This is the third article in a series for Swoboda Research Centre Members only, offering marketing guidance for credit unions from Corporate Member AsOne Digital Business Development, based in Manchester and London. Here is a jargon buster in case any of the terms used are new to you. If you have any feedback on our Unboxed series, please let us know

One of the idiosyncrasies about credit unions is that our members have a continued relationship with us. Where many customers rush to unsubscribe from mailing lists after a purchase in the vast majority of industries, for financial services continued communication is crucial, expected and, in some cases, a legal requirement.

Email is the most popular choice for many industries to stay in touch with previous customers, current members or potential buyers. Email marketing is often highlighted for its high return on investment some studies have suggested it to be as high as 30:1.

When we look to email to provide a mechanism for growth for credit unions we aren’t looking to capture new email addresses through promotions or attempt to reach potential customers. Instead, the onus is on improving and utilising membership communications to drive awareness of services the credit union provides. Some credit unions have had a lot of success with emails strategies, whether that’s introducing a new loan product to members or reminding savers of loan services.

Having a base of members who are already using the credit union services gives you access to an engaged list of email addresses. It’s common knowledge that it’s easier to gain the attention of a member who is already engaged rather than a non-member.
When a member can lean on their past experience with you, they internalise your brand and getting brand messages across becomes easy.

Email marketing offers a chance to be proactive, to provoke members to act at moments you decide. Getting messages directly to members gives you the chance to shape their behaviour and how they interact with your brand. Rather than waiting for members to act, you can start to dictate when you want members to interact with certain products. This could be encouraging users to take advantage of Christmas loans in September rather than waiting last minute in December. In small credit union teams being able to influence the time members take certain actions can help with time management.

Often overlooked, email when done right enhances the credit unions brand and strengthens the relationships with members. Encouraging members to become regular visitors to your website through timely well-constructed email communications is extremely beneficial. With more reliance than ever on online loan applications getting users on key pages is crucial, email gives you the ability to drive members to these pages directly from their inbox.

If you take the time to design your emails with your members in mind, to create effective calls to action, and to offer products in which they are likely to be interested, users are likely to be highly engaged. If you didn’t take the time to construct emails and messaging, instead sent out vague, bland and unappealing emails, then members are likely to ignore messaging and potentially unsubscribe from email communications entirely.

By utilising membership emails and creating a schedule of consistent email messaging credit unions can make real improvements without large investments in time or money. It can often be as simple as taking another look at how you communicate with your current members rather than chasing new members for incremental loan book growth. If you want help improving how you communicate with your members through email or want to develop a credit union email marketing strategy contact the email experts at AsOne on +44 (0)161 368 9100.