BY TIFFANY MCEACHERN
What is digital marketing? Digital marketing is an overarching term for all things related to online marketing, including everything from SEO to social media to websites to email marketing and everything in between. You might be asking yourself, what is the big deal about digital marketing?Currently, 89 percent of Americans use the internet. As time progresses, that number will only increase. For credit union marketers, this means having an emphasis on digital marketing is imperative.
Here are four big digital marketing trends for credit unions to watch in 2018.
The next time you are in line at the grocery store or sitting at a restaurant, look around and count the number of people looking at their cell phones. The number of Americans who own smart phones has more than doubled to 77 percent since 2011, and that should come as no surprise. Having a user-friendly mobile app is the ideal option, but if that is not an option, your credit union website should be mobile-friendly at the very least.
Allowing members to register for text updates is also a great way to add mobilification to your digital marketing strategy. If your credit union is offering a discount on tax services or free coffee at a local coffee shop, notify your members through a text alert. Start by sending one or two text messages a month and monitor the response.
A chat bot is a computer program that conducts an automated conversation. Credit unions can use chatbots for a variety of instances like member engagement and customer service. This automation assistance tool is especially helpful for frequently asked questions.
PSCU’s Engagement Builder offers a chat bot feature that can be implemented on both Facebook and Twitter. A credit union can enter its most frequently asked questions (what is the routing number, can I become a member, what time does your branch close, etc.) and the chat bot will respond automatically. This technology alleviates time and pressure from the credit union’s support team because responses are automated, and a support team member does not need to take the time to respond.
If your credit union is not already on social media, it is a huge missed opportunity. For many users, social media has become a part of their daily routine. Specifically, 69 percent of Americans use at least one social media platform. Social media gives you the opportunity to share what your credit union stands for with members and potential members, and you can do it all for free or at a minimal cost.
Mountain America Credit Union (West Jordan, Utah) does a great job when it comes to social media. It has formed a partnership with The Humane Society of Utah. The credit union’s social media platforms regularly feature pets that are up for adoption, as well as contests and giveaways. The most recent Valentine’s Day-themed giveaway resulted in more than 600 tweets in the first week alone, and all that was required to enter was sharing the contest via social media. Mountain America was able to reach hundreds of thousands of social media users for the cost of $200 in gift cards and eight dozen roses.
The responsibility for social media does not have to fall solely on the shoulders of the marketing team. With branches in North America and Europe, Andrews Federal Credit Union(Suitland, Md.) uses Engagement Builder to let employees outside of the marketing department post on social. According to Marketing Communications Officer Scott Bolden, this allows staff to post timely, relevant content in real time. “The team at Andrews Federal is actively involved in the communities we serve, and there is no better way to display those efforts than through social media,” he says.
Incorporating user-generated content into your digital marketing strategy should be a no-brainer. User-generated content not only saves your credit union money, but it also paints your credit union in an authentic light to consumers. After all, who better to talk about your credit union than happy members?
BECU(Tukwila, Wash.) does a great job of leveraging user-generated content. Personal members can submit photos that celebrate big and small moments in their lives and be entered to win a Visa gift card. In return, BECU can then use these member photos in its marketing and advertising. Business members can submit photos that feature their business.Featuring testimonials from local businesses that use their business services not only creates exposure for both BECU and the business, but it also attracts other business owners who may be interested in using the credit union’s business services.
To keep your credit union ahead of the curve, it is important to make sure your marketing strategy has a strong digital emphasis.These four digital marketing trends can easily be integrated into any marketing strategy, and it is important to keep a close eye on these trends as the year progresses.
Tiffany McEachern works with PSCU’s Engagement Builder team to help credit unions better manage their social media presence. Her background includes experience in content creation, market research and strategy, web development and design consulting.