removing the barriers of fear is key to membership growth

Are your potential members afraid of financial commitment?

If your membership growth numbers are a little tepid, maybe you can spice things up by reducing the fears that go along with financial commitment. We marketers tend to focus on the positives, but it’s well worth thinking about the negatives that might be creating barriers.

What are people afraid of? What’s scary or unknown about your products, your marketing, or your processes? What reasons are people giving themselves for going elsewhere or simply not taking action?

For example, asking someone to move their checking account or credit card right away is like asking to get married on the first date — it’s a big commitment to make so early in the relationship. Yes, you need involved, multi-service members, but not everyone is comfortable jumping in that fast right away.

What paths to membership can you open up that don’t even require going steady? What everyday problems can you solve for people right here, right now? How might you give people “free samples” of the CU difference?

You can reduce fear with knowledge. For example, applying for a loan can be pretty scary, especially for younger members. You could address this with a couple of candid blog articles or a page on your website explaining exactly what to expect when you apply for a car loan or credit card. What happens if there’s a problem? What will the CU do if there’s bad information on a credit report? What kind of income and history do you need?

Another angle could be to help reduce risk. Many CUs offer checklists and personal assistance for switching checking accounts. What would it take to go a step further and offer a guarantee that you’ll help fix any mixups and even reimburse accidental fees that might pop up from a checking account switch?

There’s also the fear of being fooled. What’s all that fine print going to take away? If I switch, what’s keeping you from treating me the same as the bank down the street? Address these fears by abolishing fine print, using plain language, and simplifying your policies. You could use authentic testimonials and referrals in your marketing.

Thinking about the fear of financial commitment is a little unnatural for CU marketers — we’re a pretty positive bunch — but removing the barriers of fear is key to membership growth.


Brian Wringer

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