Thing 7 of 30: Ask for your members' e-mail addresses

September is 30 things I would implement or consider implementing at my credit union if I was a credit union leader.

Thing 7: Ask for your members' e-mail addresses

I know social media is all the rage, but what about good old-fashioned e-mail? Whenever we are developing an integrated marketing campaign for credit unions, we always ask the question, "Have your members opted into an e-mail mailing list that we can utilize?" The answers range from "No" to "We have a few."

As I mentioned in thing 5, maintaining a personal relationship with credit union members is only going to get harder. With the convenience of online banking and debit and credit cards, members rarely come into the branch anymore. Having the authorization to send personalized and relevant e-mails from time is a tremendous relationship building and marketing tool and bridges the gap left by a lack of face time with your members.

Take iTunes for example. In five years of its existence, Apple now has 100,000,000 accounts with credit card and e-mail information! I am one of those account holders and I gladly receive a weekly e-mail announcing new music and specials that are relevant to me. Audible (now a division of Amazon) also does a great job of sending me personalized e-mails on a regular basis that alert me of audiobook titles that I might want to consider spending my credits on.

Credit unions don't do this and they are missing a huge opportunity to deepen member relationships and also to cross sell relevant products and services on an ongoing basis.

There are numerous e-mail services that you can use to manage your subscriber database and that will allow you to publish personalized and professional-looking e-mails. I did a fair amount of research on this recently and chose Aweber for all of our Young & Free and Mommy Blogger programs.

Others e-mail services that I considered include Constant Contact , iContact, Emma  and Mail Chimp. And if you are looking to go beyond simple e-updates, definitely check out DigitalMailer. It is a credit-union industry CUSO that can also handle all of your e-statement and mobile alert needs in addition to marketing e-mails.

If I were a credit union leader, I would definitely put some serious effort into getting every single one of my members signed up for e-mail communications.

Tim