A bare bones version of email marketing works just fine for members of State
Employees Credit Union, Lansing Michigan, said David Carson, the credit
union's E-commerce development specialist.
"We looked at a few programs and packages, and I decided to try this simple
one, called b-central, offered by Microsoft, because it's inexpensive, yet flexible
and upgradeable. Before we bought a bigger application to run in-house, we wanted
to try things out and see how members liked it."
They like it just fine, said Carson, judging by the rising number of members
signing up to receive Email news from SECU. "Members don't want a lot of junk
or Spam in their mailbox," Carson said. "And with b-central, we're able to narrow
things down and give members only what they ask for; they decide what they get."
B-central costs $270 per year, or $30 per month on the installment plan, (for
10,000 mailings) so cost isn't really an impediment, laughed Carson. "I think
it's a great way for any size credit union to start sending targeted marketing
information to members. And because the information we ask of them is minimal,
it's fast." For an additional $40, twenty thousand more emails can be sent.
From SECU's Web site, (www.secu.org) members
can click on an icon inviting them to join the CU's email list. They supply
an address and can select to receive news on rates, seminars, product promotions
and Web site updates. Gender information is optional, (but most members supply
it, said Carson). They are asked if they have a checking account, what their
age group is and if they use the Internet banking program.
Carson sends members an email that has several brief descriptions and links.
"Not everyone may be interested in the full contents of a newsletter. So sending
a snapshot with a link lets them click through to whatever they are interested
in," he said. It also provides a way to track the number of "click throughs"
to see what members are reading. SECU started the email program in December,
and already 600 members are signed up. In February, Carson sent over 1100 emails
(a total of all separate categories and the newsletter). While that's small
number compared to SECU's total membership of 74,000 members (assets are $530
million) Carson believes it's just starting to catch on and has no plans to
change to something more complex.
"This gives us everything we need right now, and it can grow. And it's not real
time consuming. All you have to do is have something of value to send out. Then
you can evaluate the results," Carson said.