Marketing automation is a powerful tool with lots of benefits but can be a little intimidating if you’re just getting started.
When considering the advantages of automation, one major benefit is that it saves you time and frees up resources to use elsewhere. It has the power to take something you are currently doing repetitively, like sending welcome emails or follow-ups and have technology do it for you.
But there’s a lot more to it than just freeing up time. Automation creates consistency and generates touch points where you can shape the perception of your credit union. It also helps you provide relevant information to your member or potential member so you can develop trust and nurture them along their sales journey. And as they interact with you, you gain more insight into their unique needs so you can personalize future interactions and deepen their relationship with the credit union.
From a sales perspective, automations have the power to generate a lot of business by taking advantage of more opportunities. Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads. (DemandGen Report) Additionally, marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. (Nucleus Research)
Just about any email management system has options for setting up a single email or a series, triggered to send based on a given action. Take a look at your specific options for sending based on interactions with your website, social media posts, form submissions, or list sign-ups. Even if your core and email platform don’t integrate, you could still trigger an email series to send by having your staff enroll a member as they open an account.
Brand new to automation? Consider these 5 easy emails to get into the game.
- New Membership Onboarding Series
Onboarding workflows can be very complicated, but there’s no reason you can’t start simple in order to welcome a new member and make sure they have the information necessary to make the most of your new partnership. Those first interactions with new members are crucial to your success with gaining trust and a larger share of their wallet.
There’s only so much time that your representative has with a new member at a branch, and even less when the member opens online. Set the tone for the relationship with a welcome email that showcases your personality and helps them feel confident in their choice to join. Follow up with a series that includes answers to frequently asked questions, reminders about direct deposits, and links promoting your accessibility like to your social media platforms, shared branches, and mobile app.
Depending on the additional accounts they opened or the links they click on, you can add complexity to your series. Say the member also opened a checking account – add a message to confirm the receipt of their debit card, remind them to activate and let them know about your ATM network. For a member who clicked a link to view more information about your auto loans, follow up with a more detailed email or have a member of your team reach out to them to see if they have questions.
- New Account or Service Series
Just like new member onboarding, there’s plenty of relevant information you can share with members after they open new accounts or sign up for new services. It’s a great time to remind them about all the features and benefits, plus provide the necessary details about how to best use the product or service.
Take a look at frequently asked questions to get a better sense of what information members search for after signing up. Providing answers to these questions improves the experience and increases the chances that your member will engage with the product or service.
Once you’ve covered the basics, you can begin to suggest complementary products and services. You can then create additional emails and follow-ups for members who show interest by interacting with the content.
- Get Regular Input from Members
Member surveys can be a great way to get candid feedback, collect reviews and testimonials, and understand where you can make improvements. But many credit unions don’t consistently survey their membership.
Establish some questions that you would like answered and have them automatically sent via email. For this type of campaign, consider the information you’re looking to gain and what you’ll do with it. Based on your goals, you could create a general survey that is sent a couple of times a year or something more targeted.
Get creative by surveying after more specific interactions. Create feedback questionnaires intended to get insight on how your branches, call centers, or website are performing. Or, ask for input on how an account opening process went or why someone closed their account.
- Reminders Based on Account Activity
You have a stockpile of data that can be used for activities like identifying segments, suggesting best-fit products, and helping members make decisions that align with their goals. To help get you thinking about leveraging all that data for more advanced marketing activities, start by looking for easy-to-find, and use, events.
Simpler events include pay-off dates for loans, accounts that have seasonal activity, and drops in engagement. Loan pay-offs dates are easy to identify and it’s an event that the member is excited about, so you can enhance their joy. Congratulate them on paying off their debt, and then schedule additional message later so they know about credit and lending options that may be a good next step.
Accounts like IRAs and prize-linked savings have regular deadlines when members may want to make additional deposits. Send tips and tricks for making the most of their accounts and reminders for the deadlines.
Dormant accounts are costly for the credit union to maintain and are difficult to re-engage. Use your data to identify when a member hasn’t had activity on their account recently, before they slip into a fully dormant state. Check in to see if their needs have changed or if you can make it easier for them to work with you.
- Follow Ups Triggered by Online Activity
Online activity can tell you a lot about what your member or potential member is planning on doing in the near future. When we have a problem or an unmet need, many of us hit the internet to search for solutions. Track visits to your webpages, interactions with your social media posts, and links clicked in emails to help you understand what kind of content is timely.
If you’re not currently tracking a lot of online activity, you can also use basic forms to collect data. Add a simple form to product pages, blog posts, or landing pages for users to request a follow-up or to get additional information. This works particularly well when you have something of value to offer in exchange for an email address or phone number. Checklists, videos, and articles or whitepapers are all things that can be used to entice a user to complete a form. Not only will you gain their information, you’ll also know more about what they’re interested in at the moment and can set up customized follow-up messages and opportunities to connect with a team member.
You can get very advanced in your automation when you start adding in segmentation data and predictive analytics. However, don’t let that level of complexity scare you from getting started. The more you try, the more you’ll learn about what works for your members.
As you try out some of these campaigns or similar ones that you come up with on your own, keep track of each automation’s performance. If you notice there is a drop-off in opens, clicks or other types of engagement, tinker with your set-up. Maybe you need to adjust a subject line, an email layout, or how much time lapses between touch points. Continually adjust so you are getting the right message to the right person, at the right time.