How to build real relationships with virtual members

As mobile and online banking technologies advance, credit union marketers have an increasingly daunting challenge – how to reach people that never visit your branch.

A statistic from suggests that nearly one-third of your members may never enter the front door of your credit union or interact face-to-face with your staff, so how can you build meaningful relationships with members who prefer to use digital channels? And just because those members don’t come into your branches, does that mean that they wouldn’t appreciate a personal relationship with their banker?

Contrary to popular belief, people who bank via digital channels still value personal touches from their credit union. Indeed, these folks are real people who might actually like to know the people who keep their money safe, sound, and earning interest.

As a credit union marketer, it’s your job to connect with these folks and make them feel valued because many of them will turn into your most profitable customers as they hit their peak earning and borrowing years. So what can credit unions do to build real relationships with people they may never see?

Here are three tips (for our full cheat sheet of ten mobile marketing tricks visit

  1. Stop talking AT clients about YOUR stuff. If you want to start and sustain a relationship built on mutual trust, you can’t just be in it for yourself. Online and mobile clients will quickly ignore you if you talk with them only when you have something to sell. In all of your communications (online, mobile, email, and otherwise), offer help, advice, and expertise – and include your caring personality as an outreach of your bank’s personality. Make a point to keep clients up to date on bank happenings either via email or text messaging services. Better yet, tell them, “Happy Birthday,” “Happy Pancake Day (yes, this is really a holiday),” and “Happy Autumn Solstice.” And make sure that they can respond and talk with you via whatever methods they prefer – email, phone, text, social media, and in person.
  1. Encourage questions, and make answers readily available. If one client has a question, you can bet that others have the same question. Go beyond the traditional list of FAQs on your website by offering short videos of your staff providing succinct answers to common questions. Other ideas for efficient Q&A include:
    • Offer live chat before, during, and after banking hours. Online and mobile users are using your online and mobile banking services anytime, not just during traditional work hours, so make your chat available all the time – yes, even when the bank is open.
    • Provide a toll free phone number just for online and mobile banking questions.
    • Provide direct emails or direct phone numbers to key staff for mobile/online members to get answers quickly.
    • Create a “cheat sheet” to give them quick tips and advice for whatever is relevant to them… Ten tips for saving time on our mobile banking app… Five Easy Ways to Make $100 Today… Ten free apps to make you more productive… Five free apps to make you a better parent today. People love handy lists that help them be more efficient, save money, and do more of what they love.
  1. Offer people a reason to meet you in person. Your online and mobile clients might not want to stay “virtual” during the entire time that they are your customers. Given a good reason, they may relish in the opportunity to meet you in person, and that’s something that an online-only bank just can’t do. Invite them for a free financial health check-up with one of your bankers or financial advisors, in person or via Skype. Of course, you’ll want to make it easy for them to schedule the check-up online. Some banks and credit unions also host “meet and greet” events specifically for their online and mobile customers, so they can talk with their leadership, lending, small business, and investment teams.

These are just three of the ideas you can use to create a successful mobile marketing strategy at your credit union. If you’d like to read the rest of our ideas, visit   to download our Mobile Marketing Cheat sheet.

Andrew Bank

Andrew Bank

Andrew Bank is Co-Founder of Larky, a mobile loyalty platform that drives acquisition, retention, wallet share, and interchange revenue. Andrew is responsible for client relationships, marketing, and thinking about how ... Web: Details