In the Know – Maximizing Your Local Connection

Ron Daly, President/CEO, DigitalMailer, Ron Daly, President/CEO, DigitalMailer, Inc.

Want a better way to compete with other financial institutions? Don’t worry about battling the big and splashy – those guys are overrated. Instead, get noticed by going local. After all, who better understands your community than the local businesses that serve it, such as your credit union?

Today, savvy credit union marketers know their competition – yet they also acknowledge that it’s impractical to compete in some areas, such as branch locations and marketing resources. But credit unions also have one thing the big guys don’t – a local touch.  Unlike national or regional banks, where decisions are made from out-of-town boardrooms and based on whiz-bang ideas to serve the masses, credit unions understand the pulse of their local communities. They work on the front lines, can respond quicker with new initiatives, and base decisions on needs of the people who live and work nearby.

Across the country, many “Go Local” campaigns are catching on, as consumers welcome and support efforts to strengthen their communities. And as locally owned, democratically run organizations that know their members, credit unions are well-suited for such promotions. Your membership criteria of “if you live, work, or worship …” covers a lot of ground, so you have great opportunities to showcase what you’re doing locally.

Consumer scoring technologies help in this effort by allowing credit unions to build highly targeted lists of ideal potential members. By using programs that identify demographics such as income potential, job security and credit history, combined with MCIF data, credit unions can identify their most desired prospects. Then they can craft marketing messages and outreach programs appealing specifically to those prospects. Many believe this drill-down, one-to-one process is the future of marketing, as tactics such as blanketing areas based on branch proximity or zip codes becomes old school.

Here are some ideas to help you maximize your local connection:

Create a local-interest blog: You know the community’s issues and you know what’s on the minds of your members … so blog about it. If you can work in a few words about your credit union’s new product or sponsored community event, all the better – but it’s not needed in every post. Commit to writing two or three blog posts a week about topics important in the towns you serve. But keep your blog current; old posts on stale topics are as interesting as yesterday’s news.  And be sure to invite followers to chime in. Frequent blogging is one of the best ways to share your voice locally, while enhancing your credit union’s online presence and search results.

Set up a local contest: Everybody loves to win, so why not host a local contest that highlights some of the best things about your community and supports local businesses at the same time? You could encourage people to eat at local restaurants and vote on their favorite, with the winning eatery receiving an upgraded appliance or new signage. Or think about partnering with a lawn and garden shop to sponsor a “best yard” contest, offering entrants a discount on landscape supplies and awarding the winner a new lawn mower.  You can set up a simple survey using online tools or invite members to drop their entry in a ballot box at your branch.

Champion a local cause: Give time to and support causes that naturally align with your business – youth education, affordable and safe housing, business entrepreneurship or improving   residents’ well-being. You also can partner with other organizations that serve your same demographic and are active in local issues – you’ll have twice the resources and twice the reach. Consumers appreciate and support businesses that show they have a heart for the community and a commitment to helping others.

Credit unions have a tradition and philosophy that fit naturally with playing a strong role in the areas they serve.  Manage this role well, and you’ll gain respect – and patronage – from your members and prospective members.

Being local is gaining popularity, from buying home-grown produce to supporting a community art fair. For credit unions, it can be a big competitive advantage. Don’t miss your opportunity.

Ron Daly is the President/CEO of DigitalMailer, Inc., a firm providing the self-service digital communication tools today’s financial institutions need in their virtual branch, as well as the expertise and resources to use them in their eStrategy to Connect. Communicate. Grow! To learn more, visit or call 866-994-4900.

Ron Daly

Ron Daly

Ron Daly is the president and CEO of Virtual StrongBox, a secure, end-to-end member engagement platform that can be integrated into various workflow processes to provide high-risk Enterprise IT firms ... Web: Details