How to solve the problem of invalid or missing email addresses seems to be the million dollar question among financial institution marketers. What if you could solve all your email address woes with a simple annual direct mail postcard campaign?

Many banks and credit unions struggle to maintain valid email addresses for their customers and members. And if you currently don’t require email addresses at the time of account opening, it becomes even more challenging to collect and update those later on. Since email is the most cost-effective form of communication, it’s important to help minimize communication spend to fit into your budget.

We’ve previously discussed a few different ways your financial institution can get creative and increase the number of valid email addresses you have for your customers and members, and we’ve found that one of the most effective things you can do is send out one simple postcard, once a year.

If spending time calling your list of customers isn’t feasible and waiting for them to come in to the branch isn’t producing results quickly enough, an annual postcard email capture campaign may be just the solution you need.

What Should You Offer?

If a customer or member hasn’t already given their email address, simply asking them to call or come into to the branch to update their information may not be enough of a push to get the results you’re looking for. You’ll want to do everything you can to make sure this campaign drives results, especially if you’re going to spend money on a print campaign.

Incentives are a great way to drive participation among your customers and members.

There are several different ways you can incentivize your relationships to participate in your email capture campaign. Let’s look at a few ideas that bank and credit union marketers have had success executing:

Discount Offers

If you are a bank or credit union that works on the business side, you may be able to find a local business customer willing to offer a discount or some kind of promotion to your customers or membership who you push to them for business.

For example, find a local restaurant that banks with you and see if they’ll offer a 10% off discount if you promote them and the offer to all of your customers. Then it would be as simple as sending a postcard saying

“Call your local branch today to update your contact information – and oh by the way, here’s 10% off your favorite local eatery. Thanks for being a valued customer!”

This strategy doesn’t necessarily have to require participation in order to reap the reward, and could be a great way to show customer appreciation and build loyalty. However, if you do want to require participation in order to receive the discount, you can require they provide their email address and a coupon or code will be sent to their inbox.

Gift Card

If you don’t have a business customer willing to participate, you can always offer a gift card to members much in the same way. You can choose to offer a gift card for a local business customer, but you don’t have to. Amazon or Visa gift cards are always popular incentives that will work.

The higher the incentive, the higher the response rate will be – but with it comes diminishing returns. The amount you offer doesn’t have to be outrageous. After all, even offering a $5 gift card will quickly add up depending on the response rate you have. But if you think about the amount of money you will save on future communications by investing $5 per relationship, you’ll see that if your budget allows, can be a very worthwhile investment.

Giveaway Item

On a budget? Then buy a single $100-$200 prize and turn it into a contest. If you can’t afford or can’t get approval to offer every participating member a gift card, a giveaway or raffle is a great workaround to be able to offer a fun incentive. This can also be a good strategy for driving branch traffic. Ask your customers or members to come into a branch to update their information to receive their “free gift”.

Types of items to giveaway:

  • Event tickets – Big concert or event happening nearby? Offer a chance to win a handful of tickets.
  • Product giveaway – Offer an iPad, KitchenAid mixer, or some kind of popular electronics product.
  • Coupon, gift card, or voucher – Again, coupons or gift cards are great incentives to offer.

Cash Back or Statement Credit

One idea that is easy, attractive, and cost-effective is to offer cash back or a statement credit for anyone who updates their contact information – including an email address.

“Receive a $2 statement credit by updating your account information online!”

The amount you offer, again, will depend on your budget, but even a $2 statement credit will drive results.

How to Track and Execute

Since it’s a direct mail campaign, you won’t have the luxury of tracking clicks and opens, however, utilizing a custom URL is the best way to track and manage any campaign interaction and participation.

The way it works is simple – Create a unique URL that will direct account holders to a page on your bank or credit union’s website that includes a form they must fill out. You’ll need to involve whoever manages your website to help you set up a form that will collect all of this information.

Once the account holders enter their name, phone, physical address, and email address, campaign responses will then be aggregated so you can update your account holder records and manage your incentive delivery process.

Who to Send to?

It’s a best practice to include all of your customers or members in this annual campaign. This will give everyone an opportunity to update their contact information so you can verify what you have is still correct. Even if all of the information you have for a particular relationship is still accurate, having regular contests or providing discounts to local businesses in an all inclusive campaign is a great addition to your current customer loyalty program.

If you did want to narrow down your audience further so you’re only sending and spending on print mail to those you know don’t have a current email address associated with their account, you can pull this data from your core and segment these relationships from the rest to create your campaign. Software platforms that connect directly to your core data, like Core iQ, make it easy for you to find your target audience for all of your different communications.

When to Send?

If you want to make it easiest to send this email capture campaign once a year, you can tie it to a calendar event such as the end of the year or beginning of a new year. Another idea would be to tie it to your financial institution’s anniversary.

On the other hand, if you’re wanting to spread the campaign cost out over the span of the year, an idea would be to send this out on the relationship’s birthday or anniversary with the financial institution. The only limitation here being a contest or giveaway wouldn’t work.

Doing the Math

If buy-in is all you need to get the go-ahead to execute this annual email capture campaign, let’s quickly crunch a few numbers.

Think about it this way –

Say you have 40,000 customers or members, on average you’d have email addresses for only 30-40% of those relationships – estimating roughly 26,000 email address that you don’t have.

Let’s say you’re spending, on average, $5 per month on all print communications (both marketing and mandatory messages, such as account statements, etc.)to relationships you don’t have an email address on file for…

26,000 x 5 x 12 = $1,560,000 Direct Mail Pieces/Year

You’re spending $1,560,000 a year on print communications for those missing email addresses.

Sending one direct mail piece to all 40,000 customers would cost roughly $40,000 initially – but imagine if you sent this one direct mail email capture campaign out once a year how much money you could save in overall communication spend!

This easy direct mail postcard campaign can be sent once a year and can help ensure that you’re maintaining valid and updated email addresses for your customers and members. More email addresses mean you’ll be able to rely on a more cost-efficient form of communication to build relationships and promote your product offers to your customers and members. Check out these best practices for more ideas on how to ensure you’re keeping good email lists for your customers and members.