Ron Daly, DigitalMailer, Inc.
We live in hectic times. To help us juggle work, family and household duties, we search for convenience to simplify our lives. So, thank goodness for technology! What would we do without our smartphones, tablets or laptops to stay informed, on schedule and connected?
Media reports there are more wireless devices in this country than there are people living here. That means we send and receive a lot of messages. According to a survey by Radicati Group, the average email user sends 41 emails a day and receives 100. And that doesn’t count phone calls, voice mails, Facebook posts, or tweets.
It’s great that we can check email or send messages while having our oil changed or waiting for the kids at soccer practice, but that doesn’t mean we want to wade through dozens of offers for things we don’t need or care about. Instead, we tend to develop ways to weed out unwanted messages. In my case, it’s my name. My name is Ron. Any email greeting me as Ronald is instantly deleted. The sender doesn’t know me and is simply not important to me. I have a similar strategy for phone calls. If someone calls our home and asks for Mrs. Dolly (our last name is pronounced Day-Lee), it’s an instant signal that this is a caller we don’t know and don’t care to talk with.
I bet many of your members do the same thing.
The growing use of wireless devices offers exciting opportunities for credit union marketers to connect with members. But, if you’re like many businesses that still follow a broadcast approach or use the wrong personalization, you’re missing the mark. Your recipients are likely to hit the delete button before they even read your email.
Dodge the instant delete
We know consumers want and prefer messages customized to their interests and situations. Using today’s technology and data-mining tools, one-to-one communication isn’t difficult to do.
Consider my car company, BMW. Every email they send me has my correct name and an image of my car. Not any picture of a BMW, but a picture of my BMW. The exact make, model and color of the car I own. Your credit union likely has similar data at hand on its car loan applications. Don’t these forms include specific information about the vehicle? By using the right data and the email system, you can customize members’ messages about their car loans.
To help generate meaningful, relevant and personalized email messages for your members, here are some tips:
- Develop a good database – Think about the information you need to personalize your messages and create a process to collect it. This includes nicknames, birthdates, email addresses, cell and home phone numbers, children’s names, colleges, etc. Be sure to ask how the member prefers to receive messages, and develop a process to update the information, as well.
- Choose the necessary tools – Research available technology, like email engines and MCIF databases, and select ones that will help move your marketing efforts toward tailored, one-to-one communications.
- Expand the use of MCIF data – In conjunction with account-level information and other member-specific data, technology can do some incredible things with the information stored in a conventional MCIF system. Why not leverage this valuable asset to get the most benefit from it?
- Make it a team effort – With the buy-in of senior management, form a work team led by your e-marketing expert. Include staff from marketing, IT and business development to develop your personalized messaging strategy. This way, everyone will be fully behind the effort.
Today, credit union marketers need to grab members’ attention with messages that are on target – and avoid having messages deleted sight unseen. By targeting messages to members’ felt needs, you increase the chance of getting read and getting results.