How to Grow Business During a Pandemic

Mark Arnold
How to Grow Business During a Pandemic

How do you grow business during a pandemic?

Not to mention sinking oil prices, rising unemployment and a trade war with China. It’s enough to depress every credit union or community bank executive. As Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chair, said recently, “This is the biggest economic shock, in the U.S. and world, really, in living memory. We went from the lowest level of unemployment in 50 years to the highest level in close to 90 years, and we did it in two months.”

While it may seem counterintuitive, you can grow your credit union or community bank during a pandemic. But that growth will not come naturally or on its own.

Rather than panicking or pausing, you must be proactive.

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One of the best ways your credit union or community bank can grow business during a pandemic is with something you already have: your existing members or customers. One of the strongest tools in your toolkit right now are those who’ve already “purchased” from you in the past. From a marketing perspective, they’ve already shown they know you, they like you and they trust you.

Here are four ways to grow your credit union or community bank with your existing members/customers:

#1: Mine your data

All existing members or customers are not created equal. The more you know about them the more valuable they are. As Dan Zarrella said, “Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.” Pull these reports for more targeted marketing:

  • Those who have a checking account but no auto loan
  • Those with high savings balances but no checking
  • Those with only two products per household
  • Consumers who are not using your mobile or digital services.

#2: Make specific offers

It's not enough just to have data. You need to use it. As Mark Twain once said, “Data is like garbage. You’d better know what you are going to do with it before you collect it.” Once you have those key lists, offer those folks deals. The more customized those offers the more likely you’ll have success. This is where an email funnel or drip campaign can work extremely well. Blend a mix of information with sales.

#3: Connect with the right messages

Your marketing communication must pivot. Now is the perfect time to show empathy and concern with your messaging. And don't hit them with everything you have. As Donald Miller says, “If you confuse, you lose.” We've seen messages like these work well in today's environment:

  • “Don’t let COVID steal anything else”
  • “We have a plan”
  • “We will get through this together"
  • “XYZ product saves you money”

#4: Train your staff

Now more than ever your employees must know how to connect with consumers. Because now more than ever your members/customers need your products. But your staff can’t just push products in a “salesy” way. They have to connect and build relationships. During a recent member experience training session with a client we spent a great deal of time teaching their employees how to connect during coronavirus. The material included information about their mindset, key messages, empathy, service and connection. Your employees will not attain these skills by osmosis: you must train them.

Just because we’re in a pandemic does not mean your credit union or bank can’t grow. In fact, your institution can thrive. If you want the end of 2021 to reflect growth, then start with your existing members/customers.

Bonus Tip: Implement the "Growth Formula"

The Growth Formula teaches that (strategy + messaging) x employees = growth. Sustainable growth only happens when you invest in your strategy, messaging AND employees. The CU Growth Accelerator™ has already helped credit unions and community banks achieve that kind of growth. Fill out the form below and someone from our team will be in touch to help you get ahead of your competition.

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO