Your Guide to Inbound Marketing for Credit Unions
The future of banking is digital. You probably already know this–considering 65% of the U.S. population uses online banking services. Imagine looking at a credit union’s website only to find no relevant information and faulty links that bring you to the dreaded 404 page. You’d probably look for a different financial institution. That’s why building a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy is essential for your credit union.
Gone are the days of just using traditional means like print, radio, and TV to attract new members. Smart marketers are going beyond outbound marketing for a larger share of wallet. To build loyalty within your community and membership, you must consider inbound marketing strategies that prioritize creating meaningful content that aligns with your target audience’s needs.
Let’s put it this way–if you don’t have the right answers, resources, or services for your community, why would they choose you? You need to show the value you bring and the expertise you have to stand out among your competitors. It’s no wonder why 59% of marketers say inbound strategies produce higher quality leads than outbound marketing alone.
Determine your member personas
To effectively create an inbound marketing strategy, you need to identify who your target members are. And we’re not just talking about age, gender, and location, we’re referring to specific personas that paint a complete picture of your membership base. Why? Personas help you figure out what type of content you need to create, how your sales process should operate, and what problems you’re trying to solve.
For example, one of your member personas could be a first-time homebuyer who is looking to 1) get a better understanding of the home-buying process, and 2) successfully maintain a mortgage. Another persona could be a parent who wants to start teaching their teenager about money management through a guardian-monitored bank account. You can have a collection of target member personas for your credit union–the key takeaway here is that you’re understanding your target audience’s needs and providing solutions. When developing your member personas, we recommend looking at the demographics in your social media and website dashboard. This data will help you understand your priorities and current customer base.
Rethink content marketing
When we think about content marketing, we often picture a blog or email newsletter. Sure this is an effective starting point, considering 79% of companies with a blog report a positive ROI, but financial institutions can dive deeper to be the top resource for their members. As a credit union, it’s important to you that you’re helping your members improve their financial wellness. Creating an editorial calendar for your blog with topics related to money management tips is a great first step.
A smart content strategy, though, will go beyond blogging. Your members will find even more value in financial tools like calculators, webinars, planners, and more. Some credit unions are even creating podcasts and audio resources to cater to members who don’t have time to read lengthy articles or sit and watch a video.
Don’t neglect your website
You can have the lowest rates and the best financial products in your community, but if you don’t have a good enough website to show it off, no one will even know. Not only is a dynamic website a way to generate traffic, but it’s also a way to convert membership and keep long-term relationships. That’s why optimizing your website and regularly maintaining it is a must. Here are some considerations when it comes to website optimization.
- Mobile: Is your website optimized for mobile use? Can your members easily access and maintain their accounts from their phones? If not, you’re missing out on the vast amount of members who prefer banking on their mobile devices.
- Forms & Applications: Have you tested all your forms to ensure they’re working properly? Nothing is worse than missing out on leads because your forms don’t work. Is your application process overly complicated? See where people are dropping off to see how you can improve the experience.
- Navigation: Is your site easy to use? Can your members find all the information they need quickly? Does each page have a clear call-to-action and message? If not, time to audit your website.
- Accessibility: Is your site useable for those with disabilities or visual impairments? Credit unions can face risks of lawsuits if they don’t follow ADA compliance guidelines.
Create an SEO checklist
Without a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, your website likely won’t get found. And without being searchable on Google or Bing, you’ll see a loss in leads. SEO is crucial for building brand authority and an online presence. Why? Because many of your potential members are searching for financial resources, loans, and services online.
Creating and implementing a solid SEO strategy is a complicated process with many components to consider and prioritize. Moz has a local SEO checklist that’s pretty detailed, but here’s a run-down of the basics to get you started.
- On-Page SEO: Ensure all your web pages use H1s, meta titles & descriptions, and target keywords. Link to other relevant internal pages and external resources in your content.
- Off-Page SEO: Check your website load times and indexing. Consider a backlinking strategy so you can be found on other websites.
- Google Business Profile: Create and maintain a Google Business Profile for all your brick-and-mortar locations.
- Maintain a Blog: Blogging also has big SEO benefits–it helps you get found and builds authority on your site. Make sure your blogs are relevant to your member personas and answer important questions.
Promote your content
Creating great content is the first step, but making sure it gets found is another story. Through SEO, someone can find your website content organically, but you’ll need to consider additional promotional efforts to get more traffic. Search engine marketing (SEM), paired with organic SEO, can create added awareness on search engines and generate more meaningful leads. There’s a lot of competition on search engines, so SEM is a great way to beat them for the top placement.
Social media is another great marketing tool that can drive traffic to your content. Not only is it an important way to connect with your members and reinforce brand positioning, but it also brings more visibility to your resources. Through social media advertising, you can choose goals and target specific people with factors like interests, marital status, life events, and more.
Let’s say you’ve created an article about debit management strategies that includes a CTA to apply for a consolidation loan. Your goal would be to drive traffic to the page and increase the number of loan applications. To effectively achieve this goal, you’ll need to combine a number of inbound tactics like promoting the article through social media and display ads and optimizing the blog for SEO.
Thinking critically about inbound strategies is a good reminder that diversifying your marketing is the best way to reach potential and existing members. While not every strategy may work for your credit union, we are here to help you plan and implement campaigns that drive results. Contact us today to get started!