Is Your Non-profit Organization in Need of Marketing Automation?
All marketing teams are overworked. We are all trying to look for ways in order to maximize ROI for all our endeavors. For a non-profit organization who are not using automation tools like other organizations, the tools provide a huge leap in the results of marketing.
Acquiring marketing automation for your organization requires a budget and knowledge on how to set it up. This raises the concern on whether the procurement of automation software is worthwhile for any organization. It may do very well for your organization. Do not buy the myth and assume that higher marketing costs are bad for your organization. The increased costs can be compensated well if they are going to increase your members and donations made to your organization.
However, not all organization’s marketing team is prepared for automation. If your organization is not yet ready to benefit from marketing automation’s potential then that is when you are spending energy and money without getting any good returns. Your organization has a lot of important work to do with its limited budget or funding. It is not wise to spend it on acquiring marketing automation before you are ready to benefit from it.
Here is an overview of what marketing automation is all about. I will also discuss a checklist which you should run through if you are deciding if your organization is ready for marketing automation or it still needs to address some lapses.
So what is marketing automation all about?
Never think of it as a “set it and forget it” software. That is a huge myth that makes a lot of marketers fail. Automation does not automatically do the marketing for you. It takes what you already set up in place and it amplifies its effect. So if you already have a great marketing strategy then that is good news. If you have a not so good strategy then automation would not help you much, you will still need to first build your content marketing framework for marketing automation to benefit you.
Coming up with a good framework means that you have got a system that is reliable for regularly putting out relevant inbound marketing content. This content should attract and then generate a steady, strong stream of leads which can nurture with marketing automation to become donors or members. If you have a hard time in generating leads and traffic with your content then you should initially focus on fixing your content marketing or creating better, valuable content that your personas want.
Only then when you are getting a stable stream of leads and when your team gets overwhelmed in responding to them, then that is the time to implement marketing automation. It’s time to run the lead nurturing and re-engagement campaigns. You should start trying out an email sequence to nurture leads and compare the results with other lead-nurturing email sequences. What’s next is you compare results and then refine, tweak or improve.
Marketing automation that’s correctly implemented means that your leads will never get ignored. It helps you personalize the content you send to draw in more leads. It’s all about scaling all your marketing efforts at a volume and pace that your team could not possibly do manually. But your marketing team should still be at the center of it all.
So now, is your organization ready?
With an objective eye, go through all these questions and gauge if your organization can benefit from marketing automation.
- Is your marketing generating a constant stream of new and qualified leads?
In order to enjoy the benefits of automation, you need to have a good sized database which is constantly growing. The news leads which come in need to be a good match to your target persona in order to convert donors and members. However, if your database is small, automation will just overwork your leads and people will feel that they are being spammed. This is detrimental to the success of your marketing because this can shrink your email list rather than grow it.
- Is your team overwhelmed by the leads pouring into your database?
If that is the case then you will highly benefit from marketing automation. Marketing automation ensures that all the leads get due attention.
- What emails do you manually send right now? Do you have a series of emails which can be put into an automated email sequence?
To restate the main point of what marketing can do and what it cannot do, it cannot make a random email sequence to re-engage inactive contacts that only have middling results into a success. What it can certainly do is take your best performing lead nurturing emails and automate them for you.
If have the goal of improving efficiency and automating your lead nurturing campaigns, marketing automation can certainly help you with that. If you are contented with sending one-off emails on a campaign basis, then marketing automation may not benefit you much.
- Do you engage with donors and members through multiple channels?
The more information your marketing automation software can gather about people in your email list, the more it can do for you. This means that marketing automation becomes more and more powerful when you engage with more people and gather more data. Don’t think that marketing automation is only for email, you can also automate tasks which make use of other digital channels to push and gather content.
- Do you already have manual triggers set up for you to use in pushing out relevant content to leads?
A lead which visits your donor landing page a certain number of times. Or a member who downloads the most recent annual report. A lead who watched a video about your organization’s work. All of these actions can be used as triggers. Do you know when and if your leads make relevant actions? If you do, then do you have a plan that you may execute that is relevant to the action that a certain lead took.
These all are steps which make the marketing automation rely on you. You can tell automation tool which triggers to be on the lookout for.
- Do you have the content which is needed to support scaling and personalizing your content marketing efforts?
The data collection intel and triggers are in place to send the correct content to the right lead at a relevant time. This means that you need the right content which speaks to many different leads who are in different stages of their journey into making that decision to commit to your organization. You never want to send a solicitation letter to join your highest donor circle level on someone’s first opt-in or download. Maybe you can invite people to subscribe to your newsletter instead.
If you need a sufficient influx of leads into the automation machine to make it work, you will also need enough output which is relevant content. Your team needs to be publishing content that is suitable for a lead’s journey so they can be nurtured successfully further down the funnel.
Getting your house in order first
Content marketing is a constant process of growth. When you first start with inbound marketing, you will learn along the way which formats and messages get your audience to respond positively at different points in their journey. As you refine the content and your donor’s journey, you will start to build automated tasks and criteria which make putting new campaigns and content together more efficiently.
The next step in this process is marketing automation which automates your manual tasks. The timing you move into automation makes sense when you already have a constant steady stream of leads which come in. You can use this in tandem with lead nurturing campaigns, email list segmentation and then get good results.
If your organization is not there yet, then do not worry. Your team needs to start working on this checklist at once. You will start to see great advances in the number of donors and members which drive every step of the way towards marketing automation.