The focus is on a roll-back in real-time trading fees to $9.95 per trade--a 35% discount--on the company's Web site at sharebuilder.com.
The campaign includes the relaunch of its ShareBuilder Web site last week with ING Direct's bright orange as the signature color. Since the company is completely online, the majority of the advertising is online, says a spokesperson. It includes banner ads on sites such as CNN, Yahoo Finance, AOL Finance, Motley Fool and MSN.
ShareBuilder targets young and first-time investors, the spokesperson says, so ads are also placed on sites like MySpace and Facebook. Other ad placements include the major search engines where ads are triggered when a user searches for key terms such as "online investing."
The company's ShareBuilder Affiliate Program allows Web site owners to place links to the company on their pages. If a visitor clicks through and an account is opened and funded, the Web site owner is paid a marketing fee for each new investor.
The company also has more than 100 partners with which it conducts dedicated marketing, including Wal-Mart, Costco and Sallie Mae. For example, there are links to ShareBuilder on Wal-Mart's MoneyCenter page.
"We believe affordable investing will help early-stage investors to save and to manage their money for long-term growth," says Arkadi Kuhlmann, president/CEO of ING Direct, the nation's largest direct bank and fourth-largest thrift, in a release. "This isn't about volume transactions--it's about removing initial barriers."
There are no account minimums at ShareBuilder. In addition, prices on recurring transactions in automatic investment accounts will remain the same. ING says the ShareBuilder acquisition helps diversify and expand ING Direct's existing consumer product offering beyond its high-yield Electric Orange (the industry's first paperless checking account), the Orange Savings Account, CDs, mortgages and mutual funds.