Paying More Bills

Register now

A comprehensive marketing campaign that includes employee incentives, direct mail, in-branch merchandising and pop-up messages has triggered a huge jump in enrollment of South Carolina FCU's online Payment Management product.

The number of users increased to 6,449 for June-a 79.2% increase over last year, said Scott Blue, VP of Marketing at the $1.68-billion SCFCU.

That same month, the number of bills paid online exceeded 25,000 for the first time ever. In addition, the average number of bills paid per user increased to 6.25 from 3.85 a year ago.

"I think it was a combination of tactics that we used that made this promotion so successful," Blue said. Among them, getting the employees involved.

"We wanted to make sure the front-line staff was educated about the product," he said. "And the best way to do that was to encourage them to use bill pay themselves."

Simple cash incentives got many involved, while a separate promotion for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate toward Gateway computers piqued the interest of even more employees, he said.

The campaign also targeted members who were already using other online banking services to check their balances, transfer funds and make at least a few payments online.

"We knew they were already Internet savvy, so we teamed up with our home banking product partner, Digital Insight, to create a pop-up message to encourage them to try the Payment Management product," Blue said, noting that the message only appeared for those members who had not used the product.

Those interested in learning more were invited to sign up on the spot, he said, explaining that the pop-up also gave users the option, "Don't show me this anymore." For those who simply chose to ignore the message, it was programmed to appear five more times.

"We had tremendous enrollment from that one initiative," Blue said, adding that the two-month spring promotion will be repeated in the fall.

A direct mail campaign targeting members considered "very strong candidates" for bill pay usage announced a give-away of three $500 gift certificates for Gateway computers to anyone that used I-Teller and e-statements and paid at least three bills online during the month of June. Employees that participated were entered into a separate drawing, Blue said.

The campaign, "Upgrade the way you bank and win a computer upgrade," got an impressive 6% response, Blue said. It was complemented with in-branch signage and posters.

The key now, Blue said, is to keep members using Payment Management.

"The enrollment process was just the beginning," he said. "Ensuring that they actually use the service long term is the goal."

He said his team effort would include keeping close watch on the online statistics, periodic promotions and continuous cross-selling by front line staff.

"It's really an ongoing effort for us," he said. "We recognize that one of the strongest relationships we can have with our members is the utilization of online services."

Blue said his team was proud to see their goals met during this "inexpensive" campaign, although he declined to say how much was invested. "Any time you focus and have clear objective and sharp tactics and can deliver a good product, you're going to be successful," he said. "We had a certain amount of expectations going into this and we knew we had a quality service."

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.