10 Essential Credit Union Marketing Strategies

Author Erin Petro
Read time 9 minutes read time

In the fourth quarter of 2022, approximately 135.3 million people were credit union members, almost six million more than at the end of 2021. Credit unions make up 18 to 22 percent of U.S. households. However, with the population aging, this number may decline instead of continuing to grow.

 It’s important to identify demographics that will grow your membership. Only then can you effectively market your services to them. Who are these potential members, and how do you reach them? Here are ten strategies that will reach your target member.

Know Potential Members

Credit union members are aging. The average age of a member is 53, but the median age of banking Americans is 38.5. This creates challenges as credit unions strive to expand their membership. How do you attract younger demographics?

Credit unions are drifting away from younger people. Six percent of millennials and nine percent of Gen Y say their primary financial relationship is not with a credit union.

Reaching this age bracket is challenging but also an opportunity to expand membership. But how can you reach the younger demographics?

Digital Apps are Crucial Marketing Service

Americans are addicted to their phones. Most of their contact with the outside world starts with their phone. For example:

  • they call an Uber on their phone
  • order goods from Amazon on their phone
  • order a pizza on their phone
  • use social media on their phone

More importantly, Americans are banking on their smartphones. As of the fourth quarter of 2023, 64 percent of people in the U.S. used their phones to the bank. And this phenomenon is expected to increase.

This tracks with the growing popularity of online banks. Twenty-seven percent of people use online banks.

Americans are becoming less interested in visiting brick-and-mortar branches. By promoting that you have digital assets, you’re letting these people know they don’t have to visit your branches. You’re offering technology with convenience.

Content Marketing Informs Potential Members

Part of providing apps is expanding the whole online experience. There are other ways to make the experience more helpful and relevant.

You must have a strong content marketing strategy. You should have a plan behind the content you publish on your website.

Most credit unions have six to ten products around which to produce content. Whether you budget once a month or several times a week, a plan is important for good organic rankings.

As you know, this is a competitive industry. Having a complete collection of resources to offer ensures you not only rank well on Google but are also helpful and valuable to members and potential members.

Content could encompass:

  • loan calculators
  • blog posts
  • infographics
  • eBooks
  • etc.

The content you create depends on what you want to accomplish with your efforts. Establish a goal before you start publishing. Once you establish your goal, you need to commit and publish regularly.

Social Media and Online Marketing

Social media marketing goes beyond posting the latest news twice a week. It is a critical way to gain exposure and build relationships. It encompasses:

  • search
  • social
  • display advertising

When running a social media campaign, identifying the target demographic is vital. Plan who you want to reach. These could include:

  • gender
  • location
  • age
  • financial status

Choose the social media that fits this demographic. For example, an older demographic will use Facebook, while a younger person is on Instagram or TikTok.

Advertising on these platforms goes a long way in reaching your potential members.

Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is where you pay only when someone clicks through the ad to your website.

To use this, you must create concise, engaging and relevant copy that is aimed at the demographic you are trying to target. Have a clear call to action. Once on your website or landing page, ensure you have something meaningful to say or want the user to do.

Digital Strategy for Products

Promoting various products using digital strategies will increase your ROI. One example is credit card marketing.

Nickels CardFit uses digital strategies to market credit union credit cards. The goal is to educate heavy revolvers in credit card usage. Nickels helps CUs achieve this by analyzing your members’ competitor card behavior and offering them CU products to help them save money.

CardFit helps grow your membership base by targeting people in your community who can save money by switching to your credit cards.

By showing the user the differences in interest rates and fees, CreditFit offers members and nonmembers a choice. It allows the user to see the advantages of a credit union credit card.

Use Marketing to Engage Community

Engaging the community is important, but engaging means both members and nonmembers. It starts with the members.

Members’ lack of engagement prevents them from referring credit union services to their children. Ninety percent of members don’t encourage their children to join a credit union.

This lack of in-house referrals stifles potential growth.

For growth with members and nonmembers, contact schools. Teachers are challenged to provide financial education to their students.

Be a resource and partner with schools in the area. Develop a program that you can present to students and teachers that is informative and shows your credit union in the best light.

Develop digital materials like eBooks that explain the different products and ways that they can be used. Don’t just gear these to the parents but target their teenagers and young adult children.

With CardFit we’ll make sure that your low rates lead your marketing so that you save your communities money. We’ll another way to educate the community.

Combine Personalization with Big Data

Tailor outreach efforts using the data in your core. After all, you’ve collected all of this data; use it to offer more products to members.

For example, simple automation algorithms can recommend products and services to customers based on previous usage. Offer upgrades at key moments, such as:

  • buying a car
  • graduating from college
  • buying a first home

Be there when your members are making life-changing decisions.

It promotes products and creates top-of-mind awareness, hopefully translating to discussions between members and their children.

Gen Z, in particular, responds well to personalization marketing. This can be accomplished by going where they spend time: social media. Target that age bracket with ads that speak to their current and future financial needs.

Focus Marketing Strategies on Service

It’s all about the experience. You must be able to offer quality experience on all fronts. This includes:

  • customer service calls
  • digital platform
  • physical locations

It’s not always thought of as marketing, but focusing strategies on offering a positive, helpful and quality experience is probably the most important thing you can do.

Chatbots Help Customer Service

Although not always top of mind when it comes to marketing, providing information quickly to members and nonmembers through chatbots is vital.

Think of a chatbot as a different form of “frequently asked questions”. Instead of having to dig around to find the answer, the user merely asks.

And if a question is beyond the scope of the chatbot, pointing the user in the right direction for the information becomes imperative.

Local Digital Marketing

It’s important to use digital to market credit unions. That’s where your members and potential members reside.

But before you incorporate large campaigns, ensure that your credit union is easy to find. Local digital marketing is the most critical marketing tool for location-dependent businesses.

Local digital marketing includes monitoring and responding to reviews. Ninety-eight percent of people read local business reviews. Responding to positive and the negative is part of your marketing strategy. It shows engagement.

Ensure you set up your Google Business Profile. Check the address and use descriptive keywords relevant to your potential member. Some keywords could be:

  • savings account
  • car loans
  • credit card
  • mortgage

Pictures of your branches are also necessary.

Don’t forget to check your profile every few months to ensure it’s up to date or add additional services.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a strong marketing strategy. And it’s cost-effective. Every dollar spent has a $42 ROI. It has many benefits, including:

  • increased engagement
  • helps build relationships
  • keeps credit union top of mind
  • educating members on products

You can personalize messages based on their name, location or account history. Members have different pain points. A young couple has different needs than a couple close to retirement.

Email marketing allows you to create campaigns that focus on individual needs  

Marketing Strategies to Increase Members

By identifying the key demographics you want to reach, you can develop a marketing strategy to increase membership.

People of all ages are using digital products for financial transactions. Credit unions must have electronic assets to meet this demand.

Use your core to gather information that will help you personalize emails to key members. Consider partnering with educators to help teach students modern financial concepts.

Use CardFit as a resource to educate revolvers that CU credit cards offer them a less expensive way to manage their revolving debt.

Social media should be your friend when it comes to reaching all demographics. The different platforms allow you to target. And you can target even further within each platform.

Contact Nickels and find out how Card Check and CardFit will work in your credit card marketing plan. Use their identity, reach, engage to promote local credit card conversions.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps credit unions cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance members’ competitor card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve members’ credit card health, in part by shifting members from high interest competitor cards to lower rate credit union products. For more information, please visit nickels.us.