There is a concept called ‘nurture marketing,’ which emphasizes the benefit of communicating the value of your solutions to your target audience through education, even when you know they’re not ready to make a purchase. What’s key to an effective nurture marketing campaign is that focus on education or helping your audience understand how they can solve their problems (without a lot of the salesy mumbo jumbo).
Nurture marketing helps build a relationship with your audience and also helps establish credibility at the same time. Your members appreciate the education you can provide to help them make successful decisions (especially about something that is as important to them as their finances!) As a result, your positive brand image becomes top-of-mind, which means that when a purchase is ready to be made, you’ll be the first phone call.
Unfortunately some organizations are better able to communicate their expertise and knowledge than others in order to build a positive brand. Your credit union is no different. How does nurture marketing fit into your marketing plan or do you even have a marketing plan? (You should!!!)
Well, let me tell you a little secret – nurture marketing is, has been, and will continue to be critical in growing your business, whether you’re a credit union, a vendor or pretty much any business that sells something. (And I’m not just saying that because marketing is my chosen career path that I happen to love ). Nurture marketing is a phenomenal way to evolve your credit union from being seen as a commodity (undifferentiated provider of financial services) to a premium provider (members select you not based on an endless search for the lowest cost).
This is a famous ad from 1958 published by McGraw-Hill shared with us at recent meeting by our fearless leader. The message still rings true today…
This ad appeared over 60 years ago, and yet the message is as clear and as relevant today as ever! It’s critical to establish a relationship with your audience well before the concept of a sale ever enters the conversation. And that’s where marketing, nurture marketing in particular, comes into play.
Think about it, how do your members learn about all the wonderful solutions you can provide for them? Why would they trust that you will fulfill all the promises you make? Don’t get me wrong, sales is an essential part of the process, but put it in context — do you really stand at your front door for 20 minutes and let the 17 year old high school student sell you on $30 magazine subscriptions for a company you’ve never heard of (also known as ‘Steve’s Friday night party fund’)? I certainly don’t…and your members/prospects aren’t going to either. As a credit union, your business is driven by the deep relationships you develop with your members, not by a one-off sale to any Joe Schmoe walking down the street never to be seen again.
It’s the building block of our businesses and the innovation and evolution of marketing makes it exciting and effective. Times are changing, so are your members and so is marketing. There’s a world of inexpensive and even free marketing channels to explore out there that make nurture marketing easier and more cost-effective than ever before. Most of them, crazy as it may seem, WORK! (See nurture marketing in action from our recent blog post on innovative ways your credit union peers are using interactive, online financial calculators to engage members and attract new members and new business.)
It’s rare to have a truly great product, something credit unions definitely have – you have to let people know! The brand and personality of your credit union are too important to ignore, especially in today’s competitive market. Marketing people…it’s all in the marketing.
Some ideas for nurture marketing content for your credit union:
- Seminars on buying your first house
- Website content related to retirement planning
- Helping members understand the importance of credit scores
- Tips on preventing identity theft
Any others out there? What other innovative nurture marketing campaigns does your credit union use?
Post written by Kirstin Hemsteger, Marketing Manager, NAFCU Services Corp.
Related resources and posts: