Given the proliferation of social media, small businesses oftentimes neglect some of the other important housekeeping items on their digital marketing agenda. Take your website, for example. For some folks, the company website is more of an afterthought nowadays given the importance of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks. That being said, companies — particularly small banks and financial services institutions — who ignore their websites do so at their own peril.
After all, your website remains the primary channel where customers will find you and the destination for most transaction-based activity. Furthermore, its often when people are led from social media. Does your bank site need a tune up? Here is a handy check-list to help you do just that:
- Adhere to the principles of "responsive design." The riseofmobile computing, coupled with the proliferation of different types of devices — smart phones, tablets, PCs — means that your site will lookdifferent depending on the device that's showing it. Therefore it's important that your site looks great no matter the device. In the web design world, this is called "responsive design," and failure to adhere to these principles can lead to lost sales andfrustrated visitors. This principle is of critical importance in the transaction-heavy world of financial web design.
- Ensure brand consistency. It's no secret that different social media platforms cater to different demographics. Pinterest, for example, is highly popular among women. As a result, your different social media pages may market towards these unique audiences. And while that's a good idea in theory, it runs the risk of diluting your brand across channels, especially your website. Therefore, make sure the core elements of your brand's identity as well as logos, marketing copy, and visual elements (like photos of a typical buyer persona) are established on your home page and extended across other channels.
- Uncluttered navigation. This principle is universally important. Make sure your home page is uncluttered and only contains the most critical information. Furthermore, make sure information is arranged in an intuitive fashion (e.g. "Banking for Small Businesses," "Contact") Again, this may seem like obvious stuff, but many firms have been rolling out the same navigation menus for years now. A change may be in order.
- Consider microsites. A microsite is an individual web page that functions as a standalone entity within an existing site. The site can have its own domain name or simply reside within the parent domain. We suggest you roll out a microsite when you have a specific goal in mind or if your existing site just isn't cutting it. For example, you can create a microsite for a cross-promotional opportunity like a low auto-loan rate or as a repository for content to boost SEO efforts like a blog. Not surprisingly, microsites are also a cost-efficient alternative to redesigning a site from scratch.
- Cross-market. Does your bank have a mobile app? Great, then make sure visitors to your web site know about it on the landing page or in the navigation bar. A great example of this is the Bank of Stockon. We recently built the bank's mobile app, which enables users to view account activity, transfer funds, pay bills, send money, and deposit checks. And the Bank of Stockon isn't shy about it: the first thing viewers see on their landing page is smiling customer, streamlined copy regarding the app ("Deposit checks with mobile deposit..."), and ever-important calls to action ("Learn More," "Download Now.")
Simply revisit your website on a periodic basis with an eye towards the core principles of financial web design: usability, navigation, responsive design, and their customers' desire for mobile apps. This will keep you in check.