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6 Digital Marketing Strategies for Credit Unions in 2024

“Digital transformation” has drastically changed the financial services industry over the past decade. And as digital technology integrates into every area of business, the pace of change isn’t slowing down. 

First, Fintechs disrupted the industry. Now it’s “techfins”—technology companies like Amazon and Apple—elbowing their way into banking as the next disruptors. Add to that the revolutionary potential of AI, biometrics and other technologies, and it’s easy to understand why credit unions are searching for ways to adapt, thrive and stand out from the crowd.

Digital marketing, when done holistically, gives credit unions plenty of opportunities to grow their business. But what is digital marketing for credit unions? Which digital marketing strategies actually deliver results? 

In this article, we’ll answer those questions and more, all with an eye toward helping your credit union embrace digital marketing strategies and tactics to enable your CU to keep pace in an ever-changing environment.

What Is Digital Marketing for Credit Unions?

Content Marketing

Roughly speaking, digital marketing means any kind of advertising that appears online. It’s the promotion of your business to help you connect with new and existing customers. Digital marketing can take many forms, just a few of which include:

  • Websites
  • Online videos
  • Display ads
  • Social media (paid and organic posts)
  • Paid search ads (search engine marketing or SEM)
  • Email marketing
  • Online reviews

Digital marketing is often contrasted with traditional marketing, which includes direct mail, print ads, radio and billboards. It’s likely that your credit union is already doing a combination of traditional and digital marketing, and now you’re looking for ways to take digital to the next level.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Credit Unions to Use

Digital marketing is no longer the exclusive domain of huge banks and bigger credit unions. Even small CUs can use digital strategies to engage with members and their communities. Here are some digital ideas to get you thinking.

1. Website content and SEO: It’s a long game

Content Marketing and SEO

Most credit unions have websites these days (and if you don’t, you should!). Even if you don’t have an online banking system, you probably have a website where people can find out about your products, branch locations and other helpful information. And since you went to the trouble of building your website, you probably want people to be able to find it. That’s where content and search engine optimization, or SEO, come in.

Use content and SEO to make your website more valuable to members and more enticing to prospective members. Adding search-optimized content helps your site show up higher in Google, Bing and other search engines. 

Start simple. First, write pages about your products. You can create pages that highlight your:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts, money markets and share certificates
  • Loan products like auto loans, mortgages, boat and RV loans and more
  • Debit cards
  • Credit cards
  • Business checking
  • Business savings
  • Business loans
  • Insurance products
  • Any other product or service that you want users to know you offer

Adding pages about your products automatically creates relevant content that people will find helpful as they’re looking for financial services. You can perform basic keyword research for each page to find popular words and phrases to add to your content. You can also partner with a third-party agency or consultant to help with your SEO research.  As you add high-quality content to your site, you’ll likely start seeing more website traffic and, if done well, more members joining your CU.

Beyond your products, you can use optimized content to answer people’s questions. By addressing common questions on your site, you build trust with the users, which makes them more inclined to contact you. Adding this type of content also helps your site build authority in search engines, meaning your site has a better chance of showing up when people search for certain things. 

For example, you could create supporting content about personal loans where you answer common personal loan questions like:

  • What can you do with a personal loan?
  • Does taking out a personal loan affect your credit score?
  • Can I get a personal loan if I have bad credit?
  • How to calculate personal loan payments?
  • Are credit unions better for personal loans?
  • How do personal loans work?
  • How do you apply for a personal loan?

Content and SEO are long-term strategies, so you shouldn’t expect to rocket up to the top of Google overnight. Be patient and keep adding content. Remember to focus on quality, not quantity. Google values sites with quality content that helps users learn and make decisions. It takes a while to earn Google’s trust, but it’s worth the effort.

Answering top questions can also get you in front of potential members higher up the sales funnel. While the user might need more time to pull the trigger on a personal loan, they are starting their discovery phase about the product. Being with them during these early phases will make your institution a favorite when it comes time to take out that loan.

2. Track, track, track

If you’re going to put in the effort to create great, SEO-friendly content, you’ll undoubtedly want to know how well your content is performing, right? 

You’ll want to connect your website to Google Analytics, specifically Google Analytics 4 (GA4), for tracking purposes. That’s the newest analytics setup from Google; older versions are no longer supported. 

Data from GA4 can show you how people are engaging with your site. You can see which pages they’re visiting most and which pages aren’t getting many visits. You can also have your GA4 set up to allow you to track visits from your regular website to your online banking site, mortgage site or other vendor-provided platforms that your members log in to. 

Implementing GA4 has been rocky for many businesses. It’s usually a good idea to have an agency or consultant help you set it up. 

3. Email marketing

Email Marketing for Credit Unions

Email marketing is still going strong after all these years. In financial services, it’s a tried and true results-getter. According to 2022 data from The Financial Brand, email marketing platforms are financial marketers’ favorite martech tools. It’s so important that 41% of financial marketers expect to increase their email marketing budgets in the coming year. 

Why is email marketing so popular? For one, because it’s proven to influence consumers. For example, Statista data show that 40% of millennials are likely or very likely to be influenced to purchase something because of an email newsletter.

For another, email is versatile. In financial services, email can be used for more than just selling. The Financial Brand says the top examples of financial emails are:

  • Welcome and onboarding emails
  • Financial services newsletters
  • Stock market commentary
  • Reward and savings programs
  • Financial education programs
  • Event invitations

Email marketing can seem daunting—and expensive—but that doesn’t have to be the case. Platforms like MailChimp or Constant Contact offer different pricing structures based on the volume of emails you want to send. These email services usually also contain opt-out capabilities, so your emails can stay CAN-SPAM compliant.

Using emails, you can send targeted messages to existing members or to people who have visited your site. Your emails could talk about special interest rates, direct people to a new blog post, notify people of a new location, or any number of other things. 

It’s smart to use email marketing along with SEO content, ads on social media and PPC. Let’s walk you through an example to show you how all these can tie together.

Let’s say you’re offering a great new rate on CDs. You could write a blog post talking about the new offer. Then, you could generate an email to send your blog out to a select list of members. At the same time, you can use your list of emails to target those members with ads on Facebook to promote the new offer. To top it off, you can set up remarketing ads through PPC and Facebook/Meta (and other social media platforms) to target visitors to the page. 

When using multiple platforms and messaging, you can see strong results. Plus, most people don’t convert after seeing just one message. When it comes to marketing, the more touchpoints, the better.

4. Social media

Facebook Advertising for Credit Unions

Social media sites offer various ways to up your CU’s digital marketing game. At a minimum, your credit union should have a Facebook and LinkedIn account. And it’s not enough to have the accounts; you actually need to engage. 

In addition to posting photos or sharing stories on social media, you can also use social platforms for paid advertising. If you want to advertise to existing members, you can target them by using their email addresses. You can even create ads that target people who live near your branches, whether they’re members or not, to promote your solutions. 

Facebook is the platform most credit unions use at first. These days, Facebook requires ads to be categorized in certain ways that limit your ability to target audiences. For example, if your ad is about mortgages, your ad might fall into the special housing category, which means you can’t target people based on demographics. This has to do with concerns about lenders discriminating by advertising mortgages only to people with certain income levels or other characteristics. 

Even though such restrictions can complicate advertising on Facebook to non-members, you can still use the platform to advertise generally, which helps grow your brand. The more people see your brand, the more comfortable they get and the more likely they will engage with an ad and visit your website.

If you decide to get particularly serious about social media advertising, you can work with an agency to help you run more effective campaigns. Navigating the advertising platforms of Facebook and LinkedIn can get complicated, so having help can be valuable and save you a ton of time.

5. Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Google Ads, Bing Ads


google ads small logoPay-per-click or PPC ads can help you generate high-quality website traffic. These ads refer to paid advertising placed on search and display platforms such as Google and Bing. 

One significant advantage of PPC is that you can bid on specific keywords. Doing so allows your ads to appear in search results of people searching for exactly what you’re offering. In other words, you can precisely target people actively looking for products like yours. Additionally, Google Ads allows you to target by audience, subject to some limitations, offering another avenue to reach the people you most want to serve.

How much you spend depends on the platform and your goals. With Google Ads, for example, there is no minimum spend. It can be a great way to experiment with different ads and see what kind of messages get the best results. Then, if you’d like, you can increase your spend later. Whether you use Google Ads or Microsoft/Bing Ads, you get to decide how much to spend per day, ad or month. 

We don’t recommend that you venture into the PPC world alone; it can get complicated quickly. It’s best to work with a trusted agency partner to help you manage your budget and maximize your investment.

6. Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile

How often do you search for a restaurant near you, and Google shows you a map showing numerous options? Probably so often you don’t even realize it. Well, people are looking for credit unions, too. When they do, you want your CU to show up. 

To ensure your credit union shows up, you should claim your Google Business Profile. Doing so lets you control how your credit union appears on Google Maps. Each of your branches should have its own profile. Once you claim your listing, you’ll be able to:

  • Edit your branch hours
  • Provide correct phone numbers for people to call
  • Add photos so people can see the outside and inside of your branch
  • Make posts about events or product promotions at the branch
  • Respond to Google reviews
  • Post answers to frequently asked questions
  • See what keywords people are searching to find your listing
  • See how many people visit your website after seeing you on Google Maps

A Business Profile is another opportunity for your CU to appear on search engine results pages. Google tends to show its products high up on results pages, and Business Profiles is a Google product. As such, you’ll often see these featured high up in results, even above the top-ranking organic results.

Another bonus? Claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile is free! 

Use Digital Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Credit Union

Whether your credit union has $5 million in assets or $5 billion, you can use digital marketing to build your brand, connect with members and grow your CU. You can experiment with different tactics that fit your budget, and you certainly don’t have to do everything all at once. If one thing doesn’t work, try another strategy. 

If you find yourself stuck or wanting extra support to move your strategy forward, reach out to our team. We’re here to help!

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