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Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways for credit unions to stay connected with members and drive growth. However, with inboxes constantly flooded, simply sending emails is no longer enough. You need to capture attention and inspire action that truly serves your members’ financial needs. This is usually done with the help of email marketing platforms.

In this article, we share 13 email marketing tips to help your credit union create more relevant, valuable emails that members want to open, read, and act on. 

By focusing on the member experience and service-oriented messaging, you can leverage email to build lasting relationships and better serve your community.

Why Credit Unions Should Use Email Marketing

Email marketing is critical for credit unions looking to boost non-interest income. Studies show financial email campaigns garner impressive returns, generating approximately $40 for every $1 spent

Beyond increased revenue, optimized email nurtures lifelong member relationships. Segmenting contacts, personalizing content, and automating journeys allow you to provide the right offer or advice at the right time depending on each recipient. 

This level of tailored service strengthens trust and satisfaction while addressing individual financial needs. 

With email facilitating lower loan delinquencies and higher deposit balances, it positively impacts a credit union’s bottom line. Ultimately, email marketing allows credit unions to increase wallet share and better serve account holders across the member lifecycle.

1. Collect Emails at New Member Sign-ups

Capturing email addresses should start when new members sign up for an account. To get started with building your list, include fields on all standard account applications to enter and verify member emails. 

Confirm that tellers are asking for and recording this contact information to link with each new account at the time of opening. Make sure any online account registration forms or sign-up flows also make email a required field before completion.

Getting emails on file from the outset allows immediate access to directly contacting members to confirm accounts are activated properly. It also enables sending helpful onboarding and orientation messages guiding new sign-ups on available products and services. 

Ongoing email communication facilitates quicker adoption of tools like online banking, remote check deposit, and bill pay.

The key is collecting and confirming valid member emails at the point of origination before leaving the credit union branch or website. This invaluable contact channel will serve the relationships for years to come through personalized and relevant ongoing messaging.

2. Segment by Member Profile

Once emails are captured, take advantage by segmenting contacts based on member profiles. Split subscribers by variables like account type, loan products utilized, assets under management thresholds, and length of relationship. Customize the content within messages based on the distinct needs of groups like students, small businesses, mortgage holders, and credit card revolvers.

Send students tips on building credit, budgeting, and planning for future student debt. Enable special loan offers to niche member subsets where expanded wallet share exists. Provide exclusive early access to new digital conveniences that appeal to digitally-savvy generations.

Segmenting by demographics, behaviors and more within your database allows sending hyper-targeted communications to distinct audiences. This personalization gets higher click-through rates. It also facilitates content better answering specific member questions and providing financial guidance uniquely valuable to each sub-group.

3. Send Personalized Financial Tips


Lifelong financial guidance should extend beyond the branch. Email nurtures relationships by regularly providing personalized money tips and insights relevant to each member’s situation. Send homeowners reminders on refinancing options as interest rates shift. Share local community event notices to engender goodwill. Convey quick ideas for boosting savings rates or meeting other monetary goals.

Transactional messages can also adopt more personal tones. Congratulate members on fully paying off loans. Thank repeat customers for referrals that bring friends or family to the credit union. Holiday closing hours emails can include a specific customer service agent’s name to contact.

Delivering tailored financial advice, kudos, access, and assistance via email provides helpful service while reinforcing individual value. This thoughtfulness strengthens loyalty even without overt selling. Reciprocated member devotion manifests in higher product utilization, referrals, and retention over time.

4. Promote Lending Products

Email allows cost-efficient promotion of lending solutions to qualified recipients. Segmented loan-oriented messages should highlight specific attributes of products matching member needs. 

Position HELOCs for consolidation of higher-rate debts. Feature auto loans that enable buying new fuel-efficient vehicles. Whether spurred by life events or shifting financial priorities, appropriate lending opportunities delivered by email can provide utility.

Similarly, targeted refinancing offers deliver value to subsets of members whose current loans may be advantageous to restructure. Even general lending-related content like rate change notices, loan application document checklists, and loan calculators boost awareness of potential solutions.

As a trusted financial authority, lending product feature calls-to-action in emails grab more attention coming from the credit union versus other marketers. Just ensure messaging speaks to existing or forthcoming needs to avoid overt selling without service. Promotional content should ultimately illustrate how borrowing helps recipients achieve priorities.

5. Highlight Deposit Account Specials

Email enables efficiently spotlighting new or limited-time deposit account specials to the most receptive audiences. Blanket blasts touting promotional Certificate of Deposit rates, bumped-up savings bonuses, or unique checking cash-backs rarely compel engagement. Instead, match specific offers to member segments primed to respond.

For example, recent home buyers may have down payment funds to allocate to a high-yield account. Parents of college-bound students need to earmark tuition money in the best place. Young professionals starting financial planning appreciate introductions to attractive options—no matter the account promo, target members with clear needs or behaviors indicate readiness to act.

Tying limited-run incentives to real member scenarios generates higher opt-in rates. This allows financial resources to work harder through properly positioned deposit vehicles while strengthening member service and program discoverability simultaneously.

6. Spotlight Member-Only Discounts

Email enables credit unions to showcase exclusive discounts or perks to members. Limited-time percentage-off deals and flash sales across area merchants help households save substantively. Gifting access to VIP events, early ticket sales, or free digital content also rewards the relationship.

To maximize relevance, match partner promotions to member subsets primed to leverage and enjoy each opportunity. Send students notifications of free or discounted tickets from local concert venues. Share home improvement store deals with new homeowners tackling remodeling projects.

Extending member-only savings and privileges boosts the tangible value of the relationship, especially for younger demographics. This engenders reciprocity, enriching experiences that elevate perceptions of the credit union overall. Just ensure activations support specific lifestyles to avoid overly broad partnerships that miss the mark.

7. Share Relevant Financial News

Email enables sending bite-sized summaries of financial news directly relevant to many members’ situations. Share brief explainers about inflation data and impacts on household budgets. Cover Federal Reserve rate decisions influencing borrowing costs. Digest state and local policy changes affecting home values.

  • Match succinct briefings to segmented groups based on likely applicability. Send first-time homebuyer audience notes on market shifts and price trend forecasts. 
  • Share student loan rate change notices with those carrying balances. 
  • Even forward-thinking content like retirement contribution updates keeps key audiences informed.

Serving up tailored knowledge demonstrates the credit union’s finger on the financial pulse while supporting financial literacy. 

You can set up automated workflows like the one in the example below to ensure that each subscriber gets relevant information at the right time. 


It shows a commitment to equipping people with information influencing decisions instead of pure selling. These value-added headlines packaged via email nurture trust and leadership perceptions. 

8. Reward Member Referrals

Member referrals should always be celebrated and saying thanks by email enables personalized expressions of gratitude. Send a customized message to each advocate spotlighting the first name of the friend they brought to the credit union. Consider conveying appreciation through a choice of gift cards to area shops or restaurants to enrich lifestyles.

For referring members themselves, enable easy invitation forwarding to continue spreading the word to other potential new members. Supply pre-composed email copy along with linked online application forms to facilitate frictionless sharing. Track referrals to properly attribute downstream conversions to original member evangelists.

Rewarding referrals boosts satisfaction while incentivizing further positive word of mouth. Just ensure monetary prizes or closing gifts are substantial enough to convey sincere appreciation yet still cost-efficient per account opened. Either way, individual thank-you notes via email add a meaningful human touch.

9. Automate Loan Payment Reminders

Email workflows help automate the sending of loan payment reminders ahead of due dates. Whether daily, weekly, or monthly installments, optimized timing of notices ranges from 7 to 2 days prior based on recipient tendencies. 

Briefly note the specific loan coming due, the exact amount, and available payment methods including online portals.

Message tones balance cordiality with accountability. Thank members for their prompt payments while subtly stressing expectations of on-time discipline. For late notices post-deadline, adopt more urgent wording emphasizing the repercussions of delinquency and guidance for curing issues.

Thoughtfully crafted payment reminders by email uphold diligent financial behaviors while conveying compassion for occasional hardships. Moving interaction to email automation and other digital channels also reduces print and postage overheads. Just ensure any workflow-triggered messages sound more helpful versus automated to nurture the human relationship.

10. Cross-Sell Additional Services

Email facilitates personalized cross-sell matching complementary products or services to existing financial needs members already demonstrate. Those opting into online bill pay may welcome details on discounted check printing. Auto loan holders could use introductions to vehicle service discount programs.

Similarly, life changes like marriage, new children, or retirement prompt timely openings to meet evolving financial requirements. More information at major milestones, not just arbitrary intervals. This demonstrates attentiveness while ensuring suggestions solve real wants.

The key is sharing related offerings using members’ current product adoptions and stage of life to guide timing and selection. This contextual promotion prevents overt selling in favor of advice steered by profile signals. Product suggestions should ultimately help simplify finances or save money instead of purely boosting credit union revenue. Deliver utility and empathy first.

11. Retarget Website Visitors

Retargeting warms up previous website visitors who may need extra nurturing before applying for accounts or loans. Email sequences remind online form starters to complete applications. Relevant content shapes the next steps for site visitors who review specific information pages.

For example, redirect checking account explorers to online calculators quantifying potential cash-back earnings. Or send student loan page visitors current rate discount opportunities for timely acting applicants. Tailor’s follow-up message focuses on the initial research already demonstrated.

Contact website visitors again within a week post-session before momentum stalls. Concise but compelling content aims to advance known interests into action by spotlighting motivated next steps. The key is giving the extra nudge without overselling through targeted emails demonstrating helpfulness.

12. Send Member Satisfaction Surveys

Email’s immediacy helps consistently pulse member satisfaction levels through quick surveys. Well-composed polls deliver a mix of rating questions and open comment fields to gauge service sentiment. Personalize surveys using member names and products held to make forms feel less generic.

Send feedback emails post-transaction like loan closing or early in the relationship before inertia lessens candor. Promise anonymity where helpful to invite unvarnished critiques. For detractors electing displeasure, use links to schedule in-person or phone reconciliation attempts via Calendly.

Monitoring satisfaction through email-distributed surveys yields actionable input for everything from employee coaching to overhauling offerings falling short of expectations. The regular check-ins show accountability while enabling agility addressing revealed weak spots. This handles issues before member frustrations escalate and loyalty lapses.

13. Track Campaign Engagement Rates


Carefully tracking email campaign engagement provides critical student performance data to refine future outreach. Monitor open rates, click-throughs, referral conversions, and bottom-line revenue by initiative. Compare performance across segmented groups and content themes to dictate winning recipes.

Test new subject lines and behavioral triggers to target based on previous response patterns. Experiment with replacing overused industry jargon with more conversational phrasing when teasing content. Measure the downstream loan and deposit applications generated from email promotions specifically.

Set performance benchmarks early on and keep optimizing based on response diagnostics. Whether an underwhelming 26% open rate or a fantastic 58% CTR, let data-driven insights direct ongoing email methodology and messaging focus. The numbers will show what members want to see in their inboxes from the credit union.

Email marketing remains a vital channel for credit unions to sustain lifelong member bonds beyond physical premises. 

By maximizing reach through diligent list building, personalized targeting, and service-first messaging, financial institutions can nurture loyalty while addressing evolving needs. Tactically tracking email performance provides the compass to hone relevancy with each send. 

Ultimately, getting email fundamentals right gives credit unions a valuable member touchpoint along each stage of the relationship journey.

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