eStatement Adoption Strategies for Banks & Credit Unions

You're familiar with the benefits of eStatements, but how can your FI increase customer adoption rates?

eStatements on multiple devices

Let’s start with some strat-e-gery. Assuming you’ve already found an outstanding eStatement platform and earned executive buy-in for launching a marketing campaign, you’ll need to define the following:

  1. Opt-in Strategy – Will your FI use a default opt-in for new customers? Will you start charging a fee for paper statement delivery? Will you offer any incentives to encourage voluntary eStatement opt-in? Do you dare to implement a reverse opt-in strategy that moves all customers to paperless statements at a predetermined date? These are important questions to ask up front with any eStatement adoption strategy.
  2. Messaging – Hopefully, your team has already identified the benefits of eStatements vs paper statements right down to an actual dollar value. However, to get customer buy-in you’ll need to identify which benefits are of most value to your customers. Do you want to promote the environmental benefits of “green” documents? Is there a way to communicate the value to customers of reducing the bank’s operating costs? Or are the technical features that come along with electronic statements such as 24-7 accessibility on any device, historical archiving, and enhanced security the most relevant benefits?
  3. Branch Buy-In – Do your branch managers, customer service representatives, and tellers have a compelling reason to promote eStatement enrollment? Clearly communicating the benefits of eStatements both for bank and for employees on a personal level is a crucial part of an effective eStatement strategy. Using friendly competition, rewards, and recognition can help you earn campaign buy-in with front-line employees.

Channels for eStatement Promotion

Once your top-level strategy is finalized, you’ll need to effectively communicate your defined benefits, incentives, and opt-in process to your customers. Understanding the demographics and preferred communication channels of your customers is of course ideal, but regardless you’ll still want to engage with customers using multiple channels to achieve higher adoption rates. Make sure to track the source of each eStatement opt-in your campaign generates to inform future marketing efforts (check out our previous post on measuring traditional bank marketing for ways to better track non-digital channels). Here are a number of ways your bank or credit union can communicate with customers about electronic statements:

  1. Email – Include a banner ad within your next customer email, or try sending a standalone email campaign to customers who have not yet enrolled in eStatements. If your financial institution has a new customer onboarding email campaign this is a great channel for eStatement promotion.
  2. Direct Mail – Sending a standalone mailing is still an effective means of communicating with customers. You can better measure the impact of a mailing by directing recipients to a campaign-specific landing page on your website.
  3. IP Targeted Online Ads – IP targeting allows your bank to target the individual homes of your customers with online ads. This is truly one-to-one marketing, although you will likely only reach about 50% of your customer base using this method. Nevertheless, IP advertising provides extremely precise targeting and also works great in conjunction with a direct mail campaign.
  4. Online Banking – Customers who access your online banking portal are excellent prospects for eStatement adoption. Implement banner ads, popups, and notifications to encourage enrollment.
  5. Online Search Ads – Chances are that your FI is searched for hundreds or thousands of times each month by customers seeking to find a local branch, login to online banking, etc. As these customers search Google or Bing for your bank by name you can selectively target them with an advertisement about eStatements. When executed properly, this is an extremely cost-effective way to communicate with customers and increase eStatement enrollments since you’ll only pay a small amount for each click your ad receives.
  6. Print – For customers receiving a printed statement, there’s no better place to market eStatements than within their monthly DDA and savings statement mailings! You can include even more information by adding a printed insert or by printing on the outside of the envelope. Your tellers are also handing out a lot of printed material to customers each day in the form of cash envelopes and receipts; these are great opportunities to communicate with customers and help front-line employees earn opt-ins.
  7. Social Media – If you’re utilizing social media to engage customers, take advantage of these channels to promote eStatements. Platforms like Facebook are excellent channels to encourage participation in related incentives or contests.That being said, keep in mind that only a small percentage of your social media followers will even see your social media updates. To effectively reach all of your followers you can use social media pay per click ads that selectively target your followers or users associated with specific email addresses.
  8. Website – Don’t forget to add banner ads, popups, and supporting content to your own website! This seems like an obvious first step in promoting electronic statement delivery with customers, but we’ve reviewed many a bank website and it definitely happens.

Final Thoughts on Marketing eStatements

If your financial institution is like most other banks and credit unions, about 80% of your customers still receive paper statements. Converting these customers to paperless statements can generate significant cost savings, especially if your monthly statements are processed in-house. Plan your campaign carefully, earn buy-in from the top-down, execute multi-channel communication with your customers, measure the results, and save some paper!

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