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July 3, 2014

The Founding Fathers Would’ve LOVED The Internet

Filed under: Uncategorized — 10:33 am

Happy 4th of July

Tomorrow, DigitalMailer and many (if not all) of its clients across the nation will be closed in celebration of July 4th, marking the 238th year since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

How exciting it must have been 238 years ago when Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were courting the votes of the Continental Congress, desperate to get their buy-in on what had to have been the most important document any of the signers had seen in their entire lives.

Men rode horses and carriages for hundreds of miles to be present for the birth of this nation. They argued and bickered and shouted and reasoned and, eventually, brought forward a document that would declare our independence from British rule. It was a lot of work, and well worth it, but one thing we can’t help but wonder…wouldn’t the Internet have made the whole thing so much easier?

Imagine Ben Franklin putting aside the potbelly stove and bifocals and devoting his attention to coming up with the first ever smart phone. Granted, phones didn’t exist yet, but with enough elbow grease, Franklin probably could’ve made that happen, too.

[Above: Franklin Snaps a Selfie (dailymail.co.uk)]

 John Adams would’ve loved using social media to debate his talking points and wrangle all those votes from the rest of the Continental Congress.

[Above: John Adams should learn to use "Mark All as Read,"  fast. (Shoutlet.com)]

Thomas Jefferson probably would’ve found the entire writing process much simpler if he was able to use GitHub to track changes and manage the “source”. Heck, even if he just used Basecamp, he’d have been a lot happier.

[Above: Thomas Jefferson would've insisted that Monticello have good wi-fi. (fastcompany.co)]

You would think that the Declaration would’ve worked well as an eDoc with eSign capabilities…but if all the signatures were electronic, how could John Hancock have made his mark on history?

[Above: John Hancock would've loved all the typography websites out there today. (histagrams.com)]

Even with the brilliant advances of men like Franklin and Jefferson, the technology of 1776 lagged very far behind our modern-day conveniences. Still, this relatively small group of men were able to meet, to speak, and to work collaboratively without the aid of GoToMeeting or Skype. They hand-wrote every little detail from the first word to the last without the help of Microsoft Word. They kept careful records and preserved them for generations so that we could enjoy looking on them today. The Founding Fathers might not have had the abundance of technology we do today, but one thing’s for sure; they knew how to get things done.

We wish you all a happy, safe, fun Fourth of July. We’ll see you again on Monday!


April 18, 2014

Why Stop at Dye? Six Off-the-Wall Egg Decoration Ideas

Filed under: Uncategorized — 9:16 am

by Jimmy Marks, Creative Media Director

You’ve probably already been to the store to pick up your yearly egg dye kit, some white vinegar and a stack of disposable cups. If you still need to make the voyage, or if you have a little extra time, you might take a moment to consider a few alternate methods of making your eggs stand out from the crowd.

Tattoo Eggs

Tattooed Eggs

Follow this handy how-to and learn how you can turn temporary tattoos into fun egg designs. Better still, you can keep your kids from putting the tattoos all over themselves…or you.

Glitter Spotted Eggs

Glitter Spotted Eggs

Got some glitter handy? Dab on a few light patches of glue, shake the glitter over the eggs and you have sparkly, spotty eggs! Just make sure that the glitter stays contained to a specific area or you’ll have a sparkly, spotty house.

Splatter Eggs

Splatter Eggs

The splatter method is truly a work of art. Dip a toothbrush into some acrylic paint and flick the bristles at the egg with your finger. This method is much different from the usual “splatter method for eggs,” in which you drop an entire carton of uncooked eggs on the floor and they splatter everywhere. That’s less a work of art than it is the art of cleaning.

Gilded Eggs

The Golden Egg

No goose required…simply a small vial of gold paint or a handful of metallic paint markers, both available at your nearest craft store. You can color your dyed eggs with the gold or silver metal paints and make your average-looking egg look like a Faberge!

Lava Lamp Eggs

“Lava Lamp” Eggs

Of all the cool alternatives I found to traditional, one-color eggs, these are by FAR the coolest. You take rubber cement, drizzle it over the eggs, dye them, then peel the rubber cement and drop them into another color. I’m dyeing to try this (get it? Dye-ing?).

Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

It seems ironic that my favorite part of the Easter holiday is when my mom makes “Deviled” eggs. Nevertheless, I can’t wait for the moment when she decides we’ve enjoyed the dyed eggs as long as we can and she cracks them open to make her delicious deviled eggs. There are thousands of recipes for deviled eggs out there. The recipe shown here is for bacon cheddar deviled eggs, a recipe I know will resonate with all our bacon-loving readers out there.

Striving For Egg-cellence 

It might seem like there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to dying eggs. Luckily, there are crafty risk-takers out there that always push the envelope and find fun new ways to spruce up our long-standing traditions. It’s a lot like email marketing (you had to know I’d work that in eventually): it might seem like the traditional ways are the only ways and there’s nothing new to try. But that’s why we’re here. We encourage all our users to take big steps forward, to make their email a priority and to make their messages into little works of art.

A new twist on something you’ve always enjoyed. That’s what egg-dying – and our Automatic Relationship Builder Plus email suite – are all about.


July 3, 2013

Wishing Everyone a Happy and Safe 4th

Filed under: Uncategorized — 11:42 am

Happy 4th of July from DigitalMailer

DigitalMailer wishes all of its clients, connections, readers, partners and friends a very happy 4th of July. We’ll be out of the office on July 4 to celebrate for ourselves, which is why we put our little “greeting card” up today. But, rest assured, we’ll be right back to work on Friday.

Here’s hoping your holiday is full of barbecues, fireworks displays, good times and plenty of redwhite, and blue!

 


June 25, 2013

Gearing up for summer? Add “webinars” to your checklist

Filed under: Leeflet,Marketing,MeridianLink,technology,Uncategorized,Webinars — 12:12 pm

You’ve got sunscreen. You’ve got swimsuits. You’ve got the barbecue grill all ready to go. Summer’s here and you’re prepared!

…or are you?

We know a lot of our clients and contacts go out of town for the summer so we decided to work around your hectic schedule. That’s why we’re rolling out webinars every week, all summer long! That way, you can prepare yourself for deeper customer relationships, more sales and loans, and a deeper understanding of how your members view your financial institution.

Check out our Webinars page for all three webinars and pick the date that works best for you


May 8, 2013

Mobile Banking and Consumers: Making the Connection

Filed under: Uncategorized — 10:21 am

After a decade of trial and error, mobile banking finally seems to be taking hold among consumers…although there is still a lot of room for growth.

A December 2011-January 2012 survey by the Federal Reserve looked at consumers’ use of mobile technology; essentially, its role in accessing financial services and making financial decisions. Among the 87 percent of mobile phone owners in the United States, 21 percent say they have used mobile banking in the past year, with another 11 percent reporting they plan to use it.

The survey also found that mobile banking is most often used to check account balances and recent transactions (90 percent of users), followed by transferring money (42 percent). But, perhaps surprisingly, only 12 percent of mobile phone users report making a mobile payment in the past 12 months.

Why the hesitation? Maybe it’s the result of lingering concerns about mobile banking’s security and limited usefulness on some devices – 42 percent reported that security doubts keeps them from using mobile payments. Further, more than half of respondents (58 percent) felt traditional banking adequately met their needs, so they had no need for mobile banking. More than a third said they either don’t see a benefit in making payments by mobile device or they find other payment methods easier.

So, despite mobile’s growth, it’s clear that safety fears and ease of use have created hurdles to growing consumer adoption.

Armed with this knowledge, credit unions can develop more effective mobile banking programs or reexamine their current mobile programs and make adjustments. Here are some ideas:

  • Increase the focus on member education to address ease-of-use issues.
  • Add incentives to strengthen the perceived benefits for members making mobile payments versus traditional payments.
  • Promote security measures that work to keep members’ financial activities safe.

With the large majority of the U.S. population having mobile phones, credit unions have a good opportunity to grow their mobile-banking programs. But the key is to know your audience, including their mobile preferences and their concerns about “going mobile”, and then create your program accordingly.

[This article originally ran in the DigitalMailer Newsletter. To sign up for this free, monthly email newsletter, visit our newsletter page and subscribe with our easy-to-use webform.]


January 16, 2013

DigitalMailer Benchmarks: How many of your consumers should be using eStatements?

Filed under: e-Statements,electronic statements,enrollment campaigns,eStrategy,One Click,One Click Campaign,technology,Uncategorized — 10:13 am

by Ron Daly

Recently, a number of clients have written us emails asking for the “industry standard” of eStatement penetration. While there are any number of results in your typical Google search, we wanted to offer our clients and, in turn, our blog readers a thoughtful answer. So we took the number of eStatement users each of our clients had, compiled our data into an Excel spreadsheet, ran some of the averages and came up with some numbers we think are quite interesting.

79.9% of eStatement members/OLB users

Yep, you’re reading that correctly – nearly 80% of online banking users have eStatements. These folks manage their money online and take advantage of eStatements. This number grew twenty percentage points in one year, leading us to believe that more and more people are making the connection between electronic documents and smart money management.

57.5% of checking account holders use eStatements

A little more than half of all the customers/members we evaluated were checking account holders. It stands to reason more checking users would be using eStatements just to avoid getting a paper statement that’s weeks behind their online banking reports, ATM receipts, or mobile alerts. Still, that number grew 19 percentage points in a year…that’s a big gain.

28.7% of customers/members use eStatements

Even though this number grew 11 percentage points in a year, it’s still a little low for my tastes. Only 28% of members use eStatements? Why so low? Here’s why:

  1. Most financial institutions still have eStatements inside online banking and only online banking members can get them (see the first percentage number we listed, for eStatement/OLB users? Make sense now?)
  2. Very few financial institutions have marketing campaigns to increase adoption anymore. Those that do typically see great ROI.
  3. Most financial institutions don’t make eStatements the default for online banking users. Reg E says you have to give your users a choice of paper or electronic…but it doesn’t say what the default option must be. Why not start those users with eStatements and make them ask for paper statements?

If only credit unions and banks would make eStatements the default. Most users would never bother to make the switch or make a stink – they’d probably never even think about it again.

Check out our one-click program and see if this simple solution is right for you. 


August 16, 2012

How do you “measure up”?

Filed under: Banks,Credit Unions,DigitalMailer,e-mail,email,email marketing,eStrategy,junk mail,Marketing,marketing on a budget,One Click Campaign,targeted marketing,Uncategorized — 1:51 pm

A great article just came out of MarketingProfs.com, offering up new insights into the average open rates, click-through rates (CTRs), and unsubscribe rates for financial service email marketing campaigns. To highlight a few important points:

  • Financial services campaigns had a 22.6% average open rate. This might seem small, but it’s actually pretty good compared to other businesses (especially education, health and retail). If you’re getting open rates higher than 22%, you’re doing well.
  • FIs can anticipate an average CTR of 3.5%. Again; small in theory, big in practice. You always want this number to be higher than it is, and the more focused your list, the more you should expect a high CTR.
  • The average unsubscribe rate for FIs is .18%. What?! You read that correctly – that’s point-one-eight percent. It might make you think that people really love getting emails from their FI, yes? Not necessarily. See, that doesn’t account for people who see an email from their bank or credit union and drop it into trash. Nor does it account for “priority inboxing” (thanks, Gmail, for making emails even harder to get read).

So, what can we take away from all this? Well, as an industry, it would be nice if those rates reflected a highly-engaged readership. It can happen, it DOES happen. But we also shouldn’t use this to shame ourselves out of ever using email marketing again — remember, these numbers are actually pretty good, considering.

How can we raise the bar?

  • Better Content/Unique Content – The short-and-sweet way to increase your open rates? Make sure it’s an email worth opening. Consider special offers that are only accessible via your email list. That way, users aren’t just users, they’re “insiders”.
  • A Better Focus on Calls-to-Action – As we’ve discussed before, try out different calls-to-action – text, images, text AND images, different wordings, different positions – it all matters, and it’s all dependent.
  • The “Let-Out” – Don’t hide unsubscribe links from people. If they want out, let them out. It’s only going to improve your open rate in the long-run (after all, the open rate is the number of opens divided the number of emails sent – decrease the bottom number and the percentage will increase. Simple math, yes?)

Learn more about DigitalMailer’s Email Marketing engine, the ARB.


July 3, 2012

We’re happy to be here.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — 10:11 am

Today is July third. By this time tomorrow, our staff will be at home – prepping for barbecues, watching their kids run through the sprinklers, and waiting for the fireworks. We’re assuming your staff will be, too.

We come from all walks of life. We’re from different parts of the country (and the world). We’ve all learned different things and we’ve brought all that life and work experience to bear for our clients and our company.

The one thing we all have in common? We’re all Americans. And here at DigitalMailer, we celebrate America’s spirit on the Fourth and every other day of the year.

We wish all of you a happy, safe and fun holiday.

We’re happy to be here – for you, with you, and because of you.


June 15, 2012

What’s In Your Feed?

Filed under: Blogging,Uncategorized — 10:07 am

As a Friday “quick-hit”, we wanted to share what’s in the RSS feed reader of one of our employees. So, what’s in your feed…Jimmy Marks?

Thought I would share some of my most-read, best-loved blogs that I read every week. Hopefully, you’ll find some resources in here that will help you out in your day-to-day design/writing/coding/project-handling.

Web Design Ledger – A great blog, lots of useful things you’d normally never think of (add-on Photoshop brushes, tutorials, fonts). Quite useful and very often free stuff, every day. Definitely a good add.

SpyreStudios - Another designy-type blog, but with an emphasis on coding and app development thrown in for good measure. What everyone in web development/web applications knows but doesn’t tell you (unless you ask) is that most of what they’ve learned wasn’t learned in a classroom. Instead, it comes with dedicated, independent study and good source material.

PetaPixel – I love photography and I always want to find new ways to get better at it. In addition to taking lots and lots of pictures, I check out PetaPixel. They have great tips, useful resources, and plenty of examples of what’s current and earth-shaking in the world of photography.

Swissmiss – A really cool blog about design/style. It has nothing to do with the powdered hot chocolate mix – the author lives in New York but is originally from Switzerland.

Indexed - Jessica Hagy draws comics on index cards at work and shares them via this blog. They’re very funny and incredibly smart.

TOTAL BLOGS IN FEED READER: 120

[Notice: The listed blogs take on sponsors at their choosing and for their own purposes and are solely responsible for their own content. DigitalMailer assumes no responsibility for the contents of these websites or their advertisers.]


May 22, 2012

The Five Things You SHOULDN’T Say on Social Media

Filed under: Compliance,Credit Union Tech,Credit Unions,Facebook,technology,Twitter,Uncategorized,web sites — 4:24 pm

by Jimmy Marks

Recently I attended the CU Symposium in St. Michaels, MD and saw a presentation by COMPASS 4 CUs, a compliance CUSO dedicated to useful, easy-to-understand compliance help. I learned a lot, seeing as I’m not a “compliance person”, and I know most people think about the message first and the compliance language last. It’s almost a curse – you’d think someone was coming in and putting censor bars all over everything. But compliance is important and it’s always on the minds of the folks I talk to, whether they’re bank folks, credit union folks, or social media folks.

[Now, before I go any further, I have to be "compliant" and state the following: none of what I'm about to say should be taken as LEGAL advice. ALWAYS consult with your organization's compliance person, and if your organization doesn't have one, consider retaining a professional.]

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what your credit union shouldn’t say on social media, according to the “Compliance Queens” at COMPASS 4 CUs.

1) “Get Pre-approved Today!” — This is a big no-no. You can’t pre-approve everyone. It’s not possible. Some folks aren’t going to have the credit rating for that. Better Bet: “See if you qualify for pre-approval today!”

2) “We’ll beat the competition!” — No, you won’t. Not if you leave the definition of “competition” so open-ended. Better Bet: “Come see how we stack up to other FIs in the [wherever you are] area!” You’ve got a little wiggle-room in there.

3) “Get an auto loan at 1.99%” — Don’t discuss rates in specific terms. Not everyone can qualify for your best loan rate. Can you promise a great interest rate and low down payment to someone with horrible credit? No. You can’t. Better Bet: “Auto Loans at 1.99% — qualifying borrowers only, see site for details: [link to site]”

4) “Anyone can join!” — Doubt it. Get specific about what qualifies your field of membership. Better Bet: Get specific. Very specific. End of story.

5) “We can save you money!” — Can you? One of the common themes you might have noticed in all of these is that they’re all too general about who can qualify for what and what you can do for any person in your social media audience. Better Bet: Talk about what members could save “on average”.

It’s not deceptive to say someone could save money, that they could get a better loan rate. It’s deceptive to say they WILL. Promises made and not kept are dangerous. Stay away from them.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: these seem similar to the restrictions placed on our print and online advertising. That’s because social media is regarded as a branch of marketing. Whether you want to call it “community building” or “e-commerce whizbang whatever”, it’s marketing. Your hands are bound by those restrictions. Some other good best practices:

  • Always have your NCUA logo/Equal Housing logo ONE CLICK AWAY from your social media posts. That is, if you’re going to put a link on Twitter about your mortgage services, the next page a person reaches should have all the legal language required and the logos somewhere on the page.
  • It never hurts to disclose that you’re linking to a third-party website, even if you’re linking from Facebook/Twitter/etc. to another external site.
  • Remember that no social media sites are built around what banks/credit unions need – they were built for sharing short, simple messages, links, videos and pictures. You’re never going to be able to cram everything you need into a single post, so don’t try. Make sure you have good landing pages with actionable content, paths you can trace from site to site to measure your SM performance, and always – ALWAYS – the most current compliance language and related logos and images.

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