Is Direct Mail Dead for credit unions?

A lot of you might wonder something I have often wondered: is direct mail dead? Today we’re going to explain why it’s actually not dead, and how you can incorporate it in all of your digital marketing to create highly personalized digital marketing messages that help your members get educated, built trust, and buy more product that’s right for them from your credit union.

Did you know that 79% of direct mail is opened immediately, versus 49% of email? Or that direct mail has a 4.5% response rate v. a 0.12% response rate for email? Or that 10% more customers buy from direct mail than from other channels? So clearly direct mail is not dead and is not going anywhere.

That being said, direct mail is expensive. It’s the most expensive way to communicate with your members, even though it’s highly effective and highly measurable.

In reality, when direct mail is used with digital marketing, it has a much higher ROI. If it’s personalized (which is really, really key), it improves again. If it’s timely, and if it’s well-coordinated with digital, your return goes through the roof.

So, how are we going to accomplish that? What can we do to make direct mail digital marketing and web marketing work together to create a great credit union member experience?

Today, most credit unions are not timely and not coordinated. They update their MCIF once or twice a year, they buy some Experian data, they buy some Raddon data, they upload it, and then they go through a series of campaigns. Their auto promotion, their-back-to-school promotion, their vacation club promotion. They go through each of these campaigns all year long: they change their statement stuff first, they send a direct mail “Please change your statement” message, they post the message on the website, and think they’re doing a really great campaign.

The reality is, not everybody buys an auto in the same month. They don’t buy a mortgage in the same month or even start school in the same month, either. So that timing and personalization piece is really out of sync. Through marketing automation, you could really tie that timing and personalization back together, and if you’re using that with your direct mail to use triggers to know when your member did activity A, B, or C, and therefore that you should market X, Y, or Z, you’re going to get a much better result, especially if you tie that back into digital marketing channels.

It all comes back to the 4 Ps of Data: Personalization, Prediction, Performance, and Privacy. Each of those are key components in that process, and they’re all about helping your member figure out what is the right product for them at the right place, the right time, and in the right medium for them. Honestly, as a member, I don’t want any more email. I’m happy to get a text message from my credit union, I’m happy to get a Facebook message from my credit union, I’m happy to get a direct mail piece. But I, personally, really despise email.

Other people, however, really like email over those other channels, and you need to be able to know what your members are interacting with, what they really like, and what times of day they are interacting with the right things, because it’s not the same for everyone. Sending all of your email blasts at the exact same time to all members probably isn’t a very effective strategy if you have members who work the late shift. Or maybe your membership is a hospital, and your members are all nurses and work 12 hour shifts. That’s a completely different timing aspect than other mediums.

Using those 4 Ps of data to figure out the Performance, Personalization, Prediction, and Privacy is really key. Combining direct mail with email and web marketing allows you to tie in how your members are searching and what they’re opening, etc.

So, to recap, direct mail is not dead. It is a highly successful and highly valuable channel for credit unions and just needs to be enhanced to be more personal, more timely, and more coordinated with your digital marketing. If you do that, you’ll know how to communicate in a way that doesn’t offend your members, because it’s in their territory and on their terms. And that means they’re much more likely to engage with what you’re saying.

Want to know more about putting direct mail to work for your credit union? Schedule a phone call to discuss tactics with me.

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