Financial services marketing can be a challenge, especially with the many regulatory and compliance restrictions. But marketing has never been more important for banks and credit unions. Today, the competition is greater than ever as fintech firms and giants like Google and T-Mobile enter the space.
That’s why we compiled this list of bank and credit union marketing ideas. Use these eight strategies to keep your bank or credit union competitive in a crowded market and attract the all-important millennial consumers.
- Give Away Free Money and Alert the Media
Free money will always attract a crowd. And if your bank or credit union is looking for publicity, giving away free cash can be a great way to do it. The Industrial Credit Union in Bellingham, Washington took a creative approach to the free money idea, swapping out random $20s for $50s in their Christmas Bonus campaign. They alerted the press and were able to boost both awareness and traffic to their multiple branches and ATMS.
- Offer Free Downloadable Content and Calculators
Consumers love helpful tools, especially when they are free. Offering premium, complimentary but gated content and calculators such as a mortgage calculator or a financial planning checklist can be a great way to offer value to your customers while also identifying potential leads. The options for content here are endless, so get creative and create tools that you know will resonate with your audience. And don’t forget to gate your premium content and tools — by requiring that a user fill out a brief form that includes their email address before they are able to access the content.
- Utilize Mobile to Engage with Millennials Through Popular Apps like Pokemon Go.
According to a study by Viacom Media, 71% of millennials would rather visit the dentist than hear what their banks have to say. That’s a problem for banks and credit unions, considering that millennials will make up the majority of the workforce by 2020. As a result, banks and credit unions must get creative and meet millennials where they are — on their mobile devices (1 in 5 millennials rely exclusively on smartphones and tablets to access the internet according to IBM) interacting with popular apps like Pokemon Go. Bank Investment Consultant documented how two banks are trying to capitalize on the Pokemon Go craze:
“In Florida, the marketing team at Davenport-based CenterState Banks arranged to have “lures” placed in branches in Jacksonville and Lakeland. Lures attract Pokemon characters, which in turn attract players.
In Edmond, Okla., Citizens Bank of Edmond is setting itself up as a rest stop offering with free bottles of water and a give-away contest designed especially for players.”
- Solicit Customer Ideas and Do Good with Guerrilla Marketing
Ask customers and members to take part in some sort of naming contest or competition. Pay someone’s bills for a month. Cater lunch for the local firefighters or teachers. Or better yet, create a unique financial services marketing campaign that engages your members and customers all while giving back to the community. That’s what TD Bank did in their #MakeTodayCount campaign. They asked customers what they would do to improve their community if they had $30,000. Then TD selected the 24 best ideas in 24 communities and gave them each $30,000 to bring their ideas to life. The 24 selected customers had to complete their tasks within 24 hours. And it was all documented on social media. After the campaign was over TD Bank created a microsite to store all of the stories and continued to enjoy the viral effects of their YouTube video and Facebook shares.
- Humanize Your Bank or Credit Union Using Social Media
Post-2008 banks have struggled to earn customer trust. Social media can provide a perfect medium through which to regain this trust and humanize banks and credit unions. Take Avidia Bank for instance. In order to expand their reach and humanize their brand, Avidia formed the “Avidia Smarties” group, which is a group of brand ambassadors in charge of representing the brand on and off line. The Avidia Smarties are in charge of engaging the community, meeting with local businesses and creating social media buzz. As Katelin Cwieka, marketing specialist at Avidia told The Financial Brand,
“People do business with businesses they know, like and trust. They see our Smarties in the community and on social media sharing the fun things they do at work and locals get an idea of who we are. We give back to the community and help small businesses. We’re not some faceless, cold bank.”
Being active on social also allows your bank to respond to any positive or negative feedback directly, helping you to connect with the community and bolster your brand image.
- Highlight Your Expertise by Creating Thought Leaders
Banks and credit unions, especially the leaders in these institutions, contain a wealth of information. Banks and credit unions should leverage this expertise to produce rich content and create brand thought leaders who are able to share unique viewpoints and solutions. By publishing original content and research on platforms such as LinkedIn and authoring whitepapers and commentary, your bank’s thought leaders will build a following and can ultimately help your organization grow while simultaneously building brand equity. Here are 12 rules from Forbes for creating great thought leadership content.
- Participate in the Sharing Economy
The sharing economy is here. Corporations that want to appeal to millennials know that participating in this sharing economy, perhaps through strategic partnerships, will help to ingratiate their businesses brand with this important consumer segment. For example in 2013, Citibank partnered with Motivate, the global leader in bike share, to create Citibike — New York’s bike share system and the largest in the nation. Each bike is wrapped in a Citibike wrapper with the Citibank brand clearly represented. Citibank members also receive 10% off of their yearly Citibike membership.
- Champion a Cause and Be Transparent
Transparency is critical for banks and credit unions in the 21st century. In addition, today’s customers care about social and corporate responsibility and favor brands that demonstrate a commitment to a cause. American Express, for example, sponsored a documentary entitled, Spent: Looking for Change as a way to spur a conversation around banking and affordable living, while also proving a commitment to transparency. In addition, American Express formed a partnership with Walmart to create an alternative financial product called Bluebird built specifically for underserved populations.
At SilverCloud, we take great bank marketing strategies and make them even better with a Consumer Enablement solution that integrates across mobile, internet and digital banking channels, to provide a consistent and intelligent buying experience for customers. You implement the marketing strategies and we’ll give you the most effective and robust web tool for growing loans, revenue and deposits. Learn more about Consumer Enablement or schedule a complimentary Best Practice Review.