Imagine having the ability to get in touch with your supporters in a myriad of ways, immersing them in engagement with your organization in all of the following ways:
- Automatically send an email to constituents on their birthday.
- Trigger a series of timed welcome emails to a donor after the first time they give.
- Test two different subject lines with a small group, then automatically have the winning subject line be used in the email to the full group of recipients.
- Create an email once, but have it send slightly different content to different segments of users.
That’s marketing automation. But it doesn’t stop there. Marketing automation is about managing all of your constituent data in one place. You can also streamline fundraising processes and get analytics from your CRM to your marketing platform and vice versa.
Life Before Marketing Automation
But first…Let’s just get really clear on what life was like before marketing automation:
Donors Don’t Feel Like You Understand Them – The hard work your colleagues put into growing your list doesn’t really pay off in the long run since it is just so difficult to put a comprehensive plan together once you get a new email address. Supporters are not welcomed to your nonprofit’s community when they join, not properly thanked when they give nor are they asked to give again.
Slow, Manual Processes – Any marketing effort must be completely built from scratch every single time you want to send something out. Which means it is very staff time intensive to effectively communicate with supporters on a regular basis. And your staff is small so this situation is far from ideal.
Difficult to Connect with Donors Across Channels – And since everything is so time consuming, multichannel marketing is difficult and omnichannel is impossible. Your organization sticks to a monthly email newsletter format because it is what is possible given the resources you have.
Hard to Engage Constituents – You don’t have much data on each person in your supporter community, so every message you create is sent to every single supporter – regardless of location, interest or involvement history. This leads to lower turnout at events and makes fundraising a challenge, too.
Enter: Marketing Automation
Think washing machines and grocery delivery and free, streaming music. Marketing automation is as amazing as all three of those things COMBINED.
Many different tools can be used for marketing automation. Salesforce for Nonprofits has marketing engagement and automation tools, Pardot and Marketing Cloud mean organizations of all sizes can interact with a growing number of supporters in a personalized, consistent way.
Marketing Automation can take many forms – email segmentation, social media and remarketing… and much, much more. Many organizations take advantage of marketing automation when it comes to text messaging, direct mail, and even artificial intelligence (or AI, such as Salesforce Einstein for Nonprofits).
You may have already been the recipient of a series of automated communications and not even known it… but the staff members behind the strategy were likely thrilled they didn’t need to create new content or schedule a series of messages every time they wanted to get in touch with you.
Here are a few of the main ways you can use marketing automation to further your nonprofit’s mission:
Raise More Money by Reaching Donors More Effectively – Gain a deeper understanding of every donor by enriching CRM data with information about their web activity, email clicks and opens, and content consumption. Manage every aspect of your fundraising campaigns while tracking real-time results.
Create Better Emails – Send the right email to the right person at the right time with campaign automation. Segment your supporters based on when they first came into contact with your organization, their interests, and attributes, then send personalized, great looking content to every constituent.
Personalize Your Nonprofit’s Message – Fundraisers, volunteers, advocates, and donors all have different network sizes, skills, and motivating factors. Identifying common themes within your organization’s supporter community will help you to segment audiences and personalize the different types of information you send to them.
Engage People with How They Want to Be Involved – Guide clients of your programs and services through a personalized journey that dynamically responds to their behavior. Send volunteers tailored opportunities to get involved based on their interests and history. Ensure alignment across your network by delivering consistent communications to chapters, affiliates, and partners. Keep grantees updated on deadlines and action items, and funders/board members in the loop on your activities and impact.