Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: website (page 1 of 3)

Trusted Partners

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Depending on the audience, I have a variety of secret lives. Here, my secret life is that of a credit union marketing partner. When working with CUs, I’m a secret ninja and industry blogger.

Now you’re wondering about the ninja part.

As a strategic partner, it is in everyone’s best interests to work closely together. A credit union is never “just another client”, whereas, we strive to never be “just another vendor”. Some of our relationship partners are real friends, and discussions can evolve beyond weather and sports into family. We are in it for the long term to help every partner (and individual staff/member) exceed their goals.

This is often not how we are received.

We understand. All of us have been in a business relationship that felt one-sided up-front or started out great, then fell apart over time. How can we know which to trust and which to cast away? Better off just keeping them all on a tenuous balance: Work together, but don’t share enough to give them any “power” over you. Ensure the contract protects you, then protect your members just the same.

Thing is, I can’t disagree with anything in the previous paragraph. Ensuring every member’s safety, privacy, and satisfaction is top priority, and nothing should ever compromise this approach. Yet your partners are how you expand member offerings, and any barriers you place can affect the member experience. Where’s the balance?

As part of our offerings, we assist credit unions to place landing pages on their sites linking to a partner portal for their members. The linked site is owned by a third-party, but contractually covered for privacy, due diligence…you name it. Despite this, some credit unions still pop up large warnings when navigating to the pages; we call them speed bumps. Not a great way to inspire confidence for your members.

None are doing this out of spite. All believe it is a requirement from NCUA, and their own counsel or examiner reiterates this idea. Hey, when the regulator says to do something, you don’t argue!

Trouble is, this is all based on a non-binding piece of guidance from 2003 (PDF). Remember the web back then? We all had sparkling unicorns and weather banners adorning our sites. Because, Internet! Given these were coming from unrelated third-parties, it made sense to inform your members of potential risks navigating there. Today, portals are custom sites designed specifically for the institution, with specifications laid bare in lengthy contracts. If that isn’t a trusted site, I don’t know what is. Even more odd, many credit unions have warnings when clicking the NCUA icon…or their loan application!

Each speed bump warning may seem innocuous, but they create falloff in member clicks, and generate suspicion in your members. “If my credit union doesn’t trust them, why should I?” It’s a valid question.

Whenever you engage in a partnership or contractual agreement, I believe it should be to each other’s benefit. Both parties gain equally and with mutual respect. If you ever feel that is not the case, it’s probably not a great partnership. Putting barriers in the way of these efforts tilts the balance of trust. If your MSRs were recommending a service, they wouldn’t say, “We have this great program, and it would be perfect for you, but be careful, since we don’t really trust them with any of your information.”

Why do it online?

Disclosure: Credit unions working closer with their partners may include my company. Therefore, I may benefit financially from their changes.

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.

If You Build It…No One Knows?

Film buffs and baseball fans recognize the reference made in the title. Maybe they are picturing Kevin Costner standing in the cornfield as legends of the game walk onto the infield. “If you build it…” You know the rest.

Too bad it’s only the magic of the movies. I’ve tried. Babe Ruth never walked onto our childhood sandlot. But then again, we didn’t build the field, only enjoyed making some plays. I wonder what happens if I built the starship Enterprise

Did you know our company composed a white paper delving into credit union auto loan challenges? Yep, and we built it. On its own, though, no one came.

We spread the word in (how else?) crazy ways. Only then did a few people trickle past our work. More came with exposure, publicity, and significant effort on our part.

You put time, money, and long days (maybe nights) into creating programs your members will love. You built it. No one knows. Until you begin a focused marketing and referral effort. I’ve seen gorgeous landing pages on sites, marketing services which the members would embrace, yet they are buried so deep in the navigation, Google’s own bot would give up.

Create your own “Credit Union of Dreams”. “If we build it, our members will come once we develop and implement unified marketing and member referral strategies that serve to guide them towards a single goal, no matter their origin.”

Ah, I can see the movie poster now.

Disclosure: It’s true. We do have industry white papers. Of course, as this is a no-sales site, they are not linked here. They made for a good example, that’s all.

Disclosure 2: Image from 1989 film, Field of Dreams. Source: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/local/kyle-munson/2014/04/19/field-dreams-magical-movie-disputed-diamond/7920391/

Older posts

© 2017 Credit Union Geek

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑