How to Find (and Attract) Members Outside of Your Target Demographic

customer acquisition strategies for credit unions

As a credit union, it is likely you have branded yourself via member demographics and are attracting a specific type of audience. While not necessarily a critical problem, diversifying your reach and using messaging that speaks to an array of prospective members will ultimately benefit your credit union. That involves creating a specific customer acquisition strategy. 

Identifying What Narrows Your Reach

Every credit union wants to extend its member base. Without such extension, you cannot increase your revenues. If you are not attracting sufficient new members, or new members are part of your current demographic, it is crucial to analyze why your reach is relatively narrow.

Perhaps your member base consists primarily of baby boomers or Gen-Xers. If you are not attracting millennials and members of Generation Z (those born in the 20th century), your growth options are limited. In the world of fintech and robo-advisors, credit unions might seem a bit old-fashioned to these generations. The right approach will change that, because they still need solid financial advice and products.

Take an in-depth look at your website. Does your site feature people of various ages and backgrounds, or is it geared — consciously or not — to only one certain type of consumer? People highlighted on your site should reflect the diversity you seek in your member base. Otherwise, anyone outside your current member demographic gets the message, overtly or subliminally, that your credit union is not for them.

Increasingly, many members of the community speak a language other than English at home. Businesses offering services in the most commonly used languages in your area via bilingual staff and website access can attract new customers. For example, if demographic surveys show that 20 percent of your area’s residents primarily speak Spanish, your credit union can potentially gain many new members if offering bilingual options. Even people who speak English fairly well are more comfortable discussing financial issues in their native language. Whether taking out a loan or making an investment, people want to ensure they understand all the nuances of the transaction.

Crafting a Customer Acquisition Strategy

Developing a customer acquisition strategy starts by knowing what appeals to that particular demographic. First, keep in mind that millennials tend to conduct their own research before making financial decisions. They want convenience, and if your site is not convenient, they will look elsewhere. This tech-savvy generation expects first-rate mobile banking ability, so if your mobile infrastructure is not as strong as it should be, beefing it up is vital.

Note also that millennials, unlike boomers and Gen-Xers, are less likely to make a phone call for a customer service issue than text or online chat — or use social media. Twitter and Facebook are good, inexpensive ways to publicize your credit union products and acquire new members. Social media marketing is invaluable for these purposes. Making it easier to conduct all business online goes a long way in attracting new members.

Launching the Right Campaign

Acquiring new members means conducting the right kind of campaign and messaging. For younger generations, the most-attractive messaging may include:

  • Financial literacy — offering educational information, such as how to improve a credit score
  • Online budgeting tools
  • Personal guidance — one-on-one conversations about down payment savings, retirement planning and more
  • Serving the local community

The personalized service that credit unions can offer over their larger bank competitors has always been an advantage. Millennials want such personalization even more than previous generations.

Gen Z is still in the credit-establishing process. Emphasizing that your credit union can help them in this endeavor is a valuable campaign tool. Helping young people establish credit can make them longtime, even lifetime, members.

Contact Us 

At Lumin Digital, our platform allows credit unions to innovate quickly, and with minimal risk. We offer a cloud-native platform that allows your credit union to create personalized member experiences — to provide your members with information and guidance specific to their needs. By designing a completely personalized journey, Lumin Digital redefines member engagement.

Jane Meggitt’s work has appeared in dozens of publications, including USA Today, Zack’s, Financial Advisor,, the Houston Chronicle and the Nest. She is a graduate of New York University.