Digital Marketing and Credit Unions

Digital Marketing and Credit Unions

Credit Unions have seen a bit of a renaissance in recent years. Partly, this is due to the public's distaste with big banks. The boasts of "too big to fail" and the subsequent public bailout of financial giants pushed the public to seek out other institutions where they could entrust their hard-earned money. In addition, the revelation that certain big banks like Wells Fargo have been engaged in predatory lending and in funneling money to questionable causes has raised other red flags.

The fundamental identity of credit unions runs counter to many of these negative aspects of banks. Many credit unions are, by nature, small. Their members come from a clearly defined population of people, and their mission is to serve their membership community, not an extensive group of shareholders. As such, they are not-for-profit institutions – run by members for the good of the members. The main problem they face, though, is that many potential members simply aren't aware of the credit unions operating in their communities.

The Visibility Problem

Simply put, many credit unions are good at banking, but bad at marketing. They put their energy into the care and success of their existing members, but often this means little to no outreach towards potential new members or to the community-at-large. In this case, the credit union is essentially invisible.

Even credit unions with significant marketing budgets often do not update their approaches to accommodate new mediums and strategies. They might run the same print or digital ad month after month, year after year – not altering their approach, but also not tracking or measuring the performance of that approach. In this case, the credit union is visible, but the public has stopped paying attention.

And even credit unions that are relatively active on, say, social media, are often focused on creating content without value. Holiday greetings, repurposing memes… these tactics might entertain viewers and generate some brand awareness, but nobody is going to become a member or purchase a home loan because your loan officers did the Harlem Shake. In this case, even if people are paying attention, that attention doesn’t translate into the tangible results the credit union is after.

Giving Value: Education vs. Entertainment

A good example is our work with Wailuku Federal Credit Union. Like many credit unions, Wailuku Federal had these invisibility issues. They were running a monthly print ad that returned them little new business or new members. When we took over their marketing, we dispatched with the print ads but, for the reasons noted above, didn’t turn to entertainment-based content marketing.

Instead, we found a way to offer something of value: monthly educational/informative articles on topics of interest to WFCU's membership community. Each article has a permanent home on the resources page of the WFCU site, where it serves as a valuable reference document. Since the topics – such as "Advantages of a Credit Union over a Bank" and "Your Credit Score and You" – are not beholden to a specific time frame, they don’t require the same maintenance that a blog would.

Once each monthly "anchor" article is written and posted on the WFCU site, we create supportive social media content to promote it over the course of the month. This takes a number of forms based on the social media channel used, but it always includes at least one brief (30-60 second) video that conveys the highlights of the article. Finally, we boost social media posts and create targeted social media ads to get this content in front of WFCU's current members and also any potential new members in the surrounding community. Visibility problem solved.

Campaign Results

Since we first implemented this strategy with WFCU, the credit union has seen an explosion in online engagement, site traffic, and service/product inquiries. This success can best be illustrated by isolating one of the monthly campaigns: "Banks v. Credit Unions." For this campaign, we generated the anchor article and an accompanying 30-second video that we promoted on YouTube and Facebook. The results:

During initial month-campaign:
● 744 YouTube views
● 2.9k Facebook views
● Avg. page visit time of nearly 8 minutes

8-month post-campaign organic traffic:
● 10,000+ YouTube views
● 4.2k Facebook views


In addition, 30% of the web traffic to the article on the WFCU site has come from organic Google searches, which means significantly improved SEO for the WFCU site. Most importantly, though, WFCU has seen a significant increase in inquiries and in the use of unique call-to-action forms. This success not only means more interest of WFCU's goods and services – it also provides added insight into what content is resonating with the public.

Time to Stop Being Invisible

Despite its exotic location, Wailuku Federal Credit Union is a pretty typical credit union. It serves a defined population, and it offers the same services and products as credit unions in Texas, Iowa, and Maine. That said, the system we've developed at The Interactive Dept. – resource articles tailored to a particular institution, boosted videos and other content to drive traffic to the article on the institution's site – can be applied to credit unions nationwide. The bottom line is, people are tired of banks and are searching for credit unions, but they can't find you if you're invisible.

If you're ready to be seen, you're ready for our Brand Engagement and Social Media Audit. We'll evaluate the state of your brand and review your current marketing efforts, identify missed opportunities for engagement and growth, and optimize a personalized marketing strategy that fits your budget. From there, we'll formulate and implement a 90-day action plan to bring your credit union out of the shadows and into the light. This 90-day plan means three months'-worth of campaigns, ready to go.

You've got great products and service, and the public is ready to find you. It's time to be seen! Contact The Interactive Dept. and book your Brand Engagement and Social Media Audit today.

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