While banking might never be described with synonyms of “exciting,” there’s no reason banks or credit unions should resign themselves to boring, unimaginative, look-alike marketing campaigns.

Here are three ideas to keep in mind when thinking about launching a new campaign for your financial institution.

Show your customers that you understand them.

Everyone wants high interest rates for their savings, and low interest rates for their loans. And your competition will claim that they have both, so a “great rate” isn’t always enough to win customers. It’s important to tap into the emotional side of the reasons why people need a bank; don’t focus solely on the practical side.

Let’s say you want to promote your home equity line of credit. Your ad could feature large numbers with a practical headline that reads “Our HELOC rate is 5.245%.” People might think “That’s not bad. I’ve seen higher, but I’ve also seen lower.”

Or, your ad could feature an image of a family enjoying a backyard pool with an emotional headline that reads “Improve your summer by 100% with our HELOC rate of 5.245%.” And people might think “You know, we’ve talked about a pool for years. And that’s a pretty good rate. Maybe now’s the time…”

Prove that you understand the feelings that drive the reasons people need a bank, and you’ll stand out from all the other banks that focus on the facts. See how we did this with a campaign for Centreville Bank.

Be savvy about your content marketing strategy.

The content you share via your blog and social channels should showcase your expertise, products, and services without overtly promoting your brand. But you can’t just let yourself fade into the background and disappear. Make sure your institution is featured prominently enough to be recognized as the provider of the helpful/informative/entertaining content you publish, but not so prominently that your posts feel like intrusive sales pitches. Your content marketing strategy should set you up to be remembered as a helpful resource, not as an annoying salesperson.

It’s OK to have a little fun.

Banks, credit unions, and financial institutions of all types are heavily regulated and are often required to include ponderous disclaimers in much of their marketing. So, since they have to be there anyway, why not let the disclaimers be the serious aspect of your marketing? Use the rest of your ad or video or radio spot to build your reputation as a bank that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but takes its customers’ needs very seriously. A bank that delivers helpful products, great service, and a different personality. The work we did for Direct Federal Credit Union shows how it’s done, with simple visuals and simple copywriting — while still featuring rate information, too.


Direct Federal Credit Union Online Banner


Direct Federal Credit Union Boston Globe Ad

Your marketing efforts should make people believe that you

  • understand their financial needs
  • have expertise they can rely on
  • are a likable entity they’d enjoy working with

That may seem pretty obvious, but just a little time spent looking at typical marketing for banks and credit unions will show you that few institutions are working toward those goals. Doing so is a simple and effective way to make sure your institution is noticed.