Today, conventional banks and credit unions have an ever-growing pool of competition. Thanks to the emergence of more and more challenger “banks” like Simple, Chime and Card, as well as the growing prevalence and usage of payment apps like Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Cash App and Zelle, consumers are presented with more options for fulfilling their monetary needs than ever before.


The increase in competition has made it harder than ever to acquire a new customer or gain a new account – which means that when you do, you need to nurture that relationship from the very start. By engaging your newly acquired customers with well-timed communications, you can help to establish a deeper relationship with them from the beginning and set the precedent that you are truly present.


Today, 65% of marketers in the financial space say that they use personalization within their campaigns, but in most cases that personalization is limited only to including the user’s first name in messaging (TotalExpert). In many cases, this is a symptom of legacy platforms and technologies and challenges with acquiring, securing and activating clean and timely customer data. While the capabilities of each automation platform are different, allowing for varying levels of control for segmentation, triggering sends and other forms of personalization/dynamic content, marketers at the very least can create a series of email messages that can help engage new clients from the start and guide them along the path of deepened investment in your organization.


Here are the 5 must-have onboarding emails that banks and credit unions should send in sequence:


Account Open Welcome Email

Once a new customer comes on board, make sure you welcome them in a timely fashion. Send them the details that are safe (and legal) to communicate via email and make sure to include a link to your key resources like an online portal, educational materials, customer support, contact information for their preferred branch and anything else that can help reduce friction from the start.


In a user study by Statista, retail banking customers cited “personal assistance in case of questions and problems” as the number one advantage of doing business with a traditional branch bank over a fintech challenger. If you don’t deliver on that expectation from the beginning of the relationship, it will set the tone for the rest of that relationship.


Online Portal Tutorial and App Download

The more channels you can engage with your customers, the better. Encouraging them to utilize all the tools at their disposal can help your organization become more ingrained in their everyday lives. Your organization’s mobile app is the primary potential bridge and defense against the aforementioned fintech challengers. In fact, it’s the number one factor that customers of these fintech challengers cite as a potential feature that would make them switch to a conventional branch bank – even above rewards, account maintenance terms (free checking, etc.) and trustworthiness. This shows that customers crave convenience.


In addition to being a competitive advantage, adoption of your mobile app and online portal provide you with new channels of communication between you and your customers. In-app and in-portal messaging can help you deliver vital notifications to users while app push and web push notifications can provide highly deliverable messages that help illicit immediate responses. As with all things, moderation is key, but these new channels can open a wide range of communication opportunities.


Getting the Most Out of Your Account

Remind your customers of your competitive advantage by outlining how they can best take advantage of all their account features. Whether it’s credit monitoring or bonus point opportunities with your credit card, free ATM use with a debit card or free checks provided with a checking account, making sure customers are not only aware but are taking advantage of these features can help build equity and good will. Not only that, but savvy marketers can segment customers based on their engagement with some of these key features. These customers are prime audiences for list-based and lookalike advertising. Not only this, but engagement can help signal their propensity to be receptive to cross/upselling efforts.



Once customers recognize and familiarize themselves with the benefits associated with your financial institution and the products they’ve chosen, presenting them with options for growth, either within their current products or from additional services or tiers, can be an opportunity for increasing share of wallet. Whether it’s offering a free checking account to credit customers, creating a fee-free system to make payments on their cards, or offering a loan customer a savings account to help with fiscal responsibility, this stage of communication can be incredibly effective if presented to well-qualified and engaged clients.


Content Invitation

For years, financial brands have recognized that education and content are a vital part of both the sales and retention process. Providing prospects and customers with insights and advice that helps them succeed financially can help shift the perceived paradigm that exists between consumer and service provider. By establishing your institution as not only a service provider but a trusted financial partner, you can help build long-lasting connections that foster good will and loyalty.


Inviting your new customers to engage with content relevant to their service line is an important and often forgotten step of the relationship. Invite them to subscribe to newsletters, download timely content and engage with multimedia including videos, podcast and the like. Even if the content is curated, showing your new customers that you care about more than just their deposits goes a long way. Part of that is respecting their communication preferences. Be sure to invite them to partake in content, but don’t opt them in for emails, newsletters or messages that they haven’t expressed interest in. And if they unsubscribe, respect that too. If done correctly and with thoughtful care, unsubscribes should be a non-issue.


Want to learn more about how emfluence supports financial marketers like you? See our approach to financial marketing here.

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