Many credit unions make the mistake of believing that the more money you throw at marketing, the more successful it will be. As many of you know, or have come to learn the hard way, that’s simply not the case.
Marketing a credit union can be hard to get a grasp on sometimes, especially seeing that not only marketing mediums, but the industry itself is evolving daily. Changing demographics, fluctuating financial situations for your members given the national economic climate, among other contributors can lead to countless hours of frustration, especially if you’re looking for immediate turnaround.
So, what can you do? How can you improve your marketing ROI? How can you invest your time, energy and money into marketing so that it produces almost immediate results? Take a deep breath and don’t worry! Here are five things you can do to immediately improve your marketing efforts.
- PERSONALIZE YOUR MESSAGE
One of the coolest selling points of credit unions over banks is the fact that credit unions are more personable, right? Who doesn’t love a “mom and pop shop” where everybody knows your name? Your members are more than just a number when they walk into your branch. This is the same mindset you should have when putting your marketing strategy together.
Any message you send out about your credit union, whether you are promoting your credit card services, or educating members about home equity loans, you need to make it about the member. Every piece of marketing should be specifically targeted to varying demographics.
73% of U.S. consumers agree that ads should tell a unique story rather than just try to sell (Adobe and Edelman Berland, 2012). Try using local stories or member testimonials to your advantage. They are inexpensive (often free), and right at your fingertips. Never let a good story go to waste.
- KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO
This goes hand-in-hand with personalizing your message. Your marketing strategy will go down the drain immediately if you do not know who exactly you’re marketing to.
I challenge you to look deeper than the typical “lives, works worships” or “employees of XYZ”. Those target markets are great for the overall strategic plan, but when it comes to marketing you need to differentiate your audience a bit further. Identify your target marketing audience and parse into consumer segments, noting the differences and similarities in buying habits. Be sure to determine a tone of voice, marketing pitch, and high propensity delivery channels for each segment. For example, if you’re marketing financial investment options to baby boomer members, using the same tone, imagery, and language that you would use when marketing to Millennials will surely reduce the response rate.
Set your goal, set your tone, set your strategy, and THEN approach your chosen audience. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many credit unions try to speak to each of their consumer segments in the same tone, and ultimately have a failed marketing strategy before it even begins.
- USE THE RIGHT DELIVERY CHANNELS
#3 clearly piggy-backs off #4… and it is very important.
Knowing your audience ultimately means that you know the best ways to reach them. Take the time to do research on the best ways to reach each demographic or segment. This is a sure-fire way to immediately improve your marketing strategy.
An obvious example; if you are trying to reach a person between the ages of 17-22, placing an ad in the newspaper may not be the best way to reach them (unless you are trying to reach their parents or grandparents). Millennials are multi-taskers which makes marketing to them even more difficult. Syncing your millennial-focused ads across multiple delivery channels (and devices) might be a better way to reach this group.
- KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘CALL-TO-ACTION’
“Read to the end of this article and get $1 million to renovate your bedroom!”
If only that were true. But it caught your attention, right? It gave you clear instructions on how to win the money and why. That is an effective call-to-action (depending on the consumer segment of course).
When it comes to marketing, quick results only come with an efficient strategy. Quite frankly, there is no successful marketing strategy without a successful call-to-action. Here are some tips:
- Use a strong command verb (i.e. buy, download, subscribe, apply)
- Use vocabulary that will entice an emotion or enthusiasm (i.e. Plan your dream vacation!)
- Take advantage of a human’s FOMO (fear of missing out) (i.e. Don’t wait. Sale ends Monday!)
- Be creative (Buck the norm)
- When possible, use numbers (i.e. Payments as low as $299/mo!)
- BE AUTHENTIC
Don’t ever be anything less than honest in your advertising – consumers (especially your own members) will see right through it. You can start by simply avoiding standard jargon and robotic messaging. Consumers are exposed to over 360 ads per day. That’s about one ad every 2 minutes that we’re awake. They know hogwash when they see it.
Be genuine. Be authentic. Don’t swindle. Once you’ve lost consumer trust, gaining it back will be costly.
Take a look at some of these unique ads for some inspiration.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Of course, you can implement these ideas immediately, but as I mentioned before, success comes with efficiency, and more importantly, consistency. Learn from your results and continuously evolve, and you’ll be guaranteed to find marketing strategy success.
Need help writing your marketing strategy? Download this free Marketing Strategy Template.