Put A Date On Hold

Website competition | Are you losing out to yours?

Who do you trust to look after your money?

You might remember that’s the question I asked you all a few weeks back. You see, I want to switch banks and the whole process tends to be such a pain in the ass I want to make sure I make the right choice so I don’t have to go through it all again anytime soon.

But you guys threw me a curveball: tons of you suggested that I should check out a credit union.

Switching to a credit union wasn’t entirely on my radar but because so many of you are so passionate about the personalized experience you get from your credit unions, I figured I should at least take a look. And as soon as I did, I realized exactly why a credit union hadn’t been an obvious choice to begin with.

You see, by and large, credit unions are suffering from a serious marketing problem. It’s a problem that means that they’re losing tons of business to their perceived competition — and if you’re not careful it’s something that could be affecting your own business too.

The perception wall

As soon as I went online to start comparing the big banks (that I hate!) to the credit unions (that you guys all LOVE!), I hit a wall: a perception wall.

A perception wall is a really solid objection that forms in the consumer’s mind when they look at your website. It’s the power of the first impression, and once that wall comes up, it’s super hard to knock it back down again.

First impressions

To illustrate, let's look at cars for a minute.

Imagine a top of the range model; it’s big, it’s slick, it’s fancy, it’s nicely finished, it’s high spec with a leather interior. I bet if you take a look under the hood, there’s going to be a bunch of moving parts, all doing what they’re supposed to do. The car looks great and you get the impression that it’s going to be safe and reliable too. It won’t just take you from point A to point B — you’ll actually enjoy the journey. At least that’s the feeling you get when you look at it. It all just seems so well-engineered.

This is exactly the perception you get when you surf the big banks’ websites; they’re safe, reliable, they’ll take care of you, and you’ll enjoy the journey. Now, I know that looks can be deceiving, which is why I’m switching banks in the first place, and why I’m not so keen on going with another big bank, well-oiled website or not.

So, after all of your recommendations, I started checking out credit union websites instead.

And — boom — up went my perception wall

Their websites feel pedal-powered, and rinky-dink, and flimsy. It feels like there's nothing under the hood. They're old and tired.

Now, I have no idea if this is true or not, but let's just compare one specific example: Capital One’s page about their mobile app. It feels like a big, shiny, well-engineered car. This car has power windows, power seats, power steering, it has features I’m 99% sure I’ll never even use but I’m super impressed anyway!

Contrast that with the only credit union website I could find that had pictures on their mobile app page. My perception is that it's pretty lame. From first impressions, it looks like it’ll get me from point A to point B, but the journey might not be much fun. It might even be kind of uncomfortable. It doesn’t seem like the steering wheel will do much and reclining seats? Forget about it! And it’s costing the credit union customers.

Does your own website have power steering?

If your own website is more old wreck than luxury sedan, you too may be losing customers to your perceived competition every single day. And the reason? There’s a sophistication gap.

A sophistication gap is just a crevice separating the perception of your company’s degree of refinement from that of the competition. You see, the big banks look well thought out. They look reliable, they look credible, and they look sophisticated and refined. Every single credit union I looked at seemed to be the complete opposite. They look simple, and flimsy, and crude, and outdated. Yet experience —and your reviews — tell me that when it comes to providing a great customer experience, the credit unions leave the big banks in the dust, every time!

It’s just that you’d never know it from comparing websites.

If credit unions want to win business over from the big banks, all they have to do is close that sophistication gap. And if you want to win business over from your own competition, you need to do the same. So ask yourself, is there a sophistication gap with your potential market? And if there is, close it!

Now, there was one more problem I saw in every single credit union website I visited, and it’s a common mistake that marketers like us tend to make all the time.

In next week’s episode, I’ll tell you exactly what that problem is, and I’ll show you how to address it immediately. To catch that episode a full day before the rest of the world, subscribe to The Loyalty Loop right here.

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