Financial services companies choose direct mail as a marketing channel because it works for them. Roughly 70% of all banks and credit unions use direct mail, according to a DMA Response Rate Report. But they do so strategically because different customers require different marketing messages. As a result, almost half of the financial institutions plan to maintain their direct mail efforts. Another 35% intend to increase their usage.


Are you intrigued? Here are some direct mail bank marketing ideas from seven regional banks. Take these concepts to the bank (so to speak) and you can succeed with direct mail, too.


1. M&T Bank: Customize Your Products and Services to Better Serve Your Customers


bank marketing ideasM&T Bank is a regional bank with a community bank approach. The Buffalo, NY-based Fortune 500 corporation has 780 branches throughout nine U.S. states. One of their direct mail bank marketing ideas was to focus on their customer’s unique individual needs—in this case, business needs. Every business faces unique challenges. That’s why your marketing messages should cater to each business uniquely. How do you do that when a personalized marketing strategy only takes you so far?


It’s true, you can segment your mailing lists into different target audiences, but sometimes you also need to let your customers know directly that you’ll work with them to achieve their business goals. They may be part of a target group, but they may also have business needs unlike any other business. In a direct mail campaign, M&T promised to create a banking plan that fit their customer’s needs. As part of their copy, they used phrases like:


  • Understanding what’s important for your business (on the front of the envelope).
  • We’ll work with you to understand your company’s unique cash flow needs.
  • They also stated that using a “customized suite of products and services” (like making/receiving payments, managing money, etc.) will help build a business.


As a CTA, M&T Bank asked the prospect to stop by their local branch or call a toll-free number.


Take what you do best and let your customers know that you can tailor your products and services to their individual needs. At the very least, let them know you want to talk about what they need from your bank and see how perfectly you can solve their problems. It all starts with an attractive direct mail piece that highlights a promise—in no uncertain terms. Just make sure you can (and will) follow through on the promises you make.


2. Fifth Third Bank: Keep Your Brand Consistent Across All Your Marketing Platforms


Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank (aka 5/3 Bank) is one of the largest regional banks in the U.S. with over 1,200 full-service locations across 10 states. One of their bank marketing ideas was to develop consistency across all their marketing platforms, with direct mail representing one part of their newfound strategic marketing effort.


In previous marketing campaigns, 5/3 Bank had too much segmentation. Customers would receive multiple conflicting offers without any consideration into their purchase history or interests. That only served to confuse and alienate customers. So they arrived at a solution—and consistency would be their key.


5/3 Bank unified all their bank marketing materials and messages across all channels and locations. What they communicated online and via their mobile app, they also conveyed with their direct mail campaigns and telemarketing efforts. They also coordinated their bank marketing materials from one branch location to the next. This served to give customers the right message at the right time, plus 5/3 Bank reduced their marketing costs. Furthermore, they complied with U.S. and international financial regulations.


Consistency is key in marketing your brand—especially when you’re dealing with other people’s money. Brands that are consistent with their marketing efforts are 20% more valuable and they make roughly 23% more money than those brands that lack consistency. Brand management software helps to take control of all your bank marketing materials—from your digital assets to all your approved marketing templates. If you want to get consistent, include a brand management software platform as the foundation of your marketing strategy.


3. Zions Bancorporation: Connect Your Marketing Channels with PURLs


PURL marketingZions Bancorporation is a regional bank headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, with full-service banking offices in 11 western states. They spearheaded their bank marketing ideas with an onboarding direct mail piece that included a personalized landing page (PURL) for each customer who had recently opened an account. Their goal was to upgrade these new customers by increasing the number of products per household.


Zions offered nine core products in their cross-selling campaign. They placed each new customer into a group to receive information about one of these products. The campaign was split roughly in half with email recipients and direct mail customers. The direct mail piece featured a PURL as well as customized images using variable data printing (VDP) to match both the offer and the recipient. One key aspect is that the email, direct mail piece, and PURL all resembled one another. They looked like they belonged together as part of the same campaign.


The PURL strategy was a success. Not only did the customized landing pages produce a 5% response rate, but they also served as a way for customers to reconnect with the bank after the product purchase. Zions now runs this type of campaign quarterly and they plan to emulate the program for their business customers, too.


Consider using a PURL (and VDP) in your direct mail marketing campaigns. Your customers will receive an interactive, personalized experience while you collect valuable information from them and track their responses in real-time.


4. KeyBank: Marketing Templates Save Time and Money


KeyBank is a regional bank headquartered in Cleveland, yet they’re one of the 30 biggest banks in the U.S. They send more than 10-million pieces of direct mail each year. After a careful analysis of their marketing strategy, they determined that they were spending too much time and money on the creative aspects of their direct mail campaigns. Furthermore, they were sacrificing creativity in their delivery and messaging. As a result, response rates were declining. So the bank turned to templates to standardize their marketing messages and save money.


KeyBank developed six direct mail templates that served as the foundation for their marketing messages and offers. The templates were pre-printed, then KeyBank changed the copy for each campaign. This also allowed them to achieve a faster time to market for each campaign. As a result, they reduced their cost per piece by more than 17% and because the mailings were more targeted, they didn’t have to mail as many. Thus, their ROI increased.


Save yourself the headache of developing a new campaign from scratch every time you want to market a new product or service. Create a series of marketing templates in advance, then stick with them as you work your way through each campaign. Not only will it present your bank as a consistent brand (which has its own set of benefits), you’ll likely achieve favorable results with cost savings and ROI.


5. Santander Bank: Offer a Bonus for Business, But Make the Details Clear


regional bank marketingBoston-based regional bank Santander (formerly Sovereign) has more than 600 branches across the northeast. Of all their bank marketing ideas, it was a copy-oriented direct mail piece with a hefty sign-up bonus that persuaded customers to open an account.


Santander asked consumers to sign up for a Premier Plus Checking Account. But they didn’t use the type of imagery most banks use. There were no photos of smiling tellers or happy customers. Rather, they focused on the copy and a valuable incentive—a $350 bonus—for opening an account. Inside, the letter made several promises and provided three ways the customer could take advantage of the bonus. An insert provided more details and featured the only image in the entire mailing.


However you choose to present your bank’s offer, promoting a cash incentive upon opening an account is a popular method. Naturally, the larger the bonus the more enticing it will be. But make the details of your offer obvious and let people know of any stipulations to the reward. For example, if they need to agree to direct deposit and maintain a certain monthly minimum in order to “cash in,” let them know in advance. Otherwise, your bank could look like it’s hiding something.


6. Umpqua Bank: Keep it Simple with Direct Mail Postcards


Umpqua Bank is a Portland, Oregon-based regional bank with 260 locations. One of their bank marketing ideas with direct mail was very straightforward: keep it simple. Upon opening a new location or moving a branch to a new spot, their first step in direct mail marketing was to offer a friendly introduction with a postcard mailer. For example, when the Umpqua Bank in Boise, Idaho moved to a new location, Umpqua sent a simple direct mail piece to let recipients know what happened. It also reminded customers that the bank would still provide free cookies on Fridays, but it also spoke of new amenities, like dedicated off-street parking and a drive-through window for convenience.


Those are all marketable qualities that people will find appealing in a bank, and the direct mail postcard informed people of the changes. The only CTA was to stop in, see the new digs, and say “Hello.”


A direct mail piece can be a consumer’s first impression of your bank (or in this case, a second first impression), so make sure it looks great. You want to deliver a message that represents your bank in the best possible light. Direct mail postcards are quick and easy. Plus they typically get a high response rate (second only to oversized envelopes). If you draw people in with eye-catching images, a colorful design, and a simple, effective message, you’ll enjoy all the success a postcard mailer can offer.


7. Webster Bank: Multichannel Marketing Serves Every Customer


multichannel marketingWebster Bank is a regional bank in Waterbury, CT with 177 branch locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Westchester County, New York. When they rolled out their new mobile website, they used all their available marketing channels to let consumers know about it. To make banking more convenient for their customers, they turned to direct mail, among other channels, in an all-encompassing multichannel marketing project. The campaign let customers know they could now view their accounts and balances, monitor transactions, and transfer money and pay bills via the secure mobile site.


Businesses that use multichannel marketing as part of their marketing strategy enjoy a 3x higher success rate than those that don’t. Plus, almost 75% of consumers say they’d rather connect with brands via multichannel marketing. This information should motivate you to use all your available channels to market your bank.


More than half of all companies today use as many as eight marketing channels to communicate with their customers. Why should banking be any different? You’ll reach more customers and provide them with more options to do business with you. Don’t limit your bank when it comes to how you market your products and services. Use multichannel marketing to serve each customer on the platform that works best for them.


Put Your Bank Marketing Ideas Into Motion with Direct Mail


These bank marketing ideas are now your bank marketing ideas. However you choose to market to your customers, your regional bank can achieve success with direct mail. You can apply any or all of the aforementioned tips, and many others, but all of your direct mail marketing efforts are enhanced by working with a proven direct mail provider to help you get the most out of your campaigns.


MSP can help you incorporate direct mail into your marketing strategy today. Contact us for a free consultation.

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