How Often Should You Email Your Credit Union Members?

One of the most common questions from credit union marketing teams is about how often they should email their members. How often can they email their members?

It’s a scary proposition, spamming your membership. You don’t want to annoy people or make them angry.

On the other hand, you don’t want to be forgotten…

Looking for a marketing automation platform? Check this out!

Not All Email Is Created Equal

Think about it this way:

You should not email people too often if they’re not interested in what you have to say.

But if they are interested?

Well, that changes things.

With that in mind, credit unions should abandon traditional email marketing systems. Emailing constant promotions with Mailchimp or Constant Contact won’t get you far. You’ll have no way of knowing if the offers you send your members actually interest them.

With regular email marketing platforms, you can email members once or twice a month, tops. Any more than that and you’ll be ignored, shoved in spam folders, and featured on Santa’s naughty list.

How to Send Emails that Members Don’t Mind

You can’t email members too often if they want to hear more from you.

However, you can’t really do that with traditional email marketing programs. To send emails that members want to read, you need to move to marketing automation.

Which marketing automation platforms work best for credit unions? There are many of them out there, and some are better suited to credit unions than others. The ones we recommend most are:

  1. Total Expert. Especially for larger credit unions, Total Expert takes the edge. It was created specifically for financial institutions.
  2. SharpSpring. SharpSpring is a leading HubSpot competitor, and their pricing plan is much friendlier to credit unions than any other generic platform.
  3. HubSpot. HubSpot is a market leader for a reason. However, their pricing structure is prohibitive for most credit unions.
  4. Others. Marketo, Pardot, and other platforms are often too expensive and sales-oriented. We don’t recommend them for credit unions.

With marketing automation, you can email your members far more often. The CU 2.0 team successfully emailed a credit union list about 15 times over 6 weeks with 1—yes, 1—unsubscribe. We also had a constant 45%+ open rate and a 5%+ click-through rate. Not to toot our own horn, but that is insane.

So why did that work?

Understanding Behavior-Based Emails

For starters, marketing automation platforms send emails only to members who are engaged. It uses a contact’s digital interactions to send relevant, personalized follow-up content.

For example, let’s say a member visits your website and reads about how to build better credit. A traditional email marketing platform won’t notice—it’ll just keep sending spammy offers every couple of weeks.

But marketing automation will send related content. It might start with instructions about how to apply for secured or co-signed credit cards. Then, it could send an article or infographic with best practices for building and maintaining credit. Finally, it would send an offer for a good first-timer’s credit card.

Why Marketing Automation Makes Email Better

There are four good reasons:

  1. Marketing automation is based on personalization. Members don’t just want marketing messages. Marketing automation allows credit unions to send sequences of information (content) that flows naturally from one point to the next. Plus, these nurturing sequences are customized for each member’s individual “choose your own adventure” style journey.
  2. Marketing automation enables time to pass at the members pace. They can engage with content on their own schedule. It isn’t that the member doesn’t want eStatements, it’s that they don’t want them today. Something else is more important right now. But next week is probably good! Marketing automation accommodates members’ busy schedules.
  3. Marketing automation can be customized by persona and by other interactions. Email marketing has no idea what the member did on your website. If the member just clicked on your mortgage rate page, and then you email them an auto promotion… Big disconnect!

    With marketing automation, if a member clicks on the mortgage rate page, it triggers a mortgage promotion sequence. No disconnect there.

  4. Marketing automation leverages other written content. Maybe you have a blog. Maybe you don’t, but should. If you do, you may have way more content than you thought! You can use it to help your members make informed decisions about your products and services.

How Often Can Credit Unions Email Members?

So, the short answer is, don’t email your members generic emails more than once per week.

But if you go down the marketing automation route, you can email them 20–30 times a month (assuming it’s personalized and relevant to their financial needs).

Marketing needs to be about one person: the member. Keep their interests in mind, and you’re on the right track.

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