New Approaches to Credit Union Marketing: Why Ads Just Aren't Enough
New Approaches to Credit Union Marketing
Lots of Credit Unions are considering all kinds of ‘new fangled’ ways to market their services to existing members and potential new members. The overall goal should be to reach a highly targeted but perhaps broader audience, both online and in other more traditional ways.
Here are some thoughts on three recent questions I’ve gotten from clients. In general it is my belief that traditional ads, and even more innovative online ads, should only supplement your more rigorous inbound marketing approach and here’s why…
1. Are Ads on Pandora & Other Apps Worth the Money?
So I get this question a lot. My answer is No. First, these types of ads are often very expensive and more importantly very INTERRUPTIVE. Even if you have unlimited budget, these kinds of ads are usually NOT going to enhance the users experience on the platform. They are more likely to turn a person off rather than get them to consider your services.
Also, changing banks or taking out a loan is a BIG decision. It’s not like spending $5 on a new widget… it needs to be communicated more thoughtfully. In most cases this cannot be done with in-app advertising.
2. Should We be Focusing More on Google Ad Words?
This question is much more tricky. I’ll answer this one in two ways… If you have a large marketing budget, and your staff is up to speed on cutting edge online marketing then yes, Google Ad words may be worth a try. But this approach is time consuming and also pricey. And again remember, you want to interact authentically with users online. Don't hawk your goods but rather showcase your good works, great content, and the benefits of choosing your Credit Union over a big bank.
If, like most Credit Unions, you are still getting your feet wet with digital and you don’t want to blow $1,000's each month on search word impressions that may or may not be properly targeted or lead to conversions, then I say stick to email, social media and blogging. These are much more manageable approaches and will cost less, but still be highly trackable and engaging for the user.
3. Should We Still Do ANY Direct Mail or Print Ads?
Yes. I do believe there is still a valuable place in a Credit Union's marketing strategy for traditional print and/or direct mail. But these need to be well integrated with your other efforts. Your messaging in print should match all your online platforms and you should try to target with direct mail as narrowly as you can.
I also recommend trying to find a way to track conversions back to your printed or mailed content. For example, if you are running a refinance your auto loan promo and you want to mail it to your members include a brand new email (Ex: firstname.lastname@example.org) for enquiries so that you will know with 100% accuracy that messages to that email came from this specific direct mail piece. This will help you track results and inform future efforts. Making them all more effective and successful.
You might also enjoy our article on Credit Unions and Committing to Digital.
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About Meredith Olmstead
Meredith Olmstead is the CEO and Founder of Social Stairway, LLC, which provides Digital Marketing & Sales services to Credit Unions and Affiliated Organizations. With experience working with financial institutions in markets of various sizes around the United States, and as an experienced Director of Online Marketing, she has helped design and implement numerous marketing and sales campaigns. Since 2013 Meredith has led the Social Stairway team, working exclusively with Credit Unions, taking staff step-by-step through the process of launching all of their Digital Marketing efforts, as well as implementing full Inbound Marketing campaigns and providing Sales Enablement training and support. Meredith recommends a very clear and measureable strategy to all of her clients, and then works with them to re-evaluate the success of these efforts on a continuing basis, all with an eye on moving toward a clear return on your online sales and marketing investment.