In 2017, Credit Unions once again took the crown for best customer experience in Ireland. With a physical presence in most towns and cities, Credit Unions are often part of the fabric of the communities they serve - but that’s no longer enough to ensure new members are coming through the doors, or existing members are taking loans.
To help combat falling engagement, there’s been a push across Credit Unions to go digital in recent years - but as much as we’re living in a digital age, there’s still room, especially in such a community-focused organisation, to use traditional, physical and direct marketing methods to get members through the doors.
Become a money management thought leader
Credit Unions are entrenched in supporting their community, and are often seen as much more personable and approachable than a bank. This leaves you poised to make the most of your position to community outreach when it comes to financial and debt-related advice (services which many Credit Unions already provide). Not everyone may be aware that you can give them the help they need to get back on track, so why not try reaching out to local radio, newspapers or even TV stations, or hosting seminars and pop-ups in local shopping centres or community resource hubs.
Promote your Credit Union in schools to engage the next generation
Credit Unions already have a great track record for initiating programmes like youth quizzes, School-based mini Credit Unions, competitions, sponsorships and outreach, but this engagement often doesn’t last through to adulthood, when someone’s more likely to make use of your services. Credit Unions tend to stick to the realm of primary education, but marketing to junior and senior cycle pupils is the way forward. They’re looking out into the big bad world, want to buy cars, go on holidays, and move away from home - and they’ll probably need a loan to do it.
Make use of outdoor and transport advertising to target young professionals
Your common bond includes those who live and work within it - and with both big cities and smaller towns seeing massive numbers of commuters moving up and down their roads at least twice a day, there’s an opportunity to catch their attention. Adshels start from around €350 and bus advertising can be as little as €380 for a week, meaning you reach those on public transport throughout their journey. Not only can you use your physical marketing to drive people online, but you’re more accessible to a lot of these commuters than their local bank - so if they need to see you in person, they can nip in to see on their lunch hour rather than having to give up their Saturday morning.
Target local businesses, community centres and GPs to advertise
Community-based centres and organisations are often neglected by big banks, and this is where your Credit Union has space to step in. Advertising in these areas reaches local people who are embedded in your town or city’s infrastructure, and who can make repeated use of your Credit Union’s services. You don’t have to directly advertise - simply getting involved in events or workshops in these organisations spreads the word about your Credit Union, and all the good you can do.
As large banks begin closing more and more branches across the country, Credit Unions who retain a physical presence get the opportunity to put the ‘personal’ into personal finance. While online and mobile act as a draw to your Credit Union, traditional, physical marketing reminds potential members that you’ll still be there for them if they need you, which is a great start to getting them through the doors.
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