Interior Federal Credit Union wanted to move beyond basic batch-and-blast email tactics and adopt more sophisticated marketing strategies to drive better product adoption and retention. To achieve this, they upgraded from Constant Contact to Act-On’s marketing automation platform. Four years later, they’re using Act-On in new and innovative ways every day.
And, as a result of their member education programs and critical alert communication strategies, they’re now achieving 97.8% retention rates with $11,600 saved in manual labor over the last four years! Facing a diminishing pool of prospects and an increasingly competitive marketplace, IAMS needed to elevate its position in the market and expand its broker client base — a historically disinterested, computer-averse and unresponsive audience.
VP of Marketing
Based in Washington D.C., Interior Federal Credit Union was struggling to measure and track engagement with their audience, which made it difficult to alert their prospects and members of critical updates and promotions, educate their existing customers on how to get the most out of their membership, and meet their membership retention goals.
Prior to partnering with Act-On, the marketing team at IFCU (led by Kimberly McCallum, VP of Marketing) was using Constant Contact to send email blasts and a monthly newsletter. But that email service provider (ESP) didn’t have the tools and features Kimberly and her team needed to understand their audience, track engagements, segment their prospects and members, and deliver meaningful communications that helped encourage more product engagement and member retention. According to Kimberly,
After a disappointing experience with Constant Contact, Kimberly and the IFCU team began exploring more robust solutions. They quickly chose Act-On due to our platform’s vast feature set (most notably Advanced Segmentation and out-of-the-box analytics and data management tools) and our cost-effective Active Contact pricing model, which requires customers to pay only for those contacts they’re currently engaging.
Early on, the small but mighty team at IFCU recognized that Act-On could support all of their marketing requirements. With Act-On, they could drive more demand by integrating the platform with their website and building landing pages with intuitive web forms. They could then utilize Advanced Segmentation and Automated Programs to deliver one-off triggered alerts and detailed educational email sequences.
In addition, Act-On had all of the data management, analytics, and reporting tools they needed in one easy-to-use growth marketing platform. And by consolidating all of these efforts with Act-On, they were able to quickly phase out their extraneous and cumbersome marketing tools — saving time and money while drastically increasing efficiencies across the board. Said Kimberly, “More than just overcoming our most critical pain points, Act-On allows us to do things we never thought possible — and it does so more quickly, more simply, and with phenomenal results.”
VP of Marketing
Now armed with a unified marketing command station, IFCU began developing programs aimed at increasing product adoption and member retention through education, promotions, and best practices for using their products and services. The first order of business was to execute an effective welcome and onboarding program for new users. They set up a daily sync to automatically add new members into Act-On. These new members are then entered into an automated 6-month welcome and onboarding program that consists of a tailored email sequence based on membership type.
The initial email welcomes the new member, thanks them for joining, and provides helpful information that highlights how they can get the most out of their membership. Over 6 months, the automated program delivers regular communications detailing different products and services that the member might benefit from. The program was also set up to use conditional logic, which means that the recipient receives different messaging or content based on whether they are interacting with the emails.
Since these emails are personalized and targeted to new members based on their membership details and digital behaviors, engagement rates are impressive — such as a 30.8% open rate. And because IFCU is finally able to make meaningful digital connections with specific member segments through Act-On, their first-year retention rates have been 97.8%. In addition to welcoming and onboarding programs, Interior Federal Credit Union wanted to ensure that they were engaging with their members past the initial honeymoon period. So, Kimberly and her team began using Act-On to design beautiful and compelling weekly, monthly, and quarterly newsletters packed full of all the great content they were posting to their primary website.
Again, recipients were segmented by membership type and behavior; they even created a special newsletter for their “Under 18 Audience”. And by tracking both positive (opens, clicks, website traffic) and negative (unsubscribes, spam complaints) email metrics through Act-On Engagement Insights, IFCU’s marketing team is able to adjust their strategy on the fly and deliver more relevant, customized messaging and content. In the financial services industry, retaining existing members is absolutely critical. Kimberly and the team are happy to report that these efforts to drive better adoption and retention are having a major impact. They’ve been sending these digital communications and campaigns for 4 years now, and on average, they’re experiencing optimal engagement numbers and have been able to maintain a 97.8% retention rate.
Interior Federal Credit Union’s engagement strategies go beyond providing traditional content in the form of blogs and whitepapers. They recently created a new automated campaign to deliver a 10-part video series designed to help their members make smarter financial decisions and get the most out of all the useful tools and resources IFCU has to offer. These campaigns help further their reputation as a trusted thought leader and extend their value to members.
Given the engagement value of these videos, IFCU decided to leverage this same video content to create a lead generation campaign. To do so, they designed and deployed compelling landing pages with embedded web forms in Act-On. By collecting basic contact information, IFCU is able to track these users on their website and enter them into additional targeted automated programs based on the individual users’ online behavior. And since Kimberly and her team are tracking engagement with the video series, they’re able to understand what their members find most valuable and where they tend to lose interest. This is extremely useful information, as it informs their content and digital strategies, allowing them to update and optimize quickly and nimbly.
In order to capture and measure customer satisfaction sentiment, Interior Federal Credit Union also leverages Act-On to build surveys for new members and those members who’ve recently closed their accounts. This helps the team improve their customer experience operations and also provides a chance to re-engage unhappy members and provide an incentive for them to stick with IFCU — or rejoin the credit union at a later date.
These surveys are sent automatically through Act-On whenever a member opens a new account or closes an account or expresses any dissatisfaction. By design, responses are routed directly to Kimberly’s inbox so that she can analyze the source of the problem, quickly reach out directly to resolve the issue, escalate the situation to Member Services for follow up, and take the necessary steps to ensure improvement moving forward.
Constant Contact wasn’t cutting it for Interior Federal Credit Union, but once they implemented Act-On, they were able to forge full speed ahead with useful and compelling member education and alert programs for their broad and diverse customer base. So far, these campaigns are generating amazing engagement rates, and Kimberly and her team are reporting Year 1 and Year 2 membership retention rates of 97.7% and 97.8%, respectively.
They’re also leveraging Act-On landing pages to drive demand, deliver a consistent brand experience, and build their email contact list. This helps strengthen the relationships they’ve nurtured with their existing customers and also allows them to deliver top-notch educational content, which is driving increased product and service adoption and member retention. As a result, they’ve increased their mailing list by 65% in just 4 years!
Perhaps most importantly, they’re able to build and deploy surveys in Act-On that help them measure customer sentiment and react in real-time to prevent churn and re-engage their current and former members. Said Kimberly, “There’s just so much we can do and learn in Act-On. We feel like we’re getting great use out of this single platform and that the sky’s the limit for us moving forward!”
We’re really excited about Interior Federal Credit Union’s progress using Act-On over the last four years and are looking forward to supporting them in their continued success in the future!