Once you've decided you'd like to have an email marketing campaign, where do you begin? There are a lot of questions you need to ask before you begin sending marketings to members' email boxes. Email is unlike the regular mail where it's second nature to include your mailing address on a form or application. Asking for someone's email address is not second nature. Some people are still a little uncomfortable to share their address for fear of receiving unsolicited emails.
Receiving an unsolicited email is much the same as receiving a call from a telemarketer. Most people get annoyed, especially if they don't know who the sender is or what company they are from. Usually, the first question in the member's mind is how the sender got their email address. However, members are familiar with their credit union and look to you for financial services and information. This makes them more amenable to the idea of receiving emails from you, but you still need to ask a few questions before taking the plunge.
1. How will you collect email addresses?
A good way to do this is through an ''opt-in'' policy where a member has to actively select to receive emails from the credit union. You can promote your campaign on your website and let members sign-up to receive emails online. Just because a member provided an email on an application does not mean they have opted-in to your email marketing campaign. However, this does give you the opportunity to send them an initial email explaining your campaign to them and letting them choose to unsubscribe before the program begins.
2. Where will you store the email addresses you've collected?
This depends on how much information you would like to know about your members. If you are simply collecting names and email addresses, then an Excel spreadsheet may suit your needs. If you are collecting name, email address and some demographic information, you may choose an Access database which will allow you to manipulate the data to suit the marketing. You can also choose to store the email addresses in your MCIF system, which allows you to send targeted marketings based on specific criteria.
3. How will you regulate the emails sent to members?
This is a very important issue for the credit union because the last thing you want to do is bombard the members with emails. You may want to create an email marketing plan which includes how often emails will be sent, what topics or promotions you would like to include, and which members will receive which email. You may also want to allow only those sending email marketings access to the member email list. Another good idea is to have someone in charge of making updates to the email list to make sure it remains current.
These are just a few of the questions you need to ask before beginning an email marketing campaign to your members. Email marketing can be a very powerful tool if it is used properly. The key to this is always keeping the member in mind. Make sure the message is targeted and that the member chose to receive emails from you. Allow them to opt out of receiving future emails at any time, and be conscious of the feedback you receive about your email marketing campaign.