List 6 channels you could use for your next marketing campaign. How long did that take you – a minute or less? In this age of connectivity, you can probably rattle off a dozen marketing channels or platforms without really thinking about it.
While all those outlets give you a lot of flexibility and opportunity, it can be tough to choose which are going to be best. The right one will help you connect with people who will benefit from your service and who will be genuinely interested in what you have to say. The wrong one can make you a nuisance, hurt your brand and waste your money.
With a little homework and planning upfront, you can save yourself from unnecessary trial and error to “see what sticks.”
Where to Start
To find some focus and a starting point in the sea of options, think about your members and your goals. For just about anything related to the success of your credit union, starting with your members is a great bet.
Have a specific audience in mind: parents for Youth Month, members of modest means for credit building loans, or students and recent alumni for student loans. Once you have a clear picture of who you’re trying to reach, identify where you can find them. Some great questions to ask are:
- Where does my audience spend the majority of their time? List the top places that you could connect with your audience. It could be on social media platforms, at community events, or at work. Imagine you are spending a day, or a week, in their shoes and you’ll start to identify places you can reach them with your message.
- How do they get their information? Not only do we care about where our audience gets their information, but also about who they trust and the formats they prefer. Some people like to listen to podcasts while they drive to work, some like to sit down with print over their morning coffee, and others like to consult with a trusted advisor or friend. Answering this question helps you identify the format – i.e. webinars, events, testimonials – so your audience is more likely to be receptive to your message.
If you can’t answer these questions, do a little research. You can buy the market research data, journey map an experience, and ask members about their preferences as they sign up for your services.
Making it Work for You
We don’t all have the same budget and resources available, but we can all be effective communicators. After identifying the channels and formats based on your audience’s preference, rank them based on your preference.
Take into consideration your capabilities and resources. Some content options are going to have a bit of a learning curve and may require additional investment. For example, ebooks not only take time to create, but they are more effective when you have a larger content strategy backing them up, capturing leads, and nurturing them via emails and a sales team.
If it’s not in your current skill set, ask yourself if it should be and is worth investing in. If not, you can try a scaled-down version for a specific campaign – a landing page with highlighted information and a basic lead generation form – or move down your list of options to another format or channel that is a better fit.
Additionally, look for complimentary channels and don’t be afraid to repurpose the content you create. Say you’ve decided to create a video highlighting your auto loans and the experience your lending staff provides. For an audience that likes to watch videos online, you could host it on your website, on your social platforms, and as online ads.
Keeping it In Your Budget
Especially if you’re on a tight budget, make note of the options that allow for better targeting, quick changes and budget adjustments.
Billboards and direct mail may be effective options for your audience, but they can be expensive and hard to change on the fly. You could shave costs by targeting very specific neighborhoods and households, or you could choose another channel that is effective but more flexible, like search and retargeting ads.
Don’t forget that consistency and longevity are winners in the marketing world. You could boost a single Facebook post for a day, but you’ll likely have better luck with something you can do multiple times or reinforce through multiple channels.
When in doubt, try a test! If you’ve taken the time to consider your audience and realize there is something new that may work, it can be hard to overcome that status quo bias. When you’re still feeling timid about the unfamiliar, try a small test and track the results. Consider it a hypothesis that you’ve carefully created with data, and use the evidence to confirm or refute it. Then you can be more confident when scaling up after a test run.
Time for Action
Don’t let the options paralyze you into inaction, or tempt you into trying new fads that don’t make sense for your audience.
Always start with your member’s preferences and actions, then execute based on what you can best deliver. Stay focused and you’ll be even more effective in your marketing.