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By DigitalMailer, Inc.
In the face of new anti-spam laws, CUs are worried now, more than ever, about sending junk email. In the new CAN-Spam laws most CUs fall under the ''relationship'' email exemption; however, in the end it’s the member’s perception that really counts. Now is a good time for CU Executives to ask themselves ''Do we really want to be just like ''Spammers''….
A Quick CAN-SPAM Tune-up
The Federal Anti-Spam Act of 2003 (CAN-Spam Act) went into effect on January 1st. This new law places certain requirements on legitimate email marketers. The highlights for e-marketers are:
While most credit unions fall under the ''relationship'' email exemption, it’s a good time to evaluate your organization’s philosophy surrounding email address collection methods and usage for compliance with the Act.
Capturing Addresses or Capturing Permission?
Granted the new regulations say that if there is a business relationship it’s ''OK'' to use the email address. CUs need to put the regulations aside for a minute and consider this statement carefully: The member determines whether or not the CU sends ''junk'' email. Since CUs are in the relationship business they need to look beyond the CAN-Spam law and go one step further. When reviewing your e-marketing plan check whether your organization is capturing emails or capturing permission. Our CUs have discovered that getting a member’s email address is not the same as capturing their permission to use it. The first time our clients used the member’s email they looked just like a junk mail sender in the eyes of their member. Why?
Do CUs want to run the risk of looking like a ''spammer'' and assume that because they have an email address on a form or during a call that they have given you permission to use it? Building an e-marketing program that leads with ''opt-in'' or permission will build a long-term relationship vs. the Spammers ''I’ve got your email now opt-out'' approach. This is critical since once members remove themselves from your list, they have shut the door to any future email communications.
How CUs Can Collect and Use Email Addresses Strategically
Granted, in the permission-based scenario a CU will start with a smaller number of email contacts. But the number of collected emails can quickly grow when the right tools are deployed. For example, e-Lerts, a ''Tell-me-when'' communication tool, are permission-based and increase the number of email opportunities a CU has to get into their member’s inbox. In one large Mid-Atlantic CU’s case, some members receive 5 emails per month from the CU; one that their eStatement/newsletter is ready and four for their weekly e-Lert on certificate rate changes, of course all with additional marketing messages. Other value created by e-Lerts include:
Got Email Addresses?
The one question that keeps popping up from CU Executives at every event is ''How do we use the thousands of emails we have collected over the years?'' The bad news, just because a CU has a member’s email address doesn’t mean that they have permission to use it. The good news, research indicates that members love to hear from their CU! Here’s how to put collected addresses to work for the first time to get and keep permission:
Always, remember when asking to use a member’s email address No means ''No'' and Yes means ''Maybe.'' Honor their requests and privacy and the relationship will continue.
E-lerts Make ''Best of 2003'' Article Series
Our e-Lert article on getting into your member’s inbox and creating a ''wow'' was voted to the ''Best of 2003'' articles series! Check it out; it’s worth reading again! /home/articles/template.asp?article_id=1109 To receive the FREE copy of the report on ''272 Electronic Messaging Opportunities'' click on the report icon or send an email to email@example.com and we will process your request.
Our FREE monthly newsletter shares industry trends, best practices and lessons learned from CU and financial service providers. To subscribe click here: http://www.digitalmailer.com/newsletter.html
DigitalMailer is a digital communication company with products such as e-Lerts, eSurveys and eStatements that assist credit unions in gaining a strategic business advantage via the Internet and their website. Please contact Ron Daly firstname.lastname@example.org or Greg Crandell email@example.com for additional information or to share your ideas and comments.© 2004 DMI
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.
If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact our Callahan Media team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-446-7453.
January 26, 2004
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