Did you know that nearly 300 billion emails are sent each day? Are you aware that Google is used nearly five billion times daily or that there are approximately 1.94 billion websites in the world? If you’re a marketer, the answer is probably yes. But that doesn’t make the internet any less overwhelming for the prospects and clients you need to attract and nurture.
Fortunately, Act-On can help. A software platform that offers adaptive marketing solutions, Act-On helps marketers in the financial industry (and others) cut through that overwhelming digital noise to reach the right consumers and convert more leads.
RewardExpert spoke with Senior Product Marketing Manager Cheri MacFarlane about how Act-On can do the same for you.
By Marketers for Marketers
Act-On was founded in 2008 “by marketers for marketers,” MacFarlane explained. “The original idea was to help businesses leverage marketing effectively to grow. We’ve maintained that central vision and have evolved it as personalization in marketing has come to the forefront.”
Within the last couple of years, Act-On has reorganized internally and hired more than 100 new team members. The purpose? “To allow us to quickly move forward on innovation,” MacFarlane continued. “We invested heavily in R&D in order to really differentiate ourselves from the competition out there. Marketing automation is a fast-growing opportunity, and we want to be part of that disruption in the financial industry.”
MacFarlane noted that most companies –in finance or otherwise– aren’t currently growing their marketing department teams. “They have to find a way to do more with the same budget,” she added. “We’re helping them embrace what technology can do when they need to scale up.”
A More Efficient Way to Market
What exactly is marketing automation? At its core, MacFarlane said that it’s simply a more efficient form of lead management and email marketing. “Most businesses have done that for years,” she explained, “but what we’re doing now is aligning marketing lead generation and sales efforts with the fundamental goal of delivering higher value and quality opportunities.”
In the case of financial institutions –such as banks and investment brokerages– MacFarlane said that marketing automation facilitates a multi-channel personalized customer experience.
“It allows them to nurture and better personalize their engagement with prospects and customers by giving them relevant content at the right time,” she added.
Inbound and Outbound Tools
“At Act-On, we deliver a marketing automation platform with additional strategic services,” MacFarlane said when asked about the company’s services.
In the area of inbound marketing, Act-On helps businesses convert unknown prospects into known prospects by learning what is important to each lead and delivering the right content at the right time during their journey.
“Today, consumers expect a personalized touch but they’re looking at competitors on the Internet,” MacFarlane explained. “Something like 81 percent of consumers do most of their research before they even talk to a human.” Act-On helps businesses capture the interest of these online consumers and compel them to action.
Many tools are used for this purpose including Act-On’s SEO Audit Tool, which helps you implement best practices to increase your online content’s visibility. Social Media Management Software helps you optimize your brand’s visibility across social networks.
The Website Prospector will help you track who is visiting your website, how often, where they came from, what content they’ve viewed, and much more. There are also inbound marketing tools to help you design and optimize landing pages and forms.
The outbound marketing segment of Act-On’s services involve using marketing automation to send prospects the right information at the right time during their decision-making journey.
“Fewer and fewer people are going into a bank branch to talk to someone,” MacFarlane noted. “They’re all doing it online now, but they want a personalized approach. Automation of outbound marketing allows a bank or credit union to feel like they’re still giving customers that ‘coffee and cookies’ experience but over the Internet.”
With Act-On, marketers can automate everything from pay-per-click ads and blanket email campaigns to targeted messages to specific prospects and customers. You can even automate online events including webinars.
“Outbound marketing is critical to bringing customers in,” MacFarlane continued. “You can’t just put an ad on a billboard, or in the newspaper, or even just have a website anymore and think that your marketing is done. To do things right and be able to reach more customers, you have to align your efforts with a good CRM.”
To this end, Act-On’s platform integrates seamlessly with native CRM software including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and SugarCRM.
MacFarlane said that when a financial institution combines Act-On with their CRM, everyone on the team can easily view the information necessary to convert prospects to customers or nurture current clients.
“Before, I might have only known that John and Jane Smith opened checking accounts,” MacFarlane explained. “Now I can see that they visited the website and were recently researching home loans. I can set up an automated trigger that will send an alert through the CRM to our mortgage salesperson. It’s the perfect opportunity to reach out to them and send relevant information.”
Offering a Competitive Edge for Financial Institutions
MacFarlane said there’s a huge opportunity for financial institutions to differentiate themselves from the competition through marketing automation. “Only 8 percent of companies in the financial industry have implemented automated nurture campaigns, while 31 percent have implemented marketing automation,” she added. “They typically don’t adopt new technology very quickly.”
However, she noted that there’s little reason to wait. “Act-On is easy to set up,” she explained. “You can be up and running in as little as two weeks and seeing results in the first month. You’ll know your return on investment really quickly. With our platform, you can generate reports that show that you’re receiving qualified leads and retaining loyal customers.”
Act-On’s current clients include financial institutions with assets of $50 million to $10 billion and with marketing teams of one to 50 people.
“Very small financial institutions can really use our platform to compete with the larger banks out there in the marketplace,” MacFarlane suggested. “But really everyone needs to adapt to technology. It’s the whole idea of Digital Darwinism. If you don’t change with the digital age, you’re going to go the way of the dinosaurs.”
She noted that the Act-On platform is working well for the company’s current clients including Tower Federal Credit Union. The largest federal credit union in Maryland with more than $3 billion in assets and over 180,000 members, Tower Federal Credit Union used Act-On to triple their email open rates.
Another client, TruStone Financial Federal Credit Union, a member-owned credit union with $1.34 billion in assets, used Act-On to achieve a nearly 69 percent open rate on nurturing emails.
To learn more about Act-On, including details on professional and enterprise pricing, visit www.act-on.com.