How to attract, engage and retain members
Apple, Starbucks, Nike—what do these companies all have in common? For starters, they are at the top of their game in creating brand awareness. More importantly, these companies have an incredible following of “super fans.” These super fans can best be described as being completely loyal to a particular brand.
For instance, every time Apple announces the date for a presentation of new products, Apple enthusiasts immediately have the date and time of the launch marked on their calendars and are ready to drain their savings accounts to obtain the new slew of products. Similarly, Starbucks has started releasing special drinks like the Unicorn and Zombie Frappuccino; fans race to get one in their hands and post the perfect Starbucks selfie.
While credit unions are not releasing specialty drinks or a lineup of gadgets boasting the latest technology, most are familiar with the importance of member loyalty. One of the biggest driving factors for choosing a credit union over a bank is the member-centric experience credit unions provide. But in order to turn members into super fans, credit unions need to incorporate strategies that attract, engage and retain their members.
The first step in turning your credit union’s members into super fans is by attracting an audience. This means getting feedback from members on what is important to them. For instance, younger members strive to have the latest technology offerings, even when it comes to finances. This means that in order to increase your membership in this demographic, you need to put your best technological foot forward. As for older generations, they place a greater emphasis on high-touch and stellar member service, so your credit union needs to have a plan in place that encompasses and highlights these preferences.
After your credit union has their audience’s attention, they need to keep that attention by engaging them. You can start with the survey to understand what drives members to use your credit union for their financial needs, but engagement goes deeper than sending an email asking what they enjoy most. To truly engage your members, you need to incentivize them to participate and create meaningful, two-way conversation. Some credit unions have taken to social media to engage with members. From contests to sharing news about your credit union and even addressing member issues online, social media is a great way to keep your members informed of what is happening behind the scenes at their credit union. Contests are a particularly fun way to keep your members tuned on social media: Whether it’s a gift card giveaway or a game, these activities and promotions draw in your members, get them talking and keep them engaged—the key to a true super fan.
Once you have your members’ full attention, it is vital that you maintain the content, products and services to keep them on board. Preferences are always evolving and it is crucial that your credit union conducts “temperature checks,” with your members to ensure they are satisfied with their experience and that their financial needs are being met. Additionally, it is important to make each member feel like they are not just a name and account number, and instead, they need to feel as though they are given a unique experience and that their business is important to their credit union.
Whether you’re Apple, U2 or the Houston Astros, captivating your audience is what helps your brand and company thrive. By creating your own community of super fans, your credit union will increase its brand awareness and credibility, positioning your credit union for long-term success and growth.
Haleigh Tomasek is an account representative at William Mills Agency, the nation's largest independent public relations firm focusing exclusively on the financial services and technology industries. The agency can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or its blog.
CUES’ Credit Union Management’s online-only “PR Insight” column runs the first Thursday of every month.