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Increasing Autopay Adoption and the Remarkable Results of Repetition

Posted by Peggy Olson on 13 Feb 2020


Autopay offers terrific business benefits that include improving the number of reliable on-time payments, decreasing costs associated with a check, and customer service-supported payments, and boosting customer satisfaction. But after the pool of early adopters is exhausted, what can billers do to increase autopay adoption rates?  

The Marketing Rule of Seven is a powerful principle that is often overlooked. Based on the simple idea of repetition, the Rule of Seven stipulates that to elicit a desired action, like enrolling in autopay, people must be reached and positively impacted at least seven times, in as many ways as possible. 

Why Repetition Matters

Repetition is important in autopay enrollment because most people don't take action the first few times they're exposed to your company's enrollment efforts. The reasons for inaction are many:

  • They're busy. Customers are not sitting around waiting for you. They're busy living their lives with countless responsibilities and to-dos on their plates. 
  • They're not all that familiar with your business or autopay functionality. Repetition builds brand recognition and awareness, which in turn builds trust and credibility. It also builds an understanding of how customers can benefit from autopay. New customers become familiar with your company and messages over time. Through repeated exposure, they begin validating your company's legitimacy and are more willing to establish a deeper, enrolled, relationship.
  • They are bombarded with noise and countless distractions. Competition for consumers’ time and attention is immense. In a noisy environment, you need to repeat your message until customers eventually hear you out. Even when you gain interest — and even when customers decide they are ready — distractions can cause them to delay action and forget about enrolling.
  • They can't or won't make a decision. Some people need more time than others to decide whether to act or not and sometimes they even need someone else's approval. Others simply procrastinate over decision-making in general. Time is not on your side; the more the clock ticks after an individual’s autopay enrollment touch takes place, the less likely it will result in getting a customer to sign up.
  • It’s just bad timing. Even when you actively target customers for autopay, chances are they may not be ready to enroll. Perhaps your message hasn't sunk in because a customer is having financial uncertainty, is about to change jobs, or is in the middle of a family crisis. Countless reasons can stall enrollment. The timing of your enrollment efforts can be off. If customers see your message only once, they may not remember when they are ready to act. To stay top of mind, you need to keep your company and enrollment messages visible. The old adage is true — out of sight is out of mind.
  • They’ve lost your promotional information. While the communications materials you create are important to you and your business, they are less important to your customers, even when asked for. Count on customers losing, misplacing, or discarding the enrollment information you provide. Repetition puts your materials and message at their fingertips over and over again.

How to Make it Work

Create a campaign that maps out the who, what, where, when, and how related to marketing communications.

  • Identify who you plan to communicate with (identify customers not already enrolled).
  • Specify what information and messages you want to communicate (the autopay value).
  • Choose where you will be communicating (via Internet, email, phone, mail, in-person, etc.).
  • Determine the frequency of your communications — the when.
  • Pick the tactics you will employ to get the word out  — the how (email blasts, website banner ads, statement messaging and inserts, envelope messaging, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) messaging, letters, postcards, social media, call and text campaigns, plus customer offers, prizes, incentives, sweepstakes and rewards, employee contests, and more). 

Once your campaign is solidly in place, begin executing and be persistent in your efforts. Remember, most customers don't take action the first few times they're exposed to your company's message. Repetition ensures that the autopay enrollment information you're trying to convey imprints on your customers’ minds.

The Bottom Line: Don't rely on just one type of method, even if you are getting stellar results. Using a variety of mediums in an integrated multi-channel approach increases the likelihood of catching your customer’s attention.  Put the Rule of Seven to work and enjoy the benefits of greater autopay enrollment.

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Peggy Olson Blog Contributor Peggy Bekavac Olson is the payments industry’s go-to marketing expert. She is president and CEO of Strategic Marketing, providing fractional CMO and marketing department services for financial services and electronic payments companies. Previously, Olson was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS (now Global Payments).

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