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Guest Blog Series: SubscriberMail – Email Marketing – Why now?

I’m delighted to have the team at SubscriberMail provide three guest blog posts on the topic of financial institution email recommendations. SubscriberMail is an email marketing service provider with a toolbox that includes a patented multi-channel email platform, strategic consulting services, email template design, and a fully managed service offering. These guys are experts in email marketing and distribution. Simply put, it’s what they do.

Identity theft, fraud, security violations, phishing, etc. are commons terms used by the media and security advocate organizations. So how does a financial institution use email to legitimately and safely communicate with account holders and subscribers? That’s what I asked the experts SubscriberMail.

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Part 1 – Email Marketing – Why now?

Financial Institutions are starting to embrace email marketing. Many FIs have been “email gun shy” and focused on telemarketing and direct mail as their main marketing channels. The “unknowns” of email and the fear of being filtered due to “phishing” concerns, has kept many FIs out of this arena. However, there’s never been a better time to jump in and get going. The continued high usage of email by customers (in particular on smart-phones) combined with the support of a reputable Email Service Provider will enable an FI to realize strong ROI for their email marketing efforts.

It’s important to remember that email marketing isn’t just about sending an email. Email marketing is a complex set of strategies, tactics and technology that drives communication, buzz and revenue. It allows you to connect with your customers and have the opportunity to communicate with them on a 1-to-1 level. It’s also important to note that your other marketing efforts have different rules and what works (and doesn’t) for them may not apply directly to email campaigns.

When you engage your recipients (and don’t just talk at them) you move the dialogue from a one-way communication model to a real conversation. Email creates the opportunity to build and grow your relationships with your clients, and should be mutually beneficial for both parties. For a marketer, email provides the opportunity to expand your relationship by cross-selling or up-selling existing customers (for example: people who have recently signed up for a checking account, are good candidates for an additional checking account, savings account, credit card, loan, CD, etc.).

For the customer, email provides a familiar, reliable way to receive the FI’s information. If emails are sent at the start of the relationship, it provides a sense of inclusion to the customer. Each email provides the opportunity for learning something new (FAQs and tips/tricks) and taking advantage of new opportunities and deals. Including key links in emails to website pages provides easy access to commonly used services and information. This helps foster customers knowledge and familiarity with their options and makes navigation as easy as a click.

What to ask before you begin

Email marketing comes down to asking some key questions:

  • Do I even have any email addresses?
  • How do I go about growing the database?
  • Am I in compliance with regulatory statutes, CAN SPAM compliance and branding?
  • Am I in compliance with email best practices?
  • What am I going to communicate?
  • How do I know if my messages are being delivered?

Your dedicated Email Service Provider (ESP) will work with you to go through each of these (and more) during the initial discussions about your program. This is a critical phase in the process that ensures everyone involved fully understands the starting situation and keeps the partnership focused.

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Disclosure and legal obligation: I am currently employed by Harland Clarke, the parent company of SubscriberMail. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.