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Nonprofit Marketing Best Practices from Connections

By July 2, 2018

By: Julie Workman, Senior Cloud Consultant, Cloud for Good

Connections – Learning, Sharing and Growing

Stepping into McCormick Place on June 12, I was immediately surrounded by the best and brightest minds in digital marketing, commerce and customer service. As a Senior Cloud Consultant for Cloud for Good, I’m always looking for new ideas to help create personalized experiences for nonprofits and higher education institutes to connect with their constituents. Connections is the best place I’ve found to stay up-to-date on the latest news in digital marketing, engagement, and strategy.

Cloud for Good helps nonprofits with Nonprofit Cloud
The Cloud for Good team at Connections: Lindsey Ciochina, Director of Finance and Administration, Kristin Kiester, Partner Alliance Manager, and Julie Workman, Senior Cloud Consultant

One of the key themes from this year’s Connections was how data, engagement and marketing come together. This immediately reminded me of one of our clients, Urban Institute. They needed to bring their data together into one single source, to better engage with their constituents.

The Urban Institute Story

Cloud for Good implemented Marketing Cloud to help Urban Institute create a ‘360-degree view’ of their constituents. This included consolidating subscription data from multiple legacy email systems, while preserving subscriber history.

One unique requirement was the need to allow constituents to receive multiple newsletters at any number of email addresses—an option not possible with most email marketing tools. Using custom AMPscripting, custom Sales Cloud configuration, and automation, Urban Institute now has the flexibility that allows subscribers to opt-in to any of their 24 newsletters at as many email addresses as they prefer. This gave Urban Institute actionable insights on subscriber preferences to help increase engagement of their marketing material.

Marketing Best Practices From Connections

Marketing Best Practices From Connections

As technology continues to grow and impact our daily businesses, it isn’t surprising that organizations like Urban Institute need more complex marketing solutions to engage with their constituents and consumers. But where do you start?

    1. Invest in Marketing Automation

    If you’re not already using marketing automation to help manage your marketing campaigns, you should. Antonio Altamirano, Partner, CEO at Tangelo Technologies mentioned in a Forbes article “Even a small investment in marketing automation tends to bring outsized returns that can propel your business to the top.”

    “While most marketers were challenged by generating leads and building brand awareness, top marketers using artificial intelligence (AI) and SaaS marketing automation had already moved on to tasks with stronger financial impacts,” Altamirano continues, “including improving the hand-off of marketing-qualified leads to sales and retaining existing customers.”

    Both for-profit and nonprofit organization can yield the same benefits from these high powered marketing tools. Instead of profit margins and revenue, nonprofit organizations can make great impact to their donor and fundraising programs.

    2. Use data and reports to drive your marketing decisions

    Let’s face it, we are drowning in marketing data. Whether it statistics from your newsletter engagement, website analytics or even visitor demographics, data is everywhere. So how can you harness the power of data, sift through all the information and begin to answer your “how” and “why” questions. “How do my subscribers like to be communicated with?” “Why isn’t my newsletter performing as well with younger subscribers?”

    A good place to start is with technology. You can use reporting in Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud to help sort your data and show graphical representations of trends you may have otherwise missed. Einstein Analytics, which was mentioned quite a bit during my time at Connections, is one of the many tools available to help you. If you’re already using Marketing Cloud and looking for a great solution to automated reporting, check out this video giving you Tips and Tricks to Optimize Einstein for Marketing Cloud.

    No matter which technology tool you select to help you in your data journey, just make sure you are listening to what the data is telling you. If your newsletter isn’t getting the engagement you’ve hoped for, let the data help you discover why.

    3. Focus on factors, not tactics

    One of my favorite sessions from Connections was “Five Key Traits for High Performing Marketing Organizations” presented by Mathew Sweezey, Principal of Marketing Insights at Salesforce and Author of Marketing Automation for Dummies.

    “Tactics don’t matter,” Sweezey shared. This is because everyone already knows the tactics – marketers aren’t fooling anyone. Rather, Sweezey encourages you to focus on factors such as executive buy-in, robust budgets, agile practices, and collaboration across all touchpoints to really make the difference. Great marketing and advertising cannot make up for poor experience.

    This reminds me again of Urban Institute. The user experience was one of their top priorities. They wanted to make sure that subscribes received the information they were interested in, to the email address they preferred. They didn’t change their newsletter tactics, but rather the factors surrounding their newsletter subscriptions to improve their engagement rates and marketing analytics.

    4. Leverage growing technology

    Your business is going to grow, so it is important the technology you choose to leverage marketing technology that grows with you. That’s why I was so excited to hear about the upcoming release of Marketing Cloud being packed with new features.

    One of the most exciting updates is Distributed Marketing Quick Send. This allows your distributed users (like admins, relationship managers, etc.) to send a one-time, on brand, marketing approved email to a contact. The email can be updated with the user’s personal content and customized as needed. This allows an organization to stay consistent throughout ever touchpoint in messaging and brand – all at the click of a button.

Nonprofit marketing best practices
Julie Workman and Paulolman-Kursky, Director of Membership from Common Sense Media co-hosting a presentation at Connections.

In all, Connections delivered on being the place to catch the inside scoop on creating interconnected relationships out of facts and data. I’m thrilled to be bringing these insights—and more—to my clients, colleagues and friends. I’m excited by what I learned this year and can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2019!

Want to be in the know on the latest tech tools for nonprofits? Download the first edition of the Nonprofit Cloud digital magazine.

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