Three ways to better connect with your membership

As small niche financial institutions, it is imperative that we don’t lose sight of who we serve.  It is essential to your credit union’s survival to be highly focused on your niche and to customize and personalize your credit union’s solutions. One of the most essential ingredients in this process is how to connect with your member.  Now, what do I mean by connecting?

connect with member

Connecting is about being highly relevant and memorable at multiple levels.  This starts with the aggregate credit union brand, moves to the products & services, and ends with the individual member.   At the end of the day, if you can create continuity between all three levels you will have members that love you. This is the goal. Members who love your credit union then tell your story and bring their friends to you.

There are three things that can help you better connect with your membership.

Utilize video to Connect with Members

Video is becoming highly important in today’s digital world.  In the next few years, it is anticipated that more than 80% of all content consumed online will be in video.  Your credit union’s website, member interactions, and content should all be heavily reliant on video first.   Every website should have biography team videos, a video on the problems you solve for members, video member testimonials, and at least one video on EVERY page.  All these videos won’t happen overnight, but list out all the videos you need, prioritize, and start tackling the videos one at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it is time to get working on the foundation!  Videos are an essential way to connect with your member.

Connect with Members with a Blog

Now I know what many of you may be thinking, blogs are stupid and no one reads them.  Not true! A blog is simply a more frequent newsletter that allows you to maintain consistent communication with your members.  It is also a key way to train Google on the problems your credit union solves and the community you serve.  Your blog should not be an in your face marketing channel. Members will not click on and read your blog regularly if it is sales pitch after sales pitch. Regular distribution of educational content is a great way to connect with your member. Your blog should be simple quick articles, community news, and things that are relevant to your members. Don’t forget to optimize your posts for keywords and Google.

Use data and machine learning and other tools to hyper-personalize.

Amazon is an example of a company that is a rock star at this.  If you and I both pulled up Amazon on our computers right now, we would see different things based on our historical purchases and what Amazon believes might be interesting to us.  However, your credit union website looks the same to everyone who pulls it up.  The offers on your website are not personalized to the member.  To stand out and be relevant, credit unions should be using analytics, machine learning, marketing automation, and website design to highly personalize every interaction with a member.  The most important ingrediant to connect to your member is personalization.

Ultimately, connecting with members is what it is all about.  Seeing the difference your credit union makes for each and every member is highly rewarding.  Smart use of video, blogging, and data will allow your credit union to enhance those connections and make you highly relevant to your membership.

Originally published on August 1, 2018 on CUInsight

Lead Scoring – Getting to know your members

Many Credit Unions measure the success of a marketing campaign solely with “home run” metrics. For example, a car loan promotion is measured in number car loans booked, and a credit-card campaign in the number of cards delivered. While there is no question that won/loss metrics are important, there is a middle ground that can give you richer customer information as you work to build member relationships rather than just achieve sales. At CU 2.0, we train our clients to use this technique, called lead scoring, as part of their digital transformation.

What is Lead Scoring?

In a typical Marketing/Sales environment, lead scoring is a system for ranking prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. The resulting score determines which leads the Marketing and Sales departments will engage, in order of priority. For example, a lead with a high score that indicates the lead is ready to make a large purchase soon might be handed off to a regional salesperson, while a lead with a low score is put in a Marketing “nurturing” campaign.

In a Credit Union environment, we see lead scoring as a way to track and enhance the relationship between the Credit Union and the member. Most Credit Union missions include improving the financial well-being of their members in addition to “making sales.” Credit Unions can use lead scoring to track a sales cycle and also to track a member’s financial journey and the strength of the relationship with the credit union.

By using all data from a campaign, and analyzing actions taken by members over time, we can develop a comprehensive ability to further serve the membership of our Credit Unions. By tracking a member’s actions (and lack of action) and assigning a “score,” we can offer more relevant information to help members take advantage of the knowledge and expertise at your credit union.

How Does Lead Scoring Work?

We’ve found that specific scoring methods are unique to each Credit Union, but the general idea is the same. As a member participates in email campaigns they accumulate “points.” In a typical sales environment, the points tell where the “prospect” is in your sales process–your lead funnel.

A Credit Union might modify their scoring system to account for financial lifecycle (first car, first house, etc.), financial health, the closeness of the relationship in terms of the number of products owned (or years of membership), or any other measures that help the credit union assess the member relationship. Each action a member takes helps you understand what specific information you can offer them. Sure, having them close on a car loan is great, but what if they simply aren’t ready? If they’ve shown some level of interest, it’s better to put them in a follow-on campaign rather than starting at square one.

Here is a simplified example of the car loan lead scoring:

lead scoring for credit unions

Just by receiving the email (it didn’t bounce!), the member starts at a lead score of 25. In this example, the maximum score is 50, so we could have behavioral scores and associated next-step actions that look like this:

credit union lead scoring

By providing intermediate actions and involving members in blogs, surveys, and other activities, we provide better service and fulfill our mission of providing financial health information to our members. We’re also going to monitor the follow-on campaigns and update their scores based on continued interactions. You can see that we quickly have a web of online interactions, and the lead score is our key indicator for assessing the overall relationship.

Monitoring campaigns and customer interactions at this level of detail can be more work but is definitely worth the effort in the digital era. Think of this process as a way to improve customer engagement online, in the same way, that you might add a branch to be closer to your customers in the real world. The cost is less than branch operations and allows the member to engage with you at their convenient time – even when branches are not open. Digital engagement requires the same commitment to managing the data as Credit Unions have shown in managing branches. The new digital world that our members have become accustomed to leaves little choice!

Speaker Spotlight: Kirk Drake Helps Credit Unions Connect with Members

by Catalyst Corporate | Mar 20, 2018

Timing is everything, especially when it relates to a credit union’s long-term success, says Kirk Drake, co-founder of CU Wallet, LLC and CU 2.0 strategist. Drake, a featured speaker at Catalyst Corporate’s 2018 Future Forums, believes implementing technologies at the right time is key to a credit union’s sustainability.

“Don’t believe a technologist who tells you they know where innovation will be in three to five years,” said Drake. “It’s impossible to predict where technology will be that far in advance.”

And therein lies the challenge. Credit unions still try. When implementing new technologies and services, credit unions aim for perfection, says Drake. This approach creates long product rollouts and lifecycles before ever introducing members into the process.

“In 3-5 years, the technology that was once brand new is now obsolete,” said Drake. “We’re solving a problem that’s no longer a problem. By the time a strategy is ready to roll out, the wow factor is gone, and you don’t have the first-mover advantage.”

What should credit unions do differently to achieve long-term sustainability?

“The successful brands put things out before they’re ready for primetime. This helps determine trends and interest before betting big,” said Drake.

Drake discusses this approach in his book, CU 2.0: A Guide for Credit Unions Competing in the Digital Age. The “if you build it, they will come” approach is destined to fail, he said, because no one is joining a credit union for what may come. A better user experience will keep more members around, but it’s not going to make people switch financial institutions, he added.

Building that exceptional member experience requires some effort, said Drake. First, credit unions need to understand the needs and wants of their community. “Recognize that the connection point isn’t necessarily the products you think are valuable, but the things members are interested in,” said Drake.

He suggests approaching product and service development like one might approach dating. “It’s not about you. It’s about them,” he said. “Every credit union has a unique story to tell. We need to focus on building relationships in which we seek to understand the problem before we prescribe a solution.”

Second, Drake says to focus on trends, rather than fads, to help better a credit union’s timing. “Credit unions want to be involved in trends. Fads, they don’t,” he said.

“Video is the No. 1 technology trend today,” adds Drake. “But credit unions must be surgical and strategic about its use.” Drake explains that video must be highly personalized and contain relevant information. While credit unions are great at adapting to new technologies like video, they may struggle with deployment.

“Half of the challenge credit unions face is finding the right technology, and half of the challenge is learning how to deploy that technology in an effective way,” he said. “Video is not new technology, but credit unions can learn to use it more effectively.”

Other technologies credit unions should employ include marketing automation, blockchain and voice integration, said Drake.

Conversely, Drake suggests retiring a few technologies. “No one should be using a fax machine anymore,” said Drake. “They don’t deliver a good member experience, and there are better ways to accomplish the same function.”

Drake also believes non-responsive websites and call-tree phone systems are a way of the past. “Let’s hurry up and get rid of old implementations of technology,” he said. “We’re not saving any time. We’re just poking members in the eye.”

For more on this topic, don’t miss Drake’s presentation, “Connecting to Members in a Connected World,” Thursday, Oct. 4, during the payments segment of the Future Forums. To see a complete list of all Future Forums (Economic and Payments) speakers and topics, and to register for the event, visit catalystcorp.org/r/forum.