To market your credit union effectively, the first thing you need to do is clearly define who your ideal member types are, where they spend time (primarily online) and what their key challenges are.
What’s an avatar?
An avatar is a semi-fictional bio of your ideal member. It will impact virtually every aspect of your marketing process:
- Content. Blog posts, gated offers, video, podcasts, etc.
- Paid Ads. Which ad platforms and targeting options.
- Product Offers. Which financial solutions your avatars are searching for.
- Copy. How to write in a way that compels your avatar to join your credit union.
- Email Campaigns. How to draft and target content relevant to each avatar.
Any part of your marketing efforts will improve when you get clear on your avatar. After all, it’s a person that stands to help support your credit union. It makes obvious sense to get specific on the nature of that person so you can present them with messaging that connects and pushes them into action.
Create multiple avatars.
Ideally, you should create unique avatars for any member type with distinct goals, sources of information, frustrations, etc. It’s pretty common for a credit union to have at least a half dozen.
What to include in your avatar worksheet.
The worksheet includes 6 sections. Whenever possible, you’ll want to survey current members to better understand your avatar. In other cases, you’ll already be intimately familiar with the characteristics of your ideal member. In any case, it’s essential that move beyond assumptions to get the real facts behind the avatar. Otherwise, you’ll be drafting content based on false assumptions.
Demographics and career information.
Adding demographic information will serve as the basic introduction for your avatar. Provide the standard information, but pay particular attention to the “Philosophy” field, which is a free-form place to provide a bit of an overall paradigm that illustrates the motivations of your avatar.
The demographics happen to line up directly with audience targeting options on platforms like Facebook.
Desires and values.
Outline the desires and values that are relevant to the products and services your credit union offers. In other words, it’s not important to document desires like “wants to get into better shape,” because that’s not directly related to the products and services your institution provides.
This information is critical in helping you to clearly articulate the “after” state for your avatar. That is, the ideal situation that you can provide to their lives by working together.
Challenges and frustrations.
Too many institutions create marketing messaging around features, products, and people. These things won’t resonate with prospects nearly as well as demonstrating how your credit union can address their existing pain points, though. This section will help you focus all efforts around those things that your avatar truly cares about.
Objections and your avatar’s role in the decision-making process.
Once you’ve outlined your avatar’s key pain points and verified that your credit union can help address them, it’s important to predict why they might still resist working with you. Do they have concerns with your reputation? Your proximity? Your rates? Do they prefer the resources that a big bank can bring to the table? These objections should be addressed in all of your marketing efforts.
You must also clarify your avatar’s role in the decision-making process. Are they the primary decision maker or are they just an influencer?
Sources for information.
Once you have an effective message, focused on your avatar’s needs and motivations, and you’ve established ways to overcome the most common objections, you’ll need to know where to deliver this message.
This will help determine where you can target paid ads, publish guest blog posts, participate in forums, and so on.
Get specific here. This is one of the easiest sections to complete with a little surveying of current members. And focus on the less common answers. If a member says she gets news from CNN and the Wall Street Journal, that won’t help you as much as answers like “the Tim Ferris Podcast.” Unique trumps common.
Again, this information will be hugely helpful when targeting ad campaigns on platforms like Facebook.
It’s worth the effort.
Understanding your ideal member’s decision-making process is essential to the success of your marketing campaigns, so spend several days creating your avatars and then revisit them every few months to make sure they’re still relevant and accurate.