Meridian Bank, a regional financial institution in the Northeast, was looking for a solution to deploy new website features for its Mortgage division without disrupting the daily online activities of its personal and business banking clients. With real estate’s high season quickly approaching, the clock was ticking to launch a suite of new features for loan officers to use to engage new clients.
Loan officers at Meridian Bank were having a hard time with visibility. In an attempt to be found online, loan officers were relying on an archaic real estate template website and third party websites like Zillow to get their name out there.
Our first solution was to create a centralized database of all officers at all branches. The search engine allows users to find loan officers in their area by inputting their city and filtering by the nearest first. The search results are organized by branch name, with each officer’s landing page in the feed underneath.
“We’re all selling corn,” said one of the branch managers, “So how do we differentiate ourselves?” Our next step was to design and develop a personalized landing page for each officer. While it’s true that mortgage deals available are limited to a definitive list of government and bank-approved programs, we decided that showcasing a loan officer’s experience and reliability would help to strengthen relationships with client prospects. Calls to action on the landing page allow users to “Request a Free Consultation” or “Start Your Application” directly from the link.
The landing pages housed key information about each loan officer:
When we met the Meridian Bank client, they were frustrated with their website CMS. Expression Engine was proving difficult to update and manage, and they knew they wanted to move away from a platform as a whole.
An agile approach to this website project has allowed us to transition the client vertical by vertical from Expression Engine to WordPress, without causing significant website downtime or client and employee frustration. Key areas of the existing website remain live while we makeover other verticals, piece by piece. The result is an intuitive, easy-to-update website using the #1 preferred CMS in the world.
We approach all of our custom WordPress website projects with the strategy of atomic design. Atomic design allows us to:
This website build includes the following reusable components:
The Meridian Bank website includes the following reusable page templates:
With the search engine deployed and operating during high season, next it was time to explore pillar pages for the Mortgage service vertical. Previously, Meridian Bank had relied on an antiquated real estate website template to tell the story of their Mortgage services. Knowing that real estate clients—especially first time homebuyers—have a ton of anxiety and questions about the process, the template website was doing the company a huge disservice. It lacked information to educate client prospects and was difficult to navigate: two areas of major frustration for users.
Through stakeholder interviews, competitor analysis, and user interviews, we came up with the content strategy for the pillar pages, which includes:
Written in plain language, with internal links to additional resources, these pillar pages lay the foundation for educating homebuyers while they’re in the decision-making stage. The body of the page speaks to the main aspects of the home buying process while a helpful sidebar provides further reading, and in some cases, even definitions of commonly used terms in real estate.
Calls to action drive users to choose the next step that’s right for them: