Bull’s Eye: 10 Principles for Targeting Members With Digita…


Use targeted marketing efforts to reach members.

Today’s digital media platforms give credit unions the ability to reach their target audience with incredible precision. By combining traditional profiling variables – like behaviors, interests, demographics, psychographics and geography – with more advanced targeting techniques such as browsing history, social media activity, shopping behavior and mobile location history, you can reach prospects one-on-one.

How? Follow these 10 key digital targeting principles:

1. Start with a tight geography. Most leading digital marketing platforms allow advertisers to target geographies with street-level precision. Some advertisers, including Snapchat, even allow advertisers to physically draw targeting perimeters as small as 500 square feet. This is particularly relevant for credit unions with a closed field of membership because it gives their advertising the ability to reach only prospects physically located in the buildings where SEGs operate.

2. Use first-party data. While purchased (or rented) third-party data – like behavior or intent segments – can be an effective targeting mechanism, no data source is more reliable or targeted than one you build yourself. Leverage member emails, phone numbers and/or addresses to make sure your social media, display and paid search ads are reaching the most opportune prospects.

3. Share data across platforms/CRMs. One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the digital media space over the past year or two has been the willingness of large players – like Google and Facebook – to let their advertisers share and move data between platforms. For example, advertisers can now use visitor data from Google Analytics to target business prospects on LinkedIn, or use geofencing data to identify competitors’ customers or members and then target them with display ads.

4. Implement exclusion data. Sometimes, who your credit union doesn’t want to target is just as important as who it does. Maybe you’re hosting a special promotion for new members; you might want to consider excluding existing ones from the targeting criteria to avoid any “hurt feelings.” It’s easy enough to identify members based on their website activity: Simply exclude any visitor who has clicked on an online banking or member login button.

5. Prioritize paid search. Paid search remains the single most effective and efficient measurable paid media driver for financial institutions (and most other businesses). Whether to drive membership, grow deposits, increase loan apps or any other tactical initiative, we recommend credit unions turn to paid search before exploring other, more costly and less effective channels. With both Google and Bing, tracking paid search results is completely seamless for easy ROI measurement.

6. Be on the lookout for voice assistance data. Amazon and Google are already using data from voice assistant technologies like Alexa and Google Home to improve their own advertising. Amazon is now reportedly in talks with several potential partners to begin offering advertising on the devices as early as this year. With Voice Search already making up 20% of all online search queries, this new targeting channel could be a real game changer.

7. Protect your brand in search. We nearly always recommend that a brand bid on its own name in paid search to support organic visibility and protect against aggressive competitors. Credit unions have a unique challenge to deal with, however. When competitors bid on the phrase “credit union” in paid search, it may inadvertently show up when a member or prospect is looking for you by name – because “Credit Union” is part of your name. How do you protect against this? Allocate even a small monthly budget to bidding on exact matches for your credit union’s name in paid search.

8. Always close the loop. Comprehensive performance measurement is critical to understanding how effective your targeting and campaigns are. Tracking conversions – like loan and new membership application starts – is a great first step. But to truly measure ROI, we need to take that a few steps further. With some extra legwork, many (not all) core systems and third-party loan application facilitators will add tracking code (like Google Analytics) to allow you to measure the number of completed applications, match those applications to an individual and a marketing source – and even transfer all of this data to a customer relationship management system in real time. If you don’t yet have that level of detail in your reporting, it’s probably a good idea to ask your technology partners why not.

9. Capture all leads. Your credit union may be missing out on up to 60% of campaign leads by not tracking leads that come via phone calls. In today’s mobile-centric world, phone calls are increasingly becoming the preferred form of initial contact for B2C relationships, including financial services. Call tracking technology can solve that tracking problem. A small snippet of code is placed on your website to identify the source of a visitor (e.g., paid search, social media, organic, email, etc.) and instantly change the phone number on your website for each source category. This technology allows us to see exactly how many phone calls were generated by a particular tactic or campaign.

10. Understand all outcomes. Further analysis of these calls can then tell us who the caller was and the call’s outcome. This part of the process can even be automated with speech analytics technology, enabling us to identify where the greatest conversion opportunities lie – and where your existing call center processes may be falling short.

Each of these strategies – used separately or together – can be effective in making informed decisions when creating targeting parameters, developing strategies, executing buys and establishing key performance indicators for your marketing efforts.

Andrew Catalano is Chief Digital Officer for Austin Williams. He can be reached at [email protected]

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