Step-by-Step Guide: $4M Online Debt Consolidation Campaign

October 30, 2023


New Year, New You! Like millions of Americans every year, thisCredit Unions members were struggling to save enough and did not know where to turn. In order to help members take advantage of their great rates, this Credit Union launched a debt consolidation and savings campaign that featured personalized, interactive tools to help members achieve their savings goals.

Executive Summary

The Credit Union launched a 90-day campaign aimed at engaging new and existing members to educate them about the benefits ofsaving at higher interest rates.

They advertised in the following places, ATM ads, Digital LobbyScreens, Posters in the branch, Online Banking Ads, SEM Ads,Display Ads, Retargeting Ads, Social Posts, and an email to our membership.

Key Results

Total Loan Volume: $4M in new balances
Total Applications: 826 new applications
Total Loans Funded: 320
Total Appointments Booked: 71
Average Loan Amount: $12,325 (compared to $8,390 last year)Average Loan Balance Increase: 147% higher Year over YearConversions: 34% conversion rate 6x their typical 5% conversion rate)

Listening to Members

While most Credit Unions focus on advertising rates and promoting generic offers, Credit Union decided to offer personalized financial guidance to help members understand how much they could save by consolidating their debt.

What Did Members Want?

The answer was simple, Credit Union members had voiced to the marketing team that they wanted amore personalized experience and it was hard to figure out what all the rates would mean specifically for them. Members were going to websites like Nerdwallet to find the tools that their Credit Union wasn’t providing.

Members weren’t able to find the answers they were looking for and when they did, the tools were confusing to them. So the Credit Union decided to launch a cross-channel marketing campaign that would drive to a landing page where members could use an interactive tool to determine their savings.

Members were telling us they wanted to use calculators. They weren’t able find what we had and when they did, the calculators were confusing to them so it worked its way up to marketing as a big priority.

- VP Digital Marketing


The problem was finding a digital tool that was versatile, on-brand, easy to use, and something that would actually help members find the right products specifically for them to see their savings.

- Personalized & Interactive: Modern and easy for members to use.

- Easy to Use: On-brand, ADA-compliant with a responsive design for mobile.

- Not an iFrame: SEO optimized & measurable, so an iFrame would not work.

- Measurable Impact: Tracking via Google Tag Manager and UTMs.

- Flexible: Easy to use promote on multiple pages and channels.

Step by Step Guide

The problem was finding a tool that was versatile, on-brand, easy to use, and would actually help members get into applications.

Step 1: Survey Your Members

Survey members to understand their needs and pain points. Credit Union members voiced their desire for interactive financial tools, highlighting an opportunity to enhance their digital experience.

Step 2: Document Clear Goals & Budgets

Clearly documented campaign goals means that everyone is on the same page withthe results we’re optimizing for. As long as everyone is aligned, it makes strategic decisions much easier - let's optimize to achieve the goals we agreed on.

Step 3: Build a Landing Page for Conversion

Do you need a dedicated landing page? YES! Design a new landing page that provides information about the application process. In this case, the Credit Union designed a landing page to provide personalized results to its members to help understand how much they could save before asking them to apply for a loan. Focus all of your efforts on getting people to the landing page - and then optimize from there.

Step 4: Map Out User Journeys

Once your goals are defined, grab a white board and map out how people are goingto get to your landing page. Once someone is on the landing page, what actions do you want them to take? If they don’t convert at first, what is the next best action?

Step 5: Use Interactive Personalized Tools

Data people prefer personalized experiences instead of one-size-fits-all content.The problem is personalized content often is quite expensive. One solution for the personalization problem is interactive financial calculators - for example in this campaign a savings calculator was featured on the landing page. This Credit Union drove 248 of the total 826 applications directly from the Savings Calculator. The problem was finding a tool that was versatile, on-brand, easy to use, and would actually help members get into applications.

Step 6: Promote On Different Channels

This campaign advertised in the following places, ATM ads, Digital Lobby Screens,Posters in the branch, Online Banking Ads, SEM Ads, Display Ads, Retargeting Ads,Social Posts, and an email to membership. Make sure people don’t miss out.

Step 7: Run a SEM Campaign

Leverage Google’s to generate traffic, aiming for a higher-than-average conversion rates by continually testing. In this campaign, this Credit Union achieved a 34%conversion rate, which is 6x the average conversion rate (5-10%) for search.

Step 8: Run a Display Campaign

This campaign featured both retargeting and prospecting display campaigns to promote the Debt Consolidation landing page. This approach led to 85  conversions with a sub $100 cost per conversion - very strong for display campaign.

Step 9: Proper Attribution Is Crucial

Utilize UTM and Google Tag Manager to make sure that your tools are talking across the journey. In this case, the primary goal was getting people to the landing page.From there, it was much easier to see attribution by channel and then track which parts of the landing page were driving the most conversions.

Step 10: Share Your Results

When you generate $4m in personal loans from a beautifully executed marketing campaign, don’t forget to shout it from the rooftops! Your teams internally should understand the impact that you are driving - this work shouldn’t go unnoticed.

And don’t forget - these same playbooks can be run for other products!

Key Takeaways

Three Practical Tips

Think Like A Member: Don‘t think like a marketer, think like a member. If you were going through the journey to consolidate debt, would you wantto see more rates or would you want to see a personalized savings tool?

Make It Personal: People don’t want one-size-fits-all financial education content anymore. They want personalized experiences, tools, andcalculators. People want to understand how it impacts them personally.

Know Your Audience: Define clear and specific target audiences. Once you have those people in mind, then you can build a journey that will helpthem find the answers they are looking for.

Want to learn more?

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