Thought Leadership

How to Increase Credit Union Membership with Digital Marketing

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November 7, 2018
How to Increase Credit Union Membership with Digital Marketing
By Bryan Adler

Finding ways to increase membership at your credit union can be difficult. People have many options when it comes to where they’d like to manage their money. One of the best methods of finding new, eligible members for your credit union is to begin a digital marketing campaign.

The benefits of digital marketing campaigns for credit unions are numerous. For starters, they can be a lot cheaper than traditional avenues for marketing. Second, as the country—and especially its younger generations—find increasing utility on smartphones and tablets, digital marketing ensures that everyone’s phone can double as a mobile advertisement space. Third, they can leverage the wealth of information in online databases to better target potential prospects.

Sure, you can still get billboard advertisements, radio spots, or TV commercials, but those strategies don’t always reach the people you want them to reach. You might as well hire somebody to yodel your message from a mountain top (which actually sounds pretty cool…).

If you want to increase membership at your credit union, you might want to make sure your strategy is, you know, strategic. For credit unions, digital marketing can help you pinpoint specific people or groups, so you don’t have to worry that your efforts don’t fall on deaf ears.

Email Strategies

Look, we won’t lie: an email campaign is not glamorous. Some people even say it’s boring. None of that matters, so long as it works. And it can.

While it’s both difficult and rare to get opt-in email addresses from people who are interested in receiving marketing communications, but there are ways. Certainly, we have ours.

What’s great about email is that it’s extremely inexpensive. There’s no carrier pigeon to feed and no stationary or postage to buy, so the overhead is minimal. Another advantage of email is that people can access their mailbox from anywhere in the world where wi-fi is offered.

Compared to physical mail, email offers much broader access at a much lower price. Click rates hover around one percent, and a certain percent of those will actually convert to membership.

Banner Ad Strategies

We see target banner ads as the next step in digital marketing for credit unions. Often, people use banner ads—like those you’d see on Google—the same way they’d use a billboard. While it’s a strategy, it may not be the best one to grow your membership (think yodeling).

The information from the click-through rate of an email campaign can be leveraged to target leads. Anyone who has interacted with an email campaign has already tacitly expressed interest. Banner ads serve as a follow-up.

Banner ads themselves don’t do much. If anything, they’re a reminder to your leads that you still exist. Your constant visibility reinforces to any interested party that you’re around, you’re available, and you have resources. You can keep reminding them until they become a member.

Geofencing Strategies

Another effective digital marketing technique we like is geofencing. Any credit union that has a community field of membership can target specific geographies for marketing engagement.

By narrowing or specifying marketing efforts to hit a specific geographic location, you can better pinpoint potential members. Owning Google searches in a certain zip code or county ensures that you’re competing only against other institutions in that area.

Geofencing strategies can help you show up in location-dependent Google searches like, “credit unions near me.” Conversion rates for geofenced clicks are much higher and less costly than for non-geofenced clicks.

It’s All About Targeting

Any digital marketing strategy you employ will perform better if you know who you’re marketing to. One of the best first steps you can take is to identify who you want to reach. From there, your marketing team or your marketing consultants can help you zero in on qualified prospective members.

Now, if they want to leverage big data to their advantage, or if they’re more comfortable with a good yodeler, well, there’s options for that, too.

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