Guest Opinion: Changing the Unengaged Member
There’s a special kind of member we’ve heard a lot about recently. They’re the types who come in for a car loan or a credit card or, more recently, move their money from a big bank to a credit union. And after that initial transaction, they go quiet.
They’re the unengaged members, a chunk of your membership who only have one product and haven’t taken steps to move any other accounts or transfer any balances. They might be new members with free checking accounts or they might be loans that were paid off long ago who had no reason to continue that relationship.
At DigitalMailer, we’ve consulted with many credit unions to help them reach members who are unengaged. The best solution we’ve found is to combine multiple digital communication channels with strong, relevant messages. You might call it, “Web 2.0 Meets Marketing 101.”
Make messages matter
Look at it from the member’s side. Every day, we’re bombarded with some 3,000 or more messages coming at us from every angle and through every available channel. To survive the onslaught, you have to tune out most of it, right? And, frankly, that’s easy to do because nothing is more of a snooze than receiving offers for something you don’t want.
Unengaged members won’t be moved by run-of-the-mill promotions that could come from anywhere, but you can cut through the clutter by targeting their specific interests. You may not have a full profile on an unengaged member, but you can still learn a lot by pulling from the customer relationship management data you have. What caused him to join the credit union in the first place? Was it a car loan that’s been paid off? Maybe he’s in the market again. Is he reading your marketing material?
Treat them like they’re new
Just because someone joined the credit union a few years ago, it doesn’t mean she knows what your credit union has to offer now. You can change that by treating unengaged members like they’re brand new. One successful strategy: use the same onboarding process that teaches new members the benefits of your product offerings to bring back those who have faded away.
Some have successfully re-engaged members by using their onboarding campaigns. They create a series of email messages, each of which highlights a different service and its benefits. The messages are kept simple, often with a single key point. They have a similar look but with a slight distinction, such as different colors, and they are sent at timed intervals. This strategy helps keep the credit union top of mind while encouraging members to take a fresh look.
Ask what they want
Of course, the best products and services around won’t interest unengaged members if they never see your offers. You can learn a lot about how people receive news and information from secondary research. Virtually everyone (some 95 % of all adults) is online. More than half of online adults regularly send and receive emails. Three-quarters of them with cell phones send and receive texts, and more than a third email using their phones. But how, specifically, do your members want to hear from you?
To find out, use another onboarding tool: ask them. It’s common to use a four- or five-question survey to gather information about new members’ needs and behaviors, so why not do the same with your unengaged members? A simple online or email questionnaire is inexpensive and can provide a wealth of information about members’ preferences.
Be where they are
Have you seen Apple’s new commercial that shows how you can seamlessly move from one ‘I’ platform to another and pick up the same songs, apps or information? That’s where technology is headed, and it foretells how user-friendly credit unions need to be.
Once, it was a big deal to invite members to “click here” and learn about a loan sale. Now, having a website is the bare minimum, not the exception. It’s a new, mobile era, and to grab members’ attention, you need to be as mobile as they are.
But don’t assume mobile simply means cell phone. Members are using more than one portable platform, so your message must be easily viewed on a variety of devices – iPhone, BlackBerry, tablet, laptop – in addition to a traditional desktop computer.
Every day, designers in other industries are working to create a web experience that doesn’t need to be separated based on mobile or stationary use – a website for all needs and all seasons. An adaptive usability experience is key, and while we might be another few months to a year from HTML5 taking root everywhere on the web, it’s critical that we start pushing our websites to suit more needs and to look, feel, and work better on every platform.
Finally, maybe now’s the time for your credit union to rethink social media. A September study by digital research firm eMarketer projects worldwide social network advertising income to exceed $8 billion in 2012 and it will hit $10 billion by 2013. And last summer, research by IBM found that a whopping 82% of chief marketing officers surveyed say they plan to increase their use of social media in the next three to five years. More than half of the chief marketing officer respondents say they will incorporate social media as a key engagement channel. Is it right for your credit union? The effort it takes to find out is surprisingly small and can mean a world of difference in the long run.
Understanding that the most profitable member is a current member, credit unions have an incentive to strengthen their ties with those who are unengaged. Email, text, voice, the Web and social media can turn lukewarm members into hot prospects.
Jimmy Marks is creative director at DigitalMailer Inc.
Contact 866-994-4900 ext.115 or jmarks@ digitalmailer.com