Email marketing is an important instrument in the getting the word out. A vital tool to inform and engage members. Using email is second nature, using it correctly is not. Email as part of the communications strategy is one of the most effective digital strategies. The tricky part comes when deciding what to send and how often. The great part about email marketing, while its low on the tech scale, it’s high on returns and always evolving. Let’s look at some of the ways to increase engagement, open rates, inspire action and build your credit union’s brand.
What to do and How Often?
When reviewing your outbound marketing strategies, it can be a difficult task to decipher how many emails to send out each month. This really depends on your message and what you are looking to accomplish. Finding the “Sweet Spot” will be helped along by shortening the email length to 50-125 or less and adding attractive graphics. Email content is getting shorter; however, experts advise not to lose the conversational tone. When it comes to finding the right email message and frequency, here are some suggestions to follow:
- Become more strategic in your approach: Is content relevant to your audience?
- Adopt a behavioral and trigger-based marketing approach: Sending emails based on member interactions with your credit union across multiple channels, especially your auto buying platform and other lead generation tools.
- Email at least once a month for maintenance and always provide value.
- Additional emails throughout the month: Send to targeted recipients based on their needs, not yours.
Understanding what members want and when they want it, has been helped along by data collected from other online activities. What are members responding to in your social media campaigns and through lead generation? Hon in on how they are responding to your posts and incentives. While keeping the message short in the email, provide a link for members to gain more insight into an offer. Before hitting the send button, ask yourself, is this relevant to the member? Is it useful? When a member subscribes to your email list, it means they trust you enough and don’t mind giving you part of their time and attention. Provide value as a means of repayment. Another way to gain greater understanding is to run a member survey or offer a webinar on a specific topic. This will help break down your email lists for future targeting, by interest.
What financial products do you want members to learn more about, based on their interests? Support recent data collection by implementing strategies on those findings. If for instance you are planning a campaign on auto financing, circle the wagons with social media and in branch messaging before sending out the email. Compose your email with a question: You may have noticed we really want to get you into that new car! It’s intriguing, and you’re not selling…you are opening up a dialogue.
The goal is to provide a direct link to the credit union’s auto shopping center at the height of the member’s interest. Use lead generation tools built into your auto buying site to immediately engage the member with an email. This is a behavioral email strategy and makes your interactions very personal. One of the challenges is getting members from point “A” in the message, to point “B,” action, as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Don’t forget to support point “B” with a call to action, such as an incentive to sweeten the pot, but don’t rely on this as your main message.
Email open rates are also an area of great angst for marketers, we get annoyed when our results come back or are elated, sometimes something in between. Open rates are also affected by the time of day the email is sent, if you caught the recipient when they are cleaning out their email inbox, they liked the subject line but didn’t click through, the small graphic pixel placed within the email didn’t register because the recipient has chosen to open without graphics, many mail programs let you read what the email is about without opening; all this impacts open rates. Measure instead, sales, calls and visitor metrics to your website that resulted in your email campaign planting a seed.
Consistency is your credit union’s goal when utilizing email marketing to build brand awareness. Your credit union’s vision and mission is the key to making this channel a success. Do not treat email marketing as a numbers game, keep the messages about the needs of the member. For instance, newsletters are a great way to build trust and deliver a message the member is interested in. Be consistent, if your newsletter comes out monthly every 30 days, on a Thursday, make sure you hit that mark. Subscribers are engaged and are in the habit of receiving information when promised. Consistency with your email efforts will reflect positively on your credit union’s brand of being a consistent supporter of your member’s needs.
Keeping emails on target with messaging, value and consistency will make your efforts attractive to members. This will keep them informed and your emails will become worthy of being opened, read and reacted to.