A sneak peek of the new vancity.com

VancityFor as long as I’ve been at Vancity, which is three and half years, I’ve been wanting to redesign our main website. We have some amazingly talented people at Vancity, including Julie our graphic designer. She has taken our current visual style and adapted it, bringing it up to a more appealing look. We didn’t want to give it a massive redesign, as the site basically works, and we didn’t want to jar our members too much.

On our current site below, our site navigation has always struck me as odd. We are one of those FIs who lump all of our products and services under the tab “products & services”. How many people think of themselves as buying a financial product or service? People need a new savings account or a loan or a credit card.

In a Forrester review of vancity.com in 2006, they pointed out that we needed easier ways to get site visitors straight to a product. So we added the Quick Links below to achieve this. When we added these links, I was skeptical they would do much. But a great percentage of the traffic hitting our main Visa page comes from this one link on our homepage. So obviously Forrester knows more than I do.

We changed the navigation so it reflects both our in-branch product literature, as well as the main products people navigate to on our website. The goal was to create a simple, attractive homepage that better reflects our brand graphic standards in offline media. We brought the site to 1024×768 because over the last two years we have seen the percentage of our site visitors who have a monitor sized at 800×600 or less shrink from about 20% of site traffic to under 5% today.

We also took this opportunity to upgrade the security certificate to EV SSL, so people on newer versions of IE and Firefox see the green bar in their browser bar when they come to the site, assuring them it is authentic and not a phishing site.

Here are some screenshots of the homepage and our new ATM/Branch Locator with Google Maps integration (click on them to a see a bigger version). What do you think?

The majority of site visitors log in to online banking, and now as they check their accounts, or pay a bill words like Banking, Loans or Investing are there clearly across the navigation. Financial products are not an impulse buy, we need to get in front of people while they are in research mode. Our new navigation should be more useful for our members as they can more easily get to information that was once obscured and is good for the company as we should see more traffic navigating through the site to valuable pages.

The new look of vancity.com launches April 9th. Come and check it out.

PS: Here’s a screen of the MyBusiness homepage and a MyCommunity page, as asked for by darrylh.

Take your site Mobile.

A few months back I met Igor Faletski, founder of Handi Mobility, a Vancouver-based company that develops mobile services and applications.

They launched an extremely impressive service for TransLink, Vancouver’s transit authority, that lets you see the next five arriving buses at any given stop via SMS or iPhone. Impressive guy and company.

We chatted about mobile banking, but as a credit union we get our services from Central1 Credit Union, the credit union central covering BC and Ontario. I have spent the last two days with them and my impressive peers from CUs across Canada in User Group meetings covering the future of online and mobile banking for credit unions. We are in very good hands. Their strategy around mobile banking especially is smart, forward thinking and yet also pragmatic. High marks from me.

When I met with Igor, he mentioned he was developing a service he couldn’t quite talk about yet. And then last month I was at a session about mobile applications here in Vancouver, and Igor was on the panel. He unveiled a glimpse of his new service, and now it has launched.

It’s called Mobify.Me, and it is an amazing application. Their initial blog post sums it up nicely.

It will create a mobile friendly version of your website in a snap. For free. And then if you want extras you can pay for them. It’s a way to test a version of your site optimized for today’s mobile browsers quickly to see what it can do for you. I would think that credit unions who want to experiment optimizing their service for smart phones, but don’t know if it’s worth spending a lot of budget on it would be able to take advantage of this service and gain some excellent knowledge. If you have your web developer spend a couple of hours with the CSS this service spits out, you can make it look even better.

And then it will mirror your main site. When you update content on your main website, the mobile site will automatically optimize that content for mobile browsers.

Pretty amazing stuff.

Internet Marketing Conference agenda is out.

Internet Marketing Conference - Vancouver, September 11-12The Internet Marketing Conference is making its way to Vancouver on September 11-12, 2008 and they have released their full agenda.

It is truly an astonishing lineup, and I’m very pleased to have such a great mixture of international speakers who will be coming to town alongside local speakers who are doing some amazing work. It should be an incredible event, well worth checking out.

You can register for the event here.

See you there!

Canada leads the world in use of Online Banking.

Canada Leads World in Online Banking UsageWell, it’s always nice to be number one (well, maybe not).

Yesterday comScore released their study which shows that “Of the 37 global markets individually-reported by comScore, Canada ranked number one in adoption of online banking, with 67.1 of Canadian Internet users banking online in April 2008.”

It also shows…

RBC Financial group led the category with 4.6 million visitors, followed by TD Bank Financial Group with 4.5 million visitors and Bank of Montreal Sites with 3 million visitors. Among those banks in the top 10, Bank of Montreal Sites experienced the greatest increase in visitation during the past year, growing 22 percent.

I wonder if my friends at BMO are surprised by this.

The study also showed that the heaviest users of online banking are 45-54 year olds. At first this may seem surprising, but in fact, they are also likely the heaviest bankers: “The segment shows both high penetration (73 percent) and the heaviest frequency in usage (12 visits and 157 pages per visitor per month).”

So can we just admit that online banking is just banking. If your financial institution still talks a lot about online but still has its heart firmly in the branch, here’s some ammunition to change the conversation.

Read the press release here.

In Vancouver? Check out the Internet Marketing Conference.

Internet Marketing Conference - Vancouver, September 11-12I’m very excited about the Internet Marketing Conference coming to Vancouver September 11th and 12th of this year at the Coast Plaza Hotel.

This is a big international conference, which has occurred in Barcelona, New York, Bulgaria, Montreal, Helsinki, Stockholm, Berlin, Las Vegas and Copenhagen over the last few years. It was held in Vancouver back in 2002 and now it’s returning.

The list of speakers is crazy-good. They include Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester), Gary Angel (Semphonic), Darin Sarlabous (Aeroplan), Adam Audette (AudetteMedia), Anil Batra (Zero Dash 1), Geno Prussakov (AM Navigator), June Dershewitz (Semphonic), Andre Charland (Nitobi), Eric T. Peterson (Web Analytics Demystified), Tom Leung (Google), Bob Page (Yahoo!), Jason Burby (ZAAZ), Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo (Capulet Communications), Robbin Steif (Lunametrics), Xavier Casanova (Liveclicker), and Jonghee Jo (Victoria’s Secret).

I’m incredibly honoured to be among them, presenting about Vancity’s online efforts, engaging people in our values and socially responsible brand.

Vancouver doesn’t bring this kind of A-list together all that often, so it’ll be great to get them all here at the same time to discuss what’s happening in the world of online marketing.

On a personal note, after several presentations in several different cities over the last few months, it’s nice to have the summer away from conferences, and then have the opportunity to speak in my home town.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who wonder about the efficacy of LinkedIn, the conference organizers, who are based in Sweden, found me via LinkedIn and after a few emails back and forth asked me to present.