financial education program

5 Ways to Revitalize your Financial Education Program and Boost Business

While financial education can be an invaluable component of your bank or credit union’s content marketing strategy, it is often underutilized. There are many ways you can enhance your financial education program to better meet your business goals and increase your bottom line.

Take some time to review your current program. Is there an opportunity to increase its impact, improve the experience, or make the content more dynamic and relevant? If so, consider these 5 effective strategies to revitalize your financial education program:

  1. Digitize Your Programming & Measure Impact

While workshops and seminars are not to be discounted, a digital education component can take your efforts to the next level. An online program has an unlimited scale and can instantly curate key metrics for your institution, such as participation numbers, knowledge deficits and gains in specific subject areas, and financial behaviors and intentions. Advanced data reporting can inform your ROI, justify your budget, reveal insights into consumer needs so you can better serve them, and provide concrete evidence of your community reinvestment efforts to regulators. Communicating information in fresh and innovative ways will also distinguish your business from competitors.

  1. Offer Financial Education to Prospective Customers, Too

If you are limiting your educational tools to current customers only, there is a missed opportunity for outreach to prospective account-holders. Offer a slice of your financial education program to prospects. Engaging them in your online tools increases exposure to your brand and opens the door to potential customer acquisition. Encourage participation with an incentive (such as an enticing giveaway) for completing a lesson. A helpful resource, combined with a worthwhile incentive, will create a positive association with your business among prospective customers.

  1.     Don’t Forget Your Own Employees

Not all bank and credit union employees are financially capable themselves. Offering your financial education to staff, too, is a no-brainer. It is an employee benefit that also helps your business. A financially literate employee is more productive, confident, and equipped to serve your account-holders. You can easily mandate staff participation or encourage it through a small incentive. Consider presenting employees who complete the program successfully with a physical certificate that will strengthen their credibility as subject-matter experts.

  1. Build Up your Relationship with Local Schools

Kids in your community will soon become consumers and bank and credit union customers. Bringing financial education to local elementary, middle and/or high schools will promote a more financially capable rising generation. In addition to being a worthy philanthropic gesture, it will also reinforce your brand to students over time and open up valuable marketing and PR opportunities, if done right. Some of the most powerful school programs entail online education tools combined with offline benefits, such as scholarship offerings and capstone ceremonies.

  1. Use Multiple Marketing Channels

Take advantage of the many, varied marketing channels to expand your reach. If your online presence is relevant and regular, then you’re already ahead of most of the financial industry! Keep up consistent activity by promoting links and interesting content through email, online videos, and social media. (Note that an inactive social media presence is worse than none at all.) Links could lead to promotional offerings, product announcements, blog/vlog posts, or timely financial news (e.g. the new tax reform bill and how it affects them). You can also use online marketing channels to notify your audience about offline opportunities, such as events and workshops.

While these ventures require a time and/or monetary investment, they have proven effective time and again in helping businesses achieve desired results. Banks and credit unions looking to reinvigorate their financial education programs often choose to partner with an experienced FinTech firm. A partner with the right resources and expertise can provide you with both a state-of-the-art digital tool and a dedicated team that can successfully execute your program.

Learn how you can use financial education as a content marketing strategy for 2018 – learn more today!

credit union marketing ideas

3 Powerful Credit Union Marketing Ideas for 2018

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 ideas that can set your credit union apart from the big guys.

  1. Host parties and events in the community

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 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.

  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 marketing 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.

Remember, these three ways of creating connection 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.

Marketing for banks

Marketing For Banks In 2018

Financial institutions are dealing with a service instead of a tangible product so it can be difficult to come up with new promotions. Marketing for banks in 2018 requires a different approach than a company selling appliances, computers, or physical items that the customer can actually see and touch.

To keep up with the fast-moving technology and trends in marketing today, it is important to also keep an eye on the past. A new strategy combined with forecasting trends can help keep your financial institution and its customers moving towards the future.

Free Items and Giveaways

One of the oldest marketing strategies out there, giving something away for free is always at the top of any list. Customers perceive the product or service attached to the free item as having an added value.

Giveaways or prize drawings are a popular tool for soliciting and collecting targeted customer data. The drawings create excitement and interest as people dream about winning a prize while the bank gets a list of potential customers.

One of the things to keep in mind as you craft your marketing campaign is the demographics of your customers. The free item or service needs to be something that fits with your targeted customer, their lifestyle, and personal habits. A free box of checks may appeal to a small number of people who still write checks on a regular basis but a fee-free debit card will attract the notice of a lot more of today’s customers.

Marketing for Banks – Both Locally and Online

When marketing for banks, it doesn’t have to be an either/or approach. Both sides of banking (physical branches and online sites) need to be brought to the attention of your customer. Do they know that your bank has an app for their smartphone? Are they aware they can get cashier checks or safe deposit boxes at your local branch?

Local branch employees and signage should encourage customers to take advantage of the bank’s website, phone apps, and telephone banking options. Tellers can explain the benefits and ease of 24-hour banking while still inviting customers to frequent the branch during business hours for personal service.

On the other hand, the website can highlight local branches and promote the benefits of visiting with your local banker in person. Emphasize the features and perks that your local branch offers its customers. While the website can accommodate most of the customer’s needs, knowing that their local bank staff can take care of everything else can bring them peace of mind.  

The key to customer happiness is the ability to anticipate and meet their needs. Being able to market to the customer based on how, where, and why they bank like they do is an important aspect of your financial marketing strategy.

Reputation and Word of Mouth Advertising

Word of mouth advertising will always be an important part of any marketing. Banks rely heavily on their reputation and customer satisfaction to help promote their products and services. This ties in with ensuring your customer service is top-notch. People want their problems solved. They need to feel like they are cared for and taken care of. When people have a great experience, they are going to talk about it. Of course, the opposite is also true.

With social media outlets continuing to grow, it is critical to keep an eye on the latest online buzz about your financial institution. Gearing some of your bank’s marketing towards social media influencers will aid in getting your brand’s name out there in a positive light.

Looking Ahead

While looking back and learning what has worked in the past is important, it is also critical to keep tabs on the present and see what is coming. Those in charge of marketing for banks and other financial institutions can benefit by knowing what’s ahead.

Our guide “Getting Started with Digital Financial Marketing” is a free download that can help get you on the right path to the future. Get your free copy today!

online marketing strategy for credit unions

Online Marketing Strategy for Credit Unions: Bring Your Institution up to Speed

The rise of the internet has created exciting and unique opportunities unlike ever before. By developing an online marketing strategy for credit unions, many institutions can find themselves reaching more potential members and expanding beyond what they had previously thought possible.

By necessity, most financial institutions are conservative and slow to embrace change. As a result, though, many credit unions are missing a critical strategy by hesitating to expand to online marketing. You can give your credit union an edge by leveraging technology to reach an unsaturated market.

Here are some things to keep in mind while branching out into online marketing.

Develop a Strategy 

In order to be effective in online marketing for your credit union, it is essential to assess your overall goals in marketing. From there, you can come up with specific techniques to accomplish your strategy.

By their very nature, every credit union is unique. Each offers different services and incentives that make them attractive to potential members. Your credit union, then, needs to have its own strategy to advertise what you have to offer.

Once you have a firm online marketing strategy in mind, you can navigate whatever techniques and resources will serve your institution best.

Keep your Target Customer in Mind

Not only will having a proper assessment of what your institution can offer be essential but understanding your target customer is necessary for successful online marketing for credit unions. Marketing to your customer is no longer a shot in the dark, but a precise and strategic use of your resources.

By having a target demographic, you can develop better techniques to reach them. Do you typically serve young adults, low-income households, or immigrants? These will all affect how you would advertise to them. Millennials, for example, rarely read newspapers and will mostly look online when looking for information.

Also, identify what your customer is looking for in their credit union. Are they looking for a way to build wealth, travel, acquire assets, or start a small business? These will all affect your online marketing strategy for your credit union.

Keeping your ideal customer in mind and understanding their needs will make marketing easier and successful. Your techniques will be cohesive and build on one another instead of random. By creating a successful marketing strategy not only will you be reaching an untapped market, but your financial institution will be able to get the best marketing whatever your budget.

Find the Best Marketing Strategy for Your Credit Union

Taking the step from traditional advertising to adding digital marketing will reach a whole new group of members that are right for your financial institution. By coming up with strategy and target customer, you will find your credit union attracting more members than ever. Because most other credit unions stick to traditional methods, you will have an incredible opportunity.

Need help getting your digital financial marketing started? We created a guide with all the latest information you need for advertising your credit union online. Download our free guide to get the best tips and tricks for creating your best marketing strategy here!

5 Keys to Effective Financial Content Marketing

Many financial institutions—especially small, community-focused ones—have limited marketing budgets. As a result, every investment has to count, and every piece of content has to make an impact. Today we’re discussing five keys to effective financial content marketing that can help your institution get plenty of bang for their buck.

  1.     Invest in mobility

Any millennial will tell you—and so will a lot of Gen-Xers and a growing number of boomers—that their phones are their lives. Consumers and small businesses are buying, selling, connecting, and transacting through their phones in increasing numbers every year. Having a mobile-first or responsive approach to design and development can make your phone and tablet experiences as usable and functional as your online offering. This means more positive account-holder engagement, more often. And a good mobile experience is more than transactional—it builds your brand as well as, if not better than, any marketing campaign.

  1.     Interact

While you’re investing in technology, make sure you’re also driving as much interactivity as possible. Give your audience something to do—click, view, listen, answer, ask, “like,” and comment. This can be through your social media channels, online calculators for mortgage or loan rates, or goal-based savings apps that receive deposits based on customers accomplishing goals. Online interactions might not be quite the same as personal ones, but in the digital age, they’re crucial to creating engagement, gathering data, and growing your brand.

  1.     Get personal

Your financial marketing content, whether it takes the form of email, social sharing, blogs, white papers, videos, or any combination of these and other methods, should be personalized. This requires more than taking a customer’s name to a field at the front of an email. To get truly personal means ensuring that the content is relevant to the customer—both who they are and when they are. After all, the same customer at 35 or 55 will respond to content differently, based on where they are in their life cycle. Gather as much data as you can—potentially through your mobile and interactive efforts—and use it to your advantage.

  1.     Educate

In addition to relevance, financial marketing content must offer real value. Often this value comes in the form of education. Teaching your audience can be as simple as sharing your expertise through a blog or white paper, or as sophisticated as leveraging more interactive ways: through a webinar, a video, or an online or mobile learning application. The former, webinars, are a great way to engage in back-and-forth discussions and really get to know the issues your participants face, but they can be a heavy lift to do well. While online applications may lack some of the webinars’ face-to-face connection, they make up for it in other ways. Most are extremely scalable—able to reach dozens, hundreds, even thousands of learners quickly for a much smaller investment of resources on your part—and are able to be used by customers anytime, anywhere.

  1.     Market targeted products

As an added bonus, strong content can help you market relevant products to willing customers. For example, learners seeking—or completing—online lessons about mortgages or credit scores are more likely to engage with additional marketing that targets them with specific loan offers. And their education has not only revealed what they may be interested in, but it can also help them interact with those products in a more sophisticated, educated manner. They’ll be better customers.

You may have noticed that these five keys to effective financial marketing build on each other. Each is a crucial piece of a greater holistic strategy that focuses on offering real value and creating better, more relevant engagement with your account-holders. The result is powerful, educational marketing that reaches customers where they are—on their own time. Want to learn more about creating financial content marketing? Download The Ultimate Guide to Financial Digital Marketing here.

4 Key Highlights From EVERFI & ICBA’s Webinar on Trump Tax Reform & Interest Rate Implications for Community Banks

The financial regulatory environment is influx right now, on both the state and federal level. Last year, 20 states enacted new legislation or resolutions regarding financial literacy and financial education issues. In December, President Trump signed the most comprehensive tax reform legislation since 1986; and more regulatory reform is expected in 2018, potentially including the Financial Choice Act and the Senate Banking Committee bill. This deluge of new legislation will impact businesses and individuals significantly.

What should community banks do in preparation for these changes? EVERFI senior financial services expert, Jerry Plush, has over 20 years of executive level experience in the industry, most recently serving as CFO and subsequently CAO of Santander US, overseeing Corporate Services, Vendor Management, Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Communications. In a recent webinar, Trump Tax Reform & Interest Rate Implications for Community Banks, Plush discusses important legislative changes and trends that will impact community banks, customers and what banks should be doing now to address them.

Here are 4 key takeaways from our webinar:

1) The Tax Reform Bill – Community banks likely benefit financially from the tax rate decrease. Individuals (i.e. your customers) face tougher mortgage standards and fewer loan payoff benefits.

The tax reform bill calls for a reduction of the corporate tax rate from about 35% to 21%. There have been many bank announcements during earnings release season about how the new regulation impacted their financials, including deferred tax asset and liability reevaluations. As a result, many banks announced how they were investing their tax credits, whether it be reinvesting in their employees, their business, or in the community.

One notable term in the bill that affects the individual consumer is the reduction of the debt limit for mortgages (from $1 million to $750,000). There is also no longer a deduction for interest paid on home equity loans or lines. With the change in standard deductions to $12,000 for single taxpayers and $24,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, fewer individuals will receive a tax benefit on their interest expense.

2) State-Level Reform – States increasingly prioritize financial education for borrowers and as part of social investment programs.

Financial literacy regulations at the local level have increased, with more and more states prioritizing—and often mandating—financial education for adults; in addition to an existing focus on K-12 financial literacy.

Indiana recently introduced a bill requiring borrowers taking out multiple loans to complete a financial literacy course at no cost to them. New York now provides financial literacy education to participants of public assistance employment programs.

3) Understand how state and federal regulations affect your institution, employees and customers.

It is essential to keep up with how new and proposed legislation affects your business, your employees and your customers. Having a firm grasp of current regulatory changes will enable you to optimize your business by, for example, providing timely products and services that suit your customers’ latest needs and communicating concerns about proposed reforms to your representatives.

Take a comprehensive look at each line of your business and ask questions such as: What impact is tax reform going to have on us? On M&A activity? On third party relationships? On our strategic plans? How can we best serve our home-buying customers with the new bill in mind? Might demand for certain products increase/decrease as a result? How can we ensure our management teams and board members understand the implications of tax reform?

4) Reinvesting in your employees, customers and communities gives you a competitive advantage.

“Doing good while doing well” is the philosophy of giving back to your employees, customers and communities when in a favorable position. For example, fewer regulations might afford banks to turn their focus on exceeding expectations by offering high quality products and/or services to members of the community, such as providing dividends, bonuses/raises, philanthropy and education.

Educating employees on the financial climate is vital. Greater involvement of your team in regulatory discussions will lead to more strategic perspectives and greater expertise when interfacing with customers, prospects, local and state government and third-party vendors.

Educating community members is also key. Consider providing a digital financial education program to customers or getting a local CPA to hold educational open sessions in your meeting rooms for members of the community. Such engagement will serve many purposes, including building goodwill and trust in the community, improving brand awareness, creating more informed customers and fulfilling CRA requirements.

Customers, prospects, and local and state government notice and respect good corporate citizenship. Consistently demonstrating support for the communities you serve is often the best marketing, and can be a true differentiator for your institution.

Click to listen to the full webinar: “Trump Tax Reform & Interest Rate Implications for Community Banks.”

Helping Improve Financial Capability in High-Need Areas

With numerous natural disasters in the past couple of years in places such as Florida, New Orleans, and more recently with Puerto Rico, it is more important than ever to reinvest in those communities by providing financial education. Financial education can help revitalize both poverty-stricken communities and those struck by disasters.

Financial education is effective because it gives students and adults life skills. According to PolicyLink, when integrated into public programs and the workplace, financial education can help lower-income families improve financial security. Financial security is necessary for economic mobility in poverty-stricken communities. Financial education has the potential to support long and short-term recovery efforts, especially in disaster and poverty-stricken areas.

Education in Puerto Rico

Recently EVERFI partnered the Department of Education in Puerto Rico to bring financial education to Puerto Rico. With more than 46% of families living below poverty, students will learn important skills such as obtaining credit, saving techniques, budgeting, retirement planning, understanding different account types and more in order to equip themselves with a financial toolkit.

Before Hurricane Maria, EVERFI was named the official digital financial education provider for the island of Puerto Rico. When visiting Puerto Rico, Ray Martinez, EVERFI President of Financial Education shared, “Expanding our financial education offerings to Puerto Rico is a personal priority of mine because it is where my family’s story begins as the birthplace of my father,”  “In the midst of recovery from Hurricane Maria and financial hardship, [FInancial Education] lays the foundation for empowering every public elementary and high school student with the skills needed for a strong and healthy financial future.”

Even in the wake of the recent humanitarian disaster, schools in and around San Juan displayed amazing resiliency and began to slowly reopen. Just three weeks after the disaster, EVERFI was able to train over 200 teachers, in English and Spanish, at no-cost to the Puerto Rico DOE or the local schools.

There is still a long way to go before Puerto Rico will be able to fully bounce back from Hurricane Maria but financial education can help revitalize this disaster-stricken area.

Committed to Financial Capability

In partnership with financial institutions, EVERFI is committed to improving the financial capability of all Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status or background and reaching communities that need it most.  

Financial capability starts in the classroom. Join us in the Financial Capability Network to learn more about how we are helping to bring financial education to the communities that need it most.

Beyond the March: African American History Appreciation and Conscientious Citizenship

We are excited to share our newest insight report, Beyond the March: African American History Appreciation and Conscientious Citizenship. This report uses surveys responses from thousands of students across 27 states via EVERFI’s 306 – African American History™ course. Here are a few things that we learned from their responses:

  • A majority of students (74%) said they believed learning about African American History is important. The small minority of students who don’t value African American History were less likely to report having positive role models in their lives or even positive role models in history.
  • Students who value learning about African American History are more likely to want to solve problems in their community and stand up for what they think is right.
  • Those students who don’t value African American History as much are less likely to engage in that same positive civic engagement behavior.

In the future, we will explore the connection between students’ African American History appreciation and how that affects the choices they make as leaders in their communities. We hope that educators will use this report to start a conversation about the role that African American History instruction plays in their school, not just in the month of February, but throughout the year.