3 Tips About Financial Services E-mailsJuly 8, 2009 By Heather Fletcher, senior editor, Target Marketing
For financial institutions to win the tug of war in their customers' inboxes, they need to cede control to the subscribers, finds Forrester Research.
Considering financial services e-mails will nearly double during the next few years, from 8 billion messages in 2009 to 14 billion in 2013, the Cambridge, Mass.-based research company recommends giving customers more control in order to earn their trust. The advice comes as a result of survey findings Forrester details in its Why Consumers Subscribe to Financial Services E-mails report, which it released June 24.
In an online survey conducted last August, Forrester found that 52 percent of respondents said they subscribe to e-mails from financial institutions because they want to be in control of their money. More than half reported being annoyed when they receive e-mail for which they didn't opt in. (But only 36 percent said they actually receive e-mail they didn't ask for.) Meanwhile, among the 64 percent of online adults who receive financial services e-mails, most get messages from more than one such institution.
Forrester says that while some assumptions are true—financially stable consumers are more likely to subscribe to e-mails than low-income earners—others are not. For instance, career-motivated customers are more likely to subscribe than those motivated by family or entertainment. High-income consumers are just as likely to subscribe as the average consumer, but 42 percent claimed they never opted in to receive financial services e-mails. "So proceed with caution in contacting this group," according to Forrester.
So, Forrester says, hold on loosely, but don't let go:
- Share information about e-mail alerts. Relying on the technicality that e-mail alerts aren't e-mail marketing doesn't mean much to customers—to them, they're e-mails. "In a communications center, e-mail marketers should list the types of e-mail messages consumers can receive and under what circumstances they would receive them," Forrester advises.
- Allow control over subscription details. In a preference center, e-mail marketers can let customers pick from a list of messages they receive, complete with frequency and message format options. (The financial institutions retain control of the messages' creative aspects and content.)
- Add features that allow customers to understand how their money works. If the information in the e-mail lends itself to interactive financial tools such as calculators and graphs, provide them.