6 Must-Track B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Are you using email to send content to your leads and customers? If you’re not, turns out you’re part of the minority.

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Whether you’re a seasoned marketing pro or an email novice, check out the list of our top B2B email marketing KPIs we like to track. But before we dive into the metrics, we need to touch on one major email marketing necessity, goals. 

Email Marketing Goals 

You should know by now that random acts of marketing (executing marketing tactics that aren’t part of an overarching strategy) are a major don’t in our book and that definitely applies to emails. You might be thinking, “It’s just an email.” And in a sense, you’re right. However, all email communication whether it be a newsletter or a simple follow up email post-download needs to be part of a greater digital marketing strategy.

Learn all about Lake One’s Digital Strategy here.

Okay, so how do you go from the big picture down to your email campaigns? You break it down email by email.

HubSpot recommends doing a quick gut check before you send your next email by asking yourself these questions. What is the goal of my email marketing? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Once you have your goal(s) determined, you’re ready to figure out which metrics you need to track. Read on for our top 6 fav B2B Email Marketing KPIs.

Need help goal setting? Download our SMART Goals template. 

#1. Bounce Rate

What is bounce rate? Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that could not be successfully delivered to the email recipient’s inbox. 

Why we track bounce rate: Emails can bounce for several reasons and fall into two categories, “hard” and “soft”. Soft bounces are temporary problems with delivery like issues with an email client’s server. Hard bounces are permanent problems such as a nonexistent email address and will never be delivered. 

Okay, so an email can’t be delivered, how does that affect you? Our friends at HubSpot say contact list cleanup is a must and we agree. All hard bounces should be removed from your list immediately because internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Too many bounces = Spammer when it comes to ISPs. 

#2. Open Rate

What is open rate? Open rate is the percentage of recipients that open a given email.

Why we track open rate: Recipients can’t convert if they aren’t opening your emails, so the open rate can be a great place to start for optimization. We have to disclose though, not everyone is a fan of tracking open rate because it can be an unreliable metric. An email only counts as opened if the recipient also receives all embedded images within that email. Image blocking is an option via email clients- it’s definitely a possibility your number is off. 

So all of the above aside, we still like to keep open rate on our radar, especially when optimizing subject lines and using it comparatively. 

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

#3. Click-Through-Rate 

What is Click-through-rate? CTR is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email. We often refer to the links as the Call-to-Action (CTA) of the email.

Why we track CTR: CTR is a great indicator of how your email is performing and if your content is resonating with your personas. Are recipients actually clicking on the links that you want them to click on? According to Campaign Monitor, the average click-through rate for most campaigns is slightly over 4%. Here are some tips on how to optimize your followup email CTAs for a higher CTR.

#4. Conversion Rate

What is conversion rate? Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on an email CTA and completed the desired action. Think completing a form, signing up for a free trial, making a purchase, etc.

Why we track conversion rate: Conversion rate is the money maker! Both figuratively and quite literally in some instances. The first step in email marketing is getting the user to click on your link in the email and the second is getting them to convert. This is a major metric in determining if you are meeting your goals.

Lead to MQL/Customer Conversion Rate

Depending on your email campaign goals you can really drill down when it comes to conversion rate. It can also spin off into other metrics such as Lead to Marketing Qualified conversion rate and Lead to Customer conversion rates. 

#5. ROI

What is B2B Email Marketing ROI? ROI is the overall return on investment for your B2B email marketing campaign. 

Why we track ROI: ROI is a KPI staple. Just like any other initiative within your company, you need to track ROI. Are you making money? Are your marketing efforts helping the bottom line? ROI analysis can point out areas of opportunity and areas that are burning cash. 

While we’re talking about KPIs, are you tracking your sales and marketing team alignment? Here’s some more info.

#6. Unsubscribe Rate

What is Unsubscribe Rate? Unsubscribe rate is the rate at which email recipients are unsubscribing from receiving email communication from your company. 

Why we track unsubscribe rate: Unsubscribes alone shouldn’t be the only indicator you review for email performance; however, if your unsubscribes are high, check it out! Perhaps your email is too aggressive, your customers have outgrown you, or your persona messaging is off.

Whatever the reason, high unsubscribe rates are like a big flashing light saying, “Change needed here.” 

Smart Goals Worksheet Template

Words to the Wise

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and become hyper-focused on the KPIs, but here are few things to keep in mind.

  1. Keep it in perspective. Don’t rest solely on percentages. Make sure to look at how many recipients are contributing to the data before you go optimization crazy.
  2. Optimize. And then Optimize again. Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you see a number you don’t like, optimize! Emails are perfect candidates for testing. 
  3. Give it time. You want to give your email campaign time to do its thing. Rapid-fire changes aren’t helpful because it muddies the waters of what’s actually contributing to the change. 

10 Quota Crushing Sales and Marketing Alignment Statistics

“The leads from marketing are junk,” says sales. “Sales can’t close to save their life,” says marketing. On and on it goes as the two teams responsible for driving growth bicker. If only sales and marketing were in alignment. But wait! It’s possible. More and more organizations are putting in the time to align their revenue teams – and it’s worthwhile. We’ve compiled ten statistics that show sales and marketing alignment isn’t just a nice to have – it’s a must-have for consistent quota crushing teams that move the top line.

sales and marketing alignment statistics

1) 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads will actually be qualified. (Source: Marketing Sherpa)

2) 63% of teams without alignment report an inability to calculate marketing ROI (Source: Hubspot 2018 State of Inbound)

3) 58% of aligned teams say sales and marketing alignment improves customer retention. (Source: LinkedIn)

4) 78% measure alignment through revenue growth. (Source: LinkedIn)

Smarketing Statistics

5) Companies with Sales & Marketing alignment are 67% better at closing deals and drive 209% more revenue. (Source: Marketo)

6) B2B organization’s with tightly aligned sales achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth. (Source: Wheelhouse Advisor)

7) Decreased sales productivity and wasted marketing efforts due to misalignment costs $1 trillion a year. (Source: Hubspot)

8) Highly aligned organization’s average 32% YoY growth while their less aligned counterparts see a 7% decrease. (Source: Aberdeen Group)

9) Only 1 in 2 companies say marketing and sales have a formal definition of a qualified lead. (Source: Marketing Charts)

10) Misaligned sales and marketing can cost companies 10% of revenue every year. (Source: Kapost)

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Most-Inspired Content Recommendations from Lake One’s Clients & Partners

Each new year brings with it new goals and resolutions to propel us forward into growth both personally and professionally. So we asked our clients and partners, “What inspired you in 2018?” They replied with their favorite content recommendations and a line or two about why it made their list. From marketing and sales to life purpose, there’s something for everyone to fuel their inspiration into the new year.

Do yourself a favor and keep reading!

Inspired Content Recommendations

Turn your professional development aspirations into SMART goals!



Becoming Michelle Obama, by Michelle Obama
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

In Michelle Obama’s memoir, she chronicles the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.

Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey A. Moore
Recommended by: Chris Knutson, TeamGenius

“Although popular in the startup community, this book is relevant for any marketer. The Whole Product concept is somewhat intuitive, but understanding it well is a game-changer!”

Drop the Ball, by Tiffany Dufu
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

In Drop the Ball, Dufu recounts how she learned to reevaluate expectations, shrink her to-do list, and meaningfully engage the assistance of others―freeing the space she needed to flourish at work and to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships at home.

Fanatical Prospecting by Jed Blount
Recommended by: Ryan Ruud, Lake One

“Marketing is only as good as its relationship with sales. Fanatical prospecting gives marketers a front row seat to the importance of the sales role and how marketing can support their sales partners across the aisle. For organizations that have sales and marketing organized together – this book only reinforces that it’s not sales or marketing – it’s sales and marketing.”

Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days, by Joey Coleman
Recommended by: Garrio Harrison, Fueled Collective

“In Never lose a Customer Again, Joey Coleman shares best practices marketers with a CRM can put in place to turn their prospects into brand ambassadors.”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

This book is a narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens.

The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann
Recommended by: Jennifer Zick, Authentic Brand

“I love summertime in Minnesota, when half-day Fridays and long cabin weekends come around. That’s when I finally kick back and catch up on my reading. 2018 was a great summer for diving in on a few business and leadership books. One of the books I most enjoyed was “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. This book was a two-hour read that tells a great little story centered on the power of generosity. The fictional narrative features a young, driven professional – a true “go getter” – who seeks out advice on how to succeed in his career. What he learns along the way is not at all what he expected, but so much more. This book was especially meaningful to me, as I read it just one year into launching my business, and having experienced first-hand the principles of generosity at play in my life and work. I highly recommend this book to any “go getter”!”


inspired reading recommendations


EOS Worldwide Visionary Mike Paton on the Value of Taking Team Meetings Offsite
Recommended by: Garrio Harrison, Fueled Collective

In this blog post, Mike Paton shares best practices for planning effective offsite meetings and also covers why you should never, ever, have an annual or quarterly meeting onsite.

Julie Lindahl Blog
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

Julie is an author, storyteller and activist who lives in Sweden. She is also a contributor to WBUR Cognoscenti and has been featured on National Public Radio. Read her philosophical approach to life on her blog.

Mark Manson, Life Purpose
Recommended by: Claudia Revermann, Lucent Tax Relief

This is my all time favorite. I’ve found this truly inspirational in a way that cuts through the touchy feeling “finding your why” fad and gets to the down and dirty basics of exploring what makes you tick and why things are important to you.”

Marketing Has a Best Practices Problem
Recommend by: Ryan Ruud, Lake One

“I’ve seen too many marketing programs fall off the rails because they’ve ended up chasing something new without giving any thought to ‘is this right for us? Based off of what we know about our buyers.”

Meet the New Freshmen in Congress: More Democrats, Diversity and Women
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

The congressional freshman class of 2019 is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House. The group includes the first Native American congresswomen and the first Muslim congresswomen. This article breaks down the newest faces in congress.

The 9 Habits of Highly Successful Content Creators
Recommended by: Rachael Cecko, Lake One

“This is a recent HubSpot article, but it quickly became my favorite for 2018. Creating content can be intimidating, but it’s such a key piece of what we do. I love how this article empowers you through practical advice to become a better content creator.”

The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
Recommend by: Chris Knutson, TeamGenius

“I love the contrasts between the behaviors of amateurs and professionals. I re-read this article a couple times a year and ask myself the two food for thought questions at the end, which is an exercise I’d recommend to anyone.”

Women of Color Mark History at the 2018 Midterm Elections!
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

Before election day hit, history had already been made this midterm cycle. Read all about the women of color who officially made history on election day.  

Feeling inspired? Put your aspirations to paper with our SMART Goals Worksheet.

inspired reading recommendations


Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

This podcast is Oprah’s personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. The goal of the podcast is “to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.”

Pod Save America
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

According to the website, Pod Save America is “a political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane. A no-bullshit conversation about politics hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor.”

Seth’s Godin Podcast, Akimbo
Recommended by: Don Ball, Fueled Collective

Seth Godin’s podcast is killer. He’s moving from marketing guru to just plain guru – especially as evidenced by his interview with Krista Tippett for her On Being show.

The future of Coworking
Recommended by: Garrio Harrison, Fueled Collective

The Fueled Collective CEO, Kyle Coolbroth, discusses the future of work and entrepreneurship with podcast host Jamie Russo. He also shares about his coworking story, his first space, and the vision for Fueled Collective.

The Tim Ferriss Show: Derek Sivers on Developing Confidence, Finding Happiness, and Saying “No” to Millions
Recommended by: Chris Knutson, TeamGenius

“One of my all-time favorite Tim Ferriss Show episodes, Derek is brilliant and this episode is full of business and life wisdom. It’s from 2015 but earns a repeat listen by me about once a year.”

Smart Goals Worksheet Template

Four 2019 Marketing Trends You Can Count On

If you’ve been paying attention, the most likely 2019 marketing trends will come as no surprise. With an over-arching theme to connect to consumers personally, we expect 2019 to be filled with content intended to engage and meet consumers where they are rather than getting in their face. Here are the four trends we’d like to call attention to for the upcoming year.

Continue reading “Four 2019 Marketing Trends You Can Count On”

What is Modern Marketing?

Modern, measurable marketing. Sounds like a catchy tagline. But what is modern marketing? Great question. At Lake One we have a strong opinion about what modern marketing is and are often asked about it. Whether it’s what exactly would you say you do?


Or more directly, what is modern marketing?

Quick Index

What is modern marketing?

We consider modern marketing any strategy that leverages a measurable, scalable approach to understanding audience/product alignment. What we mean by this, is that modern marketing is always striving to achieve two things.

First, to be accountable to the question of what did marketing deliver. Either in a financial return or measurable learning about a market.

Want this guide emailed to you? Click here.

Second, marketing should seek to drive scale and efficiency. We’re not looking for a one-hit wonder.

Marketing today doesn’t have to be black magic. We don’t have to guess. With the democratization of complex analysis and machine learning, we’re able to learn quickly what works and what doesn’t work, whether we’re online, offline, or on the go.  Yes, there is still a place for great branding and brand strategy, but modern marketing seeks to scale and create efficiency in the lessons we learn along the way. Ultimately, this is where you start to see the kind of hyper-growth emerging from the startup community.

Leveraging the metrics-driven mentality and a desire to find avenues that can scale, modern marketing allows businesses to learn what works fast, and then ramp that up as sales and revenue follow.

Modern marketing in this sense is no longer the traditional marketing method where an ad was created and then that was that. Modern marketing is about customer experience at every touchpoint, building relationships with customers, adapting continuously the new digital landscapes, and marketing across multiple channels to reach different consumers. Modern marketing is personal. Traditional methods still matter, but they must be incorporated into modern marketing strategies. Building a modern marketing plan requires several components: (1) Tech Stack; (2) Skills (3) Team; (4) Measurement; and (5) On-going education. This guide will touch on each of those. But first, we need to address something else.

Modern marketing understands that buyers have changed. Modern marketing focuses on – you guessed it – a modern buyer

2016 Credit Union Digital Marketing Trends: Part 2

Last week we pulled together our favorite articles from across the digital marketing community. All articles looked forward at what 2016 might hold for digital marketing. Today we look ahead at where we think credit unions are going in the year ahead. These are some of the trends you’ll see us discuss on this blog in the year ahead.

digital marketing trends for credit union 2016

Credit Unions Evolve To Always On Digital Marketing

Credit union marketers have started this switch. Gone are the days where episodic marketing campaigns drive the planning. McKinsey started to point to this transformation toward the end of 2014. A new marketing era where always on programs engage at just the right moment. That moment is arriving in 2016 fueled by a wealth of data, access to tools and ‘be present or lose’ reality.

Credit Union Social Media Matures

Love it or hate it, social media continues to mature as a marketing channel. The most effective credit unions use social media for more than just engagement. Acquisition via social media connects the dots betweens the marketing activity and its return. In 2016 credit unions evolve to an integrated strategy spanning engagement AND acquisition.

Credit Union Websites Get A Hard Look

Increasing digital member acquisition in 2016 will put credit union websites in the spotlight. This focus comes in the form on conversion rate optimization. From call-to-actions to landing pages, this focus ensures credit union websites convert. With the focus comes A/B testing and most important, attribution.

Marketing Attribution Takes Center Stage

As credit unions evolve their capacity, attributing marketing dollars to results becomes reality. Whether paid or grass roots, tracking activities to results brings credit unions in line with other industries.

Over to you

These are just a few of the trends ahead in 2016 as digital marketing evolves in the credit union industry. We’d love to hear from you. What trends do you see ahead? Leave us a comment below.

Interested in keeping in touch on these trends as we write more about them this year? Sign up for our newsletter.


2016 Digital Marketing Trends Your Credit Union Should Watch

The holidays have come and gone in a flash. Left in their wake is a new year.  A clean slate. No matter where you are in your credit union’s digital marketing journey, the year ahead is loaded with potential. As the year unfolds, we’ll see new tools, tactics and strategies for reaching new members and growing share of wallet.

In our always on, alway on-the-go world, accomplishing the goal of reaching new members, growing share of wallet and engaging our community can seem daunting.

As we march forward with our vision to help credit unions, just like yours, squeeze as much opportunity out of the digital world around them, we’re kicking the year off with this summary. All week we’ve been sharing our favorite, forward-looking content giving you a jump on carpe diem-ing your credit union’s digital opportunity from email to social media. Here’s our recap.


digital marketing trends for credit union 2016Overall Digital Trends Your Credit Union Should Monitor

Across the board, there are some 30,000 foot trends taking place across all industries that affect consumers generally. As a result, they affect the way consumers think about every thing from finance to impacting how we communicate or find new products and services. As disruption continues to occur in everything from the way we work to the way we pay for things, these 6 trends captured by Adam Toren at Entrepreneur.com are worth keeping on your credit union’s radar as you work towards becoming a center of innovation. Read More

Position Your Credit Union Website For Search In 2016

2015 saw more updates from search giant Google including a pivot towards emphasizing sites with secure protocols and those that are optimized for mobile. Expect this trend to continue in 2016 with a focus on speed and re ignited focus on the user. This means everything from moving faster from keywords to intent based searches plus bigger boosts to sites with quick loads times and sites designed around conversion. Gone are the day of sites not focused on conversion, driving action or sale. Google sees all. Read More about 2016 SEO Trends in this article by Darshan Patel at SemRush. Read More.

Social Media Advertising Matures, Is Your Credit Union Capitalizing?

Social medica continues to be challenging for credit unions. Hung up on policy and procedure, credit unions and the financial services industry as a whole struggle to leverage this channel. However the industry has matured while financial services is trying to figure out how to react. Leaving behind it are grown up ad platforms that in 2016 will really come into their own as a legitimate traffic source offering robust targeting that when coupled with 1st party data can be a powerful acquisition and retargeting tool. Read more about what several leaders in social media have to say about the channel in this recap from Social Media Examiner. Read More. 

Time To Freshen Up Your Credit Union’s Email Marketing Strategy

Email continues to be one of the best channels to drive acquisition and engagement. It’s also one of the oldest. Over the past few years, new tools in automation and analytics have created new ways to conceive and deliver email campaigns. It might be time to revisit your credit union’s approach to it’s email database and email marketing effort. This post by Susan Su provides 7 thought provoking, data backed ideas to rethink some old email tactics. Read More.

Our Forward Looking Credit Union Digital Marketing Review

Next week we’ll provide our own take on what 2016 will hold and where the biggest opportunities exist in credit unions looking to capitalize on digital marketing and engagement.

We always love hearing from you.

Were there 2016 forward looking articles you saw that we should be aware of? Share them in the comments below. What do you think 2016 holds for the digital marketing world. Let us know.


5 SEO Opportunities Your Credit Union Can Seize This Month

One of the most frequent digital marketing questions credit unions ask us at the Consulting Group is how can my credit union improve its organic search presence.


First, search engine optimization has changed dramatically from what it was ten years ago, and rapidly in just the past 18 months. That said, it isn’t dead. There are always things to be doing to improve your credit union’s digital member experience that will overall improve both SEO and the results your digital channel generates.

With that premise, there was a time when SEO was as easy as following a checklist. Many marketers point to approximately 200 ranking factors. However with search algorithm improvements and increased frequency in algorithm updates plus Google’s mystique, SEO as a checklist or any definitive set of search ranking factors  today, isn’t quite as black and white.

Much of the SEO game is trial and error. Many of the changes that are beneficial aren’t bot pleasing by nature but satisfying to the member or prospect trying to find your credit union or get an auto loan.

[ctt title=”Focus on member experience and search benefits will follow.” tweet=”Focus on member experience and search benefits will follow. http://ctt.ec/Knffx+” coverup=”Knffx”]

Ultimately, SEO today is a lot more natural which bodes well for credit unions looking to make some changes and see quick lifts.

Separating SEO Hype from Hope

One of the best representations of ranking is the SEO Periodic Table of Success maintained by SearchEngineLand on which, many of the  credit union opportunities we’ll discuss fall. You’ll see below that the items mentioned tend to lean towards improvements to an experience that treat your members well when searching for you or visiting your website.

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Low hanging Credit Union SEO Opportunities

What are some of the easy targets for credit union marketers who may not have the resources or access to conduct a complete SEO overhaul?

Below are 5 areas credit union marketers can focus on listed from the least resource intensive to the most.


There is a whole subset of SEO called Local SEO that credit unions can tap into immediately.

This focuses on securing the profiles for branches on directories such as Yelp, Foursquare and Google Maps/Places.

ProTip: Keep an eye on reviews and ratings on these sites, they matter. Nearly 90% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

These directory profiles like Foursquare and your map locations carry high search ranking and will help with page one placement.

In addition, make sure your website has location information for each branch, critical information is Name, Address and Phone Number for each branch and make sure this syncs up with the information across the directories.


This is an area where I personally believe credit unions stand to gain the most. Many credit union websites are developed around e-commerce principals. They are product oriented sites with complex navigation (not a good e-commerce principal by the way). Credit unions exist in part, to help members and the community they serve create a stronger financial future. Part of this is education and providing information.

Content on the internet has changed dramatically in recent years and how people search for it continues to evolve. What matters now is the quality of the content (arguably that should have always mattered because let’s be honest, does anyone like clicking on a link and getting a one paragraph article that tells them nothing?

But I get it. Credit unions have limited resources. There are still solutions to turning your credit union into a content publisher and I’m happy to talk to you if you’d like to discuss something personalized for your credit union. Here are a few ideas: interviews with internal subject matter experts, video blogs, and curation.

The key is that content becomes the fuel for a large part of success in SEO as well as other digital marketing efforts.


Are your members getting what they want from your site? Or are they leaving in a tizzy because your website just keeps getting levels added  to it with no rhyme or reason and suddenly it looks like grandma’s basement?

If you’re experiencing an extremely high bounce rate, low conversions, and your site isn’t getting any social signals (shared content or recommendations) then we have a problem.

Luckily, this can be fixed with good content (see above). A planned site structure (see below) and efforts to start building authority (give me a second we’ll get there.)

You’re likely starting to see now that each of these elements relate to and build on each other. That’s how digital marketing works. No single tactic or channel lives in a vacuum because your members aren’t single channel digital creatures.


Luckily, you should have some of this already.

There is a good likelihood that you have a large amount of brand searches and if your site has the right domain and/or title structure you’re building some authority by the demand for your brand.

We’ve also now taken care of the major local directories which will help as well.

But we can do better.

Let’s start with social media. Now that you’ve got content moving (see above) make sure you have the mechanisms in place to make it easy for people to share your content far and wide and send out social signals for your domain. This will add to your authority.

Additionally, taking your content and growing thought leadership into the community will help.

Pro Tip: Reach out to local media, community groups and education offices to see if they are interested in your credit union’s expertise. You’ll share your content and leverage their authority to build yours. 

Information Architecture

Finally, and this one may be a bit resource intensive. Your site architecture.

There are approximately three key areas of information: products, information and conversion points; account logins and thought leadership and content marketing.

All of this needs to be structured well so that both the search engines and your web visitors can get what they seek.

Pro Tip: Develop information architecture by accommodating navigation and layout to personas. Actually create fake users and define what they are like for each type of member/prospect who will be attempting to access these various areas. This will ensure they can easily find what they need and ultimately increase engagement (see above). 

Once you’ve launched a site redesign, deploy testing to optimize your digital member experience.

Plan Ongoing SEO for Your Credit Union

Once you’ve beefed up those five areas, your credit union will be making substantial strides towards a stronger organic search presence. SEO is an ongoing process. With constant changes to search algorithms, it’s beneficial to get into a test and learn state of mind to gain the most momentum in SEO for your credit union.

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Revisit Your Credit Union’s Millennial Strategy

I’ve written off and on about credit unions and millennials. I’ve had the privilege to speak to credit unions and leagues/associations on the topic. Mostly, I think because I’m unabashedly a Millennial myself. Albeit on the older end of the spectrum.


Often, these writing opportunities or speaking engagements begin with:

” tell us about how we can better reach millennials.”

It’s a good prompt. It means credit unions are thinking about segments of their membership. One, that has many credit unions scratching their head.

The issue I often take is when people seek a silver bullet.

I love audience segmentation. As a marketer, it’s crucial to what I do.

But I’m also a social scientist.

So when I’m asked to give a few bullet items on reaching the largest generation since the Boomers, I  get a bright white flash and inevitably end up here Instead:

[ctt title=”Credit Unions should ask: What can we learn from millennials?” tweet=”What can credit unions learn from millennials? http://ctt.ec/4dQ25+” coverup=”4dQ25″]

Let me explain why

Who Are Millennials?

You likely have your assumptions about the millennials generation. They’re lazy, broke and myriad other adjectives, most of them unflattering.

When talking about generations, it’s difficult. Cohorts span significant periods of time. With millennials, in particular, at this moment in their life, we’re spanning a period that can cover high school and college graduation, entering the workforce and starting a family and settling down.  Each one of these carries it’s own set of psychographic characteristics and maturity to individuals.

Instead, let’s look at facts, not adjectives.

The millennials have become the largest generational cohort since the boomers, various research centers put the group between 75 – 80 million strong in the U.S.

Size of Millennial Generation

This generation grew up in a world marked by tragedy and uncertainty: 9/11, economic collapse, and the world at war in multiple zones.

But perhaps most interesting, is with size comes a significant economic force. As the economy recovers, and the generation matures, it’s becoming clear that millennials DO have assets. However, the approach to personal finance and spending is different than in the past.

Millennial generation economic power

Understanding Early Adoption Theory

The millennial generation was the generation that brought Facebook to worldwide, mass adoption, by all segments of the population.  They were among the first to become glued to their smartphones and to trust an algorithm, not a person, with their retirement.

By all accounts, the Millennial generation represents early adopters.

In hordes, they use Uber over taxis, AirBnB over traditional lodging. They represent the upslope in the adoption bell curve of the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. In a nutshell, the theory attempts to explain how products, ideas and other innovations spread throughout a group of people. It suggests that adoption moves representative to a bell curve where adoption begins with innovators and early adopters before moving out into the bulk of the population. Businesses will often assign time periods to sections of the bell curve to help facilitate product updates or release of new products all together to keep a steady flow of innovation being released into the mainstream.

Early Adopters - Diffusion of Innovation

But here’s the rub.

During their late teens to early thirties, most generations have a period where they spend time in this portion of the curve.

That’s not to say as a generation ages they never return, however, every generation brings with it innovations and leads the charge with the adoption of innovation that inevitably starts to spread across a populace.

The Canary In the Coal Mine

If it stands to reason that Millennials aren’t just a field of membership segment needing to be reached,  but rather early adopters who indicate potential trends that may spread across your field of membership, what should a credit union do?

Look at what they’re doing and consider these new trends across other segments.

Diffusion of innovation - majority

For example.

Rewind to 2004 as Facebook began spreading across college campuses, then the general public. Along came Twitter, and YouTube continued its growth. As social media continued to pick up steam, particularly among millennials, many credit unions and other organizations sat watching, calling it a young person fad that had no implications to business.


  • 40% of the mass affluent over age 55, use social media to discover and select financial institutions. (source: Cogent Research)
  • 63% of investors have picked or changed a stock in their portfolio based on social media influence (source: Think Advisor)
  • 75% of the underbanked can be reached and helped via social media (source: Pew Research)

Instead of looking at the trend as something affecting only millennials, ask yourself: what might this look like if this trend spreads across other segments of my field of membership? 

In this case, the diffusion of innovation theory would shift the thinking to deliver something like: social media is an emerging channel that distributes a variety of information. How can my credit union leverage this near free channel to disseminate personal finance and investment information to the rest of our field of membership to meet their financial needs as their adoption of the channel increases? 

Of course, in this scenario we have the benefit of hindsight.

What Happens When The Prompt Changes

When your credit union shifts it’s thinking from “how do we reach millennials” to “what can we learn from millennials” a few things happen.

First, your credit union leadership becomes proactive, instead of reactive, creating strategies that put you ahead of the curve.

You’re not just reacting to a shift in how a segment of your field of membership is behaving; you’re planning on how shifts may spread across your field of membership as a whole.

Second, you kill two birds with one stone. In the process of setting your credit union up strategically across other field of membership segments, you accomplish what you originally set out to achieve: reaching millennials.

But in the process, instead of just putting out a fire with one segment, you’ve strengthened your overall credit union’s approach for other segments as adoption picks up.

Finally, you start to create a culture of innovation.

This is related to becoming proactive versus reactive. When your credit union starts to look trends holistically, you start to see bigger and bigger pictures and can plan accordingly.


Leveraging Digital to Reach Your Credit Union’s Hispanic Field of Membership

The U.S. Hispanic population continues to be a rapidly growing segment of super consumers and one that is increasingly digitally savvy. U.S. census data shows that since the 1970s, the population of Hispanics in the United States has grown 592%. In the first decade of the 2000s alone, Hispanics made up more than half of total U.S. population growth.

Reaching Your Credit Unions Hispanic Members

This segment of the U.S. population packs a powerful economic punch with buying power estimated to reach $1.5 trillion this year (2015).

With such a large demographic segment in population and economic scope, credit unions with a large Hispanic population falling within their field of membership need to tap into this opportunity.

Historically, beliefs around Hispanic marketing has focused on reaching family units and traditional media as core to Hispanic marketing.

New research into the online behaviors of the U.S. Hispanic population sheds light on behaviors that credit union marketers whose field of memberships include Hispanic populations should take note of.

Hispanic Population More Attentive To Online Advertising

Historically, the family unit and television have been key pillars in Hispanic marketing plans. However research from Google indicates that U.S. Hispanics use online sources at a rate higher than the general internet population (54% vs. 46%) throughout their purchase decision favoring online above family, radio and tv.

When it comes to online advertising, 66% of Hispanics pay attention to ads a full 20 percent more than the general internet populations.

Key takeaway: Online advertising is a crucial new pillar of a modern, Hispanic marketing planning. If additional budget can’t be secured, consider reallocating from traditional media to digital channels to reach this crucial segment. 

Search Is A Crucial Step In The Journey

In the same Google report,  nearly 80% of Hispanics say search his their #1 online tool in gathering information for decision making.

Combine this with the rate of adoption for mobile as a primary tool for online activity (42% vs. 33% for non-Hispanic according to Specific Media) search, both paid and organic and mobile optimized is critical.

Key Takeaway: Search is a crucial tool. Credit unions should look to bolster their paid search position and ramp up efforts in organic search with strong social media and content marketing efforts. Support all of this with a mobile friend user experience on your credit union’s marketing website and landing pages or microsites. 

Spanish, Culture and What Matters

Finally, culture, naturally, is crucial. Google reports that 70% of Hispanics find a website’s cultural relevance to be important when gathering information. Nearly half feel more favorable towards a brand who shows cultural relevance which is important because research from the Pew Hispanic Trends team shows it takes a great deal to get Hispanics to switch brands.

So what matters, culturally speaking?

Well, according to Google, the notion that Spanish “always” has to be used, is outdated.

Search trends for Spanish keywords are rising, 65%-500% from 2011 – 2014 across product categories. However in their research, only about 1/3 of respondents are dominantly Spanish speaking and nearly 95% are comfortable consuming English content online.

A thoughtful approach to blending both Spanish and English seems like a good approach. Overall the key is to be relevant so if a credit union ventures into the Spanish language with ads and content, do it well.

Key takeaway: Culture is important. Credit Union’s should be thoughtful about creating experiences from ads to content and microsites that reflect Hispanic culture. That doesn’t mean everything has to be spanish. Take a thoughtful approach and whatever your credit union does, do it thoroughly. Winning the Hispanic population is a loyal population and worth the time to do it right.