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Investing Institute Runs E-Mail Tests for Membership Product

The Canadian Securities Institute, an educational institution for investment learning, completed the first three test phases of an e-mail campaign last month to promote its new membership product, infocus.

Infocus is an information, education and career management program targeted at students and professionals studying at CSI as well as CSI graduates. The institute is using e-mail, print, online banner ads and outdoor media to drive the campaign.

“Now we're in the process of analyzing the click-through data of each recipient,” said Keith Dundas, vice president of marketing at interactive shop RareMethod Capital Corp.'s MethodMail division in Calgary, which handles the account.

Priced at $60, infocus informs students about new financial products, market trends and regulatory and business developments shaping the Canadian financial services industry. Members also are offered a $33 discount on their next CSI purchase of more than $33.

The e-mail drive to 40,000 students and alumni consists of five phases. The first e-mail, sent April 10, was a creative test of four messages.

“This phase featured a strong call to action to purchase because of the reputation of the Canadian Securities Institute,” Dundas said. “We believed that leading with a strong purchase call to action would allow us to capture a certain amount of membership purchases right off the bat.”

A more detailed e-mail went April 23 to the same audience of 40,000. This second e-mail had five landing pages that described each benefit of infocus membership in greater detail. Recipients keen to register ultimately are taken to the csi.ca site.

Analyzing the click-through data will help the institute match the recipients' interest in specific benefits. MethodMail will track the clicks to the pertinent landing page representing each benefit. It will append this preference to the recipients' history and user profile from the institute's student and alumni database.

“We're looking for clusters and patterns of behavior and benefit affinity that we can then tailor specific messaging to in the remaining phases of deployment,” Dundas said. “In this way, we can match copy, creative and single-minded messaging to each of the clusters we discover and maximize the membership registrations.”

The third e-mail, sent May 9, was identical to the second except that the message was from a person, Tanya McKnight, a senior marketing staffer at the Canadian Securities Institute. The subject header read, “Take your next step with CSI infocus.”

The previous messages did not have a first-person voice.

“The whole goal is to see what pulls better, and often like in any direct marketing initiative, the first-person voice can be very effective,” Dundas said.

The last two phases are to start once MethodMail completes its analysis on the earlier deployments. The e-mails are likely to go out the third week of June.

MethodMail assumed e-mail marketing responsibilities for CSI infocus after previous agency Info Link, Toronto, was “unable to deliver real-time tracking or list management capabilities to CSI,” Dundas said.

Doug Finley, vice president of sales and marketing at the institute, read an article about MethodMail in one of the November issues of this publication. He left an e-mail on MethodMail's site. MethodMail's vice president of sales in Toronto, Stefan Eyram, followed up.

Officially launched in January, MethodMail has notched clients like Dow AgroSciences Canada, Monsanto, Gettyworks, Eyewire, City of Calgary and Enmax, Calgary's electric utility. The firm is in discussions with agencies in the United States and Canada for loyalty programs.

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