include tools that help people make good financial decisions, like quizzes and calculators.
5. Invite users to apply for your loans and accounts.
Your site is successful when it gets someone to start an application because that means they’ve chosen to bank with your credit union. In order to get there, you need clear and compelling CTAs. Check out this article for tips on writing CTAs that inspire action. (Spoiler alert: Good CTAs start with a strong verb, convey value, avoid technical jargon, and stand out on the page.)
6. Follow up with users.
Once your website knows someone is interested, it should follow up and invite action. We recommend using personalization technology on your website. This software uses data to adapt your website for each visitor. When we implemented this technology for HFS FCU, they received 213% more clicks on CTAs.
Here’s a look at how it works:
- Rebecca visits the auto loan page of your credit union website, so personalization software tags her interest as ‘auto loan’.
- On Rebecca’s next visit to your homepage, personalization software automatically shows her an auto loan promotion.
- Rebeca is 3x more likely to click “apply now” when shown this personalized promotion.
These six tips make a good starting point for making sure your credit union website is helping you attract and gain new members.