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October 24, 2013

The Good News (and the Bad News) – Unsubscribe Numbers are Small

Filed under: Banks,Compliance,Credit Unions,DigitalMailer,e-mail,email marketing,eStrategy,Marketing,technology — 10:27 am

by Greg Crandell

I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news.

The good news is: very few people unsubscribe from email campaigns.

The bad news is: very few people unsubscribe from email campaigns.

Scratching your head? So was I, until I thought it over for a while.

A low unsubscribe rate is good news because it indicates that people are interested in what your email have to say. Some of our competitors put the average rate for “finance emails” at about 0.20%. Our study of our own clients’ statistics* suggest that the number is closer to 0.08%. In either case, very few subscribers click “unsubscribe” in their emails. This can be a good sign – a low number of unsubscribes means people are still eager to read your email messages.

Or does it?

Unsubscribing means a user has taken action. Granted, it’s an action that stops them from seeing your message – but were they reading it anyway? Are they sending it directly to the “Trash” folder? Are they browsing, then moving along? Unsubscribes are one way of finding out how engaged your audience is, but there are others:

  • Look at the stats of those that opened a given campaign in the past few months. Are there folks that haven’t opened a campaign in the past six months? In a year?
  • Who’s clicking through? Check your click-through rates on your subscription list. This will show you how frequently your emails stir someone to an action inside.
  • Are you sending more than one campaign? Compare your stats for each. See how different campaigns work on different audiences. What’s happening in the one that performs with higher open and click-through rates?

I’m also concerned that certain senders don’t make unsubscribe links easy to see or use. We advocate that all our clients include clear, easy-to-read links to their unsubscribe pages and forms. That keeps your emails both CAN-SPAM compliant and moving toward an audience that’s eager to read them.

Interested in learning more email marketing tips? Email us for our whitepaper, “Build a Better Email”.

[*Based on a study of the top 10 clients; stats reflect the past 12 months of sends and campaigns]

September 10, 2013

Barclays Just Showed Up to the Party We’ve Been Hosting for a Year

Filed under: Banks,Credit Union Tech,Credit Unions,customer service,Finovate,FinovateFall 2012,mobile technology,My Virtual StrongBox,technology — 10:54 am

by Ron Daly

FinovateFall 2013 takes place in New York City this week. It seems like it was only a year ago that we were on stage with My Virtual StrongBox, the online safe deposit box. And there’s good reason for that - it was a year ago.

In that time, My Virtual StrongBox has been picked up by seven large financial institutions. Over 1.2 million users are allowed access with thousands of people uploading files of all kinds that they’d like to keep safe and secure behind their credit union’s/bank’s/financial provider’s online banking. CUES (the Credit Union Executive Society) thought so much of My Virtual StrongBox that it’s offering the service for free to its members. It’s been a big year for the little storage solution that could.

Barclays bank has been busy in the past year, too. They’ve come up with their own version of an online safe deposit box to fill the role for their customers and users. You might think we’re a bit put out that Barclays has come up with their own version of our product, right?

Wrong. We couldn’t be happier.

Why, you ask? Well, for starters, it shows that there is a concern out there for the well-being of customers’ data, as well as their money. It used to be that the bank or credit union branch was there to keep customers’ and members’ financial and personal information in one place, securely and professionally. As time has gone on, people have come to think about banks and credit unions as simply one more obstacle between their money and their daily lives. What a disservice this does to financial institutions – to be considered just another chore rather than a trusted partner in the personal lives of  customers and members.

Barclays is looking to change that. So is My Virtual StrongBox.

As I write this, Apple is gearing up to announce yet another line extension of its wildly popular iPhone. There will also be new iPads, some say, and the new iOS 7 to make it all feel shiny and new again. Millions of Americans and people all over the world are buying up iPhones, iPads, and iEverything else. Those that aren’t will be buying similar devices from Samsung, HTC and what will soon be the lovechild of the Microsoft-Nokia buy. Smartphones are helping to fill in the gaps of limited Internet access for poorer areas and minorities and bringing the fire of the future to the hands, purses and pockets of the masses.

They’re also set to create a lot of privacy issues.

From USA Today:

“A cellphone nowadays is a portal into our most sensitive information and the most private aspects of our lives,” says Jeffrey Fisher, lead attorney for David Riley and co-director of Stanford University’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. “It’s also a device that is the gateway to your office, health records, [and] bank records.

Increased access and increased penetration of smart devices come at the cost of increased risk. Hackers, phishers and thieves are getting smarter and working harder to sponge crucial information from innocent people who believe this new age of accessibility means they’re free from worry.

Services like My Virtual StrongBox can store important information that people want to keep secret and secure, information that might be compromised if stored locally on a computer, phone, or tablet. Services like My Virtual StrongBox are easy to use and can suggest documents that users should upload. Services like My Virtual StrongBox can give customers and members peace of mind, knowing their important information is accessible, yet safe.

But only My Virtual StrongBox is ready to do all of that right now.

To build a service like My Virtual StrongBox takes a ton of time, a truckload of money and a dozen commmittees-worth of input, design, creation, breakdown, and decision-making. To implement My Virtual StrongBox right now only takes a phone call or an email. We built it that way because we knew that, before the end of 2013, there would be competition and a real interest in protecting user data. You can spend the next 365 days laboring over what to do and how best to do it…

…or you can start today and be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the only trillion dollar financial instiutions on the planet. It’s up to you.

Welcome to the party, Barclays. We’d grown a little tired of being the only one dancing.

August 6, 2013

Awesome Emails We Got This Week

Filed under: Credit Unions,crisis communication,DigitalMailer,email,email marketing,emergency,eStrategy,mobile technology — 12:17 pm

by Jimmy Marks

We got a lot of email here at DigitalMailer. When we get an especially cool one from outside the financial service sphere, we try and take note and appreciate what’s good about it. What are some cool emails we got this week? Let’s take a peek:

BJ’s is a wholesale store, not unlike Costco or Sam’s Club. In preparation for “Emergency Month” (the weather turns rather frightening in the September/October months), I was sent this email about emergency provisions, first aid kits, flashlights…all the good emergency stuff. This is a great email for three reasons:

  1. There’s no question what this email is about - This email is about emergency preparedness. There’s canned food, flashlights, radios, images of a storm…all related to emergencies, especially weather-related emergencies, the most common kind.
  2. The layout’s great – Like any great piece of writing, this email’s an inverted pyramid – the most important points are right up top, the less-important stuff is down at the bottom. It’s nothing but images, which is bad for SPAM-catchers and makes email too heavy for a phone, but still…good flow.
  3. There’s a little something for everyone - The further down you go, the more broad this gets, to the point that the bottom is coupon offers, credit card offers and social media links. Those things aren’t front-and-center – they’re further down to encourage more “window browsing”.

This is a very cool layout and has very sharp graphics. More important than all of that? It’s timely. Sending this same email the day after a major weather system destroys a town or even a city is a bad idea. People can’t buy emergency equipment then, they’re stuck at home with no lights and no way to leave home. You’ve got to be mindful of the time of year (or month, or day, even) and “hit ‘em where they ain’t”.

One of my co-workers asked if I wanted Chipotle for lunch. Shortly thereafter, I got this email in my inbox. My co-worker organized a group order through their website and this is the way other participants are brought in on it.

Look at this email! Branded with the logo, the colors, the fonts, special promotions, the whole shebang. Even cooler? I can jump in on the group order and make my lunch order just the way I like it. There’s no fax-in spreadsheet to pass around, no call-in order that gets mixed up or misordered…everybody gets what they want with their name on it. What’s not to love?

I hope more restaurants jump in on this trend. It’s a smart way to use email and get an online order just right.

We want to make this an ongoing thing. Have YOU received any emails that made you say “wow, that’s a cool email!” in recent history? If so, let us know. 

July 25, 2013

The Worst Subject Lines are Educational, It Seems…

Filed under: Banks,Credit Unions,email,email marketing,Marketing — 12:05 pm

by Jimmy Marks

I saw this article from MarketingProfs that showed a large matrix of best and worst words in subject lines.  Interesting stuff, considering that “gift”, “win”, and “exclusive” aren’t total deal-breakers anymore. These used to be words you couldn’t even dream of using in an email campaign.

What puzzled me more than the words I thought were going to be SPAM keywords? The words that caused the fewest opens and clicks. Some of the under-performers from the list:

  • “Learn”
  • “Report”
  • “Webinar”
  • “Forecast”
  • “Report”
  • “Trial”

See any pattern? These are all words that performed significantly worse than the overall average of the email subject lines surveyed. And they all have something to do with education – learning, reports, webinars, forecasts, etc. Do people really hate the idea of being educated that much?

It probably doesn’t help that many people expect “educational materials” to be hard-sells. What really gets people going, it seems, is an actual offer – not disguised, not ashamed, just straight-up offers and discounts. “Free Delivery” has an open rate that’s 50% higher than the average. “Sale” has a 23% higher open rate and a 60% higher click-through rate.

People are coming to the conclusion that emails from a business are useful in two ways: a discount or a warning about a possible issue (“alert”, “breaking”, “renew”, etc.). How does that work when what you’re “selling” is a financial service? You can’t really offer a “sale” on checking accounts. You can’t offer “free delivery” on a loan. So what do you do? Are you educating? Are you selling? Are you raising awareness of an issue? And how many FI-related words are getting blacklisted by email admins?

We’ve started doing a deep-dive on the past few years of email campaign data for our ARB users. Want to know what we found? 

Stay tuned…

July 18, 2013

The “4C’s” Behind Diamond-Level Digital and Mobile Marketing

Filed under: Compliance,mobile technology,security,smart marketing — 3:29 pm

Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat are the four “C’s” of diamond buying. Choice, Clarity, Control and Confidence are the four C’s of digital and mobile marketing.

No, not “confidence” as in “self-assurance” – “confidence” as in security. In this article from, “How Not to Get Sued When You Start Mobile Marketing”, researcher Michael Becker lays out what marketers should consider when it comes to information security and customer confidence. Becker’s four major points:

1. Choice: How are you giving consumers the choice to opt-in or opt-out?
2. Transparency [Clarity]: How will you use the data collected from consumers? Have you informed them what information is gathered and how it will be used?
3. Control: Can consumers control the communications they receive? Can they opt-out when they want to? (For example, Stop notices for text messages or easy unsubscribe methods.)
4. Security [Confidence]: Have you taken the appropriate steps to secure the data collected?

We’ve been dealing with this for a while as we’ve worked within the confines of the CAN-SPAM act. We include unsubscribe links or “subscription management” forms with each email sent, as well as a way to unsubscribe by paper mail. Seems like overkill, right? Wrong. It’s a compliance issue and we (and, by extension, our clients) have to take it seriously.

Here are some ways to hit all four of those C’s in one shot:

  • Include any disclosure language regarding one-time or ongoing marketing campaigns on the subscription form (transparency + choice)
  • Schedule an email every six months to a year explaining to your customers and members what marketing-related data you keep and an option to opt-out (control + security)
  • When someone unsubscribes, send them to a subscription control form that allows them to consider other mailing options and lists before unsubscribing in full (control + choice)
  • Be sure that you don’t fully delete subscribers when they unsubscribe – if they want to come back, the process should be easy and quick for them and for your (choice + security)

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

June 6, 2013

Grab That Grad!

Filed under: Banks,Marketing,member enrollment,On-Boarding — 12:09 pm

There they go, marching down the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance”. Quick, grab ‘em!

Well, no, don’t actually grab them. That would be weird and disruptive and potentially harmful.

In the months leading up to graduation, young folks are preparing for some major life changes – first job, college, grad school – and choosing the right financial institution can be a big part of all of those changes. Better that you reach out to graduates now than try and entice them to come back and give you a try. With so many other changes to be made, changing banks can be a big deal for a new grad, and one that benefits them and you. Here are some thoughts on getting their attention:

  1. Offer college-bound grads an “off to college” pack, including a folding laundry hamper, a nylon string backpack (for gym visits), a first-aid kit, some laundry detergent, a set of shower sandals…the list goes on, but one thing that should be included is a starter credit card or student checking account. If you go with the checking account, talk about some possible benefits and, if you’re part of a shared branching network, talk to that grad about ways to withdraw cash without penalties and get money when they need it.
  2. Offer workforce-bound grads a choice of “office pack” or “outdoor pack”. Office-bound grads could benefit from aspirin, mouthwash (for those after-lunch business meetings), a small sewing kit (for rips and missing buttons), some computer screen cleaner, a pack of paper and pens, some instant stain remover pens, and maybe a soft lunchbox with your branding on it? For the grads who will be working outside, consider a hard lunchbox with a thermos, sunscreen (skin care matters!), hats, hand sanitizer, and a car care kit complete with: dashboard cleaning wipes, air fresheners, a tire pressure gauge, and key-chain. In both cases, talk to these work-bound grads about affordable auto loans, home ownership goals and retirement saving.
  3. Got a grad who’ll soon be carrying a lot of student loan debt? Think about offering that grad a bit of encouragement with a “Just Out of School” pack. Offer them a pack of calming herbal tea, a gift card to a local grocery store, coupons to local businesses, a calculator and a specialized budget packet they can use (with your help) to come up with a cost saving plan. If a debt-laden grad is feeling especially nervous, sit with them and examine options for debt reductions and payment plans.
  4. Not all grads are fresh out of high school or college – some are folks who went back to school years later. These folks deserve a special treat for summoning the courage and the smarts to continue their education down the road. Send them a handwritten “you did it!” note and talk to them about how to pay down debt and prepare for a new income bracket as they move up thanks to their advanced degree.

They might seem silly or tough to produce, but these thoughtful gifts could mean the difference between a lifelong customer or member and one that walks away when they change locations for their next big life stage.

“But wait!” you cry, “how will I know when these folks are graduating?”

What, you mean you don’t have that data on-hand? You haven’t surveyed your members and customers about their current life stage? You haven’t done some simple math based on date of birth info? Ask questions, record the answers, make connections. It’s easier to do than ever.

Now, go grab those grads!

But, once again, not literally.

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.]

April 17, 2013

Earth Day, Arbor Day – Any Day’s a Good Day to Save Trees!

Filed under: electronic statements,green,green technology,One Click,technology — 10:41 am

The “Big Green Holidays” are coming up fast – Earth Day, April 22 and Arbor Day, April 26. As usual, we want to encourage our clients and partners to get more people on board with eStatements and digital documents. They’re compliant, they save your organization money, and best of all, they help cut down on paper waste in a BIG way. You don’t need a holiday to encourage more eStatement adoption – all you need is to encourage more people to receive their statements electronically.

See how many trees you save each year with our handy-dandy Green Checkup Calculator.

Are you a credit union or bank that really values “green business”? We’d like to hear from you. Drop us an email at and tell us what you’re doing to promote planet-friendly initiatives at your place of business. 

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