Automated Marketing for Charities – Why You’ll love Automation
What is Automated Marketing?
Automated marketing is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing digital marketing sectors, and there’s a reason why so many people are interested. But what exactly is automated marketing, and why would you or your organisation want to use it?
Put simply, automated marketing is the process of streamlining your inbound marketing from all channels, compiling it in one place and then engaging with your potential new supporters with minimal effort.
The idea is to drive visitors to your site and then guide them down an engagement or sales funnel. This takes the form of four main steps; Attract, Connect, Engage & Inspire.
Before the process starts, it’s important to get a detailed idea of your ideal customer. For not-for-profits this can be quite a challenge, as depending on the organisation, you might have a wide range of different services or products with an even wider range of target audiences. Not everything you offer is going to be right for everyone, and by painting everyone with the same brush there are missed opportunities.
One of the first starting points in automated marketing is to create personas – your ideal target supporters. Ideally, you’ll create separate personas for each different audience, so depending on your size there might be quite a few to create! For example, if you run several challenge fundraising events you might have a persona such as Challenge Colin:
By understanding each of your target supporters, such as Colin, you are better able to tailor content and their journey to suit them, ultimately making it more engaging and personal.
The Four Steps of Automation
The attract stage is fairly self-explanatory, your goal is to attract strangers to your website and convert them into visitors. There are many ways you can do this:
- Paid Search – advertising through Google or Bing
- Organic search – through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) with Google or Bing
- Display – banner or video advertising
- Content – blogs and promoted offerings
- Social – tweets & posts
In the case of Colin, a video ad of your next big upcoming event on Facebook would prove to be a very interesting and attractive proposition.
Once a visitor is on the site, you want them to connect with your organisation, and if possible, turn them into a potential lead. This is done by asking the visitor to provide their information in return for some offering. This could be signing up to your fundraising event, email newsletter or a call for support.
By providing this content behind a form, there is an exchange of information, which will be fed directly into your automated marketing customer management system (CRM). Based off the users interaction, you can begin to categorise visitors into your pre-defined personas and can use this information to tailor content specifically for them.
This is where the majority of automation lies. You have a potential lead, but you want to be able to nurture them into becoming a supporter of your charity. The best way in which to do this is content, content, content! Providing useful content, that will actually provide the user with value, will keep them coming back for more and more. Challenge fundraising and training packs are great for this, and also provide a great opportunity to rank well organically for SEO.
Have lots of content is great, but how do you make sure that your supporters are seeing it, and that it’s actually the type of content they’re after? This is where emails and workflows come in!
Workflows are a bit like a process flowchart where you can create an entire user journey from visitor to promoter, including every single bit of content and email they will receive on the way. This is completely automated, with custom criteria and timings available to make sure that only the right person is receiving the right content at the right time. Workflows can be as simple or complex as you want to make them, but provide an amazing opportunity to really build up a relationship and rapport with potential supporters.
So, after engaging with your leads they’re now supporters, but that doesn’t mean automation stops! The engagement process is ongoing, so it’s important to continue to offer supporters new content to help inspire and delight them. This might be fundraising news, new events, cause related updates or regular social media interaction. If done correctly, your supporters will begin to promote your organisation to new ‘strangers’ and the cycle begins again.
Although it can be a painstaking process to get everything set up and in place, once it’s there, it’s effortless. Not only are you better targeting individual audiences, you’re providing them with more relevant content, when they want it. When you have a huge number of potential contacts or subscribers, automation becomes invaluable.
Automated marketing provides a fantastic opportunity for charities and not-for-profits, and allows you to tailor the experience and journey of each and every one of your supporters.
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