It’s now 2005 and credit unions have been collecting member e-mail addresses for years. The imminent postage increase is going to make marketing the old way even more costly. Credit unions have become an invited guest and trusted friend in their members’ "inbox," built the online relationship… it’s now time to take the e-marketing leap!
The Gateway To Permission e-Marketing
In 2004 the number of credit unions over $50 million offering e-statements to their members climbed to over 1,000. E-statement programs have collected hundreds of thousands of e-mail addresses for credit union members over the past four years. The best part is, e-statements have become the gateway to e-marketing by giving credit unions permission to use this e-mail address as a strategic contact point to inform and interact with members. The strategic contact point comes into play when a credit union takes advantage of the two benefits of e-statements: 1) a guaranteed contact with a member each month and 2) the e-mail address that the member gives the credit union permission to use when enrolling in the program.
It’s clear that the benefits of e-marketing are mammoth: inexpensive, personalized, targeted, fast and when tied into the credit union website, e-mail is the notification medium for a closed-loop marketing system that informs, sells and delivers. The next, admittedly big, e-marketing step is the hard part...using collected e-statement e-mail addresses for business development.
How should credit unions put e-mail addresses to work? Why not create a second, mid-month e-mail to the member making special, targeted offers? Start an e-newsletter? Or develop a "Tell me When" program. All will generate results as long as you remember these two critical e-marketing success factors:
1. Contacts should be targeted to the needs of the particular member receiving them.
2. Do not over use the e-mail address. Keep contacts to three per month or fewer.
If these two success factors are ignored, at best the response rate will be negligible and at worst, members will complain that the credit union is abusing the relationship. However, incorporating these elements will almost assuredly drive measurable traffic to the credit union website and result in dramatic spikes in new business.
Having an e-mail address can increase interactivity between a credit union and its members; however, determining what to "offer" them remains a challenge for most credit unions. The power of the right offer, in front of the right member, at what could be the right time is extremely effective when coupled with permission to use the member’s e-mail address. That’s where an MCIF system comes into play.
A Strategic Credit Union Example
Having put their online tools in place, credit unions are now shifting gears to expand the digital communication channel to increase loans, revenue and member value. Sounds simple enough…so how are they expanding the strategic contact point they have created and making the virtual toolbox work for them? Here’s an example…
NWFcredit union and Northwest Services LLC (the CUSO for NWFCredit Union) partnered to send a joint e-mail campaign to members announcing the CUSO’s new website. They sent an invitation to visit the CUSO’s new website and win $100 to over 18,000 e-mail addresses they had on file from e-statements with the following results:
- 2,100 additional visitors came to the CUSO’s website (11.7%);
- 234 new sign-ups for CUSO’s monthly eNewsletter (11.1% of the visitors);
- 300+ members signed up for at least one CUSO eLERT (14.2% of the visitors);
- New product e-LERTs increased from 0 to 254
- Helpful tips e-LERTs increased from 0 to 239
- Information on investments e-LERTs increased from 0 to 227
Everyday, successful credit unions are using the Internet to push information and marketing messages to their members, while providing members the opportunity to push information back to their credit union. It’s always been a challenge to collect members’ e-mail addresses, let alone figure out a non-invasive way to use them. The Internet and today’s web-based technologies are making this task a little less stressful and are significantly increasing a credit union’s marketing capabilities while providing members instant access to information. Isn’t it time to leap?
Recently launched e-statements? Attend DigitalMailer's FREE webinar on how to grow e-statements and use e-mail addresses collected or you’ll find original three-step plan of how to turn e-mail addresses into $$$ here http://www.creditunions.com/home/articles/template.asp?article_id=1197
Marketing on the Internet makes "Best of 2004" Article Series
Our article on Marketing on the Internet: Before Talking, Listen made the Callahan "Best Articles of 2004" series! Check it out. It’s worth reading again and the survey report is still available http://www.creditunions.com/home/articles/template.asp?article_id=1242
For a FREE report on how to improve your e-mail marketing titled "Electronic Messaging Tips For e-mail Success" click on the report icon or visit http://www.digitalmailer.com/offerings.html
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DigitalMailer is a digital communication company with products such as e-LERTs, eSurveys and e-statements that assist credit unions in gaining a strategic business advantage via the Internet. Please contact Ron Daly firstname.lastname@example.org or Greg Crandell email@example.com for additional information or to share your ideas and comments