Archive for the ‘Content Marketing for Credit Unions’ Category
By Erin Rowley
One of the reasons people join credit unions is that they want a more personal relationship with their financial institution. Because they’re members, not just customers, they trust that their credit union has their best interests at heart. Creating videos that help your members learn more about financial topics and about your services shows current and prospective members that the trust they put in you is well placed. According to research from Wyzowl, “97 percent of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.” That’s because video is:
- Extremely popular. When people scroll through their social media news feeds, their eyes naturally gravitate to video content. On Facebook, native videos reach more people than any other type of organic content, and according to Wyzowl, “the average person watches more than an hour-and-a-half of online video content per day, with around 15 percent averaging more than three hours.”
- Mobile-friendly. More than half of online activity happens on a smartphone or tablet. On small screens, video is easier to enjoy than text.
- Highly brandable. The brain can process visual imagery much faster than words. This lets you communicate your brand very efficiently through nonverbal details like color, sound and facial expressions.
- Memorable. Video content is easier to recall, making it perfect for how-to content such as opening a checking account or applying for a mortgage.
Using video content as part of your digital marketing strategy is one of the best ways for credit union marketers to reach prospects, start relationships and win members. That’s because video can communicate sometimes-technical financial concepts in a way that’s fun and relatable, which encourages member engagement and drives organic traffic.
The next time your credit union wants to explain a financial topic or show the benefits of a financial service, a carefully branded video may have the most impact.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR CREDIT UNION’S VIDEO INVESTMENT
To get the most out of your financial content marketing videos, follow these best practices:
- Put it in motion. Animation is a great way to make financial concepts accessible. Plus, rhis format is easier to brand with your credit union’s visual style. We have found animation works especially well for problem-and-solution videos, like how to raise your credit score or how to talk to kids about money, for our clients.
- Get to the point. Nearly two-thirds of online consumers prefer videos under a minute long, reports Animoto. The shorter, the better. Just make sure the video is high-quality, no matter how short.
- Consider costs. The term “video” can raise dollar signs in the C-suite’s eyes, but consider using animated videos – they can often be developed, and look exceptional, for less than the cost of live action. The fact that many publishers say up to 85 percent of their Facebook video views are of videos without sound (which animated videos often are) makes them a good choice, too.
- Show, don’t tell. Real-world scenarios make financial concepts simpler and more relatable. Don’t just tell your audience about home equity loans – show a couple renovating a fixer-upper into their dream home. Don’t just let people know about credit card rewards – show someone enjoying these rewards on vacation.
- Tailor your approach. Modify your storytelling based on who the video is targeting. Current members may want different content from you than prospective members, consumers will want different information than businesses, etc.
- Tell your community’s story. Credit unions inherently create a stronger sense of community than banks do. Take advantage of that! Feature member stories about what you’ve helped them achieve and what you and your members are doing to strengthen the local community.
- Make the most of it. Include meta data to make your video searchable – videos get 41 percent more search traffic. Boost your video on social media to drive visibility.
When used as part of your digital marketing strategy, videos that explain financial concepts in an engaging way make great conversation starters. To continue building your relationship with current and prospective members, take advantage of these five tips to for content marketing success. Want to see more of our work for other credit unions? Just go straight to our sample site.
Instagram probably makes you think of chic fashion brands, oversharing celebs and teenagers superglued to their phones. Not appropriate for a financial institution, right? Wrong. Instagram marketing for banks and credit unions is an effective way to enhance brand and drive consumer engagement.
With 800 million active monthly users (and counting), Instagram’s membership is impressive enough, but its big selling point is its user engagement rate (the ratio of likes, shares and comments to how many people see your post). Thanks to the platform’s active user base and image-driven content, it can offer brands more than 50 times the engagement of Facebook or other social media. No wonder Instagram is one of the most creative marketing ideas for banks and credit unions!
While financial services may not have the glitz of a designer handbag or luxury cruise, a smart, creative Instagram strategy can still elevate your bank or credit union’s brand. The key to Instagram marketing for banks and credit unions is to communicate what makes your organization unique by sharing authentic imagery and storytelling that focus on lifestyles and emotions – not products.
When it comes to Instagram marketing for banks and credit unions, ditch salesy messaging and focus on these subjects:
There’s a reason Instagram is dominated by celebrities (and aspiring celebrities). Users respond to personalities, not institutions. Here’s how you can use Instagram to showcase your brand personality:
- Put people front and center (literally: photos with faces got 38 percent more likes). Share pictures of staff behind the scenes or customers or members engaging with your brand.
- Celebrate the successes of your customers or members. Encourage them to share photos of the home you helped them finance or the vacation they took through your credit card rewards program.
- Use contests and prompts to build community. Offer small prizes to encourage followers to respond to a fun question – Favorite movie? Dream vacation? – or share a relevant photo with your branded hashtag.
Showing your impact in the community is one of the best ways to use Instagram. Are you the “business-friendly” lender? Post photos of local businesses you serve. Are you the “home town” bank or credit union? Share pictures from the events you support. Whether it’s a car show, rodeo or food festival, this is a great way to align your brand with the local culture. Some other suggestions:
- Share photos and stories related to charities you fund or volunteer with, or highlights from your latest employee service day.
- Snap photos at your homebuying seminars and other educational events, and keep the conversation going with an online Q&A.
- Load your posts with relevant, trending, local hashtags. This is a crucial way to stay visible on Instagram, where 95 million photos and videos are shared each day.
Instagram’s demographics skew younger: about two-thirds of America’s 18- to 29-year-olds use it. With an increasing number of fintech competitors vying for younger consumers, Instagram can be a great way for your bank or credit union to reach them first. Here’s what you can do:
- Highlight the lifestyle benefits of your products and services (less so the products and services themselves).
- Tell real-life stories about financial milestones, such as first-time homeowners raising a family or millennials conquering student debt by refinancing.
- Because 20-somethings are new to many banking concepts, share educational content such as infographics about budgeting or a video explaining how to deposit checks with your mobile banking app.
With the right content, being on Instagram could be a turning point for your financial services marketing. Need help with your Instagram strategy? We’ll make it a snap.
Better customer service leads to deeper relationships, enhanced loyalty and increased profitability. But with fewer people coming into a branch to do banking, how can your bank or credit union build relationships and community in the digital age?
The answer lies in developing a robust social media strategy. People use social media multiple times a day. That’s why it presents an incredible opportunity for banks and credit unions as a relationship-building tool.
Effective social media marketing for banks and credit unions goes beyond promotional posts or fan growth. Instead, when managed correctly, it’s a valuable relationship-building tool to promote your brand personality, drive positive conversations and encourage customer or member interaction.
It’s not easy understanding where to start or how to enhance a social media strategy. Try this fast and simplified tutorial:
Choose a Few Channels and Develop a Strategy Around Them.
There are more than 200 social media channels. You only need to be on a handful. But which are right for you? The first step in a solid social media strategy is to gather data about your customers and prospects, like age, gender, income level, education and interests. Then compare that data with social media platform demographics. Still not sure what channels to choose? Check out what your competition is doing on the most popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Understand Each Social Channel’s Specs.
Once you have a targeted list of social media platforms you are interested in using, do your research to understand each channel’s best practices for content and rules about what kinds of content or comments are appropriate. Then read through the requirements for using the site before planning your marketing initiatives.
Develop Social Content That Delivers Value.
The most effective social media strategies for banks and credit unions include the development of content that delivers real value. There’s certainly room for holiday greetings and cute quotes, but if you want to build a relationship with a current customer or prospect, you must commit to developing content your audience will value. Answer common financial questions, provide guidance on budgeting, deliver insight about local business trends or provide tips about entrepreneurial success. The goal is to provide the answers to questions your prospects are asking on these channels.
Boost Exposure With Social Advertising.
Your social media strategy needs to include social media advertising. This is a key component in getting the attention of people who are not yet members or customers. You’ll find that each social platform offers useful advertising tools like targeting and analytics that will help you fine-tune your social marketing efforts.
Make a Commitment to Social Customer Service.
No surprise here – most consumers would rather not call you or come into a branch. Yet, they do expect fast, reliable and friendly service. Consumers find social media a simple way to reach out to brands with kudos or complaints. Have a plan in place to respond quickly and appropriately to all social comments to increase your customer service scores.
Get Good at Social Listening.
You can also use social media as a tool to uncover pain points or discover services or products your clients or prospects need. By monitoring social media channels, you can track conversations around your brand, your product and your industry. Then, when you analyze that data, you can better understand the type of content, services and support your audience wants. By taking action on that insight, you can improve the customer experience.
How do you build relationships with bank customers or credit union members, when fewer of them are coming into your branches? Take a proactive approach to social media. Develop a plan that focuses on a few select channels, abide by those channels’ best practices, create useful and interesting content and listen and respond to your audience.
Need help taking a proactive approach to social media marketing? We have the team to deliver engaging content and effective social media campaigns. Reach out today.
Bank and credit union marketers work hard to create the best content for their audience, whether it’s a video about homebuying or a blog post about budgeting. But when it comes to financial services marketing, creating great content is only half the battle. No number of e-books or infographics will grow your market share without a sophisticated promotional strategy to help start the conversation.
Too often, a bank or credit union’s content flies under the radar because its promotional efforts are either insuffiencient or poorly targeted. This top-of-funnel marketing gap doesn’t just hurt the performance of some content: it can potentially undermine the whole campaign.
Is your financial content getting the promotion it deserves? See how many of these statements apply to you:
- We announce and preview new content via targeted email broadcasts. Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- We sprinkle previews and snippets of content into our day-to-day social media activity. Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- We increase our visibility with promoted posts, paid ads, sponsored content articles and other paid media.Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- We package content visually – through videos, infographics and photos – to boost sharing. Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- In social media posts, we tailor our approach to different audiences and platforms (instead of the generic “Check Out Our Blog”). Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- On social media, we promote our content through regular interaction with local influencers, especially happy customers or members who can serve as brand advocates. Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Always?
- We’ve built content-sharing relationships with bloggers and other influencers in fields like personal finance and small business. Yes or No?
And here’s the big one:
- Our content is driving measurable improvements in sales, audience engagement, site traffic and earned media. Yes or No?
GREAT CONTENT DESERVES GREAT PROMOTION
If all these statements are true for your bank or credit union, congratulations! You’re a content marketing rock star. But if this quiz revealed some gaps, there are lots of ways that a thorough and creative content marketing strategy can help.
Here are a few of the steps we take to increase visibility for our clients’ financial content:
- Maintain a high-quality email list and tease content updates among audience segments with matching interests.
- Align our content and promotion to ensure we’re sharing the right stuff with the right people at the right time.
- Grow social media engagement by offering useful, bite-sized content samples.
- Prioritize visual content to leverage its higher potential for engagement.
Promoting content doesn’t necessarily require major ad spending, but it does call for a lot of legwork, creativity, and planning. That’s why it’s important to have a committed team with the industry knowledge and digital marketing chops to not only create strong content but deliver it to more of the right people.
If you’d like to learn how our team of strategists, designers and writers can help you create great content and get the word out, reach out to us today.
BANKS & CREDIT UNIONS: 10 HOT TOPICS TO FILL YOUR SPRING CONTENT CALENDAR
When you’re deciding how to best spend your marketing budget, you probably put a lot of emphasis on promotions that encourage people to open accounts and apply for mortgages or loans. These, of course, are time-tested strategies that work, and you should keep doing them.
But what about all the people who see your ads, but who aren’t currently in the market for your products? How do you start to build a relationship with those people? Because chances are, sooner or later they will be in the market for your products, and you want them to turn to you, not your competition.
Enter content marketing, an effective strategy used by smart financial institution marketers to attract prospects and move them efficiently through the acquisition pipeline.
Effective content marketing is about publishing content that resonates with specific target audiences at specific points in your sales cycle. It also requires you to publish that content in formats and through channels that appeal to those different audiences. One challenge for bank and credit union marketers is coming up with fresh and appealing ideas for that content over and over again.
Following are some great ideas for content you can use for your next editorial calendar. But first, understand why content marketing works – and why you need to apply it to your overall bank or credit union marketing strategy.
Data Show How Effective Content Marketing Is.
To show you how effective content marketing can be, here are a few statistics that explain why a robust content marketing strategy is so important:
- Growth in unique site traffic is nearly eight times higher for sites that prioritize content marketing. (Aberdeen)
- Marketers who produce high-quality, relevant content attract audiences and increase engagement, which helps produce higher levels of brand recognition, boosts sales and encourages brand loyalty. (NewsCred)
- Content marketing produces three times as many leads as traditional marketing for every dollar spent. (Content Marketing Institute)
In addition to increasing organic search results and ROI, content marketing improves brand recognition, loyalty and affinity. Provide content your target audience finds valuable, and they’ll start sharing it with their friends. Show them you’re willing to go above and beyond what they expect from their financial institution, and they won’t just become customers, they’ll enthusiastically recommend you every chance they get. And that’s the best kind of marketing of all.
Quick Ideas to Stimulate Content Development.
As a leader in content marketing for banks and credit unions, we’ve found certain topics always gain audience traction, no matter the channel or the format. Here’s a short list of content ideas to include in your next editorial calendar planning session:
- Tips to Improve Your Credit Score
- How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft & Credit Card Fraud
- A User Review of the Latest Apps for Budgeting, Saving and Investing
- What to Expect as a First-Time Homebuyer
- The Biggest Challenges Facing Small Business Owners
- Deciding Whether to Buy or Lease a Commercial Property
- Who Should Consider a Health Savings Account
- Choosing Between Mortgage Options
- Owning vs Leasing a Car
- Getting on Track with Retirement Savings
Developing content ideas and then creating original, engaging content is key to effective marketing that drives bottom-line results. Getting help to create that content is often the smartest way busy marketing departments can manage their daily challenges and still meet the demand for escalating content requirements.
Think about it: Are you and your marketing team so overwhelmed with everyday marketing requirements that finding the time to create compelling, creative and interesting content is a burden? Call or email CrucialContent. We can save you time and money and help you meet your marketing goals.
Email marketing campaigns are a critical component of any content marketing strategy. Data show that 72 percent of adults prefer companies to communicate with them via email more than any other form of marketing. And a whopping 86 percent like to receive promotional emails at least once per month from companies they do business with.
Because email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach and stay in touch with a qualified and interested audience, properly managing your list is imperative. This is especially important for banks and credit unions that typically have lengthy sales cycles.
Proper email list management is a crucial aspect of effective content marketing. It improves email deliverability and gives you accurate insight into your campaign statistics. Here are four fast and easy ways to improve your financial institution’s email campaign results through effective email list management:
Attract Quality Addresses to Your List.
New visitors generally make up at least 60 percent of the traffic on most websites. Make sure your website is optimized to capture as many of these visitors as possible to your list. Include email registration forms on every main page of your site. And make sure those registration forms give your visitors options about the type of content they want to receive.
Once you have qualified addresses, be sure you add them into the appropriate segmented lists. When you segment your lists, you organize these important assets according to audience interest. That makes it easier to craft engaging content that is meaningful to your audiences.
You can segment your lists by the type of content each prefers, demographics, age, product engagement, future needs and more. Effective segmentation will allow you to run parallel campaigns. For instance, in February you can send out a February birthday greeting to one list, an IRA contribution reminder to those who told you they are interested in tax tips, and a tutorial on new merchant services features to business clients.
Ask for Feedback.
Every year, email a survey to your list asking each contact to identify the content they want to receive from you, from a listing of several categories. Be sure to share why the information is important to you and how their response will help you send the most useful information to them. Add a prominent call to action button to take the survey. And finally, make sure that the survey is short, to the point, and optimized to view well on a mobile device.
Scrub Your List.
After every email campaign, identify any emails that bounced back and remove them from your list. Regularly review your email list and look for anyone who has not opened an email from you in the last six months. Get those off your list. Those who are not engaged are dead weight on your list. When it comes to an effective email campaign a qualified address list is always preferable (quality over quantity). Finally, remove any distribution or system addresses, like those that start with “support@” or “info@”
Finally, make sure your emails offer value every time. Concentrate on helping each contact – not selling to them.
We’ve got more tips to share in our simple and free content marketing e-book. Download it fast!
By the week of October 2, saving, investing and budgeting will be a top focus with news media. That’s when Financial Planning Month kicks off, which is a great opportunity for credit unions to market effectively to their members and the community.
Fewer than half of all Americans can pass a basic test on financial knowledge, according to the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Credit unions can play a vital role in reversing this by raising awareness and promoting financial literacy- particularly during Financial Planning Month this October. The key is planning now for the right content to meet that need.
Here are four things to include in your content marketing for October:
Financial Goal Guides. Your members are hungry for the financial planning information that you can provide. Give them that guidance in branded, short guidebooks that can be downloaded online or given away as hard copies. Suggested topics include budgeting tools, tax planning, paying cash versus using credit smartly, building a college fund, savings goals, and debt consolidation and management.
Special Event Handouts. Nothing builds member loyalty more than one-to-one contact with your credit union. Use Financial Planning Month as an opening to offer free financial literacy or estate planning classes or seminars. Popular subjects include how to generate investment income, real estate basics, understanding 401(k) and 403(b) plans, and how to build a retirement fund. Make sure you have easy-to-read handouts to provide attendees.
Short Topic Visuals. If you want to increase millennial membership, offer information in the formats this demographic gravitates to and reach them through social media. Consider developing a series of infographics around managing student loan debt, responsible credit card use and smart investing strategy.
News Media Column. Enhance your credit union’s thought leadership by offering your local news outlets a column or opinion piece with your president’s byline. Newsworthy subjects include: Which is Better: Saving or Investing; How to Make Your Money Last; and How to Use Credit Cards Without Going into Debt.
Let us help you get the most out of Financial Planning Month. It’s sooner than you think! Contact us today for help developing original content that will set your brand apart.
If you want your credit union to stay relevant among target members and get positive buzz without making all of its marketing content from scratch, then the answer is newsjacking. This hack is especially helpful if you already maintain a blog and social media pages.
Newsjacking takes time. It requires a constant pulse on the industry and knowledge of your in-house experts who can weigh in on the subjects. Once you build a constant knowledge bank of timely topics, you will exponentially increase your position as an industry thought leader.
ALL ABOUT THE NEWSJACK HACK
Newsjacking is the practice of getting your brand involved in a breaking story that’s just starting to trend among your audiences. It involves your credit union contributing to the conversation with an interesting angle while getting the attention of already engaged viewers.
THE TRICK IS: START SIMPLE
Whenever a big story related to money or the economy breaks, you should think about how experts within your organization can get involved in the conversation. The simplest way to do this is to include subject matter experts (SMEs) in the content your marketing team produces. Consider scheduling a guest blog of a mortgage lender commenting on the market once a month or “business buzz” weekly tweets from your financial experts in your content calendar.
Start by developing content based on short interviews with SMEs on trending topics or writing content based on current articles your team is passing around in an email or chat.
The more you get to know your credit union’s experts and stay on top of trending stories, the more you will develop readers’ perceptions of your credit union as a trusted expert.
BUILD YOUR MOMENTUM – AND YOUR SEO!
Once you develop the groundwork for newsjacking, there are ways to multiply your efforts so your experts can share their views on a story directly. LinkedIn posts are good for this. If you can get your experts to consistently contribute content that can help readers understand financial news, you are more likely to keep them engaged with your brand online.
The big question is: how do you get key players to buy in? For our clients at CrucialContent, we’ve found training on social media and sample posts works well. Communication from your marketing department to push your contributors, incentives and availability will help continue your credit union’s newsjacking efforts. The added benefit is, the more contributors who post and link to your website, the more SEO will build, further bolstering your brand credibility.
If you find it difficult to engage SMEs, your marketing team can directly promote content by publishing blog posts with bylines for SMEs and promoting them through LinkedIn Sponsored Content or Facebook Boosted Posts. Just be sure to get their approval.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Of course you should work closely with anyone from your organization who is producing content. Remember, you’re still the content expert and brand guardian.
You should also avoid anything too controversial. The main goal is to provide educational content to your readers. When you benefit your readers, you benefit your brand.
In need of more tips on content marketing? Learn the state of credit unions in the content marketing industry in our quick, 15-minute demo.
Do you see your credit union’s About Us page as a dull requirement or an opportunity to convey your brand? Whichever it is, your readers probably see it that way too! That’s why it’s so important to make this page on your website a purposeful message that makes your credit union stand out.
Here are some tips that can make your credit union’s About Us page brand-ready and save it from “boring:”
- Humanize your brand. Your About page should address the goals and values that are crucial to your brand. There are many ways to do this, but one great way is by telling a story. Take Arizona Federal Credit Union, for example. Its About Us page starts right off with a photo of hands piled in a group, then tells a brief story about how a handful of state employees got together and pooled their money. Each member had an average account balance of $5. Who can’t relate to that? If your credit union also has a good origin story — and a lot of credit unions do — the About page is a place to share it.
- Be direct. Credit unions know one of the challenges in competing with banks is prospects may not know the definition of a credit union versus a bank. Leaders Credit Union addresses this in a tab under its About Us section. This clarifies the question for the reader upfront, so the prospect can spend more time viewing your content rather than being confused.
- Go back in time. Credit union members are proud of their history — so showcase your roots with a visual, interactive timeline. Check out Michigan First Credit Union’s infographic for a timeline slider with brief copy.
When prospects are shopping for products or looking to switch financial institutions, the About Us page is an opportunitiy to communicate your brand. Take advantage of this touch point with a stellar message that enhances your brand, rather than tarnishes it.
- Profile real members. Make it a point to schedule photo and video shoots of members to create testimonial content and use the photos as brand imagery. America’s Credit Union features a picture of a real member on its About page. Plus, the site highlights member testimonials, giving viewers relatable, engaging content. If you don’t have good original photos, then don’t include any.
- Don’t be afraid of visuals. Maybe a graphic format or infographic is the best way to share your story. Users obtain visual information more easily, and it’s an opportunity to incorporate your brand design. Take a look at Hanscom Federal Credit Union’s About page. The credit union describes its brand overview with consumer-friendly icons.
- Tell your story through video. Communicate your history, mission and culture all in one visual message that is highly engaging. Take a look at TAPCO Credit Union’s brand promise video — it focuses on its members and the local flavor of the area. A good About page gives potential members a chance to see what your credit union is all about. Think of it as the face of your brand.
Ready to launch a content marketing strategy, but need buy-in? Use this Business Case for Credit Unions stats sheet and promote your program.
When readers see the name of your credit union in their inboxes, how should they feel? Excited to learn about something they’re interested in, or annoyed about getting yet another ad? These days, people usually know when they’re being marketed to, and most don’t care for it. That’s why you need to do more than just marketing in your newsletters if you want your members and prospects to read them. In other words, your newsletters need to be balanced.
What’s most important is keeping your members interested and engaged. This way, when your credit union sends out your e-newsletter, it will be sure to grab your readers attention — and not land in their spam folder. If you publish consistently helpful e-newsletters, when you launch promotions, your audiences will be all ears.
Use these three simple tips to keep your newsletter balanced for success:
- Make education the first priority: Marketing isn’t effective if nobody takes the time to read it. That’s why as much as 90% of your newsletter content should be educational. It should speak to your members’ interests and goals. This way, they’ll see your newsletter as something that’s made for them instead of something that’s thrown at them.Take some time to think about what topics your subscribers want to read about and what insights your organization might have about those topics. Instead of using the newsletter to talk about your credit union, cultivate members’ interest in something you are well-suited to help them with.
- Work in the marketing where appropriate: Just because you should focus on educational content doesn’t mean you should forget about the marketing altogether. After all, that’s your ultimate goal. The trick is to limit promotional stories to those you know readers will care about. This can include members’ testimonial stories on how a service has benefited their financial well-being or anything else that is sure to get your readers excited.
- Don’t ruin well-balanced content with poorly balanced design: How many times have you opened a newsletter to be greeted with a maze of illegible text and irrelevant images? While well-balanced content makes newsletters much more readable and engaging, it must be laid out with good design in mind. Be generous with white space, and use supporting graphics, like infographics. When you’re sure the copy is high-quality, you should highlight it with polished design.