What’s hot in digital marketing for credit unions? Quite a bit, actually. And it’s changing by the minute. But it’s not just knowing about the latest shiny object; it’s knowing what works, what’s going to help convert prospects into members—and turn memberships into lifelong relationships.
That was the focus of my recent “Digital Targeting Precision 2.0” presentation at the 2019 Conference of the Marketing Association of Credit Unions (MAC). While written for the credit union marketing professionals attending the four-day conference in New Orleans, its key takeaways should prove valuable to just about any credit union (or financial services organization for that matter).
- Start with the “tried and true” (but with a twist). Paid search, social media and retargeting should still make up the core of most credit unions’ digital campaigns—and with good reason: They provide the opportunity to reach in-market consumers, i.e., those who are actively searching for a financial institution or product. To make the most of yours, make sure you take advantage of new tools such as responsive search ads, which enable you to create ads that adapt to show more text—and more relevant messages—to more closely match your targets’ search terms and Facebook’s Ad Relevance Diagnostics, which help diagnose whether your ads are relevant to your audience and how to potentially improve their performance by changing up your creative, post-click experience or audience targeting.
- Think beyond the pre-roll—and in bite sizes. With more than 500 million hours of content watched daily on YouTube alone, video provides an immense opportunity for reaching your different audiences—if you know where to reach them. More consumers have cut the cord in favor of devices like AppleTV, Roku, and FireStick so credit unions need to think beyond traditional pre-roll streaming video and instead consider placements within content that is delivered over-the-top on devices like these. The biggest benefit is that these ads can be purchased programmatically and targeted the same way we target other digital media—based on demographics, behavior, content alignment and more. The biggest planning tip? Remember “snackable” is the most digestible in terms of content (try to stick to under 15 seconds).
- Use digital to make your traditional marketing smarter. Programmatic direct mail is a promising new technology for credit union marketers. It matches an anonymous website visitor with a physical mailing address, triggering on-demand printing (based on the web page that the consumer was viewing) and delivery of a postcard within just a few days. Some credit unions have already started to use this tactic to successfully convert prospects and members in the market for products with longer conversion funnels, like mortgages and home equity financing.
- Leverage real uses for artificial intelligence (AI). While the use of AI in the business environment has been on the rise for over a decade, more practical applications have been hard to come by—until very recently. With the recent growth of voice search, chatbots and visual search, marketers can now leverage AI to improve marketing performance. For example, an automated chatbot can answer simple questions from members about branch hours, locations and even product features and benefits. Not only will this technology help save resources but also once a prospect or member engages with the technology, they can be automatically moved into the nurturing funnel efficiently and effectively.
- Move closer to closing the loop. Analytics tools like dynamic call tracking and real-time dashboards are getting much better at helping us measure true ROI. Last year Google introduced new features that can tell us when a prospect or member sees a digital ad and then shows up in a physical branch. While not available to all advertisers yet, this important information could be the difference-maker in how we evaluate campaign performance and make allocation and channel decisions.
What’s next? It’s tough to say. But no matter what new tool or technology is on the horizon, the digital marketing trends that will gain traction in the credit union space (and other industries) are those that deliver relevance: in messaging, in media or in measurement. There’s no shiny object that’s going to replace that.