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How to Run a Lean, Mean, Nonprofit Marketing Machine

leanmeanmarketingmachine.jpg

leanmeanmarketingmachine.jpg

Some clichés are clichés for a reason. Everyone needs to do more with less. What marketing team, for-profit or nonprofit, isn't tasked with improving results for the same effort?

Your path to increasing constituent engagement with your content without exhausting your hardworking team requires approaching your marketing systematically. This doesn't mean squashing creativity. Having systems to produce and distribute your content streamlines activities like actively blogging, freeing up time to invest on the brainstorming side.

Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

Every piece of content your team creates should get run through your repurposing machine. Content is always an appreciating asset that you can reuse and re-promote over and over. If you're like most nonprofit organizations, you already have a rich stream of content, from your newsletters, annual reports, constituent video testimonials just to start. Draw on this deep content collection you already have.

Now, one piece of content isn't just a single marketing asset. It spawns a range of new content that can also be consistently reused and re-promoted. Even better, repurposing content to create new marketing assets costs far less than creating entirely new content. So you can really maximize your marketing budget to get the most content out there.

To systemize your repurposing of your content, outline all the ways you want to repurpose every type of content format you produce. For example, you could create the following list for blog posts:

  • Short version for use in emails or newsletters with link back to full post
  • Group with related posts for report
  • 2-3 visual-plus-text images based on post to share on social
  • Infographic with post information
  • Reaction piece to original post

With clear outlines, your team doesn't have to waste time on developing a repurposing plan for each new piece of content. You're also developing an always-full bucket of content you can go to in a pinch. Since you're not going to promote and distribute each piece of repurposed content immediately, your content pipeline is never empty. 

Set Up Your Go-To Content Sources

Something needs to feed your marketing machine. That's your content sources. Building off our repurposing system, your first stop is content you've already created. You probably have some great organizational achievements outlined in your most recent annual report. What stories can you pull from there?  Do your volunteers or members send emails sharing their positive experiences with your organization? That's another great content source you can tap into.

Select some content that aligns with your organization's current goals and start running it through your repurposing plan. Start with reports or webinars that were created to appeal to a key segment such as engineering technology members you want to target and work down the line from there.

For original content, you can run some UGC campaigns to source some new material. Put out a call for constituent stories and videos. You can set up an email series inviting constituents to send you their own view of what your organization has done for them. Have that email series triggered by some key behaviors, such as attending an event or a few months after signing up for a new service.

You can also let curation tools do some of your work for you. Using bots like Google Alerts and social monitoring tools to let you know when your organization, or topics and keywords that interest your organization and market, are mentioned. This provides opportunities to find organically created UGC, get inspiration for new topic ideas, and participate relevant conversations.

Take a Dip into Automation

Automation is turning on a genuine machine to amplify your successful marketing efforts. Pick a few key goals that are based on successful processes you're already running manually.  Let's say your membership renewal process gets a good return when used, but you have too many members for your team to keep up with kicking off a timely renewal series. This is a perfect spot for automation triggered by a countdown to each member's individual lapse date.

You might also want to run a more expansive new constituent campaign. You have a major event occurring in six months, so you want to start a process to boost your membership numbers now. You can automate a membership acquisition sequence triggered off visitor behavior that indicates a high level of interest, such as watching an online webinar or hitting some site visit and length of session benchmarks.

Focus Like a Laser Beam

When you begin systemizing your marketing, hone in on a key market segment or two. You might want to re-engage a large pool of dormant members, or perhaps you're expanding the geographical scope of your services and want to drive membership in this new area. Create or refine your personas for these market segments to ensure your content and triggers are fresh and relevant. Setting up new alerts and social listening streams will be helpful here.

Start with repurposing the content you have that already performs well for this segment. Let's say you have a report on future medical industry trends or legislation, you can pull out the geographically relevant content for your new market to create a customized report just for them. Select how you want to repurpose it by aligning with behavioral triggers that will send an automated email series or become critical information in the email series itself. Now when someone signs up for your newsletter, based on their zip code, you can send each constituent a custom report for their state or region.

You can also roll out a personalization plan for current and new content using smart content and progressive profiling capabilities to gather more intel on these segments. For instance, as you gather their industry, political party, and whether or not they own their own business, you can turn that data right around to customize your online and email offers. Ebooks, guides, white papers, videos, presentations, checklists, comparison charts, etc. that can help them achieve recognition in their industry, or educate them about specific candidates or pending legislation that affect them, or help them to create employee giving drives which benefit your organization, etc.

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

Relax. No one builds a comprehensive marketing machine with one single effort. It takes persistence and patience. That's why narrowing your focus and implementing marketing systematically are viewed as best practices. As you learn from your initial efforts, expanding your marketing efforts will go more quickly, and easily. This approach means you can enjoy the satisfaction of a well-rested team and a growing, highly-engaged membership.

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