ABA Brand Slam Awards: Fortifi Bank’s Web Redesign

By Craig Colgan

The American Bankers Association honored six banks last week with its annual Brand Slam Awards for bank marketing, judged by a panel of 73 Certified Financial Marketing Professional volunteers.

“These award winners executed uplifting campaigns that resonated with their customers and communities during a challenging year,” says Jim Edrington, ABA’s chief member engagement officer.

Winner for Best Website Redesign is Fortifi Bank, based in Berlin, Wisconsin. In 2020, the bank’s leadership viewed its website, then only a few years old, as starting to show signs of its age. The bank wanted to not only update the look and user experience but also combine and refresh content that it had housed on a separate site. The bank’s entry noted that because its main site felt “dark, slow, text-heavy and with too many buttons and menu options, it needed to catch up with the evolution of the bright and clean Fortifi Bank brand.”

The result is a site with increased white space, simplified navigation, staggered callouts, inviting accent font, fewer product pages, a blog and resources library, and interactive account quiz.

Early results include a substantial increase in site speed and more users spending more time on top level product pages for an improved, streamlined experience. Early metrics of the blog articles, service tutorials and account quiz showed pageviews in the thousands, reports Loni Meiborg, Fortifi Bank’s SVP and director of marketing and organizational development.

Meiborg answered a few questions we had on the process:

What reactions and feedback have you had to the site? “Clients find the site’s simplicity a benefit—easier to get to their favorite pages. Our team is also referring clients and prospects to resources found within the site much more often. When our content was housed separately, that site was an afterthought. A more engaging home page has resulted in a 5 percent decreased bounce rate over the last 12 months.

What did you learn in the process? “Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Create an experience that speaks to and solves their problems rather than just listing products and services. Consider reviewing heat maps and analytics of your current website to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement.

“Also, enlist the help of subject matter experts from across your organization. Your team can be invaluable in drafting content and testing functionality, but also remember you, as the marketer, must make final decisions on the user experience. Every department cannot have real estate on the homepage.”

Any advice for banks working with a vendor for such a project? “Partnering with a vendor that understands your vision is imperative. Like any project, set expectations up front about how—and how often—you will communicate. Everyone should know the timeline and deliverables.

“Also, look for inspiration outside of your industry—that’s how you can set yourself apart from competition.”

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About Author

Craig Colgan

Craig Colgan is digital editor at the ABA Banking Journal.