Marketing automation campaigns are a great way to guide your leads and supporters through each stage of the donor journey, moving them from lead to cash donor, to monthly donor and major giver. By providing valuable content and meeting a donors needs at each stage of the journey, you can increase average gift, convert more donors and reduce attrition.
What is Marketing Automation?
Simply put, it is scheduling and sending emails based on user behavior with the ultimate goal of driving leads and donors to take action.
The purpose of marketing automation aligns pretty well with most nonprofits’ priorities. It can help you increase income from existing donors, boost acquisition, raise awareness through content distribution, generate leads, establish and retain a loyal donor base, and more. Granted, marketing automation could include more than just email, but, in this post, we’re focusing on email. It’s most likely where a nonprofit looking to get into marketing automation will start. There are a few key automated campaigns that you might consider.
1. Welcome Leads Campaign
Welcome emails are extremely important for new leads. The quicker you can send them out the better so that they receive your email they still remember you. This should quickly be followed up with a series of automated messages that introduce these new people to your charity and what you do, at a comfortable pace.
Keep in mind that new leads from different oueces may need to be treated differently based on how you obtained the details and what drove them to contact you. A lead who signed a petition may have different motivations than someone who subscribes to a newsletter, or who gave their details through a third party source.
Remember to remind them why they decided to start receiving these emails and slowly provide them with light educational content to increase awareness of your organisation and keep them interested in what you do.
Concentrate on content that is fun, engaging, use videos and stories and where you can pare your emails with landing pages that provide interactive content – quizzes, polls, petitions, flip cards and some of the types of content you might consider. If you don’t have this type of interactivity built into your website – which is likely – there are some cheap apps that can easily be embedded in your website.
The purpse of these emaisl are to gradually coerce the user through small, subtle, and patient interactions to become donors.
2. Top-of-Mind Campaign
The top-of-mind email series is designed to engage with leads who not quite ready to become monthly donors at regular intervals, preventing leads from forgetting about your charity. This series of emails takes place over a longer period of time, providing consistent touch points, and provides content primarily focused on value to the potential donor.
3. Reengagement Campaign
Not all of your monthly donors will continue support your chaity. At any given time, your database will likely consist of a number of lapsed monthly donors. Reengagement campaigns are targeted toward these individuals. The goal is to encourage these leads to take a “hand-raising” action that will indicate that they are ready to reenter the sales process. Try sending interesting stories, a cool piece of interactive content, or a successful case study for these kinds of email campaigns.
4. Upgrade your cash donors to monthly donors campaign
As well as leads and monthly donors charities have another segment of supporters, people who give regular cash gifts. Many of these people will never become monthly donors. They may not want to commit to regular donations, or prefer to give to appeals with specific projecst they can give to.
However there are those who just need the right information to convince them to become monthly donors. This is where the upgrade campaign comes in. This type of campaign should include information that show donors the importance of monthly giving.
5. Get your cash donors to give more
Some cash donors will never become monthly donors. There are many reasons. They may not be financially able to, they may prefer to give to specific projects and appeals, or they may just prefer to give cash and not commit to giving regularly.
However there is still an opportunity to grow you income from this committed group of donors, as most cash donors don’t make their biggest donations the first time they give.
With a carefully planned series of wecome emaisl to new cash donors you can build the average gift value for your gifts. It can also give you valuable insights into what areas of work lead to bigger donations by measuring the results of your emails to these groups.
You could even consider segementing your cash donors by what type of content they interact with (if you have a marketing platform that tracks online behaviours) or the issue they care about based on their donor source.
6. Project-Focused Campaign
As prospective donors progress through the donor journey they may begin to seek out more specific infromation about the work you do. For this type of campaign, you’ll want to use more middle-of-funnel content like stories and quotes from the people you help, that demonstrate that your project is makign a difference.
A good way to mange this campaign is to track links or automate emails based on the pages they visit on your website. There are dozens of online tools that provide this type of tracking technology.
7. Retention Campaign
Welcome emails are highly anticipated, frequently opened, and simple to automate. Keep in mind that new donors should be treated differently than the ones that have been with you for many months. The first three months are the most critical period when attrition is at its highest. Research shows that close to 75% of your new donors won’t come back after they give that first gift.
Welcoming a new donor is an essential campaign to set up to retain donors that sign up to make monthly donations.
By turning your welcome emails into a drip campaign, you can introduce reduce attrition with videos and stories that focus on the their achievements and demonstrate the value of their support and the difference they are making.
Over time as your numbers grow you can start to gain insights into what content is and is not working and slowly improve you retention rates by testing and refining your content strategy.
Once they have progressed beyond those critical initial months, you can slowly provide them with light educational content to increase awareness of your organisation and keep them updated with giving stories and reports that demonstrate the value of their support.
Does your charity use marketing automation?
Does your nonprofit use marketing automation? What’s your experience been? What automation campaigns you have tried, what you have found that works? Or do you have any burning questions about marketing automation at this point? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.