Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: web browsing

Advice Which Isn’t Great Advice

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Read this post to get a whole lot of bad advice.

You’re still here? Wonderful. Because I didn’t give up the whole story. I am giving bad advice, but then we will learn about the better alternatives. And, we will discuss why that advice was bad. Turns out, there’s a lot of it, so the discussion will be split into a couple of parts. To start…

…Let’s focus on your website, as it is the face of your institution for most of your members most of the time. It’s like a branch…does that sound familiar?

Bad Advice: Fewer clicks are better

In the early days of the World Wide Web, everything was slow. Browsers were slow. Modems were slow. Even turning on your computer was a timely process. If a website took under 20 seconds to load, things were great. And now I have to click to another one? Ugh. I have plans tonight, you know!

Today, your phone, computer, and internet connection are each hundreds, if not thousands, of times faster than those original setups. If a site doesn’t load in 4 seconds, the majority of people are gone. It’s easy to tap or click your way dozens of links down a rabbit hole of “10 best” or YouTube related shorts with almost no delay. Just ignore the fact you burnt 3 hours of your life watching a chameleon walking across a branch, then a cat wearing a hat of its own fur (this exists).

While we may waste time online, very little of it is dedicated to waiting.

Give your members the right information to set their expectations properly. If a banner directs to a program, have a page presenting what they can expect, then guide them to applying/shopping/registering. If you were on Amazon and clicking on a product took you to the shopping cart, it’d be off-putting. Don’t do that to your members. Embrace the clicks, within reason.

Bad Advice: Information Can’t Be “Below the Fold”

Back in the day, scrolling was miserable. If you were cool, you had a sticky, dirty gray wheel wedged in your mouse. Otherwise, scrolling meant clicking a tiny arrow on the side of the screen. What. A. Pain. As a result, websites were made to fit within the most common screen dimensions of the day (800×600 or 1024×768). This meant a lot of info squeezed in a small area. I’ll admit. Many of our company sites years ago were sticklers to this concept. We still try to make pertinent information immediately prominent, but if scrolling makes a cleaner, more explanatory process, we’ll do it.

Today, who doesn’t scroll? Touchpads allow easy scrolling. All mice have a wheel or swipe area. Phones and tablets are built on scrolling. It’s second nature now. Which means your members are accustomed to doing it. Your webpages can go down, it’s ok.

General rule: If it’s essential, put it up top. If it’s explanatory, let it go below.

Bad Advice: Changing Passwords Often Improves Security

Wrong. Wrong1. Wrong123. Wr0ng2017. Fido.

How many sites do you sign in with the same password? If the answer is “none”, then you’re obviously using a password manager, or they’re written down on your desk. If the latter, get rid of that list. More than likely, you reuse your favorite password everywhere. It’s ok. You’re not alone. Passwords stink.

This piece of bad advice is my biggest pet peeve. Until recently, it was the official recommendation of the Federal Government, and is still policy at many credit unions (kudos to VyStar, who only offered partially bad advice…smiles!). I actually got into an argument with one of the largest CUs in the US for suggesting it. I’m sorry for their members.

If I asked you to make a complicated password, what would it be? Random letters and numbers (impossible to remember)? A common word with a 1 at the end (possible)? A pet’s name (likely)?

Now, imagine I told you to change it every three months, “in the name of security”. Would you come up with a more complicated password, or a simpler one? Research has shown the latter to be true. If “MyPetIsTheMostAwesome2016” was your original, perhaps the new one would be, “MyPetIsTheMostAwesome2017”. Until they say it has to change more than that. So then you use, “Pet2017”. For the next cycle, you use “p3t2017”. And few months later, you just gave up and wrote it on a post-it note stuck under your desk.

Security experts” (despite being Norton, their advice is awful) claimed that changing your password ensured it was safe. As if passwords are slowly degrading over time. Wrong. They’re either compromised or they’re not. If you have a long, complicated, but easy-to-remember password, stick with it (unless that service said their data was hacked). My favorite comic, xkcd, has a popular post about this topic. Go there, then tell me your password doesn’t include a correct horse with a battery staple. Do it.

In the interest of time, let’s end part one here. Did any of this advice surprise you? Have you been told the opposite by your co-workers, superiors, or trade associations? Comment here, and I’ll help connect you with the resources to educate them the right way. Hey, we can all be wrong. It’s what we do when realizing.

What other bad advice do we have to look forward to? Option overload, one final point about password strength, and those annoying “are you sure you want to continue” pop ups on your website!

Rotating Banners and Lost Opportunities

Read how you can improve your credit union marketing.

Find archived articles that might pertain to your goals.

Learn about a credit union’s latest branch opening.

What’s the point of this post? You should be confused, and for good reason. There’s no consistency, the content has to be read separately, and who knows if you even stuck around long enough for the last choice (I hope you’re still reading!).

Many credit unions do something just like this every day. It’s called the rotating banner, and it needs to go.

One can compare a rotating banner on a homepage with changing billboards along the highway. It seems fair, right? Only the billboard is showing content to thousands of people a day, and each panel gets equal time. Imagine if that same billboard showed the same image to every driver for the first 5 seconds, yet they passed it in 15. What if your institution paid to be 4th in rotation? You wouldn’t be too happy, would you?

It’s the same on your website. If you’re lucky, a web visitor will give 10 seconds to decide if a page is worth their time (besides their original goal). Assuming your site has a rotating banner set to 5 seconds, visitors will see (at most) two graphics. I’ve seen sites with 7, 8, even 10 rotating graphics! It would take a full minute to flow through each of these in succession. I’m sorry to say, but none of your members are spending that much time on your homepage.

On the web, goals must be defined quickly and clearly to have any success. The primary banner on your site must direct to the primary marketing goal at that moment. For the rest, you can have secondary areas and a clear menu structure. You may notice retail companies “breaking” this rule, however, their visitors are potential customers browsing a product lineup. A commitment to remaining for a longer time is already set (i.e. They did not come for an unrelated purpose, then become distracted to stay much longer).  Companies like Apple, Misfit, and Microsoft (I use products/services from all of them) highlight this strategy.

We love seeing credit unions build success on new initiatives. It’s just disappointing when their results are compromised by burying a call to action behind today’s latest graphic. In fact, for our own partners, we can trace web hit falloff to moving a banner back from the first in a rotation.

Members hitting your website are opportunities. Engage them quickly and efficiently and they will reward you with additional services.

Disclosure: Credit unions partnered with my firm may use rotating banners. If practices improved, our own services may be better promoted, resulting in a financial gain for both parties.

© 2017 Credit Union Geek

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑