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.

Simple and Effective Credit Union Marketing Ideas: Engage and Convert with Ease

Author Erin Petro
Read time 5 minutes read time

Maybe a potential member already knows who you are and just needs a nudge. Or it’s possible a potential member has never heard of you and needs an introduction. Regardless, developing tactics that motivate someone to push the button takes sound marketing ideas and strategies.

But there are so many options regarding strategies and tactics that it can be overwhelming when you sit down to plan. We’ve compiled a list of marketing ideas to help engage and convert new members.

Personalized Outreach for Credit Union Marketing

Effective outreach is increasingly vital to credit union marketing. Connecting one-on-one can do more for you than just focusing on digital and social media marketing.

Nickels has a plan to help you effectively connect with potential members in your community. Using CardFit, Nickels can help your community by giving cardholders more realistic credit card comparisons based on their payment behaviors, so they can waste less money on debt. 

Users are reached through selective targeting. This is done through:

  • paid per click (PPC)
  • digital display ads
  • Facebook ads

When a customer clicks on the ad, they land on the CardFit comparison page.

CardFit provides simple, unbiased credit card comparisons that include a local credit union option alongside the big bank cards. 

People in your greater community receive an instant comparison through this personalized digital outreach. They are then able to act immediately.  

Use Credit Union Marketing to Engage Community

Engaging the community is imperative when marketing a credit union. The public is fickle and has a short attention span. You must provide them with a reason and vehicle to engage with you. Technology offers both.

Digital Services are Crucial

Americans don’t want to have to actually visit the credit union. They want to engage through their computers and smartphones. Keep in mind that 90 percent of Americans own smartphones, and that’s their preference for interaction.

It’s imperative for a competitive credit union to have a quality digital app and/or web portal. Your app should be the focus of all marketing. Members and non-members should be informed of your digital assets.

This is particularly important to the millennial and Generation Z prospects. But remember, the technology you adopt must be high quality.

Chatbot as an Interactive FAQ

Chatbots can help with marketing strategies for credit unions. Think of the chatbot as an interactive FAQ.

Your members and potential members can find the answers to their questions quicker and at their convenience.

Engage the Potential School Age Members

Schools face the challenge of providing financial education to their students. Credit unions can help by educating students who will also be future members.

Become involved with local schools and develop programs where you go in front of students and explain financial services.

Credit card education is a vital part of that conversation. Give the graduating students an opportunity to create a financial system that will allow them to start building credit.

Engage Current Credit Union Members

Reach out to potential members for cross-selling opportunities. Nickels can help with that. They have their white paper three-pronged process of:

  • identify
  • reach
  • engage

Card Check is a great tool for cross-selling credit cards to existing members.

Using the information you have in your core, you identify heavy revolvers using competitor’s credit cards.

You then reach out to them with a customized email marketing campaign. Once the member receives the email, Card Check helps the identified member select a credit union card that fits their spending behaviors.

They are given a comparison. This engages them through education. If they currently have a competitor’s rewards card, Card Check lets them see what the card is truly costing them.

The credit union can then offer a low-interest alternative. Everyone wins, and you now have a more committed member to the relationship.

Local SEO Vital

Ensure your credit union is set up on Google Business Profile. It’s an easy and free tool that allows you to:

  • connect with potential and current members
  • post updates
  • share menus
  • maintain accurate information
  • tell Google hours, website, phone number and location
  • collect and respond to reviews
  • point potential members to the website

Google Business Profile is a powerful way of initiating local search engine optimization (SEO).

Establish a good foundation of links pointing to your website. One way to do this is through directory listings. Your linked website is part of the listing when you’re in a directory. When someone clicks on that link and goes to your website, Google sees that. And it helps your SEO.

When applying to directories, ensure they are legitimate. Spammy ones can hurt your SEO.

Credit Union Marketing Strategies

A member wants convenience. Through digital products, you can offer just that. But make sure they are quality digital products, or it could backfire on you.

Take every opportunity to go into the community. The schools are the best place to start. You’ll reach future members and their parents.

Don’t forget the big data you have in your core. Nickels’ Card Check can be used to identify members with the highest propensity to take action and cross-sell low-interest credit card products to help them get out of debt faster.

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.

Credit Card Marketing Strategies

Author Erin Petro
Read time 6 minutes read time

In the financial world, credit cards are the big sellers. It’s highly competitive marketing and commercials abound. Each one touts changing lives through reward points. Most of these ads are sponsored by the big national banks.

But is all the bluster truly effective when it comes to convincing individuals to sign up for a credit card? There are several credit card marketing strategies worth pursuing, but there’s one that sticks out the most.

Personal Marketing Approach

Personal marketing campaigns are becoming more relevant to people. They create an opportunity to engage the member or potential-member. Personal marketing is particularly important to Generation Zs and Millennials.

According to a Quad study (a marketing research company), 36 percent of millennials and 23 percent of Gen Zers wanted more personalized marketing.

Credit unions that connect with members as individuals gain the edge when fostering loyalty. This happens at the start of the acquisition process.

Incorporate Personal Credit Card Strategies to Members

Personalized credit card marketing strategies begin at home. Your members’ financial behavior speaks volumes and will guide you in your marketing plan.

Part of that plan is education. Knowing their credit card behavior is one element, the other is walking the member through the educational process of understanding their behavior.

Nickel’s Credit Check helps you do that. By using the three-pronged process of:

  • identify
  • reach
  • engage

Nickels provides you with the tools to help you cross-sell your credit cards to existing members, and acquire new members.

Identify Revolving Cardholders

The first step is to identify the heavy revolvers. These are the members who are not paying their statement balance in full month each month. To identify those heavy revolvers, you begin by analyzing the data you already have in your core. What cards do they have? What payments are they making on competitor credit cards? This is invaluable information and will help you with the education and marketing process.

Reach Revolving Members

Once you know your members credit card behavior you can effectively reach out to them. Customize an email campaign. Taylor it to their spending habits and credit card needs. Ensure you have an effective subject line to motivate members to open it.

Engage with Card Check

Having a white-labeled tool like Card Check in your pocket will allow you to engage your members via email. Card Check helps the identified member select a credit card that will fit their spending behaviors.

It gives them a comparison. Members are asked to input information that allows them to see how much their credit card is costing them, even when factoring in rewards.

It educates them. They learn what rewards cost and that if they carry a balance monthly, they’ll be spending more money on interest and fees than what they’re receiving.

This is your opportunity to shine by offering your low-interest credit card as an alternative.

Customize the Credit Card Selection Process

Refining the credit card selection process to how consumers behave is imperative. Heavy revolvers are swayed by flashy ads and reward promises to buy into high interest credit cards. If they take into account their spending, they would opt for a low-interest credit union card.

Nickels CardFit helps with the credit card selection process; it is not to be confused with Card Check. CreditFit helps credit unions acquire new members by using paid digital to show potential members the true value of the credit union’s credit card by factoring in rewards earned compared to the cost of interest and fees..

Credit unions have the best low-interest credit cards. The consumer is educated that a low-interest rate credit union card is more valuable than a high-interest rate card.  Card shoppers that are revolving on their balance are shown that rewards are actually costing them, and are presented with the option to sign up for a low-interest local credit union card.

Educational Marketing Opens Avenues

Marketing is about educating. Explaining the long-term consequences of high-interest rates versus the short-term rewards turns on the light for most people.

Consumers like information about the products they are purchasing. They’ll sometimes research a new car’s features before they even see it.

The same should go with consumers’ choice of credit cards. Local credit unions must differentiate themselves from the crowd.

This is done through educating the consumer in a personalized and compelling manner.

Use Digital Media to Help Educate

Digital media like Paid-Per-Click (PPC), online ads and social media can be personalized to target markets. Ads can be tailored to individual behavior and characteristics.

Through digital marketing, you can educate people based on their needs. The goal is to give consumers what they want when they want it.

Seasonal Campaign Strategies

Setting up CardFit during “frivolous” spending times of the year can be advantageous. Big bank credit cards advertise when consumers are at their most vulnerable. They entice them with big rewards and downplay the big interest rates.

During these times, you should implement a campaign to help the credit card selection process. This is a time to not only educate with CardFit but also promote local credit union credit cards.

By being transparent during these times, your card becomes their primary card. And they may turn to you for the rest of their financial needs.

Use Tools for a Personal Marketing Approach

Having the right tools is important when competing against the big bank credit cards. Using Card Check and CardFit are two ways to tip the scale to your advantage.

It’s all about choices. When consumers are educated about the different choices, credit unions have the opportunity to market their local credit cards.

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.

Credit Union Digital Marketing

Author Erin Petro
Read time 6 minutes read time

Traditional outreach methods are becoming obsolete. Strategic credit union digital marketing reaches potential members of all age groups. It’s time to pivot in marketing and embrace these platforms.

But how do you establish meaningful connections with current and new members using digital media? There are products and tactics that can meet your marketing needs.

The Need for Credit Union Digital Marketing

In the 2023 Credit Union Digital Experience Report, 75% of credit unions surveyed reported digital marketing is a priority. Members and potential members have shifted their focus from print and other traditional media to digital.

Credit union marketing needs metrics to gauge success, and digital marketing provides those. You can collect and analyze potential and current members’ behavior. By knowing and understanding behavior, you can tailor marketing messages and services to their needs.

Digital marketing also allows for satisfaction and loyalty through personalized communication. It is a tool for keeping members engaged. So, beyond attracting new members it helps with retention.

Channels and Tactics for Credit Union Marketing

You must establish measurable and specific goals for a digital campaign. They must also be relevant. Goals have two purposes: They can guide you and enable you to measure outcomes.

There are several steps in setting goals, using channels and developing tactics. They are:

  • developing a user friendly website
  • content strategy
  • paid digital marketing
  • Google display ads
  • social media marketing

Besides the mechanics of a digital marketing campaign, an organized marketing calendar is needed. This will ensure all credit union digital marketing initiatives align with important dates, member needs and goals.

A User-Friendly Website

It all starts with the website. New and current members need to be able to easily navigate your website so they can find and purchase your products. Websites should have:

  • a responsive display
  • product-focused primary navigation
  • scan ability
  • clean layout and organization
  • calls to action over the customer journey

Your website is the foundation of your digital presence. It serves as your command center. It’s fundamental to a credit union marketing plan.

Build Content Strategy

Search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on website visibility. It ranks your website high on the search engine results page (SERP).

This involves enhancing your website’s visibility. In addition to optimizing its structure, you must have relevance, which improves organic performance.

One way to do this is through content or blogs. These should be deemed as helpful and relevant to the consumer.

By ranking higher on the SERP, you can enhance your online visibility.

But, one disadvantage to organic growth is time. It takes time to achieve results, so it requires a commitment.

Paid Digital Marketing and Display Ads

Paid digital marketing works faster than a content strategy. Pay-per-click (PPC) is a model that only charges advertisers when a potential member clicks through the ad. It’s a way to purchase visits instead of ranking organically.

These can be effective in targeting ads to specific demographics. An Optimized PPC campaign boosts visibility on search engines, like Google, and promotes your services to new members. It also reminds existing members what services you have available. 

For example, credit unions should use digital for members or non-members looking for a credit card. Nickels uses PPC to run paid digital marketing to help credit unions reach current and potential members within their community to show them why they’re better off with your credit union card.

Google Display Advertising

Google display advertising promotes your credit unions to potential members. Targeted to your intended demographics, ads are placed online where your customers are browsing.

Nickels takes advantage of this by using paid display advertising in a credit union’s field of membership to acquire new members and convert those looking for a new credit card.

Social Media Marketing

Another digital asset that should be in a credit union’s marketing plan is social media. Facebook is leveraged to promote membership drives.

Facebook ads have shown to be powerful tools for initiating a call to action. Nickels uses Facebook ads to capture high-revolving credit card users and promote low-interest credit union credit cards.

Example of a Digital Campaign

A credit card digital marketing campaign could be developed to promote credit card conversions from the big banks to your credit union.

Most Americans revolve on their credit, but they insist on looking for high-reward credit cards. Unfortunately, for them, high rewards mean high interest. The result is that revolvers earn only $11 billion in rewards while paying $122 billion in interest.

Nickels markets CardFit using a digital ad campaign. It shows revolvers how their big bank credit card truly compares to a low-interest credit union card.

This is done with selective targeting through PPC, display, and Facebook ads. Potential customers click through the ads and land on CardFit. CardFit shows how, by not paying the balance in full each month, a credit union credit card costs less because it has a lower interest rate.

Users often overlook credit union credit cards. CardFit reframes the credit card selection process around how most cardholders actually behave. This results in people choosing a card that best fits their lifestyle.

Only a digital campaign can give the member or non-member this instant comparison and elicit immediate action.

Digital Campaign Analytics

There are many avenues to analyze the analytics of a digital campaign. That’s a fundamental advantage to launching one.

The click-through rate (CTR) measures the ad’s attractiveness. Unlike other forms of advertising, you’ll receive a conversion rate, so you’ll see the actual outcome from those clicks.

But when it comes down to it, it’s all about cost-effectiveness. With digital campaigns, you receive a cost per conversion (CPC), which measures the cost-effectiveness of the ad.

Nickels effectively uses digital campaigns to provide potential members and current members with CardFit. With CardFit, credit unions can reorient the conversion from rewards to total card value, showing that credit union cards win.

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.

What is Cross-Selling In Banking?

Author Erin Petro
Read time 6 minutes read time

Cross-selling is a powerful and efficient credit union marketing tool. It helps generate revenue for a financial institution and improves customer satisfaction.

Targeted cross-selling can help you further when developing a plan. But what is cross-selling, and how can you use it to help credit union members while generating more revenue?

Cross-Selling Products in Credit Unions

Cross-selling involves selling a related banking product to a customer. For example, if they are depositing in their savings account, suggest opening a CD. You may want to offer life insurance to go with a retirement plan.

The point of cross-selling is to increase a credit union’s revenue while at the same time helping the customer fulfill their banking needs.

It comes down to services per household. You want to increase the services each household uses.

Why Cross-Selling is Important to Credit Unions

Cross-selling allows a credit union to increase revenues without acquisition costs. Having employees suggest services to complement the customer’s existing services adds to the bottom line without any additional investment.

Because a customer is committing more of their banking to your credit union, it creates brand loyalty. They are less likely to move their accounts; they have committed to you.

Cross-selling in banking fulfills the customer’s needs. They may not realize they need a product you have to offer. By pointing out a product or service to them, you reach important goals and financial life milestones.

Cross-selling isn’t meant to trick a customer into buying something. Instead, they are directed towards a needed service. This endears them more to your credit union.

Targeted Cross-Selling

One category of cross-selling products in credit unions is targeted cross-selling. This occurs when a target individual is identified among existing customers.

One example is to target messages to heavy revolvers and offer them lower-cost refinance opportunities. By examining payment patterns in the ACH data, Nickels can identify the members who are paying competitor cards.

By further looking at the payment behaviors, you can infer whether those members are revolving or transacting on those cards. Properly identifying who to cross-sell is the most crucial step in the process.

Once you understand your membership base further, your outreach can be strategic and personalized. Nickels will identify, reach, and engage existing customers so you can cross-sell low-interest credit card products to the members who would benefit the most. Knowing this helps not only the credit union cross-sell, but benefits the members overall financial wellbeing.

What is the Difference Between Cross-Selling and Upselling

Both cross-selling and upselling are meant to generate revenue. But they use different tactics. Upselling is meant to increase the value of a purchased item.

Cross-selling increases the total number of items a customer purchases.

For example, a buyer intends to purchase a product or service. An upsell tries to have the buyer purchase or upgrade to a more expensive product or service.

But, cross-selling offers different products that the customer didn’t intend to buy. The added service or products create a more well-rounded or balanced outcome.

Strategies for Cross-Selling Credit UnionProducts

There is a progression of ways to initiate cross-selling to your customers. But always remember that although cross-selling products generate revenue, they should also benefit customers. You want to build trust, not erode it.

Analyze Credit Union Customer

Ensure you understand your customers’ needs, goals, preferences and behaviors. Nickels does that with their checking account analysis. It gives you data and segmentation to identify opportunities for credit card conversions.

Asking the customer directly about their satisfaction and expectations is also essential. Listen to their feedback.

Right Channels and Timing is Everything

Use the right channels and timing to reach out to customers. Avoid spamming or interrupting them with irrelevant or excessive offers.

For example, Nickels will reach out to members once the credit union has appropriately identified the member segments that could benefit from the products or services the credit union has available. Nickels has ready-to-use playbooks that a credit union can easily implement into an email campaign to educate customers on the credit union’s low-interest credit cards.

For heavy revolvers, the timing is probably right to make a change. You’ll be available with a product that meets the customer’s needs.

Communicate Value and Benefits

Communicate how your offer will solve a customer’s problem. For example, a member with a revolving balance and a high-interest rate may be open to hearing about your low-interest credit card. Highlight the advantages and differentiations you have to offer.

Nickels can help you with that. They provide credit unions with a white-labeled product, Card Check. Card Check allows the member to analyze what the competitor’s credit card is actually costing them. It also shows members how much they can save by switching to a credit union’s low-rate card.

Don’t Be Pushy

You don’t want to be overly pushy with sales tactics. Respect a customer’s disinterest; no means no. Cross-selling doesn’t mean hawking a product but helping customers with their banking needs.

Although some financial institutions incentivize employees to cross-sell, be careful about putting too much emphasis on it. Don’t instill quotas. This can lead to aggressive sales tactics and turn off customers.

Cross-Selling Ratio in Banking

The cross-selling ratio is one way to benchmark and compare your performance to industry standards. It measures the average number of services or products that a member purchases.

The cross-sell ratio is determined by dividing the total number of products or services sold by the total number of customers.

Challenges of Cross-Selling for Credit Unions

Although cross-selling is an important strategy to increase revenue, there are some challenges. They include:

  • customer resistance
  • lack of trust
  • limited product knowledge
  • regulatory compliance.

It’s imperative to have the proper framework in place to ensure a good customer experience.

Following Regulatory Compliance

Products and services have different legal and ethical requirements. Some of these include ethical requirements like:

  • disclosure
  • suitability
  • privacy
  • anti-laundering

There is also the risk of conflict of interest. There should be a sound compliance program that ensures all cross-selling is aligned with relevant laws and standards. The customer’s interest should always be put first.

Establishing Customer Trust and Satisfaction

It’s essential to build trust and satisfaction. Cross-selling should not interfere with this. Members should receive transparent and relevant offers.

It is essential to have a customer-centric approach to cross-selling banking products. All cross-selling outreach must have the customer’s needs and preferences first. The goal is to deliver solutions.

Cross-selling in Customer Success

By effectively cross-selling banking products, you can simultaneously help members while generating more revenue. Customer loyalty will be enhanced if you offer products that accentuate their banking experience.

Helping revolvers convert to low-interest credit cards is one way to enhance the banking experience. Nickels can help. They can implement their identify, reach, engage program to help grow your credit card portfolio. 

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.

How to Step-Up Your Credit Union Marketing

Author Erin Petro
Read time 7 minutes read time

It takes more than a nudge to convince some people to move to a new financial institution. Usually, a life event like a move or marriage triggers it. So, when a potential member is prepared to move or is dissatisfied with their current financial institution, you must be top of mind. That’s why credit union marketing is essential.

Promoting a credit union’s community support and favorable interest rates in this competitive financial market are significant steps toward capturing new members. But how is this accomplished? What are the steps to implementing an effective credit union marketing strategy?

What is a New Member Worth?

Before planning a credit union marketing campaign, a budget must be established. Unfortunately, that is usually the first stumbling block. How much is a reasonable marketing budget? You will need your credit union’s average member acquisition cost and member’s lifetime value (LTV) to determine a budget.

The LTV is a rough revenue number generated per member over their entire relationship with your credit union. It’s based on a member’s average duration and revenue. 

Once you have the LTV, multiply it by your new member goal. The average acquisition cost of a new member is $562.50

This will give you a budget. It will also let you measure the credit union marketing ROI. For example, if your LTV is $10,000 and your member goal is 25, the campaign could generate $250,000 in revenue. You’ve received a healthy return if you spent $15,000 on the marketing campaign.

How to Attract New Credit Union Members

Once you have a budget and are ready to develop your credit union marketing strategy, set specific goals and be realistic. Evaluate past membership drives and determine where they succeeded and what needs improvement.

For example, if last time you attracted 20 members, this time you may want to convert 30. If it’s a new drive, establish a realistic number.

Don’t just focus on new members; several types of potential members need different services. Finding and fulfilling the needs of these individuals will generate revenue. Market individual services like:

  • auto loans
  • home loans
  • credit cards
  • checking and savings account openings

Identifying the various needs allows you to fine-tune your credit union’s marketing strategy. This will help in determining goals. When developing specific goals, it’s best to marry them to your branch’s quarterly goals.

Credit Union Marketing Loans

Attract high-value credit union members by providing solutions to their pain points. For example, hosting free financial classes that refer to the loan application process will endear current and potential members to you.

Prepare an eBook on various loans and how to apply. This will help to drive credit union loyalty among existing members. It will also attract new credit union members.

Through marketing and classes, prospective or current members will know that credit unions tend to have a more manageable loan application process. You’re there to help facilitate their home or auto ownership. And although APRs vary among financial institutions, a credit union can often be more flexible. This needs to be explained to current and potential members.

Partnering with respected realtors or auto dealers is beneficial. When recommending a financial institution, you want to be on these providers’ shortlist. Build a network with these big-ticket sellers and community business leaders. Promote working together.

Marketing for Credit Card Conversion

Credit union marketing for credit card conversions begins in-house. Using the core, you can initiate personalized marketing to members by analyzing the data. It starts with knowing how your members behave with competitors’ credit cards. This can be done with three easy steps:

  1. Identify – revolving cardholders and segment
  2. Reach – new and existing members through marketing campaigns
  3. Engage – using personalized tools that convert new and existing members to your credit cards

Nickels, has the tools to take advantage of the information already in the core to unlock insights about your members’ competitor card use. But it goes deeper than this. By using Nickels checking account analysis, you can identify priority member segments. For example, they could be:

  • heavy revolvers – continually carry balances over to the next month
  • light revolvers – often carry balances over to the next month
  • transactors – don’t let a balance carry over from month to month

This information enables you to know who and how to reach credit union members. Customizing an email campaign for existing members based on their spending behavior will be effective. Digital marketing for credit unions, like Google Ads, should also be used to reach non-members.

Once you have identified and reached out to members, it’s time to show them exactly how much money they are spending on their credit cards. That’s where Nickels’ Card Check comes into play.

Card Check is a white-labeled tool provided to credit unions for their members. Card Check helps members select the best credit card for them, based on total card value for their behavior. Members enter information, and it shows them how much money their credit card, even with rewards factored in, is truly costing them.

By optimizing for the user’s overall financial benefit, the credit card shopping process is reframed from splashy promotional rewards to total card value. And, for most cardholders, this is where credit union cards win. With this approach, targeting individuals for credit card conversions becomes part of your credit union marketing plan.

Open Checking and Savings Accounts

Drive credit union loyalty with marketing checking and savings accounts. Present a community-oriented place where all financial needs are met.

Target parents with coming-of-age children. Don’t use the cliché, “save for your child’s future”; instead, present savings and checking accounts with your credit union as a way for a child to create a financial system.

Evergreen campaigns should be employed. These are autopilot advertising programs that can target potential members. Use digital marketing for credit unions to accomplish this.

One form of digital marketing is Google Ads. These credit unions can implement hyper-local campaigns. Use searchable words like “I need to open a checking account” and “banks near me” to capture those potential members searching for a financial institution. Google can track the phone calls received, and with your website’s analytics, you will see your ROI.

Another credit union marketing strategy is a referral bonus. These bonuses need to be compelling. Offering $25 in cash isn’t effective. Instead, offer more compelling bonuses like.

  • entry into a give-a-way for a large prize
  • ticket to general admission for a large event
  • pizza party for the office or child’s classroom

Be imaginative with referral bonuses.

Community events and sponsorships are excellent ways to show involvement in people’s lives. Volunteering is sometimes more important. It allows you face-to-face time with community leaders and potential members.

Remember that credit unions tend to offer higher interest rates for savings accounts than banks. This should be touted in the credit union marketing strategy.

Fees are a sore spot for many people. Credit union fees are usually less than banks. Ensure potential members are aware of this. And don’t forget to remind current customers in order to reduce member churn.

Finally, when marketing, ensure that potential members know credit unions are non-profits that cater to their members.

Credit Union Marketing Trends

There are many pieces to the marketing pie. By developing a cohesive marketing plan with the right budget, credit unions can reach potential and existing members with trustworthy guidance, optimized for their overall financial benefit. This approach not only fosters trust but also establishes enduring relationships with the members that opens the door for cross-selling opportunities, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of the credit union.

Contact Nickels to find out how to achieve one piece of the marketing pie. Use their identify, reach and engage system to generate 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.

What is Credit Card Marketing?

Author Erin Petro
Read time 7 minutes read time

In the last three years, credit unions have taken a bigger piece of the pie in the competitive consumer credit card space. From 2020 to 2023, Credit unions increased their primary credit card share from 6% to 8.3%.

But with national banks taking the most significant share with 68%, credit unions need strong credit card marketing strategies to continue growing. Knowing how to sell credit cards to members is imperative. But what is credit card marketing, and what are the processes to make it work?

Credit Card Marketing

Targeting specific demographics on the right channel with relevant content is essential when marketing credit cards. Identifying the appropriate platforms and developing content that resonates with the target member is essential. Timing is also crucial.

Remember to incorporate flexibility in your credit card marketing strategies. Changing members’ motivations, behaviors, and expectations can make a static credit card campaign ineffective. 

When developing credit card promotions, differentiate members by generation, income level and more. There are several steps to take that will lead to a credit card marketing campaign. They include:

  • identifying target demographics
  • using demographics to identify needs
  • leveraging and segmenting members’ data

Personalizing a credit union’s approach will create compelling campaigns. It’s also an opportunity to connect with members.

Identifying Target Demographics

Each generation has a different philosophy and needs. Generation Z is digitally native and socially conscious. The average Gen Z is carrying around $2,283 in credit card debt. The national average is $6,365. 

Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z believe establishing a credit history is important to avoid financial dependence on parents. They tend to use credit cards responsibly. Communicating with them about the opportunity to establish good credit is the avenue to convincing them to apply for a credit card.

On the other hand, millennials have the fastest-growing debt load. They started acquiring credit card debt at age 24, and only 13% are revolving debt-free. 

Their credit card balance averages $4,651. But their payment plans are under control, and only 2.7% have fallen behind 30 to 59 days. Still, nearly two out of three have credit card debt. This is more than double the number who have student loans. 

Because many Generation Xers took on their children’s student loans or are caring for aged parents, only 11% are free of credit card debt. The average Gen X credit card debt is $7,070. Thirty-eight percent of Gen X say they carry a balance month to month. They are strong candidates for rollovers to lower interest rate credit cards. Many have high reward cards, but because they carry balances with high-interest rates, they are losing money. 

And finally, baby boomers are in the best position at 29% without revolving debt. Their average credit card balance is $6,747, with a 3.2% delinquency rate for 90 to 180 days.

Use Demographics to Identify Needs

Millennials, baby boomers and especially Gen X are strong candidates for rollovers to low interest rate credit cards. Educating them on how much money they are losing will guide them to roll over their balance to a low-interest-rate credit union card. Some tools can help in making this conversion. One is the Nickels Card Check tool. Available through Nickels.us, it shows the members how much they owe and can save by rolling their balance to a low-interest credit union card. Credit unions provide this at no charge as a service to their members. It educates while identifying a need and can be an asset in the credit union’s marketing plan.

Leverage and Segment Members Data

A credit union can survey members to identify demographics or those with competitor’s credit cards. This will help in formulating credit card campaigns. But taking advantage of already available information that lives in the core is also essential. For example, there is transactional and member data. 

It is essential to integrate the core and card programs. Analyze spending trends and identify growth opportunities. One way to identify trends and growth is the Nickels checking account analysis. It uses in-house data and segments customers according to their credit card behavior. This information allows the development of a strong marketing plan.

With solid credit card marketing strategies, it’s important to communicate the promotional credit card offers to receptive members. Using the information in the core, along with surveys, is vital.

There are several ways to use the information gathered.

Promote Local Options

Although many people don’t realize it, local credit unions offer solid credit card options. And although with larger companies, the rewards feel great. A credit union should position its credit card for short-term and long-term financial wellness.

Seasonal Credit Card Advertising

Running credit card campaigns during peak spending seasons can impact a credit unions credit card adoption.

Summer vacations, back to school and the holiday season are key times to sell credit cards. But waiting until the season’s peak will not be effective. Instead, credit card campaigns should be implemented before the season begins. 

During these times, educating members to see the big picture is essential. Using a lower-rate card is smarter in the long run and will provide the biggest reward. 

Credit Unions and Digital Marketing

Credit unions rely heavily on a personal approach. This should extend online. Today’s consumers expect to engage digitally. Members want easy-to-use solutions and personalized promotions. Credit card marketing strategies and acquisitions must have a cohesive online experience.

Social media is an excellent tool for outreach. There are 4.6 billion active social media users globally. Social media encourages member engagement. 

There are two ways to use social media. One is organic, which takes a lot of time and effort. It’s a commitment. The other way is paid advertising. This allows specific demographics to be targeted, takes less time to implement, and requires a monetary investment. By engaging with members, education and, ultimately, conversion is more likely.

Credit unions should use multiple communication types. This can mean taking advantage of cross-device communication strategies. The channels used should be diversified. These include live website chat, messaging, text services and social media.

And although it’s essential to advertise on the right channels, the content delivered must resonate with their specific audiences. This can be done by leveraging fresh, comprehensive data sets to achieve a more holistic view of members and other customers.

The point is to touch members as much as possible and not only educate them about interest rates and rewards but also make them aware of credit union card benefits.

Credit Card Marketing Imperative

It’s necessary to stand out in the credit card crowd. A credit union can enhance existing practices and uncover potential opportunities through credit card marketing.

By using digital and seasonal campaigns, members can be targeted when their needs are high. Using existing information can provide the edge needed to reach members. Know members because each generation has different goals and credit needs.Ultimately, the goal is to use today’s technology to educate and convert members and Nickels.us accomplishes that. It takes credit card marketing to the next level. With Nickels Checking Account Analysis and Card Check tool, information is provided about customers that leads to conversions. If you want to take the right step to market credit cards effectively, contact Nickels.us.

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.

How Cornerstone Credit Union Leveraged Nickels for Impactful Marketing

Author Erin Petro
Read time 3 minutes read time

The Challenge:

In a rising interest rate environment with more members turning to credit cards to make ends meet, Cornerstone Credit Union saw that one of the biggest drains on their members’ wallets were high interest charges on unpaid credit card balances.  They wanted to support their members by reducing the cost of their credit card debt with the major banks. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that, in 2023, over half of the credit cardholders in the US revolved on their credit card debt (i.e. carried an unpaid balance from one statement to the next).  These cardholders were charged over $120B in interest and fees while earning only $11B in rewards.

Cornerstone Credit Union made it a goal to help their members effectively manage revolving competitor credit card debt, but faced challenges in running a targeted campaign due to insufficient resources and analysis, hindering their ability to support the members who could benefit the most from refinance opportunities.

The Goal:

  1. Identify members revolving on competitor credit cards
  2. Engage them with personalized emails
  3. Connect them to Cornerstone’s lower-rate personal loans

The Solution:

Using Nickels to analyze their ACH data, Cornerstone identified that 62% of its membership base was likely revolving on competitor credit cards. This insight allowed Cornerstone to pinpoint priority member segments for targeted email campaigns, paving the way for a more strategic and effective approach.

Nickels provided Cornerstone with personalized, ready-to-send marketing emails. These materials, crafted for maximum impact, encouraged members to shift from high-interest competitor credit cards to the lower-rate credit cards and personal loans Cornerstone offers. “Nickels became an extension of our marketing team by helping facilitate the analysis and creating the marketing materials. This reduced the amount of time and effort on our team, while also driving results.” Said Jim Coons, CFO at Cornerstone Credit Union.

The Results:

The collaboration with Nickels resulted in impressive results for Cornerstone Credit Union:

  1. A 171% increase in personal loans during the month of October year-over-year. 
  1. Nickels’ campaign emails outperformed Cornerstone’s baseline open rates by 40%, showcasing the effectiveness of the personalized outreach. 
  1. Click-to-Open rates saw a significant 31% increase above Cornerstone’s baseline, indicating a higher engagement level among members targeted by Nickel’s campaigns. 

By harnessing the power of Nickel’s insights and marketing support, Cornerstone not only streamlined its marketing efforts, but also significantly boosted its lending activities. This partnership stands as an example of how Nickels supports local credit unions to drive results via personalized marketing campaigns.

About Cornerstone Credit Union

Cornerstone Credit Union has been “Rock Solid” since its founding in 1939 as MICRO SWITCH Employees’ Credit Union. Today, we serve more than 13,600 members and are open for membership to anyone who lives or works in the following northwest Illinois and southern Wisconsin counties. Illinois: Boone, Bureau, Carroll, JoDaviess, Ogle, Lee, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties. Wisconsin: Green and Rock Counties. Family members of current CCU members also can join.

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.

VentureTech Podcast!

Author Erin Petro
Read time 3 minutes read time

At VentureTech 2023, Nickels CEO Joseph Gracia sat down with Joshua Barclay and Jonathan Taylor to discuss the US credit card market and how credit unions can compete on credit cards.  Listen to the podcast below:

Highlights from the conversation:

Americans are brainwashed into thinking that credit cards are about rewards, when the truth is that over half the cardholders in our country revolve and the cost of their cards far outweigh the rewards they’re earning.

The top 15 banks, which control over 90% of the card market, win when we focus on rewards.  In reality, they’re paying $40B out in rewards while charging $130B in interest and fees.

Credit unions have better credit cards for those who revolve, which is more than half of all cardholders.  Our solution identifies members that are revolving on competitor credit cards and gives credit unions the tools to engage those members.  This not only saves members money but also facilitates the growth of credit union card portfolios.

As a member, you may not be aware of our existence, but you’ll notice a shift towards more personalized and relevant messaging. For instance, if you’re revolving on a Chase credit card, instead of receiving communications about growing deposits, you’ll start getting marketing focused on how much you could save by switching to the credit union card. We operate behind the scenes, providing analytics and white-label marketing support to credit unions, ensuring they have the information to send targeted messages at the right time. Our goal is to enhance the credit union-member relationship by helping members save money and aiding credit unions in growing their credit card business efficiently.

We’re getting batch files from the core. For example, we’re part of Jack Henry’s Vendor Integration Program, which means that there’s a pre-built report that pulls the data we need to run our analysis. Our analysis runs monthly. This regular flow keeps the credit unions updated on how their members behave with competitor cards. Picture us as the newfound best friends of marketing VPs and card portfolio managers. In a world where constant card-focused marketing is crucial, we streamline insights and action so the marketing teams can have ongoing, personalized engagement with their members.

Our credit union partners are getting impressive results. Take Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, for example. In the first half of 2023, we helped them refinance $11 million in competitor credit card debt into personal loans, while issuing $13.4 million in new credit limits on their own cards. The segments we identify consistently apply at higher rates and are approved at higher rates than their general population.. The impact is clear and substantial. 

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.