The time of The Material Girl has passed; younger members are more about experiences than possessions now. And can you believe Hip Hop is celebrating its 50th anniversary?! Consumers’ tastes have shifted. They’re flocking to Spotify to stream rather than Sam Goody for their CDs.
However, your credit union might not have changed its tune.
We all know the number of credit unions is shrinking, particularly smaller credit unions, which are also losing members. That’s not sustainable. As credit union champions, we believe smaller credit unions provide valuable services to their members that no one else can or would bother to do. Credit unions have the power to change lives and communities.
Credit unions have come a long way from meandering teller lines and even the websites you might have built just a couple of years ago. Member service is digital, and so is the best way to market to them. Driving more members and potential members to an easy-to-navigate website that puts their needs first – where they can apply for memberships and loans, or simply educate themselves about buying their first home – is music to their fingertips.
Your credit union’s website has untapped potential for continued relevancy in the experience-driven world. Innovate how you define member service to provide a frictionless member service in the digital world and how that translates to your branches. The very word ‘innovation’ can feel weighty, but it truly doesn’t have to be. Innovation for your credit union will look very different from others. Just take it one small step at a time.
Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, SEO is how your credit union can help people find you on the web. Will they find your credit union when they’re searching for the products and services you offer that can solve their problem? According to Search Engine Watch, more than 90% of marketers were increasing their emphasis on SEO in 2023. Because of smaller credit unions’ generally local nature, this is an area where credit unions can really win with local SEO.
Providing engaging content. From images to the words you use on your landing pages, everything should be geared toward engaging members and potential members to take the next step. These landing pages should be properly structured on the back end with the right keywords on the consumer-facing side to keep users interested and engaged.
A word of caution: While SEO is important, the most important thing is that this content engages the humans on the other side of the screen. Your website should tell the story of what your credit union stands for, and that is better in part by making members’ financial lives simpler. For example, highlighting the key information (in a simple navigation bar) and including clear Call-to-Actions, so users aren’t wasting time clicking through unnecessary pages.
Outbound marketing. Leveraging owned, earned, and paid media, your credit union can really hit the top of the charts with your members and prospects. Let’s explore.
- Owned media are the media you own. Simple enough, right? Think about your website, email marketing list, and social media. Here’s where you control your message and share your credit union’s story the way you want it portrayed. And you can share links to the specific pages of your website where you’d like them to go to learn more.
- Earned media are public relations. Distributing press releases about a really meaningful donation your credit union made recently or offering up your head of lending as a resource for the local media can go a long way to building your brand and increasing interest in learning more. And guess what the first thing that media outlet’s readers or listeners who want to learn more about your credit union will do! They will first Google search (glad we got your SEO singing on-key), and they will explore your website.
- Paid media are your advertising, paid social, Search Engine Marketing, and other options. Here again, you can direct all your ads back to the pages that you want members and potential members to engage with – including your online membership application.
We all want credit unions to be around forever, helping members toward financial stability and empowerment. Smaller credit unions are an integral part of that, and technology can serve as a tremendous equalizer in your marketing efforts. Embrace your credit union’s website as leading the way for 24/7, always-on member service delivering seamless experiences with compelling messaging. Make it (and your members) sing!