As consumers’ budgets are feeling the pinch, so is yours. And when times are tight, credit unions’ marketing budget is typically the first to go, which is contrary to research shows brands that continue their brand marketing not only do better during economic downturns but grow market share, which helps them continue expanding their reach well into the future. In addition, credit unions’ not-for-profit structure allows for countercyclical marketing, because you need enough net income to keep the lights on and the regulators happy, but short-term profitability is less of a concern than it is for your for-profit competitors.
Experts suggest setting a 7%-8% of revenue budget for marketing, but small businesses tend to only invest about 3%-5% of revenue for their marketing budget. That means a $165 million credit union with $4 million in revenue should earmark at least $120,000 for its annual marketing budget. Blowing through $10,000 a month will be easy in many credit union advertising markets!
So, how can a boutique credit union get the most out of its marketing budget?
Absolutely, number one is ensuring a spectacular user experience on your credit union website. All of your credit union’s digital marketing strategy points back to your website. It is your foundation. A good percentage of your social media posts and all of your ads should connect interested potential members with exactly the information they’re looking for.
Each credit union should experiment with what works best for them and their members on social media between brand building, engagement and promotional posts, but include links back to your website when notifying followers of a timely blog or sharing your latest community efforts.
You can run great ads that hit their mark, but members and potential members will flee if they are underwhelmed by a dated design or frustrated by poor user experience.
A credit union website needs to grab attention, in addition to user experience and design. Yes, it needs to look nice, but it also must be Search Engine Optimized to catch members and potential members while they’re actually showing interest in financial services and products your credit union offers. You (hopefully) wouldn’t ignore a member seeking help in a physical branch, so why treat members any differently online – your virtual branch?! Credit union websites with proper SEO will bring in more ‘foot traffic’ to your website as more people discover how your credit union can help them.
Members want to know where their rock in the economic storm is located. Who will refinance their car when they could stand to save a few dollars a month? Who will extend them an olive branch after they’ve got a less-than-perfect credit score? Who will empower them with the information and tools they need to do more than just get by? Your credit union can generate a lot of goodwill and word-of-mouth marketing just because you demonstrate that you are there for them.
The ROI on a well-designed credit union website has tremendous potential. While investment in physical branches still has its place in your budget, don’t neglect investing in your credit union’s website.
As you begin your credit unions’ strategic planning and budgeting process, consider the value of a refreshed website to your business and your members and potential members. uncommn helps keep you (and your stress levels), your website and your resources in line. We may be able to help you get out of your existing (and very long) website design contract. Get uncommn and get unscrewed.