There is a saying in the marketing world: “it takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.” 

This marketing truth goes directly to the heart of the common business dilemma—is it better to target current clients/customers or is it better to look outside for new ones? Let me go ahead and resolve that dilemma for your credit union: reaching out to current members to generate more business is a far more effective tactic than reaching out to the community to obtain new members or customers. 

This is, first, because gaining new customers is more expensive than connecting with your existing customer base. Many sources estimate that it can cost at least  4-6 times more to earn business from a new customer, than to retain a current one. Picture your available market as a fruit tree. Your current members are the low-hanging fruit, easily reachable. All others are harder to reach. Which fruit requires the least effort? 

Another benefit that comes with focusing on existing members is an increased probability of success. Let’s compare the two:  the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. I don’t know about you, but I like the first odds much better. Think about that—not only will it cost you less to market to your existing members, your sales-conversion rates will be much higher. Again, when you picture the fruit tree, imagine that your members are the “ripe and ready” fruit that will easily fall off the branch, but those not yet your members will require a lot of work and money to move them into your basket.

Because you now know that focusing on existing members delivers more with less effort at a lower cost, you should be asking: “How do I market specifically to members versus marketing to the community?” 

  • Customer Experience with ALL Services - One way  to keep members happy and loyal is to focus on the experience you give them in all areas. For instance, let’s say that one of your members acquired an auto loan from your CU. Now, you are wanting to market a purchase mortgage to them (big bang for the buck!). If they had a great experience with the auto loan, they will be much more likely to look your way for the home loan. They will want to enjoy another positive encounter. However, if the first was not great, they will probably look elsewhere.
  • Online Channels - It’s no surprise today that online marketing is a key component to any growth strategy, but did you realize that this can be highly targeted? Today, online and digital campaigns can reach your customers exactly where they are with the specific message that best resonates with them. This includes earned media, paid advertising, native advertising, blog posts, web content written for SEO, social media channels and more. 
  • Pertinent Promotions - Through your members, you can use what you already know about them to run relevant promotions that will appeal to them. According to the folks at Forbes: “The key is to run relevant pander-free promotions that reward customers, make them feel good about doing business with your company, and encourage them to do more of the same.” What are you giving back to your current members? Are you offering them any extras for continuing to choose your credit union?

Implementing a combination of these tried-and-true marketing concepts can help your credit union capitalize on an abundant group of prospects who already want to work with you—your members.  When it comes time to market a new product or service (or one they have yet to experience, like a purchase mortgage), make sure your current members know what you’re offering and are ready to say “Yes!” That’s the way to increase your bottom line.

If you want to learn more about how our turn-key real estate program, HomeAdvantage®, includes ready-to-go marketing tools for your credit union, click here.