Campaign More Than Doubles Usage Of Electronic Services

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Electronic service usage more than doubled at one credit union as a result of four separate interactive marketing campaigns tied to prizes that included a trip for two to Hawaii, a Samsung digital camera, a Sony camcorder and up to $7,000 to pay all bills within a 60-day period.

During June, July and August, the $1-billion Tower Federal Credit Union teamed up with Digital Insight of Calabasas, Calif., and Adfluence, Inc. of Rockville, Md., to draw members to its e-statements, home banking and bill payment services.

Not only will the CU save $9,800 this year in standard postage as a result, its e-statement registrations nearly doubled, said Aisha Brantley, marketing copywriter at Tower.

Licking Fewer Envelopes

"We wanted to get our members really acquainted with our website and increase online traffic," she said. "While we still have a lot of members who prefer getting things by mail and in our branches, our goal is to send out less correspondence by mail and we know (from the response to the "Don't Call" registry) that people are not interested in phone calls."

She said the "very successful" campaigns that were relatively inexpensive and offered quick results encouraged Tower officials to continue offering similar promotions.

"We are moving full speed ahead," Brantley said, noting that last month members were being invited to participate in an online trick-or-treating event. The winner received a $500 gift certificate to Amazon.com.

Tower's first interactive campaign came during its 50th anniversary celebration in April with banners at its branches and on its website inviting members to participate in an online treasure hunt. Each treasure chest they found contained a gold coin with a letter clue. Combined and unscrambled, the clues revealed the message, "50th Anniversary."

The winner, selected at random, received a seven-day trip for two to Hawaii.

Seeing web traffic increase 32 times the normal rate triggered the more aggressive campaigns in June, July and August, Brantley said.

In June, Tower encouraged members to receive their monthly statements electronically instead of via the U.S. Postal Service. Those who signed up through the CU's online home banking service were entered into a drawing for a Sony camcorder.

"By the second day of the promotion, over 750 members signed up for the service," Brantley said. By the month's end, total e-statements increased by 60 percent netting Tower more than 2,700 more e-statement recipients.

"Tower will save over $9,800 per year with this huge increase based on reduced statement printing and mailing costs to members," said Christine Bouma, product planner at Tower. Some 6,000 of Tower's 111,000 members now receive e-statements.

To sign up, members had to move their computer mouse into an interactive banner ad and move a crumpled paper statement into a wastebasket. Three shots in the baskets led them to the e-statements landing page.

AdFluence, creator of interactive Internet advertisements that track information about the ads' performance, recorded 41,000 member interactions with this particular ad for at least five seconds. Of those, 1,450 members were delivered to the intended page.

Brantley said this campaign was initially sent via e-mail to Tower members already using home banking services. At the end of the month, this group received a second "reminder" e-mail that, as a result, boosted the registration rate to more than 300 a day for the remainder of the campaign.

Sweepstakes Staged

In mid-June, a "Live Free for 60 Days" sweepstakes was launched, giving both new and existing home banking users an opportunity to have all their bills paid-up to $7,000-for two months.

During July, members who enrolled and/or managed their accounts online got a chance at one of 10 $200 Home Depot gift cards. In the first week, Brantley said, almost 400 members registered.

Tower's final summer sweepstakes lured 466 people to its Bill Payment service with a chance of winning a Samsung digital camera. Prior to the sweepstakes, Tower was averaging 135 registrations per month. It was illustrated with an ad showing a man lying in the sun.

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