Because privacy concerns are important to credit union members, Power 1 Credit Union Senior Vice President of eBusiness and Communication Brian Warfel said the CU approached its email marketing program very carefully.
That strong privacy protection helped when the CU launched its Home Banking Program and Bill Pay services. When members signed up, they were asked to opt in to receive notices on changes and updates, which most members did, providing their email addresses, Warfel said. ''It was a progressive thing, and because we had gained their trust, I think it has worked. We told them we wouldn't send any unsolicited ads or materials, and we promised to limit the emails to one or two a month.'' Power 1 now has 4,000 members using their Home Banking Product, he said.
So members know that such emails can help them to make better use of a product or service they are already using, so they see the credit union's role as that of an advocate, said Warfel. Other planned uses might be to inform members when a CD rate hits a certain level or when loan and dividend rates change. ''We have come to believe that price will always attract some people, but advocacy will build the relationship.''
October will mark the debut of an email newsletter that will have an educational feature story and also highlight a service that is currently available. The focus of the first one will be the CU's auto brokerage service. Nearly 1,000 members have already asked to receive the e-newsletter.
Warfel said that a target marketing module in the Home Banking program can identity members who are likely to be interested in various promotions. For example, at 24 months, there is a spike in car loan payoffs. ''That's when members may look for a new car, so we might have a banner ad for car loans come up or we can place the ad in different sections of the Home Banking screens.'' Or, if a member has a $5,000 Money Market Account, they night see an ad for available investment advice or services.
''We're going to be very careful how we use these banner ads and how often and where they appear because too much advertising is just seen for what it is - too much advertising,'' said Warfel.