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LAS VEGAS – With millions of Americans using the Internet everyday for various activities, the opportunity is there for CUSOs’ taking to make the virtual channel productive for them. The objective, says Ron Daly, president/CEO of DigitalMailer Inc. and Donna Hartmann, president of Northwest Services LLC, a wholly-owned CUSO of Northwest FCU, Herdon, Va., is for CUSOs to leverage technology to create strategic contact points to increase revenue and member retention. Speaking at the NACUSO 2004 Annual Conference, the two speakers told attendees that a CUSO’s Web site provides a strategic business opportunity. CUSOs, for example, can use the built-in opportunities in Internet products to build online relationships with members through tools such as eNewsletters and eSurveys. In addition, e-LERTs, a “tell-me-when” product, can contain customized marketing messages from the CUSO. This new digital communication tool gives a CUSO the opportunity to notify and market at the same time. In addition, it can provide members with information of interest such as free seminar schedules, new product announcements, special promotions, and helpful consumer information. These tools, they said, can increase the number of contact opportunities for the CUSO with members to inform, survey, and cross-sell CUSO products and services to general additional revenue. Daly and Hartmann referred to electronic tools such as Web sites, newsletters, eLERTS, email marketing and eSurveys, as a “virtual toolbox.” Hartmann explained that since Northwest Services began using e-Lert in late 2003, more than 300 members have signed up for at least one e-Lert – 264 members have signed up for e-Lert for new products, 239 for helpful member tips, and 227 for information on investments. In addition, 234 subscribers have gone to the Web site for the CUSO’s Financial Standard newsletter, and 120 members have signed up for information on investment/wealth accumulation seminars since that feature was added in September 2003. CUSOs can use technology as an added value, said Daly. It’s not only faster and less expensive than traditional marketing and provides marketing with an instant measurement, it also creates a self-service environment for members. -

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