Advantage One Credit Union
Complete Web Redesign
By Donna Adinolfe
Background: In an effort to engage members more easily across all social media channels, Advantage One Credit Union of Brownstown, MI, underwent a complete website redesign — the first website it had built from scratch in roughly 10 years.
The site needed to reflect both the credit union’s changes and the changes in its member communities.
“We view our website as another branch of the credit union,” says Advantage One Marketing Specialist Rodney Gout. “Being able to serve the right information to the right member at the right time was one of our highest priorities when considering the redesign.”
What they did: The Advantage One website development team made the site easily accessible with bite-sized chunks of information easily readable on any device.
The team set a goal for the new site to strike the right balance between ease of use, navigation and providing the information members want. In addition to a simple but comprehensive menu system, a robust, easy-to-use, on-site search engine was essential.
Knowing they would be doing an update well ahead of time allowed the team to conduct thorough research, including member surveys, web analytics analysis, marketing studies analysis and gathering staff input. This gave them very clear ideas regarding what they must accomplish with the new site. It also helped the designers work more effectively and efficiently.
“We knew, from analytics, that roughly 50% of our traffic was viewing on mobile, and we expect that number to continue to climb,” Gout said. “Because of that, we focused on a mobile-first template from the start of the project.”
With the desire for a steady flow of financial education information to members, the team realized that social media was the best delivery channel. The issue was that members weren’t flowing from the site to the blog or their social media channels.
“We had been steadily growing our Facebook and WordPress blog presence in the preceding years, and CUcontent’s articles helped us tremendously with growth and interaction, but our website remained a bit disconnected from our social media channels,” Gout said.
Another concern was that the site had to be ADA-compliant to serve a population to whom the former site was not particularly accommodating. And, although definitive legislation is not likely to pass anytime soon, the threat of lawsuits is always a concern.
Results: After much research, the website development team gained nearly everything they sought in a new site. It is clean, modern and easy to navigate on any platform.
It is in alignment with where they see their brand going, instead of where it was years ago. It is large enough to provide members with information and answers to their questions, but still small enough that the credit union’s modest marketing department of four can keep information current.
The new site includes easy navigation and robust search functionality. It has a direct connection to articles on their blog and shares a look and feel with their social media channels. When fully implemented, it will allow for a high level of targeted information and advertising to flow into numerous advertising areas of the site, which will be automatically based upon a member’s self-generated persona.
Key lessons learned:
- Research, research, and then research more. Learn how members use your site, what works and what doesn’t. Then, consider where you need to go in the future.
- Vet your vendors and hire professionals. A website is not the place to skimp. Ask for referrals and for live sites that you can visit.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. As with vetting the companies you hire, know when you really ought to hire an outside service. For example, if you don’t have the staff to write or rewrite the verbiage of an entire site, there are reputable services to do that for you.
- Plan the rollout. Plan with your vendor exactly how and when your rollout will happen. An experienced vendor who specializes in this type of work should be able to offer a comprehensive timeline of the project, including specific milestones for each aspect.
- Run the marathon, not the sprint. Web launches are long projects. Plan on spending 8-12 months on the implementation of a site if you are doing a full overhaul or a new rollout.
- You’ll want to plan for testing and implementation of online banking access and connections to other providers that are off-site as well as potentially redoing your current content, graphics and images. It can be overwhelming if you don’t plan the process out and take it in bite-sized chunks. Give yourself the time to research and plan, and your implementation will go much more easily and smoothly.