With so much competition, marketing is more important than ever before for credit unions and banks. This also means more creativity is needed to continue bringing in new customers in 2020 and beyond.
While this is true, when it comes to marketing for credit unions, there are a few tips and strategies that have been proven effective time and time again. Keep reading to learn more about what these strategies are.
1. Give Out Free Money and Spread the Word
No matter what, free money is guaranteed to generate interest. If a credit union wants some publicity, then giving out free cash is one of the best ways to get it. An example of this strategy was seen with the Industrial Credit Union out of Bellingham, Washington. This credit union used a bit of creativity to give away free money. They would randomly swap out $20 bills for $50 bills in the Christmas Bonus campaign. The credit union let the press know about this, which boosted awareness and traffic.
2. Provide Free Calculators and Downloadable Content
Most people love tools and information that are helpful. If these things are free, it is even better. By offering premium, yet gated, calculators and content, such as a financial planning checklist or a mortgage calculator, a credit union can provide more value to their customers all while finding new potential leads.
When distributing content, the options are endless. Credit unions need to be creative and work to create tools that will resonate with the audience. Also, do not forget that gating this premium content and the tools is essential. To do this require that someone fill out a brief form that includes their email before they can access the content. This is going to provide the lead information.
3. Provide Free Informational Sessions
Credit unions can begin to improve brand awareness in the community by providing customers with free financial planning sessions for students and parents at nearby middle schools and high schools. Providing college planning sessions is a great opportunity to get in front of the credit union’s target audience, which is students and parents, that will need loans in the near future.
During these sessions, the credit union can describe the loan offerings available and ensure that the credit union is top of mind when it is time for these individuals to apply for a loan. These sessions are also good opportunities to build awareness about the location and what types of services are available.
4. Create a Social Media Contest
An affordable and easy way to increase a credit union’s social following and to build brand awareness is by creating a social media contest. One example of this would be a credit union that created a contest targeting college students. With this contest, students could win $100 gift cards and choose an organization at the school to receive a $100 donation. To participate, students had to post a picture of themselves at college on their social media account and use a contest-specific hashtag.
By having participants post on their personal social media pages, it was possible to spread the word about the contest, making promotion easy and virtually free (except for the prize money). Contests are easy to put together and can provide impressive results.
5. Use Guerrilla Marketing and Solicit Customer Ideas
Ask members and customers to participate in a naming competition or contest. Pay a customer’s bills for one month. Cater lunch for the local police force or teachers. It is also possible to develop unique financial services that will engage customers and members and give back to the local community.
6. Humanize the Credit Union by Using Social Media
Since 2008, many financial institutions have struggled to gain customer trust. A good way to overcome this is by harnessing the power of social media. This platform offers the opportunity to humanize the credit union. For example, gather brand ambassadors and encourage them to engage with the community, meet with business owners, and create a “buzz” online. Also, when a credit union remains social, it ensures that any feedback (both negative and positive) can be addressed right away. When the community feels like the organization cares, they are much more likely to develop a relationship and trust it.
7. Highlight Expertise with Thought Leaders
Credit unions, primarily the leaders, have all sorts of information and knowledge. This should be leveraged to produce amazing content and to become thought leaders in the industry. It is these individuals who should be willing to share their unique knowledge and viewpoints with others.
When content is published on sites like LinkedIn and whitepapers are offered, the thought leaders at the credit union will help it grow. While building thought leadership takes time, it is a smart investment to make.
8. Take Part in the Sharing Economy
It is clear that the sharing economy has arrived. Any organization that wants to appeal to millennials understands that participating in this is essential. One way to do this is by forming strategic partnerships. One example of these partnerships between banks and businesses is Citibike, which is now the largest bike-share system in New York and the entire country.
Marketing That Works
Not every strategy is going to work for every credit union. However, when orchestrated properly, it is possible to generate interest and business by using the tips and information here. Take some time to figure out how a credit union can appeal to the people in the local community. For those who are not sure, ask for feedback. Most people are more than willing to share their ideas, wants, and needs, which can then be used to create an effective marketing strategy.
Take time to review the strategies here and implement them when possible. By keeping this in mind, a credit union can attract new customers and convince them to share all the positive things the organization is doing with their friends and people they know.