Legitimate credit union marketing and operational emails are falling victim to new tools that control inbox clutter. After years of struggling to gain permission to use member email addresses, CUs are now facing new challenges. When it comes to getting their email message into a member’s inbox, credit unions across the country are getting caught by accident…
New Tools, New Challenges
Did you know that the phrase ''17% of Americans over 21 have an IRA'' in a credit union marketing email will have spam filters flag it as ''Adult Content'' junk email? Imagine one CU’s surprise when they discovered this after running an eStatement notification through a well-known spam filter! Junk and Adult content filters work by looking for key words or missing information in the email. Other common traps include ''more info'' and ''special promotion.''
Credit unions have invested significant time and money in collecting email addresses and creating this important communication channel with their members. Now that they have gained access to their member’s inbox, the question is frequently ''Is my email getting through?'' It’s estimated that more than half of current email users are employing spam filters and an estimated 1 in 8 legitimate opt-in messages are being filtered out (Source: Online Banking Report, 2/03). Imagine an opt-in email campaign going to 8,000 of your members and what this means. At best, 1,000 of your members are having your email highlighted as potential ''junk'' or ''adult content'' mail. More likely, they never see it because their software sends it directly to a special folder for automatic deletion.
Are the Filters Winning?
Veteran CU email marketers now have to seek ways back into the very inboxes they have permission to use. Here’s what legitimate CU email messages are up against:
- The new AOL 8.0 has five different mail control levels for its subscribers to use with the highest level only allowing mail from addresses on the user’s contact list.
- ISP reverse look-ups are becoming more frequent with ''whitelists'' and ''blacklists'' of companies that use bulk email.
- The new MSN 8.0 has three different mail control levels for its subscribers to deploy with the highest level only allowing mail from addresses on the user’s contact list.
- Microsoft Outlook stores a list of key words their filter uses in a file named filter.txt. Incoming emails are compared against the list and highlighted or deleted if key words are found. (you can review and print the list by searching for the filename in Windows Explorer on your PC).
The advent of these tools and new product development could quickly turn many collected email databases into useless lists. From the looks of things, future opt-in email marketing may require an effort by the credit union, the email vendor and the member.
Avoid the Spam Filters
Credit unions should not get discouraged about the future of opt-in email marketing – they simply need to adapt their practices as new junk mail tools are developed. Credit union marketers can send outbound email messages and get through to the member by designing campaigns that follow some basic rules to avoid spam blockers:
- Avoid known spam wording in the subject line and body content
- Complete the ''From'' and ''To'' fields of the email
- Get in the habit of reviewing outbound emails and newsletters through different filters prior to sending
- Ask for more than one email address in your enrollment process so that one is bound to get through
- When asking for permission to use the email address also ask your member to add the CU’s email address and web site to the ''approved'' list in their spam blocking and pop-up blocking software.
Savvy Internet members have a number of email addresses. They often use one for work, one for surfing or chat rooms and a more personal address that they give to friends and family. The key to continued email marketing success - get the credit union on their member’s friends and family list!
DigitalMailer uses a proactive approach towards email marketing and successfully helps our clients get the maximum number of emails through to their members. For more information visit www.digitalmailer.com
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