Friday, November 21, 2014

Enhance Your Credit Union’s Mobile Member Experience

By Chris Steffes, Remote Service Consultant

According to a recent survey from Bank of America, nearly one-third of mobile banking users are now accessing mobile banking every day. The Millennial user – aged 18-34 – has high expectations when it comes to mobile banking. Not only do they want self-service and convenience features, they also want to communicate with you within the mobile session. When surveyed by FICO, millennials who frequently use their bank/credit union mobile app report greater satisfaction with their financial institution.
If you haven’t considered the mobile user experience, especially when it comes to attracting new members, it’s time to think about how your credit union’s service delivery mix should shift towards mobile in the next year.

To maximize the member experience, credit unions should:

  • Pick features that matter most to members. FICO recently conducted a survey and found that mobile users want more self-service features, like photo bill pay, but also wanted more interaction with their credit union, through alert messages, bill or loan pay reminders, and fraud alerts.

  • Advertise through mobile. If your current mobile solution doesn’t offer marketing tools to spread the word about your great products, how are mobile users going to learn about what you can offer them? Your mobile solution should offer banner ads, pre or post-login ad pages, location-based advertising, or secure messaging to keep members informed. If you don’t communicate directly with members, you will miss out on opportunities to cross-sell your products and services.
  • Understand the channel. Mobile banking is not a “once-and-done” launch, but rather a channel that provides credit unions with the opportunity to become more knowledgeable about their members in order to serve them better. By conducting mobile/online banking member surveys, requesting a “Mobile Audit” by a consulting organization, such as CU Solutions Group, and by tracking members’ mobile habits – how frequent they visit your site, how long they are in the mobile session – valuable information can help you support the changing way in which members transact.
  • Train your staff. Educating your teams to professionally communicate with members via secure messaging or chat will not only enhance the member experience, it will expand the role of your customer-facing staff to meet the needs of your members. Make staff training an integral part of your overall transition into mobile. Your front line staff can be your best advocates to promote and service your members.

Mobile banking has fast become more than just a transactional space for credit union members. Mobile is now a channel where members want to connect, communicate, and transact with your credit union. Bank of America reports 47% of consumers use mobile or online banking as a preferred method of transacting with their bank/credit union. As more people engage you through mobile, credit unions must shift their focus to deliver services and a great customer experience to where their members are – on mobile.

CU Solutions Group can help you develop your mobile banking app of you already have one or help you create mobile banking app from the ground up! With innovate mobile sites and smartphone apps we have technology teams that can help make your dreams for your mobile app a reality!  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Five Ways Credit Unions Can Reach New Members

Obtaining new members can possibly be one of the hardest things your credit union needs to do. Whether you are a credit union that is open to all people or if you are a credit union for specific group like teachers, obtaining new members can be difficult at times. Here are five ways your credit union can gain new members.
  1. Reach directly out to your member base – Let’s say you are the type of credit union that is specifically open for teachers. Reaching out to your core demographic at the schools around your credit union can certainly increase your member base. Including a free financial assessment can also help bring in new members. If your credit union is the type of credit union that is open to the public, think of targeting a younger audience like college students. You could pass out flyers or offer free financial information on loans for college students.
  2. Spread the word on your loan rates – For people in the banking industry, it is widely known that credit unions offer lower rates on loans than banks do. However, the average consumer might not know this. Advertising your incredibly low interest rates with innovative targeted technology like Gas Station TV will help you get the word about your low rates on loans.
  3. Offer free financial workshops – One word that always perks up a person’s ears is the word free. Having free financial workshops posted at local schools and libraries can increase your new member numbers in no time. Workshop topics can include saving for college, saving for retirement and even basics of loans. Giving people the opportunity to learn about finances will earn their trust and likely gain you new members.
  4. Increase your social media efforts – There are so many different social media platforms today that even if you focus on just one, you can easily reach new members. Potential members of all ages and socioeconomic standings are posting and sharing on social media sites. If you don’t have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, start one! It’s an easy way to get information about your credit union out to current or potential members. You can even set up your Facebook account to include your business hours and other important information that your members like to be able to access quickly.
  5. Transform your technology – When was the last time you updated your website? If it’s been more than five years, your website is over-due for a tune up. With a website template you are only limited to your emanation when it comes to your site’s design. Website design and development teams can take your website from just a place to do banking, to the financial resource center people are looking for.

CU Solutions Group can easily help your credit union gain new members! We make it simple with innovative products and technologies like mobile sites and smartphone apps, video creation and social media campaigns. We can walk you through each and every step of how to take your marketing efforts to the next level. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

“Where’s The App?” - Tips for Presenting Your Mobile Channel on Your Credit Union's Website

by Chris Steffes, Remote Services Consultant

If you watched television in the 1980s, you probably remember that famous Wendy’s commercial, where a petite, harmless-looking grandma desperately searches for the meat inside her burger, and to our surprise, shouts out in a shockingly gruff voice, “Where’s the beef?” 

Wendy’s gives us valuable advice when it comes to presenting an image to attract membership. Younger audiences are hungry for their version of “the beef” in your mobile banking product. Millennial members need reassurance that your credit union takes your mobile channel seriously, because that’s their preferred channel for engaging with you. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 57% of Millennials use mobile banking, outpacing all other population segments. The rest of the nation isn’t far behind, as Bank of America’s Trends in Consumer Mobility Report found 48% of all Americans use mobile banking. 

Mobile is a full-service channel for member engagement, and deserves to be marketed as a convenient, robust banking option for members. Since most members and new audiences search for your app on your website first, here are some tips on how to successfully feature your mobile channel within that space:
  1. Front Page News. While this may seem obvious, it’s surprising how many credit unions don’t advertise their mobile offering. For some credit union members, finding the link for information about mobile banking can turn into a scavenger hunt, causing frustration and a poor user experience.

    Proudly declare your mobile presence with a banner ad, positioned in the center in the page, and link it to a product page.

  2. It’s a product. It’s a channel. It’s Mobile! Your mobile banking solution is a product for transacting and a channel for member engagement with your credit union, so it requires its own place marker on your website landing page.

    Tip: In addition to a clickable banner ad, include a separate link to a mobile banking product page under your product listings.

  3. Product Page Shout Out. The product page showcases your mobile channel – the place where members self-serve, interact with you through messages/chat, and learn about your products and specials. Within the page, provide your members with everything they need to know about your mobile experience, including:
           a.  Product features
           b. Links to Apple and Android downloads
           c. Download instructions
           d. FAQs on how to use various features 

By building an information-rich page that educates members, and providing easy ways to locate it, your mobile channel becomes more than a product you offer – it becomes part of your credit union identity, and defines a new core value to meet your members’ needs, wherever they are.

CU Solutions Group can help your credit union beef up its mobile presence on its website and satisfy the appetite of your mobile members! Contact us today!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What Credit Unions Can do to Help Small Businesses

According to an August 2014 report by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, credit union member business loans have grown 60% since 2008. More and more people are looking to go into business for themselves, to be their own boss. If you’re looking to boost your credit union’s loan volume, growing with small businesses may be ideal. Here are some easy things your credit union can do to help small businesses:

Have a small business specialist – If you have a steady amount of small businesses banking at your credit union, you may want to consider having a specialist to give them the one-on-one attention. Your small business specialist can help businesses move to the next level through loan services they might not have considered.

Show them the credit union difference – New small businesses might not know all the advantages of your credit union vs a bank. Many people don’t know the differences between banks and credit unions.  Let them know what the differences are with pamphlets or through your small business specialist. Spending just a little bit of time with the small business owner will let them that you are serious about helping their business.

Help them to dream bigger – The typical small business is always looking to improve and grow. As an expert in helping small businesses, you can nurture the small business through loans and programs designed specifically for them. Credit unions are known for treating people more like members, and not like numbers. Let the small business owner know that your credit union is sincerely interested in helping them.

Let them know what you offer – Some small businesses will only think of your credit union as a place to do basic transactions and not much else. However, you can offer them so much more like loans, special savings accounts and business credit cards. Keeping the small business owner informed of what you offer will only likely increase the interactions you have with them.

Be an innovative resource – Small businesses are looking for efficient management that can streamline their business with things like mobile apps and other innovative products and services. Let your small business customers know that your credit union can help with all of those things.

Understand their needs – Some of the small businesses you are servicing at your credit union may be the type of business that is stopping by often. Let the small business know that their banking needs are important and that you can be reached as needed to help get them in and out quickly so that they can get back to what is really important, their business.

If your credit union is lacking in any of these areas and are looking to grow your loan base with small businesses, it’s time to make some changes.

CU Solutions Group can help take your interactions with small businesses to the next level. If you are looking to connect with small businesses in your area we can do that with innovative products like Gas Station TV, mobile sites and smartphone apps, and even video creation. We can help improve your relationships with small businesses with social media campaigns, cutting edge graphic design and media placement

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How Credit Unions Should Market to the 20-somethings

Commonly referred to as Millennials, the 20-somethings of today really cannot be grouped into one simple category. Why? A quick look at this generation you will find some still living at home because they are perusing a master’s degree. Others are making payments on their first home while some are traveling Europe. So how can you market to a group that is so diverse in their lifestyles? To understand how you need to market to this group you need to understand their lifestyle. 

First, here are a few key points to know about the Millennial generation:
  • The Millennial group is Americans born between 1977 and 1995.
  • Currently age 19 to 37
  • Population is around 79.8 million
  • Most ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history
  • Getting married and having their first child later than any previous generation
  • Buying their first home later than previous generations
  • Greatest number of college graduates ever – twice as many degrees earned in 2009 as in 1970
  • Came of age with the internet, mobile devices and social media

Credit unions need to change how they market to this demographic because this group is so different than any other generation before them. It takes a lot to woo this demographic, so it’s important to know what Millennials are looking for in a credit union. A recent study by an industry trade group Independent Community Bankers of America uncovered exactly what Millennials want in their credit union. Here are some key points:
  • Millennials want local – 54% of Millennials prefer to work with a locally, owned, locally-operated community financial institute.
  • Millennials want mobile – 74% of Millennials surveyed said mobile banking was very important to them.
  • Millennials want a relations – 64% of Millennials believe that developing a relationship with their financial instate was important. They value high-tech and high touch with communication.
  • Millennials want to learn more – 70% of Millennials wished they had more knowledge and skill when it comes to financial matters.
Meeting Millennials’ Needs
How can credit unions meet the demand of Millennials? The first thing your credit union needs to do is understand how Millennials absorb information. This generation is highly visual as learners and communicators. Use graphics, pictures or short, fast-paced videos to engage them.

The second thing your credit union needs to do is to turn toward a digital format. Millennials like to see information visually. When creating communications, think in terms of pictures or graphs instead of a wall of text.

The last thing you credit union needs to be doing to reach Millennials is to treat them like a VIP. The study found that Millennials feel that financial institutes treat them like a number. Fortunately for the credit union industry the “people helping people” philosophy has put credit unions in a great position to treat Millennials like individuals, not numbers. Here are some ways to make a new Millennial feel important in your credit union’s branch:
  • Introduce them to three employees so they are familiar with the team that runs your credit union.
  • Ask them how they want to be contacted. They may prefer a text message or a traditional email or voicemail.
  • Invite them to exclusive events that they might otherwise not be able to attend – festivals, sporting events, fashion shows, and non-profit fundraisers.

Looking for ways to better reach the Millennial generation? CU Solutions Groups has what you need to reach this growing group. We can help you connect to the Millennial group better than you ever have before with technologies like: youth sites, social media campaigns, cutting edge graphic design, mobile sites and smartphone apps, and even video creation

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

5 Marketing Trends for Credit Unions in 2015

We are heading to the end of 2014 which can have many of you already looking forward to 2015. This can be the year your credit union can really capitalize on the new marketing trends that have emerged. Here are the top five marketing trends for 2015.
  1. Social Media: As the social media landscape changes, so should your credit union’s social media efforts. Facebook is slowly losing its Millennial demographic, however, recently it has seen a boost with the Baby Boomer generation. Instagram has seen high numbers in the Millennial category, but has yet to see an increase with Baby Boomers. Twitter still ranks as one of the most widely used social media platforms from all age groups. It’s important for your credit union to diversify your social media efforts to build your brand and make it easier for members to recognize and connect to you. Instagram and Pinterest can seem like unlikely social media outlets for your credit union to use, but it is consistently growing in users. Having an active profile on each can boost your credit union’s member base.
  2. Content: Content still remains king through 2015. With each Google algorithm update you can expect Google to favor content over most anything else. Having regularlyupdated content on your site establishes authority and helps your credit union gain member trust. The best ways for credit unions to use content is with its website, newsletters, videos and articles and or blog posts.
  3. Mobile: Mobile is quickly becoming an important tool for credit unions. If your credit union does not have a well-developed mobile app on every operating system, now is the time to focus your efforts. According to Forbes, 87% of connected devices are engaging in some form of banking. Mobile banking for your credit union needs to give the user a positive experience. Your mobile design should be in a format that is commonly referred to as responsive design. This means that your site provides an optimal viewing experience-easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling-across a wide range of devices.
  4. YouTube and other video platforms: If content is known as the king, videos can be considered the queen. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners. YouTube and other video platforms have made it easy for companies to create and share content with their members.
  5. Micro-targeting – when it comes to spending on marketing; you want to get the most bang for your buck. Many credit unions are turning to micro-targeting to increase their member base. Micro-targeting gives credit unions the ability to use consumer data and demographic reports to identify individuals or small groups of the like-minded individuals. By micro-targeting your audience you can increase your member base quickly without the large spend that comes in other forms of marketing. One simple product can be used for micro-targeting is Gas Station TV.
CU Solutions Group has the tools to help you make your marketing the best in the business. If your goal is to improve your website or launch a social media campaign, we have what you need to reach your members.  With our helpful website compliance review, content management system and website design and development products we can help you stand out for all the right reasons. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy International Credit Union Day

Tomorrow is International Credit Union Day. The celebration of credit unions has been on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The day is to reflect upon the history of the credit union movement and to promote the achievements the industry has made as a whole.

The credit union movement started in the beginning of the 19th century in England. It wasn’t until a few decades later in Germany when credit unions finally found their place. Organized by Herman Schulze-Delitzsch and Friedrich Raiffeisen they created credit unions that included a democratic governance, member-elected board of directors and the ability for each member to have one vote no matter the size of the member’s deposits. These ideals are still important to credit unions day.

By the start of the 20th century, the credit union concept crossed the Atlantic where it thrived in Quebec thanks in part to Alphonse Desjardins. A decade later after introducing Quebec to the credit union concept, Desjardins brought the credit union concept to Manchester, New Hampshire. The first credit union to open in the United State was St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association in 1909.   

By 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law, giving credit unions the ability to have national systems to charter and supervise the man federal credit unions across the nation. Through the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s the credit union movement grew steadily. By the 1970s credit unions had grown exceptionally with assets doubling in just one decade.

Through the 1980s and 1990s U.S. credit unions continued to expand as a group. However, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) experienced financial stress as high interest rates and unemployment brought supervisory changes.

With the financial troubles around the housing market in 2008 and 2009 the NCUA worked with Congress and the U.S. Department of Treasury to help safeguard the U.S. credit union system.

Today, credit unions around the world are helping people save money in ways banks just can’t. While our industry is one that is consistently evolving and changing we are niche in the industry that will be helping people for years to come.

While the credit union industry keeps evolving so does the marketing that needs to be done. CU Solutions Group has the tools to help you make your marketing plan and help grow your credit union. With our helpful website compliance review, content management system and website design and development products just to name a few, our products can take your credit union to the next level.