5 steps to creating credit union marketing that will yield results

Wondering why your credit union marketing isn’t yielding the results you had hoped for? 

Baffled by why you’re missing goals and not growing?

Hit pause right now.

Look at some of your credit union’s marketing pieces. If the headlines are:

  • “Interest rates as low as…” (With an image of a smiley person dangling car keys out the window)
  • “Our rates are falling…” (With a picture of a leaf)

I could go on with examples, but in short if your message is:

  • Focused on the commodity you offer, or 
  • A generic headline used by hundreds (maybe thousands) of other financial institutions, or
  • All about your credit union…

There’s a good chance your credit union’s marketing is not achieving its full potential. 

Here’s a 5-step formula to create credit union marketing strategies to yield better results:

  1. Find people with a problem for you to solve for them. Don’t focus on the product, focus on the people. For example, one credit union Your Marketing Co. works with identified a need in their community for used powersports equipment, especially used motorcycles. Financing on used bikes from the dealer was pretty much non-existent, leaving a huge financing gap for those who couldn’t afford a new bike but still wanted to achieve their dream. Other credit unions have focused in on specialized lending needs including raw land, mobile homes and so many other opportunities. Identify an opportunity in your community to set your credit union apart – not a commodity available at any other financial institution.
  2. Understand the problem. Understand your consumer’s problem from their point of view, even going as far as empathy mapping to gain perspective on their decision-making process and emotional state of people facing this struggle. Do your homework to know as much as you can about the commonalities of people who have this issue, how they are feeling, and what the true problem is they are trying to solve.
  3. Create a solution. The credit union examples above didn’t require creating a new product – those credit unions already offered those. However, the market research they performed allowed them to understand the risk they were about to take on, pricing changes that needed to occur, policy updates that needed to happen, and essential training for their credit union teams. It’s important not to skip this step! If you go right to marketing, your credit union may lose out on income opportunities that leave you with regrets down the road and collections issues that could have been avoided with proper research, reflection and training. Or just plain failure by not communicating the WHY with your team and the importance of this initiative to solving a problem within your community.
  4. Put your solution in front of the right people. If you’re selling accordions, perhaps a mass television blitz is going to leave you spending money to reach people who have zero interest in buying an accordion. Spending a few dollars on the polka show on your local radio station would cost effectively place your message in front of people who have a good chance of being in the market for an accordion. Understand the appropriate audience for your credit union’s solution and seek them out. Go fishing where the fish are. Targeted digital marketing and social media are highly efficient opportunities to leverage your precious (and often meager) credit union marketing dollars wisely to reach your target audience where they live. Using the credit union motorcycle lending as an example, getting involved in events within that community built trust and relationships with the credit union’s ideal audience. There’s no easy button. You’ve got to be intentional and spend the time to do this right.
  5. Sell the benefits, not the solution. WIIFM: What’s in it for me? That’s the question the consumer wants answered. In the case of reaching someone who wants a used motorcycle, avoid a headline like “Motorcycle loans as low as XXX%” and try something like “Dreaming of owning a motorcycle but don’t think you can afford it?” There are plenty of variations on that headline to grab the attention of someone who is actively pursuing their dream of owning a motorcycle. Remember the adage of going to your local hardware store to buy a drill. You don’t want a drill; you just need a hole in your wall. The drill is the tool, and you don’t necessarily want one, but you do need the hole in your wall to finish your project. Sell the benefits, sell the dream, sell the end result.

Back in my radio days, my program director could tell the days when I didn’t prep for my show. “You just mailed this one in.” I sputtered words when I opened the mic, but I wasn’t connecting with my audience. I was going through the motions. He always stressed the importance of making the connection with listeners. “We’re all playing the same music, the only way we’re going to win is by making that personal connection the other stations can’t or won’t.”

Credit unions, community banks, the big banks, and heck even Walmart have the same products and services. The only way you’re going to win is by being the ONE financial institution that looks and sounds a bit different and makes the emotional connection by selling the benefits and the dream.

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, ... Web: yourmarketing.co Details