So you’re looking for your next big credit union marketing idea? Awesome. Nailing down the exact plan of action before digging into the weeds is the way to go, and we’re here to help you get the gears moving.
Each of these ideas is rooted in the latest marketing strategies, and if you execute them correctly, you could have a great marketing push for your credit union. Your best bet is to pick a few that excite you the most, check them against your budget, and get to work.
Without further ado, here are 15 credit union marketing ideas that actually work:
1. Partner with respected auto sellers and realtors
Local business owners that deal with high-ticket items are always going to have customers in need of financial assistance. Identify the best business leaders in your community, develop a genuine relationship with them, and then introduce the idea of working together.
By having your credit union on the shortlist of providers, you can create a network of businesses that create automatic leads for your credit union. You can also encourage someone who needs a loan to use your other services by offering better bank rates for members, etc.
2. Host free financial classes
Many people are in need of basic financial skills. From proper budgeting to a series on how to navigate a fast-paced housing environment, you can craft your educational outreach around the services and products you’re trying to grow.
Identify the product you want to pitch, analyze your customer base to figure out the best demographic for that product, and then brainstorm a series that speaks as directly to that group as possible.
3. Offer compelling referral bonuses
Referral bonuses won’t succeed unless the offer is compelling enough to make the client take action. It needs to be fresh, exciting, and valuable enough for your client to take time out of their busy day to recommend you. $25 in cash won’t due. Try to be more creative with your referral bonuses.
Here are a few ideas:
- Entry into a giveaway of a full year of free meals at an esteemed local restaurant.
- Tickets to the general admission of a local sports game.
- A pizza party for their office or kids’ classroom.
- A cash bonus high enough to be attractive ($75+).
These are much more interesting offers. Get creative and build your bonus around the demographic you want to attract more of. One referral bonus won’t speak to everyone, but that’s okay! Marketing dies in generalities.
4. Offer member discounts to local businesses
One way to differentiate yourself is to make your credit union more like an extension of your community. If members get small discounts from a diverse set of local stores, you can boost your local economy by empowering your clients.
This is a triple win and sharpens your angle that working with a local credit union is a better community decision than banking with a larger organization.
5. Sponsor local charities
Another way to demonstrate your commitment to the community is by uplifting it through monetary donations or bank volunteer days. Volunteering is also a great opportunity for your sales reps to meet community leaders and show them why your credit union is working with them and not just providing a necessary service.
The more you can disperse a positive, mutually-beneficial brand image, the more your community will recommend and use your services.
6. Speak to your customers’ needs
This goes for every bit of your marketing. Always speak directly to your customers’ needs and highlight how the solution you provide is the best remedy. Position your credit union as the smart choice, and people will follow.
You can apply this idea in really tangible ways. For example, if you notice that a lot of new customers are young parents, that’s the perfect opportunity to pitch a long-term savings account around college tuition.
“Start early and give your child the future education they need to succeed” is much more compelling than “start saving and prepare for what the future brings”.
7. Target parents with coming-of-age children
If you’ve collected demographic information about your clients, use that to your advantage.
There’s an important need for financial education as children become adults, and you can use that space to help your clients help their kids by offering good account opening incentives!
Pitch it as an opportunity to create a financial system their children can use to start building credit.
8. Create local, inbound content
Another way to be useful to your community is to create content that addresses hyperlocal issues. If it’s difficult to see what events are happening in your city, perhaps you can find a better way to centralize that information. Or perhaps there’s no good guide to the farmer’s markets in your city.
Create content that is genuinely useful to your target demographic, host it on your site, and pair it with a compelling offer or content download.
9. Use digital advertising to set up evergreen campaigns
Evergreen campaigns are advertising dollars you spend on autopilot. If your credit union’s promotional strategies don’t include bidding on Google Ads, it should.
By having a strong testing phase at the beginning, picking the ads and campaigns that do the best, and then keeping them on indefinitely, you can have a faucet of leads that you can turn off and on at your will.
Even $10 in a local area around your city for keywords like “banks near me” and “I need to open a checking account” can go a long, long way.
10. Create eBooks specific to the products you sell
To continue this idea, you could also create eBooks and other content that speaks to questions people have on Google.
For example, by targeting people searching “how to open a checking account” within a 5-mile radius of your credit union, you could send them to a guide on how to do so and then prompt them to come in or call your bank.
Google can also track the phone calls you receive from people who view your ad, so you can know exactly what your advertising dollars are doing.
11. Create branch-specific landing pages
Creating branch-specific landing pages offers a few benefits:
- It allows you to speak directly to a certain community, so explaining where you are in a way that feels local, references a community-first angle, etc.
- It gives you a chance to compete more on a local SEO level. By using URLs like “credit-union-your-city” and filling it with useful information, Google will more likely push your page to the top of the local rankings.
12. Increase your retention rate by better serving existing customers
Sometimes it pays to look inward. See which customer segments are leaving and why, and then develop a strategy for keeping them. You may have to do a survey to collect this information.
Often times people leave community banks due to a move, but it could also be due to a lack of services provided or a preference for a certain style of banking. If that’s the case, you can identify the issues and speak to them.
13. Use simple language in your copywriting
The best writing in marketing takes complex ideas and delivers them in a fashion that is both easy to consume and compelling to read. Don’t overcomplicate your writing, and work to explain plainly why what you’re talking about is useful to the person reading it.
Aim for a middle school reading level, and you’ll be set. That doesn’t mean you should speak to them like a middle schooler, but it does mean someone with that reading level should be able to understand what you’re saying.
14. Sponsor a community financial skills class
Hosting free community classes is a great way to give back and generate leads for your bank.
This is best for driving leads toward more basic financial instruments like checking and savings accounts but depending on the expertise available you may be able to host a series that addresses more complex financial issues such as business incorporation or navigating large business loans.
15. Don’t post just to post or email just to email
Everything you do should be useful and interesting. This is more of a best practice than a specific marketing idea, but marketing doesn’t work because you just “do it” — it works because you have a legitimate solution to a legitimate problem.
The best marketing perfectly ties those two together and avoids negative associations with advertising and publicity like ad fatigue.
There’s value in many types of communication, from community-building to new product announcements, but every message you craft should have a specific purpose to a single or set of demographics.
The bottom line
Always think from your customer’s perspective, and always connect the line between your solution and their problem.
It’s worth saying again. Stick to this mantra, and whatever marketing idea you run with will have a good foundation.
There are all sorts of all elements that play into a good credit union marketing strategy, from psychological triggers to product offerings, but if you stay true to highlighting that fundamental relationship, then you’ll succeed.