One of the most significant marketing benefits that member-owned entities boast is a unique connection with their customers. Credit unions provide a classic example of this. While most modern credit unions now allow membership to the general public, the fact remains that these banking cooperatives traditionally associate with specific regions, industries, and communities.
In this article, we'll discuss how credit unions, in particular, can benefit from community marketing and why the assistance of a media partner can prove so helpful in this regard. If you are operating a credit union, the first step you can take is to:
Establish Your Local Presence
Viewing yourself as a local entity and striving to empathize with your local customers' perspectives can help you determine those aspects of banking that are most important to them. It may be favorable CD rates for some communities, whereas customers in other areas may be more interested in personal or auto loans.
Whatever the case may be, you need to back up your offerings with a relatable human presence. Leverage your social media accounts to give your credit union a "human face." Join local Facebook groups, and encourage your members to join those groups. Use email marketing campaigns to engage with your customers, and generate leads. If you want to attract local business, present yourself as a champion of the local community.
Partner With Other Businesses to Host Events
You can also partner with other local businesses to host or sponsor events in a safe way following COVID protocols. Whether it's a trade show, a high school soccer game, or a production at the local theater, such events will help your brand get noticed while also demonstrating your commitment to the lifestyle and activities within the community.
The great thing about this strategy is that you don't necessarily have to invest excessive time and money in these events. For instance, you can host some events at the neighborhood level — perhaps at a volunteer fire department or a local community center. The point is to get your brand name out there in association with other local entities.
Create Local Content
You should never neglect content creation and distribution, even on the local level. Your content marketing can and should demonstrate your industry expertise as well as your knowledge of the community. For instance, you can share local trends and news items and highlight certain prominent citizens in the area in your pieces of content.
Creating and distributing local content like this provides value to your neighbors by leveraging what concerns and interests them. It also positions your credit union as a trusted resource for local news. Consider writing a regular finance column for a local newspaper or newsletter as an example of how this could work in practice. You can share the articles written as part of your email marketing campaigns and grow your brand presence on both fronts — digitally and physically.
Give Back to Your Community
Positive contribution is ultimately the most effective form of community marketing there is. When community residents see you generously giving your time, energy, and financial resources, they'll be much more likely to consider doing business with your credit union. They'll also view your credit union as a highly prized and trusted entity.
There are several options that you can explore in terms of giving back to the local community. Some avenues that other businesses have leveraged to express their goodwill include:
- Partnering with a local charity to initiate a food drive
- Helping a non-profit to meet its fundraising goal (perhaps by promoting or even hosting the fundraising event)
- Volunteering for clean-up committees
- Providing free services for disadvantaged residents in the community
Whatever option you decide to pursue, the important thing is to be clear and transparent about your involvement in the community and your willingness to give back to those who have helped make your credit union successful in the first place.
Continue to Leverage Community Marketing to Strengthen Your Credit Union's Position
In summary, community marketing is an especially appropriate strategy for member-owned entities like credit unions. A few ways that you can leverage community marketing to your advantage include:
- Establishing your local presence via involvement in local social media sites, Facebook groups, etc.
- Partnering with already established local entities to host or sponsor community events
- Creating and distributing local content that provides value to your target audience
- Giving back to your community by partnering with local charities or non-profits or providing other volunteer services to local residents
Of course, developing a streamlined plan for community marketing may not be in your "wheelhouse." If not, working with an experienced, reputable media partner may be the key to forming long-term partnerships with local entities and developing effective marketing materials for your local community. In any case, if you continue to incorporate community marketing into your overall business plan, you'll likely see excellent results for years to come.