Digital strategy, design and a customer experience platform to support the Y’s mission: to develop youth, inspire healthy living and give back to the communities they serve.
The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities (YGTC) is a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Established in 1856 in St. Paul, 160 years ago, and a decade later in Minneapolis, the Ys provide life-strengthening services across 12 counties of the greater Twin Cities metro region and western Wisconsin communities.
In 2015, the YGTC selected FFW as its new digital agency partner to work on digital strategy, marketing and technology initiatives. Together, we have worked on a variety of projects to ensure that the YGTC’s digital platforms and communications are effective tools in affecting positive change in the greater Twin Cities community, through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Customer Experience (CX) Platform Built on Open Y
FFW partnered with YGTC to create an open source customer experience (CX) platform that leverages Open Y (built on Drupal 8), as well as the Acquia cloud platform. The Open Y platform is specifically built for YMCAs to fuel the Y movement. Using an open source platform gives the Y the ability to quickly react to the market and innovate rapidly. The new CX platform, which powers ymcamn.org, gives YGTC enhanced ability to track digital goals and other key performance indicators (KPIs), new SEO capabilities, a superior content management experience and, most importantly, great scalability for future innovations.
Mobile Check-in iOS App
A new app, designed and built for iOS, allows Y employees to more efficiently check-in members at YGTC’s holistic health and wellness centers. YGTC staff are able to use an iPod Touch to easily scan membership cards and check member status. This removes digital and physical friction from the check-in process while encouraging interaction between Y employees and members. Looking forward, the app gives the Y the ability to deliver contextualized content based on a member’s point of engagement and will also make it possible for the Y to check in members outside the walls of the Y sites.
Youth Sports Re-launch Campaign
In support of the re-launch of the YGTC’s Youth Sports program, FFW created a marketing campaign based on the YMCA’s core values and tailored to the intended audiences. The campaign, which was the first value-based marketing campaign ever launched by YGTC, emphasized ways which YMCA Youth Sports build character – including learning the importance of positive competition and teamwork. It was important to the Y that their members understand these benefits and offset the often seen negative effects that come from the expectation for all kids to become professional athletes.
Membership Retention Campaign
For the Y, member retention is as important as new member acquisition and the more that members know about the services available to them, the more likely that they are to continue their membership. YGTC and FFW created and executed a March Madness themed campaign to educate members about the benefits of their membership and drive engagement.
Members were able to win prizes based on their number of visits to the Y during the month of March and had the ability to easily register for the program online by entering their membership ID and email. This campaign was the first time that the Y was able to systematically track participants through their membership ID’s. We were able to use data from members checking in and other activities to perform cohort analysis, allowing tracking of their churn rate vs. the general population in the long run.
A/B Testing & Site Optimization
In order to continually improve the Y’s digital presence, FFW has performed a variety of A/B tests and carried out optimizations based on the findings. One example is the ymcamn.org membership landing page, where YGTC had a goal of increasing the number of new member and trial membership sign-ups. FFW created and implemented 3 different design variations for A/B testing based on analytics data. The winning design of the A/B testing resulted in a 47% increase in clickthrough and a 25% increase in sign-ups.