Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: member engagement (page 1 of 5)

Is Your Credit Union Sending Members the Wrong Message?

Originally published on CUInsight.com

This post might not be for you. Or, it could be exactly what you and your credit union team need.

Inspired By: Someone Else’s Faux Pas

I’ll be honest; the inspiration came from a local chamber of commerce, not credit union. So, it’s possible none of you are making this mistake. Unless you are…

We’re going to talk about messaging. Public perception. How you convey yourselves to your target audience. Be it your members or the community at large. Just as it can raise positive awareness, publicity can paint an undesirable picture. I saw this happen with a large chamber of commerce in my area. Pretty sure they didn’t notice the faux pas. So what happened?

Who’s Your Target Audience? (ie. Who do you serve?)

Theater Seating
Who would attend your CU’s show?

First, let’s back up and ensure we are all on the same page. Whether you’re a chamber of commerce or credit union, who is your target audience? Exactly.

Local businesses and their staff, residents, and those you wish to attract to the area.

Who do you serve? Well, your members.

When these two things line up, you can better pursue your mission.

The “Event”

In the case of this chamber of commerce, they held a major event, complete with ribbon cutting by the mayor, to celebrate the opening of…a Krispy Kreme.

Now, I don’t know if their stores are franchise or corporate, yet think about it. Is this the message they really want to promote? That a big, multi-national corporation gets special treatment and recognition, while thousands of local businesses, each with their own unique stories to tell, get ignored?

To clarify, this isn’t something they do for every new business opening, even of chamber members.

Perception Matters

Happy Bearded Man at Desk with Be Happy Note on Forehead
Tell me you wouldn’t want to recognize these dedicated goofballs?

In real estate, the oft-repeated phrase is: “Location, location, location.”

Here, could we say it’s “perception, perception, perception”?

If an institution talks about being there for the “little guys”, then makes a big deal out of the exact opposite, what do you think?

It comes across as hypocritical towards the local businesses they espouse to promote and support.

Where is the event for the local business whose staff and owner overcame enormous struggles to be successful?

Or even to just open their doors?

Like I said, you might not be making this mistake. But in case you are…awareness is a good thing.

PS – This is a great time to solicit stories from members about the greatest challenges they have. Then choose one (or more) and do something to help.

Image credit (because what says recognition and celebration like an anthropomorphized pineapple?!): Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

LOL, Emoji, Checking Promotion: Texting As Credit Union Member Engagement?

Originally published on CUInsight.com

How do you connect with members? Phone? E-mail? In-person? Carrier pigeon? Owl?

White Owl
This is not Hedwig.

Each have their drawbacks, especially the pigeons, since they’re extinct. Who answers their phone anymore, and we all get so much e-mail, standing out is challenging. Not every member visits your branches, and without a letter from Hogwarts, they wouldn’t even know about the owls!

Through my work with credit unions, the medium most favored tends to be e-mail. It’s cheap, relatively easy, and can reach a wide swath of the membership. There are pretty large downsides, though. Many people receive hundreds of messages a day, then there’s the spam. Getting noticed, read, and clicked is a major victory. Despite these challenges, e-mail still makes sense. Just not as the only thing. Here’s where we listen to your marketing team and diversify engagement.

Let Me Just Check This Alert

iMessage Logo
Image source: Wikimedia

What communication medium does nearly everyone read promptly, then act upon? Ding ding. You can go check that message…I’ll wait. Yes, text messages. Be they iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or good-old SMS (that’s the green bubble for iPhone readers), they get read. How can your credit union take advantage for member communication without “spamming”?

As you may know, there are some regulations governing phone number usage (TCPA). You can send a single service notification, but future messages require additional opt-in. There’s more to it, yet with that as a starting point, it sure doesn’t sound like a useful engagement strategy. Or is it? I know where I’m going…to get some opt-ins!

Why Text Members?

Let me back up for just a moment. Why bother texting members? Case studies found recipients of SMS reminders or calls to action acted at a much higher rate than those sent paper notices, phone calls, and e-mails. So if you want to spur members to action, there’s no more effective way than through text. But it has to be relevant. Otherwise, you’re the spam. How do we set the member expectation of hearing from their credit union?

  • Display your SMS number prominently in branches and online.
  • Encourage members in all interactions that if they, “Want more from their CU to add xxx-xxx-xxxx to their contacts!”
    • Are you more likely to read a message from a random phone number or one which has a contact name linked?
  • Place a widget on your website for members to opt-in their mobile number.
  • Upon mobile banking sign-in, ask if members have their phone number in their profile.
  • Provide a vCard download on website (mobile and desktop) so members can add the CU contact information in one click or tap.

If members:

  1. Recognize it’s their credit union
  2. Opt-in to receive specific messaging (which has a pre-defined maximum number of texts sent per week/month)
  3. Find value in the messaging,

then it can become a valuable outreach strategy.

Of course, this is only for non-secure marketing and service messages. If only there were some way to continue the conversation on that phone…

Two-Way Texting & More

Turns out, that marketing text isn’t the only thing you can do. A company called Shastic developed Elle, a two-way texting platform for credit unions. What does this enable? Well, for one, your member can answer that text. And your team can respond. It’s like a chat. In a text. Ok, it is a chat. This means your marketing out is now using the same channel as support in. With the ability to easily share documents and other information with your members. And you’re now a 24/7 operation beyond online banking.

Not all your members use that channel (though a huge portion do). And it’s about being ubiquitously available. So, keep your Twitter account active for answering public and DM (direct message) requests. Then, there’s the newest player on the block (for iOS users): Business Chat for iMessage. A few small companies are starting with it now…you know, like Wells Fargo. This platform already supports the exchange of money (ie. buying stuff) using your Apple Pay(or Apple Pay Cash) account (which, if you’re promoting, can absolutely be your cards!).

So with all these options, let’s get texting!

The 3 Challenges Any Effort Must Overcome

This post began as I considered technologies emerging within the financial space. From chatbots to mobile app improvements, I don’t have to explain all the emerging…stuff.

We were going to have a nice chat about how people of different generations, careers, technological comfort, and more may react to all of it.

That’s fine. But it’s not for today.

It’s About You

I cast too small a net. I missed the point. The topic of this post isn’t about technology. It’s about you. Not you the humble, beautiful, and giving person reading right now. You the credit union. You the dentist. You the grocery store.

Where am I going with this? What I’m about to say is going to sound so simple that you’ll want to laugh in my face. Then you will realize it’s been in your head all along. As it has every one else.

3 Challenges

There are three challenges you must overcome in order to get someone to change their behavior. That could mean using your mobile platform. Or flossing. Or even just grasping that you exist as an entity. Those three challenges are as follows:

  • Don’t know
  • Don’t care
  • Don’t want to

Don’t Know

If you’re trying to attract new members, you have to overcome each of these challenges, in order, before they’ll make the switch.

First, it’s possible they don’t know you exist. How can you solve such a massive problem? Marketing? Word-of-mouth campaigns? That’s up to you.

Then, there has to be a reason for them to pay attention. Why care about opening a relationship with your credit union? Lower fees or interest rates are fine, yet when talking credit cards, security is the first priority for switching.

Help members by ensuring they know you exist.

Don’t Care

After putting all this glorious energy into reaching out, informing, addressing their pains, and making it easy to get started, there’s still another obstacle. Even after acknowledging their current strategy might not be ideal, they just don’t want to make a change.

I know people who refuse to use online banking (they’ll never go mobile). To them, it’s a security nightmare and just isn’t worth anything it can offer them. These people don’t care about what you are offering.

Help members by giving them something to care about.

Don’t Want To

You’re not going to attract everyone, no matter what you do. That’s why my readership is only 84% of the credit union industry (I’m estimating on the fly…probably close, right?) and not all of it. And that’s ok.

Though I still need to ensure more people know about my blog (and speaking), then give them a reason to care. Those who don’t want to care, well, that’s their choice. I’m still happy to extend honorary geek status to them at any time.

Help members by showing why they will want to grow the relationship with your organization.

TL;DR

(Too Long, Didn’t Read)

Everything you do has to overcome three challenges to succeed:

  1. Knowing.
  2. Caring.
  3. Wanting.

If you miss one, said thing won’t be a success.

How do you seek to overcome these Big 3?

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