There are a few moments in a marketer’s life that are especially joyous: launching a full scale media campaign and seeing the new ad in market, seeing the first lead or conversion come across because of a brilliant email or online advertising effort, getting a call from the CEO saying “we should increase our marketing budget ten-fold next year. We definitely need more marketing” (OK, last one is more REM sleep than reality). But certainly up there on the list of good days is the day you launch that new, shiny website.

Today is that day for myself and the wonderful people in First Bank’s marketing department. I’d like to introduce you to the new one of the first fully responsive community banking websites in the U.S. I realize some credit unions and small banks have developed responsive websites over the last few years, but none have built what we did this past six months. For many of my fellow digital marketers, agency creatives, and savvy technologists, this will look like just another solid responsive website meeting the current standard.

But, we are a bank! So, let us celebrate. In banking, this is our Egyptian pyramids. It’s a feat!

Anyone who has worked in an industry that is often a little slower to accept the year in which we live, these type of changes represent a touch of progress, a bit of forward thinking, a departure from “well, they are a bank, what do you expect?” And that is part of the drive when taking your marketing skill into an industry like finance. To break through the powerful, compliant, safe norm that is banking with a little something different.

So, here it is… - Responsive Website by First Bank of NC, SC, and VA

Like it? Well, where did we start? Have a look below. The former site was able to accommodate the needs of the typical banking customer: online banking access, product information and branch and ATM network searches. It relied, however, on heavy listing and overwhelming task-oriented options to scroll through. There was no depth of interaction nor unexpected value for the customer within this site. Analytics showed us a “top heavy” site that was more 2006 than 2014.

First Bank old website - - Old Website

Yes, the new site looks better, but more important than the design, is how actionable the new site has become (with more planned for the future). When I say actionable, I mean it gives the user some decisive power. Want to have a loan specialist reach out to you? There’s a simple form for that. Want to calculate how many rewards you could earn on your card? There is a fun slider (if you are a UX geek) to check your reward potential. Want some tailored educational resources? Self-selection is simple in the Financial Education center. - Financial Education - Responsive

Behind the scenes we are integrating various tools to segment and analyze captured leads, understand on-site behavior/intent, and create helpful client or prospect profiles.  These profiles will allow our marketing group to send valuable information that cuts down on that “discovery” period for our sales-oriented staff. Action on our site will lead to more personal, more tailored responsiveness, a benefit of working in a smaller, agile bank.

As with any website launch, this is just a start. Stay tuned for much more from First Bank in 2014. It’s going to be quite a year.

Hunter, SVP of Marketing at First Bank