6 Steps to Creating a Credit Union Marketing & Sales Extravaganza
Originally written as a guest blog for CUInsight:
Looking for a better way to plan for growing your Credit Union? Here’s 6 full-proof steps to ensure your next sales and marketing plan is a resounding success!
1. Start with the BIG Picture in Mind...
As you design your quarterly or annual goals and objectives, make sure you circle back to your CU’s strategic plan. Then everything your marketing and sales teams do should be working together toward a unified BIG picture.
So, for example, if one of your strategic objectives is to grow deposits by $100 million within three years, your teams need to focus on cross-selling deposit accounts to current members while also targeting new populations.
We often suggest a referral plan to help encourage members to refer friends and family and couple this with strategic digital ad targeting via social media and search ads to reach these targets with new account opening offers.2. Measure Along the Way
Make sure that your team is measuring their marketing and sales results and then tying these back to revenue impacts. We recommend monthly ROI reports and quarterly strategy reviews when you look at revenue growth goals and how your teams are progressing.
Waiting until third quarter to begin scrambling for the year is NEVER a good idea. All too often we see Credit Unions frantically shifting marketing campaigns around in September or October to attempt to grow deposits by year’s end.
3. Don't Try to be Everywhere
Unless you’re working at a Credit Union behemoth with unlimited funds to grow your marketing and sales team, it’s important to pick and choose your efforts carefully. Heck, even the big guys have budgets, right?? I strongly encourage you to limit the number of social media platforms you spend money on for paid impressions, clicks and engagement.
In fact, we typically suggest paying for impressions and clicks via social media ads, search engine marketing ads and some local awareness print ads for even large CUs. You might also find good results via radio spots, but we DO NOT recommend Pandora or other digital display ad placements, as those tend to be extremely expensive, often have questionable results, and can regularly hit audiences with bottom of the funnel offers at times when users are NOT in the market for your product or service.
Because we all have limited funds for marketing and sales efforts it’s important to remember that paid ads will have a positive impact on organic reach online, so you do NOT have to put money behind every piece of content your credit union shares. Having a balanced ad strategy that includes some paid placements is important, but there are other ways to boost traffic to your website without paying for it.
For example, if your CU updates it’s blog daily, or even 2-3 times per week, you will see a nice boost to organic traffic to your website, with or without paid ads. This is an effective and inexpensive way to drive potential new members to your website and engage them with useful and informative content.
Regular content creation is also a great way to help retain your current CU members and stay top of mind with them, so that when they are in the market for a new car or credit card they will be more likely to think of your institution first!5. Have a Clear Sales Funnel Defined and a Team in Place
From my experience, it’s pretty safe to say that many credit unions just don’t have a sales culture, and this isn’t a bad thing! The member service (sales) staff at most CUs are busy and tend to focus on direct enquiries from members. But what is often missing is the ability to better monetize a CU website and use this valuable space for prospecting and cross-selling. This is where properly coordinating marketing and sales efforts comes in!
First identify a team that’s willing to make a go of this effort. This will involve meeting regularly to discuss progress and setting up a system to send leads generated to someone in sales/member service for immediate and continued follow up. You will also need to define what exactly IS a sales lead.
And remember, just because someone subscribes to your blog doesn’t mean they want someone to call them and try to sell them a car loan! Make sure the lead has been reading your content, visiting product/service pages, opening emails, and interacting in other ways, BEFORE your sales team reaches out.
Be advised that digital leads typically require 5-7 touch points to convert. So, this means your member service staff should be ready to send a few follow up emails and make a couple of phone calls in order to convert a well-qualified lead.
This process is more proactive, but when set up properly it can lead to great growth for your CU! And with branch traffic dropping it’s a good way to repurpose staff time that might otherwise go wasted.6. Remember, it's a Marathon, NOT a Sprint!
These changes don’t happen overnight. Staff training and buy-in are an important part of the process, so invest in properly training your people and you will see better results. Further, social media is an amazing way to engage members and potential members, but do it in a fun, interesting and helpful manner. Don’t be the annoying person at the party who only talks about themselves! Being overly salesy on social media will only turn people off.
We suggest that credit unions develop larger revenue growth goals attached to marketing and sales campaigns, and then monitor these monthly or quarterly, adjusting when necessary if results aren’t happening. BUT, typically positive impacts will take 6-12 months. Make sure you have the patience to wait, and the budget to support your efforts.
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.