NAFCU Services Blog

Jun 10, 2024
Categories: Education

You Can’t Do Digital Without Direct

By:  Franklin Madison

These days, most credit unions don’t stand a chance if members can’t interact with them online. While digital marketing is essential, we lose opportunities when we neglect to combine it with direct mail. Direct marketing, which includes both digital and mail, is far more effective because it can be personalized. 

By integrating both digital and direct, credit unions can maximize their reach and impact. As many as 77 percent of people still sort through their mail right away. When used with a digital strategy, we’ve found mail to increase the response rate five to nine times over. 

This integrated approach—called omnichannel marketing—can outperform single-channel marketing by providing a chance to connect with members where they’re most engaged and send offers in the format they’ll be best received. 

As a recent MeridianLink survey noted, 36 percent of Americans want to see more digital omnichannel experiences from their financial institution. 

4 Tactics That Drive a Successful Omnichannel Strategy 

What does well-integrated digital and direct mail marketing look like? Let’s explore some top tactics: 

1. Link digital offers to direct mail. 

When you send out direct mail, you leave your audience with tangible materials, like flyers or postcards, they can keep—making a longer-lasting connection. Combining direct with digital, you have another chance to touch members in their preferred online environments. Currently, we’re spending nearly seven hours a day (or over 17 years of our lives) online. 

It only makes sense then to link direct and digital. This is at the heart of any omnichannel strategy. Direct mail can draw members to a credit union’s website or a special product, like an offer for life, pet, or auto insurance. Many times, we use QR codes or personal URLs (PURLs) in direct mail to achieve this. 

2. Test direct mail creatives digitally. 

Before incurring the cost of printing direct mail materials, there’s a simple way to hone the message. Test messaging and graphics on multiple digital channels with your target audience. Doing this will enable you to see how members interact with different products and services. This information can be used to pump up your print materials. 

Synergy like this is one of the greatest advantages of data-driven direct marketing. If your goal is to provide members with more protective products to improve financial wellness, you can test digitally to ensure that you’re sending the right insurance offer with the right messaging. 

3. “Pre-heat” with an email campaign. 

Email campaigns are frequently used by credit unions to draw interest and announce new products and services. To get more out of an email send, use email to “pre-heat” and direct mail to reinforce the messaging. As a first step, email can prime a member with an offer, followed by direct mail designed to convert. Then email reminders can be sent, along with retargeting ads spurring a call to action. 

This omnichannel approach doesn’t just help to boost conversions—it improves member relations. Consistently using direct and digital channels helps to establish familiarity and trust, specifically by helping to get your name in front of members.  

4. Use retargeting for website visitors. 

It can take as many as eight touchpoints before a conversion is made. Even when a member visits your website, you can’t guarantee when they’ll act. To ensure that you stay engaged with potential members, retargeting ads and personalized direct mail can be used for follow-up. 

With insights provided by data analytics, these digital and direct mail pieces can meet a member’s need by providing a personalized offer or answering a question. Connecting at such an individual level can help to instill confidence, while improving a member’s experience. 

As a note, omnichannel marketing can be especially beneficial when offering members products like insurance. While almost all members want options for digital interaction, insurance remains personal. When faced with selecting between multiple products, members need to feel confident in choosing their coverage. 

For these members, omnichannel marketing can offer the best of both worlds—raising digital awareness while providing physical direct offers for insurance products. With an approach like this, members could walk away feeling supported, like their credit union is looking out for their best interests. 

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