The following is an excerpt from an upcoming white paper, “Website Planning & Design.” To be notified of the report release, click “Subscribe to our blog” in the green box in the top right corner of this page.
As in any other marketing effort, you need to begin your website planning with thinking about where you want to end. What objectives does the site need to accomplish to be considered a success?
Objectives and Goals:
In most cases, a website is built to either: inform, educate or engage.
You may have different areas or pages of your site that have different objectives. Think of the customer’s site experience as “tracks.” Based on what the customer wants to accomplish, what track, or site flow, do you want them to take? Ultimately, where do you want to guide them? You are in control of this experience to help visitors engage with your brand and site!
Define Your Target
Who is your site built for … and don’t say, “everyone.”
Your site is a marketing tool and needs to be created for a specific target audience. Better yet, as financial institutions, various sections of your website, product and service tracks, should cater to different audience.
Consider your perfect customer. What do they look like? What life stages are they in? What drives them? When you can create a persona or two, you can better plan the site flow, write more meaningful copy and have a more impactful design.
Set a Budget
Websites today are limited only by your imagination … and budget.
Do you want embedded video? How interactive do you want it? Do you want chat capability? Do you need SSL certification? Do you want content with an RSS feed?
Consider setting up a web budget in stages. Prioritize your wish list by what will best you’re your objectives. Then, identify the milestones that you need to reach to justify investing in the next stage.
Consider Your Capabilities
There are plenty of online-only financial institutions: Ally, USAA, Digibank, Alliant Credit Union, and many more! Do you want to be one?
If moving toward an online-focused model is an objective, first consider what your online capabilities are. Many times, your online experience is tied to your core processor, online banking system or other third parties that are out of your control. If you have the resources for online account opening or product applications, what is that experience like for your customers? How mobile-friendly is that experience?
Ultimately, to what degree do you want online transactions and account openings to take place? And, do you have the internal processes and staff to support those transactions? You need the online option, but based on your institution’s culture, strategy and objectives, it may be better to drive in-person interactions.
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