Topic: Banking Email Marketing Examples

On behalf our clients in the financial sector I keep my eyes peeled for great banking email.  However, this blog has a Category list called ‘Banking Email Marketing Examples’ and if you look in there, you’ll see that most everything in it is… ah… not good.

In a presentation I used to give about email marketing, one of the slides was headed up  ’Don’t be a banker’.  The theme was that it’s an easy win is to show your customers they are important by ensuring they are, in fact, important.   Customer service is improving.  Banking now get A+ for service, but telco’s still get an F… according to a recent study by Colmar Brunton.   They say that in NZ banks now occupy 7 of the top 10 ‘best customer service experience’ spots. (Press Release here)

Still it’s really annoying when your bank issues e.g. a new low interest rate for new clients, and you’ve been banking with them since you were twelve and you get ‘jack squat’.  See NBR noting this delay in pass along of the OCR cuts this month here.  Telco’s tend to do the same in order to win your business off their competition, but not reward you for loyalty.

You’d think Telecom would know that you first connected your Motorola brick phone in 1995 and have stuck with them since.  That’s loyal, man!

You’d think ASB bank would care that you took your piggy in to bank your pocket money when you were 5, and now have a $500k mortgage with them.  Clearly ‘I LOVE YOU ASB’ – but do you love me?

Can you relate?  How can email marketing help improve things? Cute little plays like Rabobank’s Valentine’s Day help, and we ‘ve been designing some fantastic and effective eDM work with a top-5 New Zealand bank from the over 55′s all the way to the Uni students.

Relevant messaging that simply makes an acknowledgement of my loyalty is a start.   They are not actually a bank but I wish American Express told me more often that they know I’ve paid my card off month in, month out for the past 12 years.  They say it on the card: ‘Member since 1999′ mine says, and I like it.  So why not add that to my email in a personalised way? (They are doing a great job with their OPEN platform though!)

Some let you ‘in the know’ early with advance ticket purchases. Orange UK has the great ‘More from Orange’ program (link at bottom).

A recent study sheds some light on what is happening.  A USA company called subscribermail surveyed 71 banks and 191 credit unions last year.

What’s good:
At some organizations such as Chase, email welcoming messages many times arrive at the customer’s home before the customer returns from opening a new account. This communication is used to thank the customer for opening their account, encourage usage of engagement services (online banking, debit cards, direct deposit) and describe future communication the customer will receive from the bank.
What’s bad:
Fewer than 50% of both banks and credit unions segment their email database in any manner
Half of the responders had email initiatives planned in the next six months
Senior management support of such an initiative was far from a reality according to the survey, with less than 30% of the bank respondents stating that senior management was supportive of email marketing strategies.
Ideas to put into planning:
Email as a lifecycle tool…
To encourage loyalty:
Promote time-sensitive actions:
Partner on the ‘journey’ around money:

More From Orange is the much talked about Loyalty scheme from Orange UK, with half price movies on Wednesdays, and more – see that here.

An excellent post about Bank of America, their email marketing redesign process, and a highlight of their lack of pre-header text; click here.

Download the study that looked at surveyed 71 banks and 191 credit unions  for free you can visit this page.

Email marketing is a chance to make your the way to the and the $

Here’s a quick wrap up of the subject lines in the inbox that relate to Valentine’s Day.

  • GO-SEE-DISCOVER: WIN this Valentine’s Day / AA Tourism
  • Valentine’s Day — next Monday, wine, beer, food and delivery /Glengarry’s
  • Save $$s on Valentine’s Day Today Only / The Whisky Shop
  • Nothing says ‘I love you’ this Valentine’s Day like 5.45% p.a. /Rabobank (Our pick! SEE IMAGE BELOW)
  • Happy Valentine’s Day, here’s some Frizz Free Hair on us! /
  • A Valentines E-Gift for You / Choice catering
  • Valentines Day Mon 14th… / Transylvania Mini Golf (!)
  • Save on Products our Customers Love /
  • We heart coupons for Senseo® coffee / Senseo
  • Valentines Day coming up this Monday, Feb 14th / Roses are Red
  • How-To: Flirty Waves… Just in time for Valentine’s Day /
  • Love, Films by Starlight & the NZI Sevens / KNOW Wellington
  • Be inspired by the latest looks for 2011! / Farmers Beauty Club (who didn’t mention Valentines although the content was all about it.
  • You’ll love these Valentine’s offers / Event Cinemas Film Squad
  • :your biz news headlines on Valentines Day! / Growmybiz
  • I love money, and money loves me / Wildly Wealthy .com

Did you notice the volume of emails increase into your inbox?

Did you use V-Day as an excuse to say Hi and to your customers?

Email marketing offers extraordinary ROI because it is personal, direct, and interactive, allowing communication that is timely, relevant and two-way.  And you can use automated email tools to filter, manage and respond to emails that are sent to your service teams (even if that team’s just you).

So why do you use noreply to clearly state that we may not speak with you in the most intuitive way there is – the ‘Reply’ button in an email client.  Ironically most marketers have paid money to experts to optimise their online user interfaces and then ignore the most straightforward UI in email.

It’s hard to interpret that noreply says much other than ‘rack off – we are not interested in you’.  Whether they want to buy something from you, compliment you, comment, unsubscribe, or enquire, you are saying ‘no, you can’t do it this way’.  In a bid to start a conversation with the marketers who use this; here is a quick list of some of the Companies in the inbox with noreply as the reply email address.  If you are on this list please contribute – why?  If you aren’t on the list how do you feel when you see noreply? Let’s discuss.

1st Domains
Air New Zealand
Air Pacific
Four Square
Gareth Morgan Kiwisaver
Genesis Energy
Grabone NZ
Jetstar (Qantas)
NZ Post
NZ Rugby
Rabo Bank – Rabodirect
Techday NZ
Telstra Clear
Virgin Velocity Rewards

A quick check for others who feel this way shows that there are a lot.  Here are what some others are saying:

Why would you use a no reply email address (

Avoid no-reply email addresses in email  (

The dreaded no-reply email  ( (Ed: I like these two points – you are not that big, and even if you are big, don’t be lazy)

FOOTNOTE: Here’s the subsequent post, inspired by comments below which answers the very good question: How DO you manage your replies then?

Comments? Replies?  Need a robust, experienced, trusted email marketing team on your side to help you get this stuff right, no matter where you are in the world?  ;)

The loveliest thing about the email below is that it’s from the Customer Prevention Unit.  Most days I see businesses send emails that might as well have come from the CPU.  Most are STILL not talking to customers and prospects as though they are the best source of revenue for you.  Most  are STILL not making sure they feel known, appreciated and on the ‘inside’.   I talked about that in the post about the email where the AMEX marketer told me that he’d been a member since 2004 but got my name wrong and didn’t acknowledge that I’ve been a member since 1999!  At least this kiwi bank-wannabe has come right out with it.

Those spammers are sending more engaging copy than ever with their diseases and lotteries and so on.  I’ve been getting a few bank ones lately like this one of this morning.  And I get genuine Kiwibank ones too as I’m a client.  I have to figure which is which when they arrive.

The most important daily challenge for us is ensuring that the emails are delivered.  And spam kings work to make sure their emails look as much like the genuine article as they can.

It’s our job to work with you to make sure your emails are delivered.  But the thing that will get your revenue up is stop being the CPU and use email to drive closer relationships.

I know, I know, it’s starting to look like a witch hunt, but let me remind you – I did not start this.  AMEX started it – with the badly designed security threatening competition in April, and then the 4 million points let-down in June.

Now, they have sent this email with a better greeting – not ‘cardmember’ and not the name on my card – which is accurate but definitely unnatural as a greeting.  But the greeting is now the name on my card apparently – see the right hand column here:

This is just a merge field that it wrong, but so far I have had three emails with three different greetings, and whilst finally they got it right-er they also got it wrong-er.

Personalisation should be accurate at least – super clever ideally – or not used at all.

Straight to the Hall of Shame, again, AMEX.

What do you think?

After the AMEX card number blunder back in April, I was pleased to get another email two months later to see how progress in their emarketing program was coming along.  But what caught my eye first off wasn’t the copy or design .  I noted that they had used my name not the ‘cardmember’ I was called last time which is great.  And, I was delighted and amazed to see that I had a rewards points balance that would let me travel the world as much as I wanted – over 4 million points!

I thought I would keep quiet and see what happened next.

This is what happened next – to be precise, 24 hours later I received this one:

That’s a bit of a come down. And it’s about as impersonal as you could get. Here’s what I would have said:

Hi Roanne

Yesterday, we sent you an email that showed you an incorrect points balance.  This was a technical error, and no doubt left you a little confused.  We are really grateful to the people who took the time to let us know about this error so that we could fix it as quickly as possible.

Your correct points balance as at 1 May 2010 was 2472, and you’ll be able to view that and consider redeeming these point on some great rewards in our Membership Rewards® Favourite Things catalogue.

We know that you have been with us since 1999, we really value your loyalty and we apologise for this error and any confusion this may have caused.

Yours sincerely….

I always advise clients that when you make an error, it’s the time to work very hard on mitigating any damage by drawing your client closer than ever, showing them you do know them after all.  Am I being picky?  What do you think?

UPDATE: can you believe AMEX”s NEXT campaign was also a bit of a stuff up?  Here it is.

I received this campaign today from American Express New Zealand, asking me to register to win.  American Ex-cess usually takes away not gives, so I thought I would take a look.

They called me a warm friendly ‘Cardmember’ – but in fact they had my name, which you can see in the side bar.  That was the first thing that made me feel special.

Then I click through on the link to register and they ask for my credit card number. 
HINT: 1. I think you know it already.  I’ve scratched it out of the email above but you stuck half of it in the side bar under “For Your Security” heading. 
HINT 2. It’s in the big computer next to you, and I’m not typing it into your entry form.

If American Express email marketing want me typing my card number into online forms to enter competitions then they will probably get their wish, as they incite lots of Eastern Blok types to try this campaign themselves.

We’d been talking about how clever spammers and phishers are getting, just this morning.  We’ve had McDonalds, banks of course, but the bank frausters are getting really good…  at phishing.

I had to take this thing apart to work out that it was genuine.

If Peter Newton had his phone number on the email I would have called him straight up, but he’s probably in his office in Sydney signing off campaigns.

Here is the landing page (you can click to enlarge):

What do you think?

UPDATE:  OOps! You did it again. American Express marketing has since sent me 2 other campaigns with a significant error you can see that here.

The landing page

The landing page