Reaching Credit Union Customers Online

A digital marketing approach to customer acquisition for the financial sector

AT A GLANCE:

  • How many people are online?
  • What does reaching a banking customer with a digital ad look like?
  • What’s aggregate data and why is it important?
  • Building an ecosystem for digital marketing

How many people are online?

More than 4.33 billion people around the world actively use the internet today. The global penetration rate is 57%, with both North America and Northern Europe ranking first at penetration rates of 95% (Statista, July 2019)1. In Canada, the penetration rate for those aged 12 to 54 in 2019 has ranged from 94.6% (ages 45-54) to 99.7% (ages 18-24)2. With this many of your members online, you can’t afford not to be there too, serving up digital ads that will be relevant to their searches.

What does reaching a banking customer with a digital ad look like?

Your greatest opportunity is to get in front of your members online as they make various decisions—about choosing a bank, seeking a mortgage, borrowing or saving money, seeing relevant offers and so on. Your goal will be to serve them messages where they are—browsing online, on social media, on your own website or searching for specific information on Google.

By anticipating who they are and where they are in their purchasing journey—and then serving up messages or content that responds to what they’re already thinking about at that point—you can guide them to your website or a campaign web page (“landing page”), where you can provide even more helpful information and invite them to contact you.

Social media offers a wealth of opportunity to connect with customers, which can help build brand loyalty. From providing helpful information, quizzes and product or event announcements to sharing tips, human-interest hashtag content and fun contests, there is a myriad of options for engaging with and building your community. After a Google search, social media is the next place digital consumers look for products and services.

What’s aggregate data and why is it important?

Banks and credit unions collect a certain amount of information about customers through transactional data, though it’s not as detailed as data amassed by tech companies like Amazon, which can gather a robust picture of a customer’s preferences and intentions. Aggregate “user data”—data combined from several measurements and expressed in summary form—provides a clearer picture of your customers and how they behave online. A wealth of insight is available by tracking users’ actions (e.g., session time, pages visited, time of day, content viewed, bounce rate, etc.) when they visit your website or social media properties or click on your digital ads.

Analyzing aggregate user data on a regular basis—especially for a large volume of customers—will give you a clearer picture of the needs and behaviours of those you’re trying to better understand and serve. User data provides rich, supported and relevant insights that you can use as the basis for targeted campaigns that will give people the content that they’re looking for while sending those who are most interested to your doorstep.

Building an ecosystem for digital marketing

Does that mean you can just start collecting user data and build winning campaigns? It’s not quite that simple, but a professional marketing agency will know how to build one for you and, like any building, you’ll need a strong foundation. Let’s see what that looks like.

First, your bank or credit union must have a clear and consistent brand. If it doesn’t, you’ll want a professional assessment of your current brand and competitive positioning, then a brand platform and guide that outlines clearly who you are, the value you provide, how you differ from competitors, and how you are visually distinctive and recognizable.

Second, if you’re not sure whether you’re set up to analyze how your online properties perform, you’ll need a digital assessment. This assessment will tell you about who is already interacting with you online, and also what you are or aren’t—and could be—measuring about the behaviours of your online customers. At this point, you should also set measurable goals and KPIs based on your business objectives.

Finally, once you have a clear brand presence and are better able to measure and analyze those who are finding you online, you’ll have a solid digital foundation for developing and executing creative campaigns. You’ll be able to promote any product, in any season, to targeted customers. You’ll also be able to measure and analyse your visitors’ behaviours and report on campaign performance.


SUMMARY

Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Most (95%+) North Americans today are online.
  • Digital ads can be targeted and timed to speak to customers as they research information and make decisions via search engines, social media or your own website.
  • Aggregate data provides a clearer picture of who your users are, what they want and what they’re looking for, so you can serve them relevant content they’re already seeking.
  • Building and having a strong brand and digital ecosystem will help you make better marketing and business decisions. Brand assessments, digital assessments, measurement plans and insight reports all provide real and relevant data that you can rely and build campaigns upon.
  • Because the penetration rate for North American internet users is extremely high, digital marketing is the most direct way for banks and credit unions to meaningfully connect with customers and members where they are—online.
  • When digital marketing is done well, built from the ground up, the payoff can be significant. Building a strong foundation will enable you to make better decisions so you can grow your business through marketing campaigns that reinforce the return on your investment.