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The Top 3 (and FREE) Digital Tools to Help the Credit Union Marketer

It’s funny how things come full circle.

That’s what I thought as I ended my MBA career with the exact same group project that had started it – a real-time business simulation where we launched a global microcomputer company and ran every aspect of it from finance, to product development, to marketing.

We had done an easier version of the simulation my first semester, where nearly every group ran their company into the ground at some point or another. The companies competed with each other in the marketplace, and being pretty competitive I wanted to end the program with a solid first place in the microcomputer industry.

Our group spent hours meeting and planning. Out of eight groups we started out third…then fourth…and ended fifth. What we couldn’t figure out was how the group that had initially started out in the bottom, “Ace Inc.,” ended up bolting to second place at the very end of the project.

As the simulation ended and each group led a presentation of their business tactics, the Ace Team revealed their philosophy – “Work smarter, not harder.” Instead of meeting in person as we had done, they effectively delegated and worked on the project through email communication. Instead of trying to do something completely innovative and different, they looked at what the lead teams were doing and repurposed those tactics in a way that worked for them.

Work smarter, not harder. It was a simple mantra that stuck with me. In that moment I realized I had already been practicing this throughout my credit union marketing career, from being a member of a three-person department, to working for a small firm helping small to mid-size credit unions. Time is tight, especially for those running a one-person department. Identifying and implementing efficiencies can both ease your stress and take your success to the next level. “Marketing hacks” can help to save your sanity! 

Here are the top 3 (and FREE) digital tools that make my life easier:

  1. BasecampThink project management sounds boring? Think again! From a departmental standpoint if you struggle to keep up with who is working on what, what their progress is, or where they’re keeping files, Basecamp is the answer to your prayers. My favorite features are:
    • The To-Do Lists – Organize your big projects into to-do lists with each deliverable made into its own separate to-do. Tag your co-worker to notify them you have a comment or question. You can even attach files instead of emailing back and forth!
    • The Schedule Feature – Need to know what’s around the corner? The Schedule feature in Basecamp takes all your to-dos and puts them in an easy-to-read calendar format. I recommend setting up your account to send email reminders of upcoming tasks to stay a few steps ahead, especially if you’re used to checking your inbox often. You’ll be amazed at how much your email dies down, especially in terms of communication from your team.
    • The Applause Feature – When someone does a really awesome job, press the Applaud button, which is similar to a Facebook “Like.” Hearing its video game-reminiscent “Ba-DING!” sound effect while simultaneously giving your co-worker kudos is a joy that can’t be beat.
  1. CanvaI know enough of Adobe InDesign and Illustrator to be dangerous, but I know enough of Canva to be unstoppable. No matter what type of digital artwork you’re creating, Canva templates come preset with the required dimensions, including nearly ALL social media posts and headers. Use one of their beautifully designed pre-made templates, or tweak it to include your artwork and credit union colors. From a branding perspective, it’s a no-brainer to upgrade to the paid version; for about $13/month you can ensure all projects meet your branding guidelines by saving colors, uploading logos, and importing fonts. The paid version also allows for easier organization with folders, and gives you the ability to resize designs to fit other dimensions with the click of a button.
  2. Facebook Post Scheduling – I love using Buffer for quickly and easily posting content across TwoScore’s social media channels; however, when working with our clients’ social media my favorite tool is Facebook’s pre-scheduling feature. It takes 30 minutes or less to schedule out posts as far as you like for dates and events you know for certain – holidays, branch closings, Board elections, etc. Pre-scheduling on a monthly basis frees up daily time for you to post more current updates, like a fun branch activity or a local event going on in your community.

When your time is precious and your resources limited, work smarter, not harder. Find a system and tools that work for you to give you the “more hours in a day” you’re always searching for!