Marketing Insights

Home » Marketing Insights

How to Create Compelling Subject Lines

subject lines

In today’s highly digital environment, one’s email inbox is constantly full of emails all competing for the recipient’s time and attention. So how do you make your email stand out and be one that will be opened, maybe even read, rather than immediately deleted or skipped over?

The majority of people spend a mere second to determine if the email is something they want to read or discard. If the subject line isn’t captivating or compelling enough it will get skipped over, even though the email may have valuable information for them. Research shows that 47% of recipients open email based on the subject line alone. That one-line description is your first and only shot at connecting with your audience.

There are many guidelines that you can follow when crafting your subject lines. The tactics for developing impactful subject lines vary, but we’ve gathered the guidelines that can help improve your email marketing results.

 

Keep it short.

There are several reasons to keep the subject line short, for one, you need to be able to quickly grab your audience’s attention.

Another reason is due to a large number of emails that are opened on mobile devices. Subject lines will get cut off if they’re too long. Look at your subject lines and remove any fluff words or words that matter less and don’t contribute to the message. Remove words like ‘newsletter’ as these may actually decrease your open rate.

 

Add personalization.

Personalize your subject lines. Use the name of the recipient or location. When you use personalization it adds a sense of rapport, especially when a name is used. Research has shown that emails that included a recipient’s first name in the subject line had higher open and click-through rates than emails that did not. (Read more about adding personalization to your marketing strategy.)

 

Make it interesting.

Your subject line should be interesting and unique. Tell the recipient what’s inside your email in an interesting way that will capture their attention. Pose a compelling question, provide a call to action, or incentivize them to learn more by opening the email.

 

Provide value and invoke trust.

As with most marketing, email marketing should include a value proposition. The subject line should communicate the value of the email and how it will benefit your audience. Be sure to be convincing and provide information on how it will benefit their lives or their business.

While your brand should emit an element of trust, trustworthiness should be a priority when sending emails. Your email content should match your subject line. Don’t make false promises.

 

Lastly, test out your subject lines. Your audience may respond better to “Sally, your exclusive offer awaits!”  than “Get your exclusive offer today!”. Test your subject lines by doing an A/B split and see which gets a better result. With A/B testing you can try out different versions of subject lines.

 

We hope these guidelines will help you formulate your next subject line. If you need assistance with your subject lines and your email marketing, contact us at connect@epicmc2.com. We’d be happy to help.

Read more

Website Redesign: Things to Know for Your Next Website Redesign Project

website redesign

Research and proper planning can go a long way in preparing you for your next website redesign. We’ve gathered a few tips to help you get started and hopefully make things a little less stressful.

 

Audit Your Current Site

To prepare for your upcoming website redesign, do an audit of your current site. It is best to have a good understanding of what is currently on your website and be able to answer questions like What is the most popular content/pages? What is most searched for by your users? Knowing what pages your audience frequents, what is missing and what is popular, you’ll have a better understanding of what content needs to be updated and added.

If you have Google Analytics for your current site, this information can be used to help you better understand how your audience interacts with your website. This insight will prove to be quite valuable in identifying content and other aspects of your website your users want most.

 

Set Goals

Your website can be the first interaction potential customers have with your brand. What type of first impression do you want to make? A good one, if not a great one, we’re sure. Providing a great user experience will help to create a great first impression. In order to do this, you’ll need to have outlined clear goals for your website.

You’ll need to identify what type of interaction you want on your website, whether you want to generate leads, and how you will define conversions. (A conversion is a desired action performed by your users, i.e. sign up for a newsletter or apply for a loan.) Your website should educate and inform your visitors. Information should be easily obtained. However, if you don’t want a static brochure-like website, it is important that interaction can be done just as easily as gathering information.

Knowing your goals before you start redesigning your site, will help you have a clear plan and make better design and content choices.

 

Understand Your Audience

Understanding your audience is a key component of providing a great user experience. Knowing what your audience wants and what problems they need solved, as well as how they prefer to communicate and interact with you, will help guide you through the design process. Understand your user and understand the journey they take when deciding on your products and services.

Knowing your users and their buying journey will help you identify gaps. Once you know your gaps, you can begin plan on how to correct and make adjustments for your new website. This will allow for your redesign to generate real results.

 

These are just a few tips to help you be better prepared for your next website redesign. Need help redesigning your website? Let our website experts help. Contact us today at connect@epicmc2.com. 

Read more

How to Make Your Brand Stand Out from the Crowd

standout

Today’s brands have to have great benefits, provide value, and most importantly be unique. Considering how crowded the landscape is in any industry these days, it is especially crowded in the financial sector. Other credit unions and other banks offer the same or similar products and services that you do.  How can you stand out from the crowd?

 

Identity

Create a brand identity that is unique and that will resonate with your audience. Define what your brand will stand for, what you are best at, and how you can fill the gaps in your market.  Are you really great at helping small businesses? Great, this is an excellent platform you can stand on and build upon. Your brand identity needs to be able to stand up against your competition, as well as stand out from the crowd.  If you don’t have a clear understanding of your identity it will be very hard to market yourself to your ideal audience. Know what makes you different and incorporate it into your brand.

 

Connection

Your brand is the perception of your credit union in the eyes of the communities and members you serve. How your audience perceives your brand is perhaps one of the most important aspects of growing and maintaining your credit union. It is important to have a deep understanding of your audience and to connect with them. Develop a brand voice and tone that speaks directly to your audience. If you can, you should give your audience (your members) something that they can’t get anywhere else.

 

Value Proposition and Benefits

When marketing your brand, don’t just focus on your products and services. What does your brand do well that others don’t? Focus and double down on your strengths.  Other institutions offer the same or similar products and service that you do. Instead, focus on how your products and services can benefit your members and your community. How do you provide value to your members? Address common pain points consumers have with your products and services.

 

Consistency

Be consistent. I repeat, be consistent. As said earlier your brand mostly relies on the perception your audience has of your brand and credit union. Being consistent in your messaging, positioning, values, and identity will help you establish and develop trust and loyalty. Create a brand guide or style guide that outlines how your brand should be portrayed.  Pay attention to the details. Your emails to members, your website, and other forms of communication should all reflect your brand. Consistency also reflects stability. Consumers want to see stability, especially when it comes to choosing a financial institution.

 

All in all, it is important to stay true to your brand and be as unique as possible. If you have questions about branding, creating value propositions, or other brand elements, we’d love to help. Contact us at connect@epicmc2.com.

Read more

Google Knowledge Panel: What You Need to Know

Google Knowledge Panel

Have you done any searches online lately? We’re sure you’ve noticed that just below the top few results, there’s a big square with three suggestions of local businesses that are relevant to your search.  The first few results are always paid ads from pay-per-click campaigns. The three results are organic search results that Google feels are most relevant.  The recommended results from the “Knowledge Panel” drive a lot of traffic and sales for these companies.  

Unlike paid search, you can’t do anything, in particular, to make sure your company is featured in here. The results come from the Google Knowledge Graph, and that’s based on your local search engine optimization.

 

So what you can you do to improve your online presence?

A key part of local search optimization is making sure your free Google My Business account is verified, has accurate information, and has recently updated information about your business, including pictures. The Google My Business information seems to act like an API (Application Programming Interface). An API is a little piece of software that feeds information directly into the knowledge graph, and into the knowledge panel.

 

How critical is it, anyway?

We know you’re thinking – maybe that’s one more thing I just don’t want to worry about right now. How critical is it, anyway? What are people searching for on their phones and tablets? In early 2017, Hitwise did a comprehensive report of consumer insights. For the financial services industry they stated:

“Given the sensitive nature and importance of online banking, this industry is one of the few where the majority of searches still originate on desktop devices. In fact, according to our analysis, only 39% of online searches driving a visit to a banking or finance site originate on a smartphone or tablet. However, there are still plenty of financial topics where mobile is now the go-to device when seeking specific information. For instance, financial searches mentioning “ATM” or “near me” originate on a mobile device 84% and 83% of the time, respectively. And while it’s intuitive that such location-based searches would skew mobile, it may come as a surprise that searches for “15-year” and “30-year mortgage” are also overwhelmingly mobile (73% of such searches are initiated on a mobile device). So are “interest rate” (65% mobile) and “mortgage calculator” (55% mobile) searches, indicating that today’s would-be new home buyers begin their journey to home ownership on a smartphone. “

 

How does this relate to your credit union?

This tells us that for many of the products credit unions (or any business) offer, having a good, local mobile search optimization may be critical to becoming part of a potential customer/new member’s decision set.

Additionally, the Google Knowledge Panel is the eye-catching result in the middle of the page. The panels takes up almost the whole screen on a mobile device, before you scroll down to other organic search results. Most consumers click on the first most relevant thing they see. And most don’t scroll through a couple of pages of Google search results before picking one, they pick the first one that looks good.  If they don’t like that one, or the site takes too long to load, they may choose the second or third result. Rarely do people go past the first page. 

 

Having good search optimization, including a speedy website load time and having up to date, accurate information in Google My Business is simply the starting point to giving your credit union every chance of winning new customers through online search. Feeding the Google Knowledge Panel as much information as possible through Google My Business – and keeping it up to date – is the best way to make sure your credit union shows up when someone is looking for a new loan, an ATM or another service you offer. It’s the best way to get new customers outside of paid advertising, and it helps Google work for you.

 

If you need help setting up your Google My Business account or need more information about local search optimization, contact us at connect@epicmc2.com.  We want to make sure you are found online and earn the local business you deserve.

Read more

Social Media Marketing Education Programs

Social Media Education

We are happy to announce our very own CEO, Nancy Dibert, has partnered with the University of Delaware Professional and Continuing Studies to teach Social Media Marketing.

UD’s Social Media Marketing program now includes two new powerful programs: Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing and Advanced Social Media Marketing for Business. These programs will provide broad and deep coverage of in-demand social media marketing skills, including social media monitoring and listening, audience engagement, content curation, strategic planning, campaign execution, paid placement, measuring results and ROI and more.

Nancy’s deep understanding of social media and social media marketing is vast, expanding to a multitude of platforms, with a long list of proven results for many projects and clients. Being a social media expert means being a lifelong learner due to the constant evolution of the social media climate. We’ve always taken the approach of educating our clients about different marketing channels, including social media; partnering with University of Delaware for these programs just makes sense – it is what we do everyday. We hope you join us in one of our upcoming classes.

Learn more about the programs and register at http://www.pcs.udel.edu/socialmedia/ or download the flyer.

Read more

5 Things Credit Unions Should Know About SEO

SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO is a term that’s thrown around a lot, but not everyone really knows what it means or what goes into it. We want to help demystify SEO for you, so you can help make your Credit Union website easier to find online for both your current customers and potential members!

 

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a fancy way of saying “Google Friendly”.

Google and every search engine, to be honest, is in the business of trying to deliver the best and most relevant results to people looking for answers online. As a result, you need to give the search engines relevant terms- keywords- to help them understand what your website content is all about, so it can serve it up as an authoritative website to people doing research online.

 

2. Understanding Key Words and Phrases.

If you’ve ever run a Google Adwords (pay per click or PPC) campaign, you know that you can “bid” on having your ad served to  someone based around a certain keyword. Popular keywords are very competitive and thus cost more per click than what we call longtail keywords, which are multiple words, or a phrase. Long tail keywords are much less expensive to buy for PPC campaigns, and they are easier to rank for in search engines.

 

For example, the keywords “car loans” is $8.14 per click and auto loan is $14.50 per click when we checked on Google’s Adword’s Keyword Planner tool.  What does this tell us?

 

The Keyword Planner tool gives you both the estimated traffic and the competition for these keywords- which means they are probably key phrases to work into your content, even if you may want to run any PPC campaigns on more location-specific keyword phrases.

 

Ranking in your local market for these words is going to be expensive, so going for more location specific and company specific keyword phrases, such as “[Your Credit Union] auto loans” or “[Your city/county/town] auto loans” will be more cost effective, and it will help you show up in more localized search as well!

 

When we write content for our Credit Union clients, we keep a list of their keywords and keyword phrases on hand, and we may even check with the Keyword Planning Tool what the local search volume is for those terms. Then we write the content with those keywords in mind, working them into the piece so it sounds natural. We also use those keywords in the “tags”- header tags, the title, and the meta-description, to help tell Google and other search engines what the content is about. This make sure that once the piece is published, it will have all the information Google needs to serve up our content in their organic search results, which will provide us with free website traffic now and in the future.

 

3. Building Organic Traffic- the traffic that pays you back.

One of the reasons you see so many companies adding a blog to their website is that blogging and publishing helpful, relevant, customer-education driven content is like catnip for search engines- and consumers searching for answers to their problems.  Once you have a great piece of content, adding the appropriate tags and spreading your article through social media will also help increase links to your content and signal search engines that your content is worth taking a look at- helping to boost its search ranking. In addition, that article will hang around on your website can continue to drive traffic for a long time- adding to your reliability as a trusted resource- another signal Google uses when providing users with the most relevant content.

 

4. Name Your Pages with Keywords Related to the Content.

Providing search engines with recent and relevant content helps boost your SEO- but don’t forget that you also need to ensure that the URL for these articles is related to the content. For example, you want an address that reads www.yourcreditunion.com/best-auto-loans-for-recent-college-grads vs. www.yourcredituion.com/page1/blog/october2017. Naming your page with keywords related to the content of the actual page will also help boost your search ranking- and it’s easy to do.

 

5. Don’t Forget Speed.

Another key to being found in the speed at which your page loads, both on a desktop and on mobile.  Google has a great tool where you can test the load time for your site https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-us. If your site is not loading fast enough on mobile, you may be losing potential customers- and keep in mind, reports estimate that close to 60% of all search is now taking place on mobile devices.

 

SEO can sounds big and scary, but if you know a few basics including these tips, you can help make sure your credit union website is doing everything it can to boost its search ranking, before you ever even consider running a pay per click campaign.  Investing a little time in developing your keywords and getting good at using them in your content is a bit like brushing your teeth every day- It’s the daily step that contributes to the long term health of your website and search ranking, and it doesn’t have to be painful at all!

 

Interested in learning more about SEO or how to implement in your marketing strategy? Send us an email at connect@epicmc2.com today!

Read more

Email Marketing Best Practices

email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools your business can use. With well-earned opted-in subscribers, email marketing has perhaps the largest opportunity to be a return on your investment in turning subscribers into engaged customers.

 

But where do you begin?

Terms like click-through rate, conversion rate, or A/B split testing may sound daunting at first. We’ve done the legwork for you and identified email marketing best practices to kick your email marketing into high-gear!

 

First things, first: define your audience.

Think about who is on your email list. You may want to segment them into different categories such as ages 18-34, repeat customers, or customers you haven’t heard from in a while. You can use a tool like Constant Contact or Mailchimp to create email segments. You should promote your email sign-up on places like your website, blog, and landing pages.

 

Subject Lines, the most important part of your email.

You’ll want to create emails that people read, click through and encourage further engagement with your brand. First, you’ll want to persuade subscribers to open your email with a compelling subject line. The subject line is perhaps the most important component as it determines whether or not your email will be clicked on and opened. You may find success with a longer subject line, or subject lines with keywords. Use A/B Splits to test subject lines out and adjust accordingly. Try using action verbs and give readers a taste of what’s inside (while providing value). Don’t overdo the caps or emojis, readers will find this spammy. We all receive dozens of emails a day, what’s going to make you open an email?

 

Call-to-Actions

Create compelling call-to-actions (referred to as CTAs). In the body of the email you’ll want to include CTAs – this could be in the form of links to your latest offering, a flash sale, your blog, or an option to download your latest ebook, and more. Make sure to provide context to your CTA – to earn clicks try answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” Call to actions allow for consumers to continue down the consumer journey and hopefully to a conversion.

 

 

Email Design

Whether you use a template, hire a designer, or have a developer on hand to code your email, your email design should align with your branding, especially that found on your website. It should be obvious who the email is coming from, the transition from email to landing page or website should be seamless.

Create an email checklist before you send any email: do you have the right image to text ratio?  “Image only” emails go into spam, images may be turned off by users, and images may take more time to load. Try 80% images and 20% text as a good rule of thumb.

Do you have a text version available to support your HTML email? Having both versions ensures that however people choose to view emails in their browser that they are able to do so. Did you proofread the copy? Did you test to see how your email appears on different browsers or mobile devices?

 

Email Performance and Insights

The best way to evaluate the success of your email marketing campaign is to review your engagement after each email send. You should look for key engagement indicators including how many people opened your email, how many people clicked on a link in your email (and what links they clicked on), and who unsubscribed. These are valuable insights to determine if your subscribers are finding your emails useful. Watch these metrics over time to determine how often you should be sending an email – if engagement drops off when you send an email every week, try stepping down to once every other week or once a month, even. You don’t want to fatigue your audience.

 

A/B Testing

Another tried and true tip when it comes to email marketing is to A/B test your email. Put simply: this means changing your subject line, design, subject matter, or CTAs one element at a time, then sending your email to a significant sample size. Why this is important: you can make more informed future email marketing decisions about what gets your recipients to open and click on your content.

 

Make sure the unsubscribe option is obvious in your emails. Yes, you want everyone to love every email you send but sometimes this just isn’t the case – and it’s better than ending up in the spam folder.

Finanlly, send email that is valuable to your users and that will ultimately strengthen your relationship with them…that will keep your customers coming back for more!

Need help getting started? Drop us a line at connect@epicmc2.com and we’ll invigorate your email marketing!

Read more

Tips for Making Onboarding Successful

Onboarding

One of the most important factors credit unions are facing today is attracting and retaining new members. Arguably, it costs more to acquire a new member than to keep an existing one. So, when you have won a new member’s business or have obtained an indirect member, how can your credit union make the most of its onboarding process?

 

Start with thank you.

A simple thank you communication can go miles in establishing brand loyalty and trust after your new member has opened an account.  You can send this thank you via an email or with a phone call. This will help start the conversation and introduce your brand to your member.

 

Follow up with personalization.

Send a personalized email with a simple call-to-action. You want to inform your member about what you can do for them through your products and services. Don’t wait until month 3 of their first interaction to begin onboarding them to your brand and your products and services. Tailor your messaging for them so it is relevant to their life stage, demographic, and lifestyle.

 

Timing is everything.

Research shows the most important time for new member communications is in the 30-120-day period. If they set up a checking account, have you followed up with an email about online bill pay? By day 60 have you emailed about moving to mobile banking or direct deposits? The opportunity then presents itself: the ability to cross-sell without going for the hard sell. You are constantly in communication with your credit union members and making multiple touch points to guide their experience of your financial institution.

 

Great onboarding should yield higher sales.

Look at this as an educational opportunity for your members. The members who are least likely to respond to your marketing messaging are those most likely to leave and close their accounts in the first year. Products and services don’t make members engaged and loyal: it is your brand, your response, and ultimately what you do for your member. Onboarding starts the conversation and allows for further opportunity for cross-sell.

 

Re-introduction to current members.

Onboarding isn’t just for new members. You can use onboarding to re-introduce yourself to those members who may have fallen off your radar.

Try a “win-back” campaign at day 7, 21, or 90 of member unresponsiveness. This could be a simple email campaign with FAQs, the latest offer, or a money-saving promotion. Even if you gain back a few members, this is a huge win in the long run.

 

You should create an onboarding system that works best for your credit union, one that will position you for the best results. An effective onboarding process establishes your credit union as an expert and allows you effectively cross-sell while retaining new members’ business.

Read more

Content Marketing: A Great Tool for Your Credit Union

Concept Image

Credit Unions have a wide variety of financial services to offer their members, but current and potential members alike both need education about the products and services and general financial literacy knowledge to make the best decision for their financial goals.  They need to learn how they can benefit from offers and products, and how they can solve real, everyday problems and frustrations in their lives.

Content marketing is a great way to speak to these commonplace pain points and help educate consumers about how to find solutions. It sounds simple, but good content marketing involves a lot of planning so that your credit union can provide targeted audiences with the information they need to make a great choice and increase conversions along the way, whether it’s for a specific loan product or a new membership. 

What is content marketing? Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand products or services but is intended to invoke interest in the brand.  Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.

 

Content Marketing is Especially Important for Credit Unions

The financial services and products you offer can be complex. Members need to know more about them, and need that information in an easy-to-digest format. If you produce content aimed at educating specific user groups about your products and services, over time you will build a library of material that will help you educate members and potential members while meeting current marketing goals and plans. However, to be successful at content marketing, a lot of up-front planning will yield the best results and prevent frustration.

Content Marketing is really good about creating great information through blogs, video, infographics, e-books, and more- that is highly targeted to help customers (members) learn more and make great decisions. By taking complex subjects and breaking them down into bite-sized pieces, you can create helpful information for members and potential members to better understand what you can do to help them, without overwhelming them or making them feel bad in the process. In fact, creating content that helps you become their financial personal trainer, so to speak, will build trust and loyalty, helping your Credit Union to really stand out in a sea of financial services companies that can seem very much the same and interchangeable from the outside.

Define Your Goals and Metrics for Success Up Front

Much of content marketing starts with defining your problem and goal. You want to make sure you have a clearly defined set of goals by answering these questions:

  • What services or product lines do you want to expand or increase?
  • Who is most in need of these services- current members? New members? Both?
  • What do these people have in common?  
  • When are they most likely to need this product? Is there any seasonality involved?
  • What are some common questions that your consumers have on certain products or services?
  • Why is your product or service the best solution for their problem?  What are its advantages, and disadvantages?

 

Developing SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) Goals up-front will help you outline your content marketing and provide a plan that works best for your credit union and your strategic goals.

If you put in the work to carefully craft content that your target audience wants, it will help you gain loyalty and brand recognition. Content marketing can bring clarity to products and services and help consumers along their decision path (consumer journey). Think about the ways you can incorporate content marketing for your credit union.

Read more

Why Credit Unions Should Be On Instagram

Why Credit Unions Should Be On InstagramWith over 700 million monthly active users, Instagram’s primary age group is 18-29, which is the prime demographic for credit unions to target to grow their membership. What’s more? The photo-centric app shows a human side of your credit union, giving your credit union an edge over megabanks. It’s a great resource for business development and community engagement.

Getting Started

When you visit an Instagram page the first thing you see is a username, a photo, a short description, and the only clickable link on Instagram (barring ads). When choosing an image for your Instagram photo, note that it will be a circular image; we recommend using your logo for branding purposes. Your bio is your introduction to your audience: and you only have 150 characters including the ever-important link to your website! Make sure your mission and brand are clear. There’s also a place to update your contact info: add a phone number, email, and address so that Instagram viewers can easily get in touch with you. Now you’re ready to get going!

What should your credit union post on Instagram?

Imagery is key when it comes to Instagram. Use branded imagery consistently throughout all your posts, whether elements of your brand are included or you always have a your logo present whether on someone’s t-shirt, merchandise or buildings. Instagram is a great way to showcase pictures of your staff and overall community involvement. Money tips and quotes could also be shared in a picture format.

To be successful on instagram and social media platforms, you need to actively engage with your audience creating a conversation. Follow local businesses, organizations, and influencers within your community. Engagement is key, like and interact with their posts. You don’t want your Instagram channel to be one-way.

If you can, get employees involved. Employees, like your business development team, can capture the most humanizing moments of your financial institution.

Don’t be afraid to use hashtags! In fact, Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post. Try including:

  •      3-5 popular hashtags (In the millions of followers) ex: #instagood
  •      5-8 moderately popular hashtags (In the hundreds of thousands of followers) ex: #personalfinance
  •      3-5 keyword targeted hashtags (In the thousands of followers) ex: #netDE
  •      1-2 branded hashtags i.e. the name of your credit union

Creating branded hashtags allows people to follow your brand specifically and creates a visual index of your financial institution.

To recap, creating a presence on Instagram allows your credit union prime access to Millennials & Xennials, extends your brand’s digital presence, gives your audience a behind-the-scenes look, creates meaningful relationships, and gives a face to your financial institution.

Need help getting started? We can help! Contact us today for a social media consultation.

Read more
Page 1 of 3123