Wow! What a difference a decade makes in marketing technology!
In our opinion, one of the leading trends for nonprofit associations over the next few years will be to move beyond traditional methods of finding new members through “Outbound Marketing” such as email to full Marketing Automation platforms to be more competitive and remain relevant.
Today, Marketing Automation has emerged as a class of technology to manage the entire life cycle of marketing whether that be Inbound Marketing or Outbound Marketing.
What is the idea of Marketing Automation?
The term marketing automation is used to describe any piece of software that helps business reduce the human effort needed to roll out an inbound and outbound marketing program, either by tying multiple elements together under a single platform or by streamlining efforts within a single channel.
What is Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing?
“Inbound Marketing” is the method by which your members or donors find you online mostly through various paid and natural search engine marketing efforts.
“Outbound Marketing” is likely what your nonprofit has been focused on for many years. Outbound marketing examples include Newsletters, Tradeshows, TV commercials, radio commercials, print advertisements (newspaper ads, magazine ads, flyers, brochures, catalogs, etc.), press releases, cold calls, and email blasts.
In 2004, there were very few vendors who specialized in email marketing and even fewer vendors that could claim to automate anything beyond traditional marketing. Dialing on the phone and conference trade show events were top dog in the arsenal for the commercial for profit and non-profit organizations alike.
Therefore, it’s time for Executives of nonprofits and associations to get prepared and look forward in their respective race to succeed in engaging members and donors. That noted, the key drivers of an organizations decision to feel the need to investigate marketing automation technology generally involves one or more factors described:
- Business Intelligence: The need for membership and marketing reports that provide data for analysis, planning, and determination of return on investment will be required by more Association Executives & Nonprofit Boards in the future. We believe that the use of your data will set you free, because it truly empowers and organization to see where its strengths and opportunities are today and in the future.
- Simplification: Everyone is trying to do more with less these days and nonprofits are no different. The need for Membership, IT, Development Officers, and Web Masters need to simplify the management and coordination of activities, such as marketing and website traffic.
- Removing DDS (Disparate Data Syndrome): The need to manage multiple point tools like email marketing solutions, landing pages, google analytics, blogs, & association or donor management solutions need to be integrated to provide the insights you need and keep the staff sane.
- New Member Recruitment: Yes, associations and donor nonprofits should be prepared to compete even more with the mind share of for-profit and nonprofits in providing value. Therefore, lead nurturing and transfer or interested members to the appropriate parties is critical.
- Efficient Use of Time: You need to be a lean mean fighting machine at your nonprofit. Therefore, reducing the time to create, deploy marketing campaigns, or respond to onboarding requests or conference exhibitors for booth sales in real time is paramount. In a recent research study done internally by Velocity, a leading outbound marketing firm, revealed the simple act of placing a phone call to a new prospect within a minute of lead generation can increase your likelihood of conversion by nearly 400%.
If you are mid to large association, and you have outgrown your current email marketing solution, it may be time for your organization to get ahead of the pack.
A quick word of caution, however is in order.
As in any software evaluation, before you begin evaluating vendors, it’s imperative you take a look at your organization, your human resources, and your existing processes. Your nonprofit organization needs to spend time to identify the goals and objectives of your marketing automation initiative to be sure it aligns the directive of your board and members.
You may find it’s necessary to enlist the help of a skilled consulting firm which understands your industry. There are very good inbound marketing firms for the for-profit market. And, even better is enlisting the assistance of a firm which is focused on the nonprofit sector.
When you have determined your organizations objectives, requirements, and opportunities, you’re ready to evaluate solutions and vendors. And, at the time, if you would like more information on complete marketing automation tools or just need to start with an email marketing service, please contact us.