3 Website Design Tips for Community Financial Institutions

At Andera we’re always looking to identify and share best practices in website design, especially design related to conversion for online account opening and lending.  In March we noticed that one of our clients, People’s Credit Union (CU) of Rhode Island, had recently launched a spiffy new website, www.peoplescu.com. We interviewed People’s and Pannos-Winzeler Marketing, the firm that designed and built the website to see what we could learn. Here  are a few things that People’s CU got right:

1. Make your website sell

A foremost objective for all financial institutions should be to better leverage their website as a sales tool for deposit and loan accounts. Accordingly, the site structure should make it as easy as possible to get to desired information.

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Your website should also include a clear and immediate call to visitors to open accounts and apply for loans. People’s CU includes prominent “Open an Account” and “Apply for a Loan” section in the main navigation bar, each of which opens a short list of products.  From the detailed product pages, People’s CU directs the visitor to more information and to the application itself, with obvious and contrasting “Learn More” and “Open Account” buttons.  And for products that cannot be opened online, they direct visitors to call, email, or visit a branch.

2. Keep your copy to the point

Clear and to-the-point wording on your website is key. People don’t want to read large masses of content; they want to get the basics.  It’s also important to find a balance between minimalistic copy and clear content, as visitors may at times appreciate more text to clarify financial services-specific jargon.

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We’re always shocked that most people are still going to branches to open accounts. Research indicates that this may be because people start their research online but feel uncomfortable choosing the right products without visiting a branch. People’s CU does a good job of addressing this issue on its site by making it clear why people should choose one product over another. By giving clear and brief explanations of what each product offers, People’s makes it easier for site visitors to decide which account is right for them on their own.

3. Add a human touch

Although your site should be clean, you don’t want your organization to come off as impersonal or sterile. As People’s CU’s VP of Marketing Arthur Paul explains, “It’s all about us as individuals instead of us as a company. People don’t buy from the website, they buy from people, and you have to make them feel like they’re actually talking to people.”

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Langdon Andrews, VP of Financial Services Marketing at Pannos-Winzeler marketing, pinpoints the importance of an effective online presence: “Your ability to reach people online and to satisfy their need for information, products, and convenience-that’s going to be a critical differentiator in the marketplace.”

To hear more and receive a copy of our case study on People’s CU, you can register for our webinar this Thursday at http://bit.ly/WebsiteJune27.

Originally posted by Julia Verbrugge on blog.andera.com. Follow us on twitter @AnderaInc

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