Validating a financial technology business model with personalized, multichannel communications support
HelpPay is a social impact and financial technology (FinTech) startup company that’s working to fight the stigma of asking for financial help. When customers in Australia find they have an upcoming bill they cannot pay, they can use HelpPay to share that bill with people they hope will help. All communications with these customers require tact and precise personalization to encourage engagement. HelpPay is using Acoustic Marketing Cloud for these sensitive touchpoints.
open rate when customers are first registered
open rate if a bill is uploaded, but not shared
open rate when bill is shared and suggestions for asking for help are offered
HelpPay was just beginning operations and had two essential requirements for its web and email platform: first, to provide validation of the new business model in order to convince more businesses across Australia to participate and second, to deliver personalized communications — addressing the exact needs of its customers — to help encourage and guide them through the process of registration, uploading bills, and sharing those bills with a request for help.
Rowan Wilde, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer at HelpPay, explains the heart of the service: “Rather than making a phone call to a business and pleading their case for an extension, we are getting thousands and thousands of people inputting bills online and saying, ‘Hey, I’m about to not pay on time. Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Friends — can you help me?’”
HelpPay provides a trusted intermediary to make that request a little easier. Great sensitivity is needed when communicating with the person in need of assistance — because many feel shame or fear stigma — so personalization is crucial, with communications tailored to the circumstance and where customers are in the process of asking for help.
On the partner side, Wilde reports that businesses were enthusiastic about the concept — that they could be paid without having to pursue customers through a collections process — but wanted to ensure the HelpPay approach would succeed.
To help launch the business’s digital presence, HelpPay selected Acoustic Marketing Cloud. Wilde describes the background: “The other co-founder and I have been in digital for 20 plus years each — and we have seen every iteration of CMSs, email systems, personalization — from bootstrapping to premium systems. We could see that Acoustic was the right combination of flexibility, cost, speed, and cutting-edge technology — with its headless CMS, integrated email marketing, and marketing automation tools. That really spoke to us. We also liked that all of us could be hands-on and trained up quickly. Users didn't need marketing expertise, could go as deep as they want, and pick it up and run very, very quickly.”
For a team of only three people, being able to launch campaigns quickly and easily was essential.
HelpPay had Acoustic’s solutions up and running within two weeks. “We went really hard, really fast,” Wilde reports. “We did not have six months or a year to come up with all the content and get it live. We needed it to be live fast and Acoustic was able to do that.”
Wilde and his team already see the value of the Acoustic Marketing Cloud: “Acoustic is a fantastic tool for us. We're just starting to use some of the smarts in there. It's been very flexible and quick to turn things around. I think the quickest thing we've done is creating a webpage in about three minutes. We needed a page for a presentation to a potential partner. We had the assets and were able to create new ones, copy others over, and get it live in time for the meeting.”
HelpPay is also using Acoustic to deliver highly targeted emails. Wilde notes, “We already have our email list segmented to cohorts to send targeted communications and then follow up with them based on whether they've taken certain actions or not. We nudge customers to the next step: from people who have downloaded the app but not uploaded the bill, to those who have uploaded a bill but not shared it, to those who shared a bill, but it hasn't been paid. We even have a cohort for those who have had a bill paid and need help with their next bill.”
To connect with these consumers, it requires one-to-one communication. “We rely on email personalization to get people through those steps of engagement. And personalization is not just knowing the stage they’re at, but also tailoring the language used. We're being empathetic to the situation that person is in.”
But HelpPay doesn’t only rely on Acoustic for its marketing automation solutions. Wilde reports, “Our technical arm has reached out to Acoustic for support and have raved about the quality — the speed, the answers, the helpfulness. It's been fantastic. We couldn't ask for a better partner, helping us do more with less. We don't have time for things to go wrong. Everything's in plain English so it's easy to understand and use. The outreach and support are fantastic.”
In terms of future growth, HelpPay is interested in not only continuing its relationship with Acoustic but expanding it. “We see Acoustic as a long-term partner to help us get smarter, more effective, and more efficient over time. Acoustic is there for us every single time,” says Wilde.
Since deploying Acoustic’s solutions, HelpPay has seen incredible results that validate its business strategy. Wilde reports the success to-date, noting, “We've had bills uploaded to our system from more than 200 brands in Australia including nearly every major bank, every major insurer, every major energy company, every major telco. It’s been an extraordinary validation.”
For many businesses, the funnel of engagement narrows quickly, engagement drops, and users lapse. In the case of HelpPay, with specific personalization based on the stage of involvement, the open rate for emails actually rises with each step. Emails to customers who have only registered with HelpPay, but not yet uploaded a bill to pay, had an open rate of 33%. Once a bill is uploaded, but not yet shared, emails to those customers — with tips on how to share bills and ask for help — had a 36% open rate. Once customers had uploaded and shared a bill, emails focused on the best ways to ask for help had a 40% open rate. The further engaged customers are, the more likely they are to open email communications.
Wilde concludes, “Acoustic’s software enables us to quickly spin up email communications to targeted user groups and identify the success of each targeted email. The end-to-end process for setting up these targeted groups, the templates, and sending them out was done in a day or two. Our next series of emails will include A/B testing to better understand our users and drive better outcomes for the business.”
HelpPay plans to move beyond email communications to SMS and mobile push as well, using Acoustic. With more automation and the ability to not only A/B test the message, but also which platform performs best, Wilde says, “We’re excited about what Acoustic can do for us as we continue to grow.”
HelpPay, a 100% Australian-owned company, is a new social FinTech and business platform with patent-pending technology in the payments industry that takes the stigma out of asking for help and the effort of providing help. HelpPay turns every bill into a shareable link and payment page, and, uniquely, guarantees financial help given towards a bill only goes to the provider.
Create webpages in a matter of minutes for increased flexibility and productivity
Personalize messaging based on user actions taken
Quickly launch and optimize digital content despite limited resources