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Your website is trusted. Don’t waste that asset

You don’t need to worry about “search engine optimization”

Your website is trusted. Don’t waste that asset

Do you have a shopping cart on your bank's website? You should. Too many banks just think of their sites as a portal for online banking, or a convenient repository for brochureware, said Jeff Chesky during a webinar on fee income last fall. He urged banks to follow the lead of BancorpSouth (bancorpsouthonline.com) in taking steps to make their website a true e-commerce site similar to Amazon and other online
retailers.

One of the tabs across the top of the bank's home page, for example, is "Insurance," and one of its rotating ads on the page is for that product line. On its insurance page, customers can get free quotes immediately on auto, home, life, and other insurance, and can chat live with an associate.

A former banker, Chesky is president and CEO of Insuritas, a company that works with banks to set up, or grow, an insurance brokerage. During the 60-minute webinar, a joint project with Banking Exchange, Chesky urged bankers not to worry about things like "search engine optimization," the term describing how to get search engines to place your site high among search results. You already have thousands of customers coming to your site, he said. Think instead about "website optimization"—specifically, turning your site into a fee-income-generating e-commerce environment.

A bank-branded website is trusted, Chesky emphasized. People will buy there. Conversely, 40% of customers don't trust the traditional insurance agent system, according to a Deloitte study he cited.

Other key principles to follow:

• Remember the customer must be in charge.

• Allow product and price comparisons.

• Always offer online help (chat).

• Use a shopping cart for easy checkout.

• Capture policy renewal dates whenever possible.

• Present an insurance ad when a customer is logging off your site—you'll often get more clicks at the back end of a visit than you will at the front.

Bill Streeter

Bill Streeter is Editor & Publisher of Banking Exchange. He has been a full-time business journalist for 43 years, 37 of them with ABA Banking Journal. During his time with the Journal, he rose from Assistant Managing Editor to Editor-in-Chief and in 2012 became Editor & Publisher. He has been an observer of momentous changes in banking, from the introduction of ATMs to the 2008 financial crisis and passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. He has won numerous business journalism awards, including being part of a team that won a finalist position in the Jesse Neal Awards, the "Pulitzer Prize" of business journalism.

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