Sites Pumping Leads
To compensate for decreased deposits and fees in recent years, a growing number of institutions have turned to the Internet as a new avenue for revenue.
By partnering with lead-generation websites, many credit unions have increased member acquisition and loan origination.
For example, the $438 million Generations Federal Credit Union recently partnered with Los Angeles-based ConsumerTrack, which operates GOBankingRates and other lead-generating websites.
The $438 million San Antonio credit union was searching for solutions to create stronger credit card penetration, said Wendy Bryant-Beswick, Generations’ chief marketing officer. “ConsumerTrack has provided opportunities to further our product promotions and gain more brand visibility,” she said.
Founded in 2004, ConsumerTrack connects credit unions to consumers through websites, strategic online advertising, search engine optimization, search engine management, display marketing, email marketing, contextual media buying and other initiatives, said Jeff Bartlett, the company's co-founder.
He said his company has about 100 financial institution clients, including about 50 credit unions and that ConsumerTrack's team creates content that highlights the credit union community and specific institutions. The content, which is posted on GOBankingRates and marketed to other websites and publications, includes articles such as “10 of the Best Credit Unions Anyone Can Join” and infographics on topics such as “What's the Difference Between Banks and Credit Unions?”
GOBankingRates uses city category hubs to promote financial institutions in specific locations and credit unions can claim their own spotlight page by partnering with ConsumerTrack.
The company plans to announce several partnerships later this year designed to facilitate member acquisition, online promotion and public relations services, Bartlett said. He said ConsumerTrack services are typically annual subscriptions with fees starting at $5,000 yearly.
By partnering with ConsumerTrack, the $644 million Great Lakes Credit Union in Chicago has enhanced its online exposure and the click-through rate to its website, said John Skul, assistant vice president of marketing there.
“We had good luck with other online referral sites so we decided to seek out additional resources to increase our online presence,” Skul explained.
Tracking results and ROI is one of the biggest challenges of online marketing, according to industry experts.
Many credit unions struggle with tracking online leads, but ConsumerTrack is working with existing technology partners to help its clients and prospects improve tracking and attribution, Bartlett said.
“We do have a couple that have the systems in place to track, but their results are proprietary,” he added.
As a ConsumerTrack client, the $362 million Air Force Federal Credit Union in San Antonio has experienced a good return on investment, said Danny Sanchez, its vice president of marketing.
“GOBankingRates has been a great resource in getting the story of Air Force FCU out in the community,” Sanchez added. “They do a thorough and effective job of researching the content and distributing it to key channels.”
Air Force FCU was recently rated the top military financial institution by GOBankingRates. “The positive feedback and recognition we received from members, news sources and the community has been invaluable,” Sanchez added.
Other lead generators utilize vast networks of affiliated sites to promote credit union products and services.
Santa Barbara, Calif.-based lead generator MoveCU.com recently featured the $3 billion Lake Michigan Credit Union in Grand Rapids, Mich., in an article titled “Best Rewards Credit Cards.”
MoveCU, which debuted at the 2013 Marketing Association of Credit Unions conference in Las Vegas, partners with other lead-generating websites such as CreditJeeves.com and RentTrack.com.
“Credit.com is an ideal channel for credit unions to reach a huge, targeted audience of potential new members who are actively searching for financing and banking services,” said Kevin Dawson, co-founder of MoveCU.
Through the new partnership, MoveCU is currently advertising auto loans on Credit.com, and will soon include credit card and home loan offerings, he said.
“During our beta testing with Credit.com, we experienced a conversion rate of more than 35%, meaning one out of every three clicks turned into a funded loan,” Dawson said. “Our overall goal is to get to 100,000 clicks a month this year through that one partnership alone.”
In addition, he said, MoveCU.com recently inked a similar deal with Experian and plans to launch an affiliate program this summer.
“People are excited to hear about the partnerships and we’re getting great response from innovative credit unions.”