Even though the banking industry isn’t dominated by credit unions, these member-owned institutions are steadily growing in popularity because they offer a low-cost alternative to banking with similar products. If you work for a credit union in the marketing department, then you know that you’ve got a challenge sometimes in establishing a brand awareness. How can you increase your membership rolls while keeping costs down so fees don’t need to increase?
It all begins with the value that you bring to the table. When you’ve got the ability to provide a higher amount of perceived value to your community and then can deliver on that value over time, you’ll pull customers away from the banks and have them waiting in line at your tellers.
Effective Credit Union Marketing Ideas
1. Utilize On-Hold Marketing
Your customers hate waiting on-hold, but it is a good opportunity to expose them to new products that they might find beneficial. Whether it is low interest rates on a new car loan or a new package of mortgage products that you’ve just started, let them know about this while they’re waiting for help and you’ll give them a chance to ask questions.
2. Make Your Website Fun
People always love to have a good time and if you put secret goodies that can be found throughout your website, people will engage more with your credit union. It doesn’t have to be anything outlandish or expensive. It could just be secret links that take people to videos of your employees telling jokes. For added value, put in coupons or discounts for your products too.
3. Hold an Annual Informal Get Together
Credit unions are a community-based banking institution, so put the community back into that idea by holding an annual picnic. Make it an informal event, offer prizes, lots of good food, and let people kick back and relax. They’ll have a good time and you’ll get a lot of extra brand awareness.
4. Do Something Different With Your Receipts
People tend to leave their ATM receipts behind, but they won’t if you make them fun to have by incorporating something fun and different into them. From origami instructions to discounts at local restaurants, it’s a good place for co-branding… or a place where someone can learn how to fold a swan if they want.
5. Don’t Take Yourself Seriously
When your legal text is fun to read, people will see that you don’t take your job too seriously… but you take it seriously enough. Whether you poke fun at yourself, at the legal copy itself, or just the fact that you have to put all of these different clauses in place, you’ll attract some extra members this way.
6. Create a Street Marketing Campaign
Street marketing doesn’t have to be anything complicated to be something that works. It could be as easy as hiding Easter eggs around your community with cash in them, inviting people to save that cash by opening an account at your credit union.
7. Free Cash Always Works
People love the chance to earn free money and nothing attracts the attention of the press like a credit union being willing to hand out money with no expectation of a return. You can load up an ATM with higher denominations, have bonuses for people who walk through your doors, or just randomly dump a bag of cash for people to scramble around to pick up. Either way, people will be talking about your marketing efforts for awhile.
8. Make Use of Your Drive-In Lanes
Good marketing ideas will surprise people because they’re unexpected and no one expects to have a flash mob or street team give them a private performance in the drive thru lane. It could also be something basic, like a free car wash that people get for using drive-up banking.
9. Engage the Kids
Parents struggle with children who don’t want to run errands with them and nothing is more boring for a young child than standing in line at the bank. There’s not even any candy bars to stare longingly at! Engage the kids with stickers, pencils, a “kid’s pack,” or anything that will divert their attention while their parents wait to use your services. A kid friendly credit union will attract lots of parents.
10. Join a Rewards Program
What if your customers could be rewarded just for shopping with your debit card? There are a number of rewards programs that will do just that so that people can save a few bucks here and there on things they need.
11. Reward People Who Use Multiple Services
If someone is taking advantage of all of your services, shouldn’t they be rewarded? You’re making money off of them anyway and they know it. Sure you’re getting the business because it’s a good deal, but what if they find a better deal? Rewards stimulate relationships and relationships create ongoing loyalty.
12. Perform Random Acts of Kindness
It never fails that the pay it forward types of marketing end up helping someone who desperately needs a break. Have your credit union sponsor random people at the local grocery store and pay for their groceries. Even if you only help four people with $50 worth of groceries, you’ll have only spend $200 and in return you’ll generate goodwill that is priceless.
13. Start a Member Lottery
Credit unions are basically a family and if there’s one thing that families generally do, it’s help each other. A savings lottery can capture a lot of attention because a small donation by members can essentially become a lottery ticket that will reward them with the hold stack of cash that’s been put in play. A twist on this is to have people donate a dollar and then have this money donated to local food banks or families in need, members or not.
14. Give Stuff Away
It’s free stuff and people are attracted to the world “free.” Don’t want to give cash away? Have a day where you give people ice cream. Partner with a grocery store and have a three minute sprint to get all the groceries they can. Send someone on a vacation. Have cookies. Anything that builds relationships is good.
Here is a great list of 101 marketing ideas for banks and credit unions.