Your bank's or credit union's website says a great deal about you. So in order to go above and beyond the norm and defy consumer expectation, you need to ensure the design choices you're making in your online marketing reflect the unique value propositions your FI offers.

Here are five tips for making your website a user-friendly one.

Rely on Emotion

The stereotype of the cold, profit-focused banker isn't even close to reality. So why would you reflect it in your marketing by selecting website imagery that's devoid of emotional hook or personal connection? A study from Motista found that emotionally connected customers and members of financial institutions are anywhere from 30 to 100 percent more valuable in terms of retention and return on investmentEnsure your website features human-focused imagery that can evoke positive emotional reactions, versus distant, non-relatable or overly staged subjects.

Be Relevant

If you're struggling to retain your customer or member base with burgeoning competition for financial services providers in the tech space, the worst thing you can do is run in the opposite direction. Beat them at their own game by mimicking what consumers love about them. Maintain your relevance by offering the same ease of use, highly accessible customer service and web-based options front and center on your site. For example, use common e-commerce tropes on your site for your account-opening process—try a shopping cart function when selecting products for an air of consumer familiarity.

Simplify Whenever Possible

The trouble with peddling in financial services is that most consumers find them to be stressful or confusing—and they, frankly, don't particularly enjoy dealing with them, by and large. So why not make what can be an inherently difficult thing to swallow, such as managing your money, as simple as possible for your end consumers? Your website is a gateway to your online banking platform—keep your navigation and your headline hierarchy simple and user-friendly. Don't overcomplicate your menus with excess pages. Optimize for the elements of your website your users truly engage with on a regular basis so they don't need to deep-dive to find what they're looking for. Heat mapping is a great first step.

Engage with Video

You probably dabble in it on your social platforms, so why are the majority of bank and credit union websites pretty slim on video content? It's the format that is most engaged with on the web, so you should be finding how it can fit into your own web marketing strategy. Offer up personal connection through engaging, mission-driven content about your bank or credit union on your "About Us" pages, and plug commonly confusing functionalities in your online banking platform through video tutorials and walk-throughs. Most important for your sales team, offer tips and advice on relevant pages for products you're most aggressively pushing in a given month. (Is it high time for mortgages? Shoot your loan officer talking about the important aspects of a fixed-rate home loan.)

Be Different

It's a big ask, but, particularly in communities with a healthy amount of competition, being different is critical. And this doesn't have to be in major or earth-shattering ways. If you are the only bank or credit union in your area to offer evening support hours, promote in front and center, top of the fold on your homepage. If you are the only local institution that offers the ability to apply for student loans online, talk about it—you guessed it—front and center on your primary real estate, the homepage. Don't be afraid to crow about your truly exceptional factors—these unique values will tip the scales in a sea of perceived sameness.

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