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For businesses still dealing mostly in traditional marketing channels, terms like social, SMS, and customer journeys can cause a cold sweat.

The move to digital marketing and customer journeys and away from offline channels may seem daunting, overwhelming, and a bit scary. But when it comes to creating personalized customer journeys, there's no better way to get started than to stop procrastinating and dive right in.

On this week’s episode of the Marketing Cloudcast  —  the marketing podcast from Salesforce  —  we’re discussing some of the innovative ways that one traditionally minded business — a bank — is transforming to deliver a truly personalized experience for every customer. And for all the details from a fellow marketer who's executed this type of transformation to perfection, we interviewed Lisa Nicholas, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at Amplify Credit Union.

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You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Lisa Nicholas.

1. Your move to customer journeys should mirror customers' preferences.

Over the past year, Amplify has been focusing more on digital channels, instead of old standbys like print, radio, and direct mail. As Lisa explains, “We were trying to drive everyone to a branch location, but we realized quickly that this was about them, not us. They wanted to do business through mobile and digital channels when it was convenient for them. So, we quickly shifted that thought process to more omnichannel approach.”

This new approach means incorporating both SMS and social media in Amplify's strategy to engage the customer. “We’ve really shifted our mindset when it comes to social. We used to be a post-and-boost organization. Recently we’re using lookalike audiences and incorporating that into our journeys for our existing members. It’s really about creating content that’s relevant to them,” says Lisa.

Lisa says that by focusing on creating useful content for the customer, “We’ve seen an increase in engagement of 400% and an increase of likes of 200%. We’re also seeing those same people go to our website and convert.”

2. Use Facebook custom audiences.

You don't have to start building journeys for every individual from scratch. One foundational element that will make it easier to deliver relevant content to relevant groups: Facebook custom audiences. “We leverage our CRM data to create an audience that’s a certain age group and has certain characteristics. We’re able to push it over and leverage that to go after new business,” says Lisa.

Amplify delivers email addresses to Facebook of customers who are in good standing and fit the profile. Facebook then matches these individuals against their members and identifies others in the geographic area to be targeted with a specific ad. Lisa says that this has been incredibly effective: “Before, when we would post something, we would see a drop off. We’re not seeing that anymore."

3. Automate lead nurturing emails.

Leveraging the automation capabilities of Journey Builder within Salesforce has been an important aspect of Amplify's move to digital. “A good example is our Indirect Auto Program. When someone purchases a car, a lot of those people don’t know that they’re part of a credit union. They’re just making payments and don’t understand that we provide all kinds of other financial services that can help them," Lisa explains.

When someone purchases a car, “[Journey Builder] kicks off an inside salesperson to call them to talk to them about their payment, verify what their experience was like at the dealership so we can make sure we have the right dealerships that are partners, and help them get set up with their payments. Then on day two, they’re getting an email that’s personalized. It has their type of vehicle, their payment information, when it’s due, and how they make payments. We’re seeing on average a 76% open rate and a click rate in the 40s,” she shares.

The next email is a content email that allows them to learn more about the customer. Lisa says that this has also been successful. “We’re seeing a 45% open rate on the content pieces and a click rate in the 20s."

4. Don't sacrifice journey quality for speed.

Focusing on the customer journey is key when it comes to today’s customer and what they expect from businesses. But what if you’re a company that’s just getting started with this new journey-focused way of thinking? Lisa’s advice: “Take the time upfront to really map all of this out and having a clear idea of where you want to go. But start small with a few pieces, test them, learn from them, adapt, and test a few more pieces so that you’re slowly rolling it out instead of trying to take on too much at much. Build it out a little bit at a time and automate as much as possible.”

As Lisa explains, automation is crucial. “Some of this wasn’t even possible before without the automation pieces that we now have. The reporting we have available allows us to be smarter about the marketing that we’re doing so we can deliver the right content and talk to them the way they want for their needs at that moment,” she says.

In the full podcast episode, Lisa shares much more about her team's challenges and successes in customer journey-focused marketing. Get the complete scoop on how to deliver a personalized experience for every customer in this episode of the Marketing Cloudcast.

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Tweet @youngheike with marketing questions or topics you’d like to see covered next on the Marketing Cloudcast.