Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - A key business driver for credit unions

Build it and they will come –It is no longer true and certainly not a viable web marketing strategy for credit unions today!


Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has already been the main business driver and key success factor for transactional eCommerce websites. It has achieved triple digit growth rates over the past two years mainly due to the effectiveness of web-based campaigns that reach potential customers when they are actively searching for the products or services that are advertised. The placement of contextual ads relevant to a particular search based on highly targeted keywords stands in contrast to other forms of more traditional advertising. Most push focused marketing campaigns are still interrupting customers who are really not looking to buy what is advertised at that particular time and choose to ignore the majority of the 3,000 or so ad messages they are exposed to on an average day. To break through that clutter and to get the desired positive result requires marketing budgets that only major advertisers with high brand recognition have available and even those companies are actively shifting marketing dollars to online marketing.

SEO and/or SEM
There are two distinct forms of search based marketing, one being organic search based on site optimization that hopefully results in a first page ranking for your website and keeps you there over time. Effective design that achieves high search engine rankings should be required for any website development today. Search engine optimization (SEO) objectives need to be built into your web solutions while at the same time keeping the site user-friendly and attractive. This is not always that easy to achieve but an experienced, well-qualified web developer familiar with your industry should be up to the task and produce a site that pleases both users and search algorithms at the same time.

Today, it is even more crucial for success to supplement organic search results with a well-developed, paid search engine marketing (SEM) strategy using highly targeted and measurable pay-per click or PPC campaigns to maximize revenue potential and achieve revenue targets at lower cost than with other means. To be focused on using your innovative web site as an effective business tool requires credit unions to not only use it as an add-on customer service and online banking tool but as a core asset to attract new customers and generate higher revenue from existing ones. Effective search engine marketing campaigns are a key component of the complete web based marketing arsenal.

A comprehensive suite of search engine marketing services includes:

    * Professional text, image and interactive ad designs
    * Highly targeted keywords selection and bid price management
    * Effective landing page designs

The objective is to achieve first page search presence, high click-through rates (CTR) and conversion. In addition, the full use of the latest available Google Analytics, or other available statistical analysis tool, is necessary not only to effectively measure campaign ROI objectives, but also to constantly tweak both keywords and landing pages to maintain and improve CTR and conversion. The ability to have a real-time view of performance and to immediately see how effective your marketing dollars are spent are the main reasons for the rapid growth of SEM and the deployment by companies in all industries across the board for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing campaigns.

Adding a state-of-the art "click-to-call" functionality on a campaign landing page, allowing the interested respondent to immediately talk with a qualified sales person who has all the details of the advertised offer available is an additional factor to increase the conversion rate for keywords driven online marketing campaigns. This type of technology combination, offering an easy to use human interface, has proven to be successful—especially in financial services due to the type of products being offered that often require human interaction before closing the sale.

The smart use of available technology to achieve measurable results at an affordable ROI is no longer an experiment with unproven strategies or tools, but simply a smart business decision.



This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.

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Oct. 22, 2007


  • Credit Unions do have an advantage over other websites. Their members. While SEO/SEM is important, word-of-mouth can bring much higher quality traffic. In addition, localization. Most credit unions (due to membership restrictions) don''t need to compete for generic terms such as "banking services", but more local terms like "sacramento banking services".
    Jumbo C.D. Investments