Are You Reaching the e-Member

To reach e-Members, you need to target them where they live: online, in their e-mail inbox.

 

By Joan Gurr

 

A new paradigm for credit union membership has become common. Let's call them e-Members. e-Members use debit cards for in-person transactions, electronic bill pay for as many bills as possible and seldom write checks. They open only the mail that requires a remittance and then they move on to other things, like taking care of their families. They do their banking, research and decision making about finances online.

Some e-Members are upside-down on a car or two and have a mortgage on less than favorable terms before they find out that they could have done better at the credit union. Why did they have to learn the hard way?

Credit unions traditionally use direct mail and statement inserts as a staple of their marketing plan. For those people who perform an account reconciliation with a check register and paper statement, including marketing in the paper statement is a great way of educating those members. But,what about the e-Member?

As people began using plastic for purchases they began to rely on other ways of tracking account balances. Then personal computers brought a new era of personal finance. The PC eliminated the drudgery of accounting tasks. With internet access research and decision making for purchases became part of the online personal financial management model. Why let your fingers do the walking when you have Google?

Today many people never open an account statement or marketing piece which is mailed to them. This explains why so many credit union e-Members do not know how many services are available at better rates from their credit union.

Many credit unions offer online banking (OLB), bill pay and e-statements and consider their website to be their online marketing. But a website is not enough, especially if the e-Member has bookmarked OLB. These people are too busy to keep checking your website regularly to find out what is new at the credit union. If you want them to know what the credit union has to offer, you need to meet them where they live: online, in their e-mail inbox.

When merchants have a trusted relationship with a customer up to 85 percent of them are willing to share their e-mail address, according to an online consumer permission study done in January 2005 by the Ponemon Institute. Credit union membership is ideal for this trusted online permission based marketing which builds brand loyalty.

Seth Godin tapped into an important discovery with his book Permission Marketing. If someone gives us their permission and their e-mail address, they expect to hear from us. All those spammers out there may have done us a favor because the law now requires us to get permission to use an e-mail address for marketing. How many people gave us permission to send them direct mail advertisements? How much of the direct mail going to e-Members becomes fodder for the land fill without being opened?

Will people read the credit union newsletter, survey or targeted campaigns more often in their e-mail inbox than they will in their mail box? If we treat their permission with respect and provide them with content they value, they will. People who have subscribed to many offers for online newsletters and special offers consistently open and click through those that contain information they value. Credit unions that provide curriculum for financial success provide enormous value.

This is not to suggest that you pull the plug on all other forms of marketing. Permission based e-mail marketing can complement and enhance other forms of marketing. It allows you to test market campaigns inexpensively without the cost of paper, printing and postage.

If you have not expanded your online presence to include e-mail marketing you could have a giant blind-spot in your total marketing strategy with some of your most profitable members.

Find out more about permission based online marketing specifically for credit unions at www.documatix.com. Request a copy of a case study about the 79 percent increase in response rates that happened when a credit union used e-mail marketing compared to post cards. To schedule your FREE webinar and learn more about e-mail marketing (click here) or contact Joan Gurr, Sales and Marketing Manager at jgurr@documatix.com or call 1-877-362-8628 ext. 204.

DocuMatix, LLC, is a provider of online marketing tools and services to include permission based e-mail marketing, surveys, secure e-mail, online elections, and e-Alerts. The flagship product of DocuMatix is the DocuMatix Product Suite which includes a powerful creation wizard and a robust real-time reporting engine that allows for the creation of virtually unlimited designs and new levels of professionalism offered within every e-mail.


 

Oct. 3, 2005


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