Inside Marketing: Formulating an Effective Digital Strategy for Member Engagement

the words digital marketing popping out of a laptop screen
By Rahul Varshneya

5 minutes

Well-defined goals, personalized content and a service-oriented mindset are key to meeting and exceeding expectations.

Advances in digital marketing have opened up many avenues for engaging with credit union members. The multitude of channels at your disposal today necessitates formulating an effective content and communication strategy for interacting with existing credit union members and for attracting potential members to your website.

Strong digital member engagement strategies foster brand growth and loyalty. Credit unions that focus on facilitating member engagement are committed to real value creation, whether through an exceptional end-to-end service experience, great content or strong member support beyond the traditional sell.

So how do you engage with your target audience, give them the information they are looking for and make them aware of the opportunities you have to offer?

Start by outlining the goals.

Before tackling the question of how to engage with members, it is imperative to define what engagement actually means and how to quantify it.

Every single interaction that your members make with your credit union—whether visiting a branch in person, reading a blog post on your website or downloading and using your mobile app—constitutes member engagement.

With a definition so broad, how can you quantify engagement and optimize your marketing strategy to take member engagement to the next level?

And the bottom line: How do you expect digital marketing strategy to contribute towards revenue generation?

While credit unions are not-for-profit entities, they do need to maximize the returns for their members. Narrow down the key performance indicators that your organization cares about most at the beginning of the planning process—such as increasing app downloads—and focus on tracking and improving just those metrics.

Make content the foundation of your digital marketing strategy.

Credit union content marketing fulfills two distinct purposes: It educates and engages existing members by providing them with the information they need to make good financial decisions, and it also lays a trail of breadcrumbs for potential members who have turned to the internet in search of answers to their financial questions and problems.

A well-designed content marketing strategy has the potential to drive prospective members to your credit union website, nurture them by supplementing their existing knowledge with additional information and eventually convert them into becoming members of your credit union.

Focusing on such conversion-focused keywords as “car loan rates,” “credit cards” and “mortgages” in your content and optimizing your website to rank highly for those keywords in search results ensures that relevant leads land on your credit union website and move on to becoming members.

Interactive content, such as quizzes and questionnaires, has proven effective at engaging members. Blog content you have already created can be repurposed in the form of video content to further boost member engagement. Selecting the social media channel(s) that your members frequent most and promoting your content there is also a great way to ensure that your content reaches its intended readers.

Incorporate personalization into your outreach strategy.

The member data stored in your customer relationship management software is a treasure trove of information that can be leveraged to streamline member interactions.

By analyzing member data, you can formulate an effective email outreach strategy for engaging your members. Nobody wants to be subjected to a bombardment of irrelevant mails, but nobody wants to miss out on vital information either. Insights obtained from data analytics can help your credit union formulate a content outreach strategy that sends the right message to the right audience at the right time—significantly boosting member engagement.

Personalization of content based on member needs can differentiate you from the rest of the market and better engage your audience. Relevance is the foundation of member engagement. Providing personalized, relevant content demonstrates knowledge and expertise, thus establishing your credit union as a thought leader.

Use technology with a service-first mentality for member satisfaction.

At the end of the day, it is human interactions that shape the members’ experience with the credit union and determine their level of engagement. While content plays a role in streamlining your members’ journey and gives them the information they need, when they actually arrive at your credit union’s physical or virtual door, it is the technology you employ in conjunction with a service-first mentality that will meet or exceed every-changing member expectations—or not.

The development of specialized mobile apps, use of artificial intelligence-powered chatbots for query resolution and use of big data analytics to predict the member needs in advance are technologies that are already becoming reality in the credit union landscape. But they don’t replace the need for knowledgeable staff, especially if your members have technology questions. As such, you must ensure that your employees have access to the training and development resources they need to provide excellent member service. A positive member experience at every touchpoint with the credit union, whether online or in person, goes a long way in determining their level of satisfaction and engagement.

Digital marketing is here to stay. Credit unions that keep up with the changing technological landscape and evolving member expectations will be better poised to move ahead of the competition. A strong digital marketing strategy is definite need in order to excel in your marketing efforts and derive measurable return on investment.

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder and president of CurveBreak, Cary, North Carolina. Rahul has been featured as a technology thought leader in numerous media channels including Bloomberg TV, Forbes and HuffPost Inc.

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