Take a visual journey with me for a moment. You are a marketing guru working for a nonprofit association. On a regular basis each day, you and your team handle your company’s email marketing, supporter nurturing, social media accounts, content marketing efforts, and more. And, when you sit down at your desk in the morning after that fresh brewed cup of Joe from Starbucks, the only time you stand up to leave is for the occasional refill, your too-short lunch break, or when the clock finally strikes five. Things are busy — and you don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. In this article, I discuss why marketing automation is catching on at many nonprofits (NPO’s) but also key questions to explore before investing in marketing automation software.
Determining a Fit for Marketing Automation At Your Nonprofit
Does this scenario sound a bit familiar? For a lot of marketing folks with too much on their plate, it should. If you found yourself nodding your head in agreement as you read any of the lines in the paragraph above, perhaps it’s time to consider a different approach that can help you automate your marketing efforts, saving you time and effort while freeing you up to pursue more exciting marketing opportunities. Briefly, just to be sure we are on the same page here. How do I view marketing automation? Here are few opinions from some various sources to be sure we are in alignment with Marketing Automation vs. simply email marketing software.
What is Marketing Automation?
- Marketing Automation … focuses on the definition, scheduling, segmentation, and tracking of marketing campaigns. The use of marketing automation makes processes that would otherwise have been performed manually much more efficient and makes new processes possible. (Source: Marketing Automation Times)
- Marketing Automation is the use of software and Web-based services to execute, manage, and automate marketing tasks and processes. It replaces manual and repetitive marketing processes with purpose-built software and applications geared toward performance. (Source: Techopedia)
- Marketing Automation is the use of technology to generate, nurture, score and qualify leads, and drive sales, using customized, multi-touch marketing communications tailored for each contact’s profile, level of interest, behavior, or place in the buying process. (Source: Sales Lead Insights)
Why Marketing Automation? The scales have shifted.
Digital channels, non-stop connectivity, expectations for personalized interactions, and unprecedented nonprofit competition have empowered today’s supporters with more knowledge and choices than ever before. As a result, marketers in nonprofits are forced to shoulder much more responsibility for measurably contributing to supporter acquisition and revenue (dues,donations, non-dues) goals, an expanded role that’s less “traditional” and more “buyer education/storytelling” about your mission. In many regards, mission success hinges on finding the right mix of inbound and outbound strategies, and the right data that effectively measures what matters across the increasing array of moving marketing pieces.
Key Questions to consider before investing in Marketing Automation Software
Ok, you got it. You are intrigued by Marketing Automation. You understand that what once worked does not. But, you need some more ammunition inside your nonprofit to “justify” the case for investing in another “tool” to solve your challenges. If so, take a look at the checklist below. These questions may help you discern some value (impetus) in implementing a Marketing Automation software platform. If you find that you agree with a majority of the statements listed, Marketing Automation might be worthy of consideration at your nonprofit.
- Is my Nonprofit association fully utilizing all the capabilities in our email marketing provider now?
- Does my organization test and continually optimize our email marketing campaigns?
- Does my association understand the ROI of membership and is able to adapt messages accordingly?
- Does my NPO believe that content is king and know how to use our curated knowledge effectively to attract and retain membership?
- Does your nonprofit believe that marketing should be accountable for actively communicating with people who are not ready to “join” but might in the future?
- Do you believe that your marketing team (process) should be involved in helping qualify new member opportunities for the membership business development department?
- Does your organization have a clear understanding of the various personas of your members so much that we can adapt the message to unique needs of prospective members?
- Do you have a defined marketing department and membership/development department?
- Do you have quite a bit of marketing content, but you struggle to distribute and promote it efficiently?
- Do you have a CRM (Donor Database System or Membership Software), but it does not include all of the functionalities that you would like, such as built-in supporter (lead) qualification, simple automation, or segmentation.
- Does your executive team have very little insight into your ROI, and therefore no way to prioritize marketing spend?
- Do you have some data you can use to personalize communications, but no efficient way to do it?
- Do you lack the bandwidth to manually reach out to all of the prospective supporters and members in your database, and you have a hard time deciding which donors to pursue and which ones to come back to later?
- Do you find that most of your prospective supporters are not immediately ready to buy, and therefore need nurturing to get them to the point where they’re ready to talk to the development staff?
- Does your marketing team interact with multiple marketing channels on a daily basis, including paid search outlets, your social media accounts, and email marketing?
Did you answer “yes” to many of the statements above? Well, it might be time to consider looking into a more robust marketing automation system that may address some of the operational issues or scenarios listed.
Still not sure? Give us a call. There are a lot of marketing automation software options (and the list is growing), so reach out to us to help begin your search. We can help discern which option may be best suited for you. Until then keep SmartThoughts in mind.