Feature Spotlight

Automation for Advocacy Efforts

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your welcome emails go out while you drink your morning coffee? What about call-to-action reminders while you’re at lunch? Or even better, a series of messages that follow-up with your advocates on a set schedule while you’re strategizing on your next move?

We all have those days where we have to keep moving the ball forward with our advocacy & community building goals but meetings, calls and everything else gets in the way. Luckily, there’s a simple way in SparkInfluence to keep those messages flowing while you’re spending time elsewhere. It’s a solution that we’ve seen improve retention and participation time and again, and once you’ve set it up, it runs on it’s own.

That solution, Automation for Advocacy.

What is Automation for Advocacy?

In a nutshell, automation for advocacy (or marketing automation) is software that does specific tasks or sends specific messaging on your behalf. The software is designed to take what might be repetitive tasks and take them off of your shoulders, letting the system do the work.

The ultimate goal is to free you up for more important work. You get to strategize and execute while the software takes care of sending messages on a regular schedule without you having to lift a finger.

Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say a NEW Advocate Takes Action on your Latest Alert:

  • Old Way: Your current software might be able to send them an immediate Thank You message, but after that, you’d have to pull that list and send them any follow-up messaging. Maybe this is daily, maybe it’s weekly; Whatever the timing, it’s frustrating and repetitive.
  • With Automation: Once configured, the platform would not only send an immediate Thank You message, but, after 3 days, it’d also send the new advocate an Issue Spotlight email relating to the call to action, and, after 10 days it might send a Share Your Story on How the Issue Affects You type message. All without you doing any additional work, and all on each individual advocate’s timetable.

Put yourself in your advocate’s shoes. They’ve just taken the step to join your effort and reached out to Congress or their state legislature on an item that interests them. You’ve not only reached out to thank them, you’ve also provided them with more information on the topic they’ve shown interest in AND you’ve provided them with an outlet to participate further. The messaging feels more personalized, it’s on topic and timely. Ultimately, it makes you feel more connected with the effort from the very beginning.

And that’s the goal, timely messaging that drives a greater sense of community and participation through automation for advocacy.

Let’s Talk Do’s and Don’ts

Before you get behind the wheel and activate your first automation, here are a few tips from what we’ve seen work with clients:

DON’T Just Automate Existing Messaging

For many advocacy groups, the tendency is to immediately put their existing welcome emails into an automated series. Resist the temptation to recreate what you’re already doing and take a step back to think about how a little nuance and specialized messaging could improve your overall results.

DO Start Small

In our example above for a new advocate, we put together a welcome series that touched on the issue they acted on. Setting up automated messaging is quick and easy, think through at least two or three different ways you can bring folks into the fold.

DON’T Use Automation as a Way to Broadcast Email

With great power comes great responsibility. Don’t just use automation as a way to send out generic email to your audience. We’ve seen time and again generic messaging getting deleted and/or marked as spam, lowering your not only your overall deliverability but also potentially trust with your audience.

DO Use Automation to Better Engage & Save Time

We’ve found that personalizing and creating at least three automations returns a future engagement rate at least 50% higher than through just typical email. It’s easy to set up the paths that you want your advocates to take and then watch them as they move along to better understanding and future action.

Getting Started With Automation

Creating an automated sequence in SparkInfluence is easy. Head over to the Automations section of the platform and click in to add a new automation. Pick the type you’d like – that could be a reminder, a welcome series, an issue focus set – and the system will populate sample messages for you. In the end, you’ll spend about 15 to 20 minutes creating a set of emails that will save you hours if not days of work down the line.

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