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Creating More Impact With Your Marketing Plan

via CUInsight : Cooler days, changing leaves, football weekends and first days of school are all signals that Summer is coming to an end. They also remind us that planning season is just around the corner at our credit unions.

When it comes to marketing planning, there is an almost overwhelming amount of activities and channel options available for your plan. And if you’ve been chugging along with the same types of monthly or quarterly promotions and want to breathe some new life – and better returns – into your efforts, you may be tempted to try them all. But realistically, we all have limited resources to work with and some marketing options are going to make more sense than others.

Bring focus to your marketing planning, get the results you’re looking for and build a strong brand for your credit union with these 4 tips to ensure a more impactful year ahead.

Start and End with Strategy

This first one is maybe a little obvious, but it can be shockingly easy to stray from organizational and marketing strategy as you get deeper into the weeds of your plan.

Start by asking yourself the 3 essential questions: who is my credit union trying to serve; what are we doing differently; where is the credit union going?

Really give yourself some time to ponder these. You should have a clear picture of the group or groups of members you’re working hard to serve so you know what messaging and imagery will resonate, what types of products make sense for them, and where to find them. You should know what you’re really good at so you can broadcast exactly what you can deliver and why you’re different. And, you should know where your credit union is going so your activities and messaging can lead the way to connecting the dots for existing and potential members.

Constantly come back to this information again and again as you consider options and budget allocation. Let it be your guiding light so you know your plan supports the overarching strategy.

Get to Know Your Marketing Numbers

Sometimes people hear marketing and they think “expense” or even “money pit with a bow on top.” Ouch. A major way to overcome that criticism and get, or keep, the budget you deserve is to know your metrics and which ones you need to impact so you can create plan that will do just that.

If you’re not currently tracking metrics beyond individual campaign ROMI or your overall credit union ratios, here are a few you should consider. In the member growth and retention area, know how much it costs you to gain a member, your net membership growth rate and your attrition rate. For products, know which ones are your money makers, which ones are relatively costly, and which ones are keeping your members around with their stickiness. By channel, identify the percentage of your membership using each service, the number of products and services added at major points like membership opening, and your complimentary service usage ratios like bill pay per checking account holder.

When you know your numbers, it’s easier to see where there is low-hanging fruit and which numbers you need to impact to support your strategy.

Leverage Your Strengths and Resources

You can magnify your voice and efforts when you leverage what you have available. Evaluate the strengths and resources that exist within your shop and don’t just stop at your marketing department.

Do your members have really great connections with your front line team? Testimonials and referrals can go a long way, so why not ask your representatives and lenders to help you gather member stories and reviews?

Maybe you have some people on staff who are good writers, can take great photos, or who are active on social media. Use their expertise and talent to help you go beyond your skills, knowledge and capacity. Ask them to help you write how-to’s for member FAQs, snap pictures of behind-the-scenes moments in the office and add to a content library that you can turn to for unique and compelling stories of your credit union.

When it comes time to share your content, ask them to help by sharing it with their own networks. Also, don’t forget to cross-reference all of your channels. It’s easy to direct people to your social page from an email or to your blog from a direct mail piece. Encourage members and potential members to get information a variety of ways by letting them know the value they can expect from each option. Then, you’ll have a better chance of reaching them when they’re seeking information.

Test and Track

It can be tough to pinpoint exactly how well a set of brand-awareness billboards performed. It’s not as tough to see how many people clicked a retargeting ad and then filled out a contact request form on the landing page. As you’re probably aware, not all channels are equal in price or tracking ability.

Make the most of your marketing dollars by choosing methods that are easy to track, test and change. Poster printing, for example, can be exchanged for digital signage. Digital signs can be as simple as a flat screen with a USB and are easy to change on demand. Instead of committing to TV commercials, you could try YouTube ads which are easier to produce in-house and can have their budgets adjusted with a click of a button.

Choosing options that are easy to change and track allows you to test and get creative without a huge up-front commitment. It gives you the freedom to try something new and zero in on a look, message, and channel that drives results with your intended audience.

Get Focused, Get Planning

Planning should be fun. It reminds us to look at the big picture and think about possibilities that will help us connect, grow and achieve our goals. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Let these tips help you choose options that are going to be a good fit for your credit union and help you be a more impactful marketer.

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