Use Marketing to Reach Your Credit Union Membership Goals

It’s that time of year again. Are you on track to reach your end-of-year membership goals?  

Year-end credit union membership goals are a strong opportunity to end the year on a sweet note. But with the holiday spirit setting in, and audiences focused on the season of giving, it can be difficult to pull the focus to your credit union. However, a central goal can make a difference. With a focused push to reach your end-of-year finish line, you can check off all on your to-do list.

As we all know too well, 2020 is ending on a much different note than how it began. Is it still possible to meet your goals and feel accomplished this year?

“It depends” seemed to be the phrase of the year—and it works here, too. Chances are a lot of your original goals for the year had to be tweaked or changed. And that’s okay. In being flexible and willing to pivot, you and your credit union looked for the right opportunities. After all, if one of your goals was to increase in-branch visits in 2020, outside forces prevented it from being reached. But, if your credit union was savvy with communications, that goal could have switched to accommodate and promote virtual visits. Mission accomplished!

So, as you head into the final days of 2020 and that credit union membership goal is still in sight, forge on. The work you do might feel different, but your mission remains the same. Together, you and your team can use December to make a difference for your members and membership, with the help of these marketing and communication tips.

Can I Become a Member?

Members. They are central to your credit union mission. As important as it is to talk with current members and keep them active and informed, it is also important to reach out and gain new members. A healthy influx of new members keeps your CU community-focused, nimble, vibrant, and strong. As member-owned and member-centric organizations, your credit union needs members.

Credit unions are required by law to have a “field of membership.” As a CU expert, you know there are credit unions for many different organizations, companies, and communities. But not everyone in your audience might. This presents an opportunity as part of your credit union membership goal. Basic credit union education—on purpose, mission, and membership—is step one in communicating to potential new members. You want to get people asking, “Could this be for me?” And then, by sharing inspiring and informative marketing, get them to say, “Yes! I want to join and know that I can.”

Put yourself in a potential member’s shoes. Review the current path it would take to go from non-member to committed member. What is in the way? What feels too complicated? This could lead to simple changes, like making your membership application easy tpio find on your website. Also consider that you have different types of potential members, with different paths to membership. With only a few weeks until the end of the year, you could focus your efforts on a certain group—like reactivating lapsed members, signing up family members, or reaching out to youth members.

It’s Time to Brag

As part of your education, make sure your audiences know all the benefits available to them. If you are trying to reach younger audiences, they will likely want to know about your apps, digital check deposit, and online banking capabilities. If this is an area where your credit union has recently invested, brag a bit.

Additionally, with the changes the coronavirus had brought to finances and social interactions, people want to know where your CU stands. Make sure your mission is well known, as well as the ways your organization looks to invest in the health and wellness off its community. This includes everything from the changes you make to support your members and their families through tough times, as well as the support you offer local nonprofits as part of your community work.

Be Creative to Stand Out

Just as there are different types of members and different paths to membership, there are different communication paths.

One way to make your communications easier is to meet your audience where they are. Use digital advertising to reach people online, and run your social media ads often. Think of all the channels that are available to you and consider a multi-channel approach. Launch an email newsletter campaign, run a radio ad, and start a social media series. Keep everything bright and engaging. Your audience is likely seeing a lot of ads right now, so focus on what makes your credit union special to standout.

And because you are trying to cut through the noise of the holiday season, creativity is key. Perhaps that means trying something new, like investing in social media ads. But it could also mean calling on other communication channels. Reactivate old members by reaching out with a phone call. Generate interest among families with a mailed print holiday card, and remind folks that the gift of membership is always in style.

Ask for Help

As a credit union, you know the power of members. And your members should know the power of a credit union. If you are looking to grow your numbers, doesn’t it make sense to work together?

There is strength in numbers, so activate your current members to help attract new ones. Create a quick focus group and include a mix of longtime and newer members. Ask what brought and kept them as part of your CU. If your members love and depend on your organization, they will be natural spokespeople to invite others in. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful recommendations around.

Build this into your end-of-year credit union membership goal. How can your members become part of your campaign?

  • Craft an email campaign with a member’s story at the heart of the message. Include a photo and their signature
  • Dip a toe into influencer marketing and get involved in a social media campaign to attract younger members.
  • Have members participate in year-end calling to reach out with a personal invitation.
Celebrate Your CU and Your Members

Admittedly, with the end of the year around the corner, reaching a credit union membership goal can be an uphill battle. People are distracted. They are thinking about ending an old year, and perhaps not in the right space to start something new right now. Recognize that, then think about a way to respond. Since this is a challenge, so your communications need to focus on ease. Lower as many barriers as possible. If the holiday season is already busy and complicated, your messaging should be clear and to the point.

Simply put, 2020 was a year filled with challenges. If there was ever a year to be kind to yourself and others, this has been it. So, as you consider what goals your credit union reached (or didn’t) this year, take everything into account. This is also a reminder of why it is important to celebrate wins big and small. Perhaps your goal list looks different, but the work and effort you and your CU colleagues put into achieving what you could is inspiring.

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