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Can Marketing Automation Technologies Work for Non-profits?

Can Marketing Automation Technologies Work for Non-profits?

The focus of most marketing automation sales pitches is heavily on how these clever technology platforms can increase sales and dramatically improve ROI. But what if you don’t have sales or ROI in your organisation?

Social enterprises, not for profits and local or national government organisations can also take advantage of the tracking, scoring and nurturing functions of marketing automation to help meet their objectives around consultation with their communities and keeping in touch with important audiences.

Outreach, Engagement and Consultation

For example, if you are a public relations practitioner who is responsible for a community outreach and consultation process, or many of these processes for the same client organisation, you can start to get a much clearer picture of exactly who is engaging/responding to your initiatives and how often.

So your reporting may show that certain members of the community are highly active and make up a large proportion of the interactions with your programme. If you include a landing page with a web form that requires people to add their email address in order to make a comment or provide feedback on a particular initiative, you can then report on how often that person has visited the site and how many times they return.

You can also track how they arrived at the site – via social media campaigns, AdWords, email marketing, media articles or other offline activity. If you are running events in the community and would like individual feedback, you can provide the opportunity for attendees to submit feedback via kiosks or iPads set up at the venue.

Taken from a higher level, you can report on the numbers of people who have visited the site from each source, and how highly engaged people tend to be when they respond through each channel.

Connection and Nurturing

If you are an organisation that needs to stay connected to a specific audience of people you are providing support and services to, you can also use marketing automation to keep the flow of information going to each person in your database.

You can set up automated workflows with personalised content that are sent when a person takes a particular step through your website, for example when they reach a milestone of some kind, they receive an email (or several) that reinforces behaviour or starts a new series of information targeted to their progress.

The delivery of this content can look just like a normal email you would send out person to person, or it can use a graphical template. The language and tone you use in your content should be completely tailored to be appropriate to the audience – just because the process benefits from some automation doesn’t mean you need to write like an automaton!

Raising Funds

Marketing automation platforms can also be used to raise donations towards your cause, again nurturing your audience, keeping them informed and encouraging them to stay involved and engaged with your progress.

Managing Different Messages

Marketing automation platforms make it easy to segment your database of donors or community members so that the right message is created and sent to each different part of your audience base.

For example, if you are a local authority who wants to engage with the community about  a new project that requires engagement so it can proceed, you may wish to vary the tone and content of your messages, depending on the priorities of different audiences. Neighbouring residents will have different concerns or interests to neighbouring businesses, while the wider city and community may have different concerns again.

In a nutshell, marketing automation enables you to throw the frustratingly ineffective “one size fits all” communication method out the window and replace it with targeted, relevant communication that is far more effective in getting your message across.

Send and Receive/Track

You can use the platform to disseminate your messages through targeted emails, landing page content and social media posting, then use it to track and report on visits back into your site as a result of that outbound activity.

If you have a team of supporters and volunteers you are working with, say for a fundraising campaign, some marketing automation platforms will enable you to post via multiple social media accounts at one time (with permission from your team of course). So you can get your volunteers to log in to the platform with their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts and make it possible for you to post to their networks on behalf of the organisation.

The power of tapping into the social networks of your supporters should not be underestimated and is well exploited by various crowd funding platforms to raise awareness and funds for various causes. Relying on a third party site to help you raise funds however, is similar to relying on Facebook to build your customer base. You don’t have full access to the people who are supporting your cause and you can’t see the long term value of their support for your organisation.

If you are interested in talking about how marketing automation could assist your communications or fundraising efforts, please get in touch. We are happy to help!

About Karen Foreman-Brown

Karen Foreman-Brown is a digital strategist and online marketer with a particular interest in social media, content marketing and delivering spectacular outcomes for client organisations.
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