Chase bank’s ad for Chase Online for Small Business™ caught my eye in this morning’s Rocky Mountain News, and it’s web site offers a wealth of services for small businesses.
The web site is setup to serve customers first, prospects second. Note that the sign in form is in the upper left corner, the first place your eyes are likely to go when the page opens.
The offer of $10 when you pay your first three bills on line seems to be more of a pitch to consumers, not real businesses. Since the page doesn’t define “small business”, this may be the only definition you’ll find on the site. This could be off putting to a $1 million business owner.
The idea seems to be to appeal to people starting home based businesses, because this site seems to be aimed at quite small businesses. This may be because the hottest prospects as new accounts are new businesses rather than established ones. There are services and information offered to Chase clients that will interest owners of established small businesses, but they’re not obvious on the home page.
To me, there’s a bit too much white space, and the elements are small, given all the unused real estate on the page. The space could be better used to explain the various services that are hidden behind the links on the home page. As an established small business owner, it took me more than half an hour to find content that might be helpful. I assumed the banking services are pretty much what everyone offers, because the home page dosen’t tell what differentiates Chase as a bank for small businesses.
Click on the “Chase Online for Small Business” link and you’re taken to a page that offers pretty standard banking services.
Look at the “Business Resource Center.” It offers a very nice description of a business plan and offers an outline that will be useful to anyone who hasn’t prepared one. There is a very brief outline of what a small business needs to show the bank to get a startup loan and it offers free consulting on marketing. But there are no indications of how the bank officers who work with small businesses are qualified to help small businesses with their marketing plans. A business person probably won’t look to a bank for consulting on marketing.
Again, the information offered in the Business Resource Center is mostly very basic information aimed at mom and pop startups.
But then you have “Business Services,” which appears to have the content one would have looked for under “Business Resources.” The Business Services are articles that are provided by Smart Online. Its landing page welcomes Chase Small Business Customers and offers a variety of tools and content. It’s smart to outsource this part of a web site. But it also should be played up to entice established businesses.
Not all small businesses are alike, have the same financing needs or are in the same stages of development and growth. Chase Online for Small Business treats all small businesses alike and doesn’t ask them questions that would help the site direct the prospect or customer to useful information, services or advice.
Take a look.