How Non-Profits Should Use the Next Generation of Social Data

Marketing is all about convincing people. Delivering the right message, to the right group of people, through a channel they appreciate is the marketing 101. This applies to nonprofits as much as it does to any brand. Except with non-profits its about rallying supporters, securing donations and getting people to stand behind what you care about.


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This task is just as difficult, and requires just as much skill, as it does with large brands and sales focused campaigns.

A Marketing Sherpa survey confirms that despite the emergence of social media over the last decade, email is still 75 percent of peoples preferred way to receive marketing messages. This is what makes email marketing a $5 – 16 billion industry which shows no sign of going away anytime soon. The big challenge email presents us, especially when a database grows over a certain size (a few hundred thousand) is that we tend to forget these aren’t email addresses. They’re real people. It can be too easy for marketers to forget that.

Leaving us to batch and blast, also known as spray-and-prayer; emails go out, we sit back and hope conversions come back. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. What’s becoming common, amongst brands and nonprofits alike, is everyone is working harder to maintain the same numbers. It seems like everyone is treading water with their email marketing efforts.

This is especially true of those still employing the mass blast email approach. It’s not working anymore with today’s more tech savvy consumers. They don’t want the same email as everyone else. They want a personalized approach. Your supporters are demanding to be treat like individuals.

The opportunities presented by big data, analysis of social media conversations and behavioral information, are endless, which is why putting them together to create meaningful automated marketing can be difficult. Here are three steps to take which will help you turn analytical noise into actionable supporter personas.

1. Useful BIG Data

Your supporters spend an average of three hours per-day on social networks. With the right tools you can track their current behaviour. Once you have this data it can be fed into your CRM or marketing automation tools, which gives you all you need to create a real-time, personalized campaign based on their real needs.

2. React in Real-time

At the heart of most marketing automation tools is the ability to react in real-time. Supporters will respond a lot more kindly to real-time messages (an email, a promoted Tweet, a sponsored Facebook story, or other targeted ad) if the message is around something they care about, relevant to them. Which is why ordering your CRM according to segmented groups and personas will give you a better chance of the right message being sent to the right person at the right time. Further increasing the chance of securing a conversion.

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3. How Many Touches Does It Take To Score A Win?

As we’ve written about previously, customers and supporters can go through up to 23 touch points before converting. Email is still king. But with automated marketing, if you see supporters talking about your cause or brand on Twitter, you can interact via that channel too. With social data you can react more effectively at times when your supporters are already engaged with your brand values.

This extra insight, which social data gives us, is the true hidden value of social media. The ROI of social compared to email is still, and will be for some time, very low. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a useful channel. Once you combine the knowledge it provides, with a personalized, automated approach, through email, you have the power to generate an even higher return from an already successful channel.

Struggling with your marketing campaigns? Investigate the ways others are tackling similar challenges and attend an online demonstration or download our recent whitepaper is a social marketing automation platform for modern marketing teams. We help brands and organizations predict how customers and supporters will behave – even what they might do or buy – from social data. It has been used by over 100 companies and organizations to improve thousands of email marketing and social media campaigns.

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