Are you using marketing automation in your organisation? If not, why not?

“But we’ve always done it this way” is the catch cry of people in organisations who quickly become like the musicians on the Titanic.

This is especially true in a time when our industry is facing incredible reform and we’re all needing to take a different strategic and operational approach to our businesses.

Here are the facts around marketing in 2016:

  • Traditional marketing methods no longer achieve the necessary cut-through to secure the donations, clients and support needed by community service organisations to thrive.
  • Instead a digital world takes its place and in an increasingly impersonal world, a yearning to receive targeted and personalised communication reigns supreme.

Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue according to the Direct Marketing Association (UK).

  • It is scalable and very much achievable for a community service organisation that has a finite budget, and that doesn’t necessarily have the staff required to meet such a hefty demand.
  • You need strong and flexible infrastructure that will maximise your marketing staff and budget: you need marketing automation.

What is marketing automation?

IGNITE: marketing automation

Defining marketing automation is not a straightforward exercise. There are many people out there who’ve given it a solid go but this definition from market leader, Hubspot, is probably the most comprehensive definition available:

At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon – that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required.

And this from Quicksprout also spells it out well:

Marketing automation connects multiple touch points and marketing channels including social media, email marketing, and content marketing. One of the core goals of marketing automation is to nurture prospects for the long-term, which mean focusing on goals beyond direct sales.

Marketing automation relies on a web-based platform that integrates with your website and other digital touch points in order to be effective.

What can marketing automation do?

Marketing automation amplifies the voice and reach of your organisation beyond what you could realistically acheive using traditional marketing methods.

Marketing automation can help you achieve any objective that relies on you regularly communicating with a mass of people to get them to take a specific action.  

It’s a very useful mechanism for attracting, capturing, nurturing and converting potential clients/donors/partners/etc. to current clients/donors/partners/etc.  

It all starts with someone taking a trigger action on your website like downloading something, signing up for an event or subscribing to your newsletter.

The action that person takes will indicate their interests in relation to your organisation and set in course a series of tailored emails that nurture them towards a specific action. This is also often referred to as ‘drip marketing’.

Drip marketing is about slowly using your content to build a trusting relationship with your prospective client or continuing that relationship with a current client. Each email in the series will have its own triggers that indicate what happens next.

For example, did the person click a specific link in the last email they received from your organisation? Those who clicked the link might get one email as a follow up and those who did not click the link might get a different email next.

Every email sent is about adding value and nurturing the recipient towards taking that specific action you want from them, be that joining your membership services, making a donation or perhaps buying a product from you.

Here are a few links to libraries of case studies where other NFP organisations have successfully made use of marketing automation to further their businesses:






What sort of cost is involved?

The answer to this question varies from enterprise solutions that cost a few thousand dollars a month to small business solutions that cost less than $100 per month.

Before you discount marketing automation on cost alone, think about it in terms of the costs you would incur to have the activities completed by staff or even outsourced.

Then think about it terms of what revenue you bring in with your marketing automation campaigns.

There are many marketing automation platforms out there that can support your efforts. Some of them even offer special deals for NFP organisations.

Hubspot and Salesforce both offer NFP deals, but also look at platforms like Active Campaign and SimplyCast which are cheaper to begin with but do an excellent job all the same.  

Here’s a link to a list of 50 of the top marketing automation tools which includes a breakdown of each tool’s features and costs:


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