How to Boost Your Marketing Campaigns Effectiveness

Measuring Marketing Campaigns at Nonprofits

Looking for a surefire way to reduce conversions, scare away your constituents, & exceed your marketing budget? My guess is probably not; however, when we repeatedly do things without knowing it’s effectiveness, that is exactly what we are doing. It seems that many marketing managers constantly spin their wheels without knowing what did and what didn’t create the conversions they were seeking. You blast and pray!

In this article, I discuss some concepts behind measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, along with the benefits of doing so with the marketing technologies available for nonprofits today.

Techniques Behind Measuring

Marketing Campaigns

As stated, the realization of the impact of campaign measurement has led to the development of a new trend in all industries. Essential marketing technologies today have the potential to produce data that has revealed how various marketing campaigns have performed, where various spending produced the greatest return, and how attracting supporters has been impacted by various marketing campaigns; events, newsletters, or year-end appeals etc.

Here are a few concepts used in measuring campaign effectiveness:

Cohort Analysis in Campaign Management 

B2B and B2C marketers have long been using many techniques to measure campaign effectiveness. They are often the beta testers and early adopters for the nonprofit community. For many nonprofits, marketing to your members or donors may be a combination of both techniques used by the B2B and B2C marketing executives. However, using the concept of cohort analysis in the nonprofit community to assist with measuring campaign effectiveness is not out the realm of possibility even at a smaller nonprofit today.

What is Cohort Analysis?  Cohort analysis is done by grouping orders (conversions) together in order to determine what the common characteristics of customers (members/donors) are. It involves tracking a group that shares a common characteristic (a “cohort”) over a certain period of time and evaluating outcomes.

The data accumulated can be an unbelievably powerful tool by generating amazing insights into the behavior of customers. In the nonprofit world, cohort analysis can be used too, to gather information about various transactions such as the following:

  • Web pages getting visited for appeals by donors who have contributed vs. Non-Donors
  • Did a specific email gather more responses from a certain type of member
  • Landing pages reviewed by certain segments of your supporter population (members, inactive members)
  • What segment of your membership opened an email, did not open, total times clicked the first, second, & third email sent
  • What traffic channel yields the most valuable donors (not just valuable one time conversions)
  • Member life time volume based on their first transaction with your association (member join, conference registration) through year 1- 3, 3-5, 5-7 etc.
  • Repeat purchase probability based on past participation of a segmented group

Using the insights of cohort analysis, successful marketing campaigns can be tested and then used to pinpoint more campaigns pertinent to your audience. In other words, which type of leads (whatever you call them) to focus on in the future. So too, nonprofit marketers can apply the concept of cohort analysis to their marketing strategies.

Predictive Analytics in Marketing Technology

Another type of analysis used by B2C that B2B is Predictive Analytics. Data mining is done in order to recognize patterns in marketing and establish relationships based on those patterns.  Being a branch of data mining, predictive analytic focuses on trends and probabilities of the future.  The predictor or dominant component of predictive analytics can be used to predict future behavior since although it is a variable, it can be measured.

Predictive Analytics can free nonprofits from relying on guesswork and provide nonprofit executives with educated predictions.  As a nonprofit executive, it can show you where you are and predict where you can go.  It gives you the power to analyze patterns, trends and relationships in both your structured and unstructured data.  All you then have to do based on predictive analysis is apply the insights you have learned to predict events of the future and act on these predictions in order to attain the outcomes you desire.

For example, if someone did not open an email from you in your previous campaign perhaps you may want to send it out again. Then, if they do not open the email again you can likely predict that they are not interested in any further emails for this particular appeal. And, then use those insights to focus your efforts on moving those more interested (opened, clicked, or visited a web page) towards a desired conversion (make a donation, register for an event, sign up to be a new members).

Knowing these “Fancy Pansy Terms” in marketing won’t help at all unless you can build the data required to benefit from the analysis and make the appropriate behavioural predictions, agreed?

Progressive Profiling in Marketing Automation Software

One way to ensure your prediction of interest or likelihood of conversion is by implementing progressive profiling techniques to gain insights as your supporters engage with your organization.

Progressive profiling is a marketing technique that may boost supporter generation, determine intent, and qualification significantly. It works like this: you create forms and landing pages to attract members or donors. And, through the process instead of having to fill out 15 form fields in order to register for a conference or download a white paper on a latest resource, a site visitor only has to fill in a few fields. Through your identification of the group (the cohort) and the behavior you can fill in more data on buyer personas to gather more insights to improve your ongoing analysis. 

In terms of an association which puts on training sessions for members and non-members, progressive profiling rules can be set up to decide which registration form to use, based on what is already known about a donor, member, or non-member. In addition, if an anonymous visitor clicks on a gated white paper link on your website, a form that only asks for the name and email address can be shown. Later on, if this same visitor clicks on a different gated link, a form that asks for his job title and industry can be displayed.

Many marketing pundits agree that using short simple forms early on increases the likelihood of visitors completing registration forms for more content. By using a sequence of simple forms as described above, you can build up a more complete profiles of a visitor over time.

In essence, the more that is known about your supporters the more the message and communication can be tailored to meeting pain points, interests, and activating them accordingly. By coupling what is already known with gradually new insights about supporters, the right patterns or traits can be uncovered to build more about details about your members and donors. All of these factors can dramatically impact the effectiveness of your ongoing marketing campaigns. 

Marketing Automation Software For Nonprofits 

Progressive Profiling helps you build the insights you to need to make business decisions using the techniques of Cohort Analysis and Predictive Analytics.

Certainly, you can implement Cohort Analysis & Predictive Analytics within a tool such as Google Analytics. But, Marketing Automation Software can pull the information all together for you in one platform. Further, keeping track of and using marketing lists, forms, landing pages, scoring, personas, social publishing, structured drip programs & implementing progressive profiling you need to contemplate a more unified software solution. It will help you use your data to make better marketing decisions.

Marketing Automation Software for nonprofits may allow your nonprofit to automate various marketing processes including the integration of member or donor data, the management of automated campaigns and customer segmentation. As a result, marketing campaigns can be more successful, and budget and resources can be more focused on who is more likely to engage with your nonprofit.

Marketing Automation Software is comprehensive in the sense that it helps analyze campaign success from all mediums used such as social, email, website tracking etc. Therefore, you can avoid focusing on what one specific area of marketing such as social marketing or email marketing.  Instead, with an integrated campaign analysis you will benefit from campaign analysis from a broad range of analytics.   All marketing analytics is provided by one platform.

Today, there is simply no need to send 25,000 emails if only 1,000 truly are engaged with your nonprofit. And, no need to create a marketing campaign targeted to a demographic which has never or will not participate with your nonprofit. Nor, spend money on campaigns which do not work.

I believe in the power of prayer, but with marketing automation techniques and tools you will greatly increase your chances of success in your next campaign. The days of blast and pray are no longer necessary.

For further information on the payoff of marketing measurement or the marketing automation software best fit for your nonprofit, contact us. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.


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10 Predictions for Marketing Automation for Nonprofits

Marketing Automation Predictions and Trends for Nonprofits

You need to know where to allocate the bulk of your marketing budget, right? Marketing Automation Software may be able to help, assuming you buy into the trends in the marketing community today. In this article, I share with you some of my thoughts on recent marketing predictions and trends written by various sources so you may stay one step ahead of the game.

Marketing Automation Software Trends

In the nonprofit community as much as in the for profit community, the chatter is quite frequently heard about the topic of marketing technology. And, its influence is growing everywhere: at fundraising organizations, trade and professional associations, museums, & even chambers. Truly, it’s very hot.

In today’s digital world, marketing is a key department responsible for creating and sustaining a long-lasting relationship with the most important asset of any nonprofit – the member, donor, or constituent. For many in the business community, it’s plain old “customer”.

It’s not just my opinion. Rather, the belief of many experts today that marketers need to shift their focus from pushing messages at people to engaging them in an ongoing conversation and relationship. The speed, direction and magnitude of the changes in marketing have been widely discussed.

For many who don’t follow the marketing technology buzz, however, it may not be as clear. If you’re one of those who are exploring marketing technologies, this hopefully will clarify your thoughts on the importance of the marketing automation at your nonprofit.

As mentioned, I have reviewed many sources and taken some of the top 10 trends and predictions underscored in various articles below. So, let’s take a look at the checklist below from these sources to see if the trends resonate with you.


  1. Content Marketing: According to Content Marketing Institute’s recent B2B Content Marketing report, 9 out of 10 B2B marketers are using content marketing, and 45% plan to increase their spending on content marketing over the next 12 months. How do you compare?
  2. Marketing Analytics: Use of marketing data to help move buyers along the path to close. Without some marketing technologies, this may be out of your reach. As discussed, many may be using Google Analytics, but is that enough? Is that tool integrated to your inbound and outbound marketing campaigns.
  3. Marketing Noise: While this may seem impossible, many pundits believe that there will be an increase in marketing noise from various sources. Marketing noise is basically content which does not add value. Consider this, there are well over 150 million blogs alone on the internet. And, over 1 billion websites on the internet. Are your members and donors confused by how to participate or engage with your nonprofit as a result?
  4. Guest Posting: Decrease in guest posting is quickly fading. Per one source, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s head of spam believes that is has become a spammy tactic.
  5. Adoption of video. Even small nonprofits can use video today. A simple video can help enhance a donor relationship so much quicker than a simple plan text email today. Eg. BombBomb.
  6. Acquisitions: Increase in marketing software acquisitions is a good sign that this is not a fad but rather a significant trend. Many of the database providers are looking at integrations with email marketing software providers or adding it to their offering by acquiring the technology. They are being forced to respond to this trend predicted by many.
  7. Personalization. Your members and donors want to feel special. Moving forward, if we all aren’t pushing relevant information to our constituents, they will find a different cause to support. I believe that membership and donor systems will find new ways to integrate progressive profiling into their website tools. And, if not, integrate with a marketing technology which does it.
  8. Micro targeting and hyper-segmentation. This basically is leveraging small niche communities or groups to focus on their interests. Eg. If a significant amount of your donors are on Facebook (which who isn’t), then having a donate now integration into this social media outlet is certainly worthy of consideration. Social Media is going to continue to play a big part of our digital experience. And, CRM Software for Nonprofits will begin to pull in social feeds so that development officers and member relations representative can see what’s important them and target those folks.
  9. Mobility: With the latest release by Google, everyone better focus on mobile. I wrote on this topic recently too. And, it’s not a trend anymore but rather reality. Literally, you must be in the back pocket of your constituents! Software for nonprofits must be written today with a mobile first message. Signing up to be a member or make a donation on a mobile device is critical. Can your constituents do that now?
  10. Increased online ad spend. The digital footprint of every American is larger than it was ever before. And, it will continue to grow more in the future. Marketing Automation helps track the effectiveness of your paid per click activities so you can sharpen your understanding of where to put more $ based on relevant data.

All of this, of course, in my mind points to the need to be more efficient with your marketing efforts. One off campaigns need to be replaced with more effective, better developed, well-targeted investments. Now and in the future, Marketing technologies and platforms to assist you in researching, deploying, automating and measuring your responses needs to be factored into your overall marketing spend. If not, you will be left behind.

Do you agree with more than seven of the ten predictions and trends above? If so, hopefully this will provide you with a head start on your 2016 budget planning process. Please contact us to discuss which tools may be pertinent in your marketing department moving forward.

Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits


Analytics in Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits and Analytics

If you haven’t got the hint yet, I am a fan of Marketing Technologies. And, one of the tenants of Marketing Automation Software which fuels my enthusiasm is deriving the value found in the reporting and the intelligence it provides. With marketing intelligence you can better understand the impact that development and marketing efforts are having on overall business. And, then you can refine strategies and develop repeatable processes for success. In this article, I discuss how marketing automation software can provide immediate impact in analytics and the mechanics behind it.

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits 

“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein

The Need For Marketing Automation Analytics 

More than ever, marketers are being held accountable for demonstrating how marketing investments directly translate into a transaction being made by a supporter. In the nonprofit sector, they are certainly different from the for profit business community but nonetheless the end goal is the same. You desire to “close” your supporters on something. Some examples of a closing transaction could be a new member join, an exhibitor signing up to buy booth space, or a constituent making a pledge based on a year-end appeal.

Modern Marketing Automation is led by outbound and inbound activities (emails, educating, etc.) but those activities are fueled by intelligent data analytics and reporting. Implementing the proper analytics systems can help you make critical decisions regarding which parts of your marketing efforts are working or not, and provide the reporting tools necessary to justify those decisions by connecting them directly with membership/donor moves management and ultimately revenue whether that’s dues, events, non-dues, or donations.

The Mechanics of Marketing Automation Analytics 

Marketing automation helps manage your workflow so you can glean key data that will maximize your customer relationship management (CRM Software for Nonprofits), social monitoring, and business intelligence (BI) investments. Core analytics metrics which I find particularly popular include:
  • Digital behavioral history
  • Inquiry to constituent conversion rates
  • Most popular website pages and time spent on page
  • Leading referrers, search engines, and keywords
  • SEO Auditing of Landing Pages and Forms
  • Google AdWords Reporting
  • The Effectiveness of Marketing Program Campaigns
  • Conversions (recorded who actually closed)
  • Opens, Closes, Bounces, Opt Outs etc.

Marketing Automation Software Can Go Beyond Google Analytics Too

I know what you are thinking. And, I am glad that you are! Yes, any good Web host, or Google Analytics, will give you access to some good information about your visitors, who could be turned into subscribers, members or donors. But, with these tools which for many are difficult to access or even navigate you are limited to the following:

  • The number of visitors
  • The average numbers of pages per visit
  • Some visitor demographics, like location and language
  • How people access the site, mobile versus computer, type of browser

Certainly, that anonymous sort of information can tell you how popular, and interesting your site is. Further, rudimentary trend information can sometimes reveal a useful insight about visitors too. However, with Marketing automation software it can deliver more detail:

  • How long people stayed before clicking away
  • Where they were when they visited the site
  • What individual pages each person visited
  • What search terms did visitors use to reach the site

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits Can Go Beyond Email Marketing Services

Again, I hear you. Well, we have an email marketing solution for our analytics so I assume we have it all taken care of. Well, not exactly. The analytics found within Marketing Automation Software works in concert with your email (outbound campaigns) too. In other words, together the two solutions combined (or within) offer valuable analytics further beyond just what they did with your one-off emails. Rather, it can show analytics which track it down to what they are doing, did, and reacted to it on your website. Then, pull them into a program to continually feed them more!

How Analytics Helps Establish Conversion Strategy

Further, Integrated web analytics lets marketers track social media sites (Referrals From Social Media Sites) and relevant blogs that drive significant traffic to their website (Referring Sites). From there, Marketers in Nonprofits can with marketing technology align their content sharing efforts with the social channels most likely to drive higher traffic and engagement, maximizing the impact of each campaign and boosting marketing ROI.

The core data that once took hours to fuse together from various systems (Google Analytics, Email Marketing Service, CRM, Content Management Systems, Social Publishing Software) and spreadsheets is streamlined via marketing automation dashboards to provide visibility into campaign ROI relevant to your specific nonprofits needs.

Canned Analytical Reports of Marketing Automation

There are many solid options which do a stellar job in terms of analytics. We keep track of quite a few, and I am personally impressed with many options on the market today. We use a marketing automation solution in-house. While we are certainly not a nonprofit, the value is certainly as applicable.

The solution we use internally comes with a variety of canned marketing reports, like these examples:

  • A “funnel report” that allows the user to track how potential customers, or donors, move from first contact to being customers.
  • Real-time tracking reports for email campaigns, so a Development Director can see ow an email marketing campaign is working.
  • Landing Page reports make it easy to see what channels are doing the best job of bringing in visitors.
  • A/B testing is easier because the software tracks which letter or offer got a better response from site visitors, an email list or a donation page design.
  • Who may have abandoned various web pages

The Best Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits

Ok, now I know the burning question for all the readers who made it this far; What Marketing Automation Software platform is the best for Nonprofits?

Our answer is the same as any other software solution we help clients find. There is no “Best Software” for everyone. However, you should strive for the “Best Fit”. And, the best depends on how you define success and the features most closely aligned to your mission.

A quick selfish plug. If you like to get started by seeing what’s out there, download our free marketing automation software list below to help get an idea of the players in the market today.

In closing, marketing automation software provides some valuable analytics which you can benefit in so many ways. And, nonprofit executives can learn a huge amount about their organization’s marketing efforts, with a modest investment of time and money. And, with increased demand for ROI accountability, as well as the need for more consistent communication across all departmental teams, this technology can definitely help establish the impact of your efforts and improves performance of your various campaigns through powerful analytics.

To talk more about the return on investment of analytics found in marketing automation software, or anything else, please Contact Us. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Marketing Automation Software for Nonprofits