David Goodman

Credit unions may not be able to compete marketing-dollar to marketing-dollar with megabanks—but, thankfully, they don’t have to. Sometimes simpler is better, especially if that simplicity reflects the powerful differentiators that set credit unions apart, like community, sharing, and service. The things that make credit unions unique can be used to successfully market to and attract new members in ways that would likely ring hollow from big banks. And many can be done inexpensively—as well as with a sizable ROI. In this post, we’ll explore three powerful credit union marketing strategies that can set your credit union apart from the big banks.

  1. Host parties and events in the community to drive up membership

Credit unions are all about community, and nothing brings a community together like a party or other fun event. Reserve a park, fire up the grill or hire food trucks, spread the word to all your members, employees, families—and make sure you also advertise the event across marketing channels frequented by prospects. Extend special offers to participants, targeting specific products, and hold some contests.

After the event, don’t forget to post pictures and video highlights on your credit union’s social media accounts. Speaking of photos, it might be worth splurging on a professional photographer—compelling, people-centric pics will encourage attendees to share photos throughout the community, giving non-members a taste of all you have to offer—in terms of both fun and financial services. It’s an easy and effective membership drive idea that is sure to reap big rewards.

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  1. Encourage website engagement with games and contests

Credit unions’ websites offer a wealth of knowledge—or at least they should: services for individuals, families, and small businesses; savings plans; investment advice; branch locations; links to community partners or causes you support. There’s a lot that the average member or prospect can find—much of it likely relevant to their current or future needs—but they might need a reason to poke around.

Dropping “Easter eggs” around your site and rewarding your audience for finding them can drive people to your site and get them excited about the rewards. Easter eggs—small, semi-subtly hidden images or mentions—are a great way to create engagement and drive traffic to your site. You can tie these not-so-secret pieces of content to community interests, special events, holidays, or fun facts about your institution or offerings. Best of all, it’s one of the easiest and least expensive credit union branding ideas we’ve come across in a long time—especially when weighed against the potential traffic.

  1. Share your knowledge—for free

Even well-educated members can be in the dark when it comes to financial topics like credit scores, borrowing, and investing. By giving people access to financial education as part of their membership, you build trust and credibility for your institution—and boost your community’s financial stability at the same time.

Financial education can include classes at your credit union or a community center, webinars, or even online learning apps. The latter is likely to attract younger demographics and can be used to direct traffic to your website, including info about products or services related to the topics they’re learning about. And since digitally deployed financial education scales easily, you could theoretically reach your entire membership, as well as other target demographics, including students or LMI demographics. The sky is virtually the limit when tieing financial education into marketing strategies for a financial institution.

Remember, these three ways of creating connections are just a starting point—your own approach can be as unique, fun, and community-focused as your own institution. If you’d like to learn more about credit union marketing ideas, download The Ultimate Guide to Financial Digital Marketing here.