Are you tracking metrics that actually matter?

Make your CU website pay: getting to know your members

Your credit union’s website isn’t just a glowing brochure; it should be the hub of your marketing, an engine for growth, and a no-brainer investment, that makes a big difference in the bottom line. But how do you actually make that happen?

This is the first post in a “Make your CU website pay” series exploring that question, and giving some practical, usable advice and solutions.

Today we’re going to explore ways to get to know your members and your website visitors better by using Google Analytics and other sources of data. After all, your website can and should be a gold mine of data on what your members want and need, so here are a few ways to get more data and get better data you can actually use:

Stop tracking hits and views

Are you tracking metrics that actually matter? Re-think your strategy around Analytics to make sure you’re only paying attention to data that really makes a difference. This falls into two broad, often overlapping categories:

  1. Metrics that give you a window into the hearts and minds of your members and potential members. This covers things like the mix of technology (mobile vs. desktop), times of day (are they on your site at work or at home?), search terms, top ten pages, path through site (are they getting confused?), engagement with downloads, forms, videos, etc.
  2. Metrics that help you measure effectiveness of your message and marketing, things like clicks coming from social media vs. email or organic search, and of course conversions – clicks out to your loan or account apps.

The overall mix is different for every credit union, of course. And it takes time, experience, and experimentation to understand what the data is telling you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a flood of data that doesn’t matter, so it’s best to be very choosy, and track a limited number of metrics that actually make a difference to the bottom line.

Get on Board with GA4

If you haven’t done so already, add Google Analytics 4 (GA4) tracking to your website pronto. Check out this article for all the info you’ll need on GA4 and credit union websites. In most cases, you don’t have to change your tracking code, and you can keep using GA3 for a while so you can learn the differences.

In a very brief nutshell, GA4 has a greater focus on and much better tools for tracking and understanding actual engagement and user journeys on your website. You’ll get better visibility into what people are actually doing, not just what they’re looking at. And you’ll be able to track lots of things that were hard to track on GA3 without special coding, like offsite links, downloads, and interactions with forms and videos.

Track and review internal search data

The cold, hard truth is that data on the search terms people use to reach your site usually isn’t that useful. Credit union websites are weird, and one of those oddities is that 99.9% or more of the Google queries that land on your website are just variants of your credit union’s name.

For true enlightenment, look inward. Specifically, make sure the search engine within your site can handle natural language, is featured very prominently, and that you are getting good data on what people are searching for, and what they’re finding (or not finding). We build credit union websites with a powerful, configurable, relevance-based internal search engine with great tracking.

Review this information weekly at least — it’s an absolute gold mine of immediate, actionable data on what people really want, a direct window into their brains. If there are failed searches, you can quickly add or revise content. If you start seeing new concerns, maybe that’s your cue to spin up a timely new offer or promotion, or to address it on your blog or social media.

Internal search also offers massively useful data on how you can better help members help themselves.

And here’s a bonus, free of charge: a more effective internal search engine is a massive benefit for mobile users. We’re finding that mobile users tend to prefer a search rather than wading through the site’s navigation. They’re also quite often using voice search, so make sure your site’s search engine can handle natural language.

Demand better data

Make useful data a priority for anything that touches your website or marketing. For example, do you get data from your online loan application vendor on how many applications were abandoned and where? How long does it take people to fill out the online application? What days or times of day are most applications completed? How many are started on mobile devices?

Same goes for anything else. If you’re adding a Facebook pixel, think carefully about the data you’re going to get and how you’re going to use it. When you send an email or choose an email provider, make sure the landing page on your site and the email are set up to track which campaign did what so you get good clean data on effectiveness.

Experiment

If I had to pick the one thing that’s missing from far too many credit union digital marketing strategies, it’s a willingness to experiment. Try new things, do A/B testing, and in general make experimentation a standard part of your process, not some “extra work” you’ll perform when you get around to it.

Having emails designed? Try building and sending a variation and see how it performs, even if it’s just a minor change like moving the headline around, or a different subject line or image. Try different landing pages, or variations of your home page promotions to see what works. Experiment with personalizing content based on recent activity.

Get professional help

If it’s not already obvious, you need to get your website developers involved in your data strategy from the start. Obviously you might need our help to make sure the right code is in the right place, but it’s also important to share your overall goals early on — I promise, we’ll have plenty of ideas! And if your website doesn’t support the abilities you need, please get in touch.

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