Website - 1Is your bank or credit union website your best salesperson? If not, something is seriously wrong.

Think about it — if you’re doing your website the right way, it represents a tremendous investment of both time and money reaching consumers. At its best, your website should quickly help consumers find what they are looking for and give them an idea regarding taking action. In this digital age, the average consumer will likely learn about your financial institution from the information on your website, long before they actually come into a physical branch. Your website is the welcome mat and front porch to your bank or credit union.

However, your website should also be a lot more than an online brochure. When used correctly, your website is a powerful sales tool for your financial institution. You must also learn to think less like a bank or credit union and more like a retailer. In this vein – is there a call to action on your website, or is it simply a series of boring brochure pages plastered uninspiringly on a screen? In the end, your website must sell, like any other member of your staff charged with consumer interaction. As noted in a recent CU Grow article, “Your website should be your number one selling resource. And if done right, it should outperform all of your other branches combined and be the number one revenue generator.”

What are some ways to fine-tune your website to make this happen? Following are a few ideas.

  • Follow the WIIFM principle. This stands for “what’s in it for me?” People visiting your website are probably there to find out about how to open an account and how to apply for a loan. Your “about us” page and a lot of fancy words to greet them on the homepage are nice, but are not really why people are there. Think in terms of why people are actually on your site. In bold headlines, promote that which your bank or credit union wants them to know about — typically deposit and loan products.
  • Keep the copy short. Just like the printed page, we tend to fill every amount of white space with words and pictures. This is just as unnecessary online as it is in print. Let people know, in short and succinct ways, exactly what you offer and how they can take advantage of it. A bunch of fluffy, $.50 words will only distract and turn off people.
  • Give them plenty of ways to contact you. Your website should be a springboard for consumers to visit and reach out to you. Make sure they know exactly how to find you. Prominently display chat support dialogue boxes, physical addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, social media handles and web-based forms. Ensure consumers have an abundance of ways in which they can get in touch with your bank or credit union.

These are just a few ways you can help position your financial institution website as a vital sales tool. With the amount of money and time banks and credit unions spend on their websites, it makes sense to position them in ways that can offer immediate returns on investment. Strategically crafting your website as a salesperson is one such way.