BankDirect Tests $50 Rebate Offer in E-mail Campaign

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BankDirect, Dallas, this week launched a 10,000-name e-mail test offering a $50 rebate to people who sign up for one of the Internet bank's interest-bearing checking accounts.


The company is owned by the same holding company that owns Texas Capital Bank, which serves the five major Texas markets through traditional branch outlets. BankDirect was launched earlier this year to create a national venue for banking services via the Internet.


The bank's lack of physical infrastructure enables it to operate at a lower cost than traditional banks, which allows it to offer the rebates in addition to offering interest on checking accounts with balances as low as $100.


"We have our customer service and others who support the bank, but in general our costs are much lower than what they would be with bricks and mortar; and we pass those savings along through the higher interest rates," said Rose Hultgren, president of BankDirect.


"We're curious to see if this is something that is attractive to our potential customers," she said.


The company is testing the e-mail offer in two, 5,000-name cells. In one cell the company headlined the e-mail message with the $50 rebate offer, while in the other the headline touted the interest-bearing checking accounts. The second test also contained the offer of a $50 rebate, although it was mentioned lower in the copy.


She said the company would monitor response to the two different messages to determine which has more appeal to its target audience, which includes professionals in technology companies and mobile professionals. A rollout to more names could follow, based on results from the test.


The e-mail messages include a link to an interim Web page, which offers some preliminary information about the bank's services and also tracks from where visitors arrived to the site. From that interim page, visitors can link to more detailed information elsewhere in the site.


The bank had about a 5-percent click-through rate with an e-mail test it conducted in June in which it introduced the site by touting its deposit products and its checking accounts.


BankDirect went through MatchLogic, Westminster, CO, a division of Excite@Home, to gather the names for the more recent test.


The $50 rebate is a limited-time offer during September that the company also is supporting with online banner ads and traditional media.
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