Community Bank Owatonna needed a bank website that made the financial institution look as good on the outside as it already was on the inside.
How COVID-19 has impacted banks and credit unions
Earlier this year, the coronavirus pandemic interrupted our lives in just about every way.
Navigating this “new normal” was especially challenging for banks and credit unions, essential institutions forced to quickly respond to customers dealing with stresses and uncertainties of their own.
Digital communication became even more important over the past few months, as face-to-face contact ranged from impossible to limited at best. When BrownBoots reached out to our clients back in March, we were thrilled to see that most — if not all — were already using their websites to quickly and effectively communicate to their customers through site-wide alert messages and new custom pages.
The COVID-19 pandemic proved that the power to manage your own website is not only convenient, but crucial.
Google Analytics reveals that those website updates were not in vain. In fact, bank website traffic soared during the first few weeks of the pandemic, with visitors targeting very specific information.
Here’s what we discovered:
- Overall traffic saw a sudden increase in late March, spiking in mid-April.
- New COVID-19 pages and blog posts often made the Top 10 pages visited during this period.
- Also among the most-viewed pages were Contact Us pages, with conversion rates reaching an all-time high for some websites.
- There was a significant increase in visits to Online Banking and Online Banking Help pages as well.
- In April, traffic to Mortgages and Savings pages—especially CDs—saw a surge, along with corresponding Rates pages.
- Tied to the above, in-site searches for “CDs,” “rates” and “mortgage rates” skyrocketed.
- Searches for “PPP” and “payroll protection” also saw a steep increase.
On the other side of the screen, bank marketing and communications staff worked tirelessly to keep their websites relevant and effective. We checked in with a few of them to see how they have weathered the storm.
How has COVID-19 changed your day-to-day duties?
“Our day to day is shifted to thinking more about the retail experience and how to make it easy to understand how to conduct business with the bank, not just when they get here, but as they plan to visit. This involves communicating how to be safe, as well as what we as a bank are doing to keep our customers safe, on our social channels, our website and Google especially.”
“We’ve shifted priorities to be able to push out communications related to business operations and our efforts related to COVID-19 in a timely manner.”
“Nearly our entire team is working remotely, so we’ve needed to learn (and embrace) collaborative technology. The marketing plan we had for 2020 has changed drastically. Instead of planning product campaigns, we’re planning effective ways to communicate with our current customers and community about immediate changes to the way we do business…and trying to stay on top of risks that could affect our customers (COVID-19 related fraud, for example).”
How has the pandemic impacted your website and other marketing efforts?
“The new look for our website during the pandemic has been to have a constant alert at the top of every page. We also added a page to be able to give our customers a resource for all things related to the pandemic and our operations.”
“We’ve always been a bank based on building relationships, and our front line takes pride in knowing the names of their customers and enjoys hearing about their kids/pets/weekend plans to go to the lake. But due to the pandemic, those relationships have changed. We’ve embraced digital communication, but now it’s more important than ever to utilize it effectively. Our website has been one of our greatest tools in getting up-to-date information into the hands of our customers. For a while, it felt like we were changing it multiple times a day — and I’m so thankful we have that ability. In addition, email has become an even bigger vehicle of communication to drive traffic to our website.”
“Most of the time, it’s been taking note of what commonly asked questions there are about things like stimulus checks, safety, PPP loans, and digital tools like internet or mobile Banking. We’ve also been noting where our visitors are going on our site and ensuring that the most frequently visited content is up to date and informative. For example, we recently brushed up our Internet Banking and Mobile Banking pages to include some new info.”
Has BrownBoots made your job easier these past few months?
“BrownBoots has been a great partner throughout the pandemic. When I had questions, you had answers. Any time I ran into an issue or thought, ‘Is there a better solution for…?’ you were there to brainstorm ideas or give options for help. We’re thankful for that partnership.”
“We’ve pumped out more changes to the website in the last 60 days than ever before…almost daily in the first 30 days! Luckily, with our new CMS, this was a smooth process, and it was important to get our customers information quickly, so we’re thankful we could change our branch and drive-thru hours, post information, and make revisions and updates in just a few button clicks.”
“Having the global alert function and ability to add pages and links on the fly is (as always) very useful. We are happy we have the BrownBoots CMS available and to be able to customize our website as needed.”
And we are always happy to help — in the good times and through the challenges as well!