As the first quarter of 2003 draws to an end, the number of CUs seeking to launch or improve their email marketing efforts is on the rise. As more CUs seek to build online relationships with their members, CUs share their experiences from the trenches of email marketing….
Email Marketing Trends on the Rise
It’s no secret that email marketing is becoming a critical springboard of a CU’s marketing plan. After all, the cost of contacting a member via email is faster and far less costly than the old direct mail approach. More importantly, CUs have gained ''trusted advisor'' status with their members and are seeking ways to turn that status into a strategic business advantage. CUs that have become welcome guests in their members’ inboxes share these e-marketing lessons:
1) The longer a CU takes to use a collected address the better chance that the address is bad. The % of bad email addresses to good email addresses increases with the amount of time between collection and use. Experience indicates that about 40-50% of the first mailing to a collected email database will bounce for bad addresses. CUs that have been collecting addresses and not using them shouldn’t be surprised at a large number of bad addresses.
2) Be sure to place a ''confirm email address'' routine on all collection points (i.e. enrollment forms, registration pages and core systems, if possible). A CU can eliminate a majority of typing errors by having an email address verified by retyping it again.
3) Collect (and store) more than one address. Surveys indicate that 60%+ members have two or more email addresses. Collect and store as many as possible. That way if the primary email address goes ''bad'' you have another way to contact/send an email to your member.
4) Start using the email address right away. A welcome letter, e-newsletter or registration confirm with links to important CU information will test the address and start building the online relationship. Continued contact via email will expand that relationship and e-Commerce opportunities. CUs find that, once members are use to communicating with the CU electronically, they will keep the CU in the loop when their email address changes.
5) Ask your members for suggestions and feedback. Putting this in place opens the communication channel to the CU and can provide new ideas.
The ''Inbox'' is Open!
Recent surveys indicate that CU members are very receptive to hearing from their CU at least once or twice per month, as long as it isn’t ''junk mail.'' CUs using our e-LERT program are finding that over 80% of the members signing up for the service are requesting notifications about CU specials and new services. As CUs move to take advantage of these trends, here are some other points to consider when implementing an email marketing strategy:
- Send the first email campaign from the CU announcing email marketing as a new service. Your current database of email addresses should be tested to eliminate the bad addresses and gain permission to use the address.
- Put the CU Name in the subject line and return address. Members are more likely to open the email than if the CU name was not in either place.
- Don’t hide your email sign-up list. Place it on all web pages that show frequent visits.
- Don’t hide the email unsubscribe option. The psychology of this is obvious.
- Put enrollment information on your online banking login page. If your members have bookmarked this page they might be bypassing your home page.
- Get a faster enrollment response with incentives. Creating an incentive for enrollment with drawings and sweepstakes will increase your email address collection. The cost of the drawing will be more than offset by the savings and revenue generated long-term in your new e-marketing campaigns; and
Always Remember…. presenting targeted, requested information is not junk mail! Getting the right offer, to the right member at the right time will generate additional revenue for your credit union.
Is Opportunity Knocking?
If you’re not collecting and using email addresses in your credit union, you’re missing an opportunity to communicate quickly and inexpensively with your members! Start asking for email addresses at every point of contact with your member (web site, teller line, loan application, etc.) and build that email list. If you are just starting an email marketing strategy you’ll need to address these issues:
- Will the CU have an Opt-in or Opt-out policy? Will you ask permission to use the address? Use yourself as an example…Do you open unwanted emails?
- How do members unsubscribe? It’s important to be sure to provide a means for your member to unsubscribe from the list and honor that request.
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Looking for a digital marketing tool that open a member’s ''inbox'' and creates opportunities to notify and market CU products at the same time? Visit our web site and preview our e-LERTs product.
DigitalMailer’s (www.DigitalMailer.com) digital communication products such as e-newsletters, e-LERTs and eStatements assist credit unions in gaining a strategic business advantage over competitors 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.
© 2003 DMI