The Google Grants program can be a proving ground for paid search campaigns. Project Hope wanted to maximize its Google Grant efficiency, so the organization launched a four-phase Google Grant campaign culminating in a paid campaign to put into practice what they’d learned with the free Google Grants program.
The campaign took started in 2009, before Google made substantial changes to the Grants program in 2013. Last year, Google raised the bidding limit from $1 to $2 per keyword for Google Grants users. Google Grants advertisers are no longer eligible for the top position in the search results. “They brought down one feature and brought up another,” said Erich Fasnacht, strategy lead at Project Hope’s agency Kosovo-Addis in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Google Grants also got rid of its Pro program, where nonprofits could get up to $40,000 per month in credit. The limit is now $10,000, but organizations like Project Hope were Pro members were grandfathered into the new system.
Fasnacht presented a session on Google Grants and search engine marketing at the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation’s 2014 Washington Nonprofit Conference.
Phase One for Project Hope was a pilot program, and the goal was growth. “One simple ad plus 10 keywords — with search terms that relate to Project Hope and its mission — equals results,” said Fasnacht. Project Hope received 1.2 million impressions, with 6,000 clicks, in nine months. The click through rate was 0.59 percent and its cost in real dollars would have been $3,660, so the cost per click was about 60 cents.
Phase Two focused on the consistent use, including using the AdWords keyword tool to develop effective keywords. For phase Three, Project Hope upgraded to Google Grants Pro, and phase four took the lessons learned in the first three phases and implemented them into a paid campaign.
“You learn a lot when managing and optimizing Google Grants,” said Fasnacht. “You learn which terms work best, what kind of landing pages work best, cost per click, branded ads. Google Grants is an amazing training ground.”
Fasnacht had some advice for the audience. Quality score is important, he said, though how important as to Google’s ranking algorithms he did not know. Ads with click through rates greater than 1 percent have high quality scores. According to Fasnacht, bidding the most for a search term doesn’t mean your ad will claim the top spot. “You get a high score for a good ad that people click on. That’s how you make it to the top, not buying your way there,” he said. “It’s pretty common for the highest bid amount to show up lower due to lower quality scores.”
Email capture is the most effective call to action for search engine marketing, Fasnacht found. But whatever your goal is, make it obvious. “If you have a landing page, people are moving through it so quickly,” he said. “Have a big, obvious goal like a ‘donate now’ button or an ‘enter email address’ field.”
For Project Hope, branded keywords worked better than more general keywords, and they’re usually cheaper to bid on as well. Branded keywords are “a key driver of new traffic because people are looking for them,” said Fasnacht. “They’re getting mail pieces and they recognize the organization.”
For smaller, unbranded organizations, follow an issue and create a branded campaign around it. Fasnacht another of his clients, a smaller, unbranded nonprofit about gay rights, was in the midst of a campaign leveraging the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia and University of Missouri football player Michael Sam coming out as gay.
The online world can seem to be changing at a breakneck pace – especially when you’re trying to keep your organization up-to-date and fresh in the eyes of your donor base. Here, learn how we’re bringing our clients the latest in digital marketing and fundraising.
Erich and the Kosovo-Addis team can be your “secret weapon” for great website content, online marketing strategy and execution. We will work alongside you to develop exciting campaigns, microsites, content pages, emails and social media content. We are dedicated experts, always ready to go that extra mile to communicate your mission. At the end of the day, we are fundraisers, and our ultimate goal is to increase your fundraising capabilities and build your constituent base. That’s why we know just how important it is to present you with compelling, personalized content that produces tangible results.
Your part-time web execution team If you are a smaller organization: And do not have waves of original content coming at you from the field, you can contract Kosovo-Addis as a Part-Time Web Execution Team. Your choices are to hire a full-time person at a high salary with benefits, or a part-time person, who will have a limited skill set, or Kosovo-Addis, where you will receive:
- The right strategy, developed by experienced professionals in marketing and fundraising for international NGOs
- Design specialists, who are working on sites for large and small well-known organizations
- Writing and content development by real pros who are experienced in brand marketing
Your online partner: If you are a sophisticated organization: In terms of your web presence, and have dedicated staff, we want to be your online partner, helping you with projects that fall out of the scope of your web team’s time allocation. The web team at many international non-profit organizations is always being pulled in many different directions. We have experienced this personally. Kosovo-Addis can shoulder some of this burden by helping you to:
- Create Microsites for specific campaigns, events or issues
- Helping you to optimize your Google Grant
- Writing additional content and creating graphics for banner campaigns and landing pages
- Helping create and conduct analysis on email campaigns
- Working on website overhauls / re-designs
Fundraising to Diaspora Communities in the U.S.
Diaspora Communities are groups of people who are from a country outside the U.S., but now reside in the U.S. They could be Latinos, Russians, Indians, or other nationalities.
There has always been a great promise of people from one country “giving back” by supporting international non-profit organizations that do programmatic work in their home country. The staff of Kosovo-Addis have worked on this issue from various angles, and here are several findings that could be helpful as you work to engage Diaspora Communities in the U.S.
Country-specific donors want to give Restricted donations back to their country. It is difficult to convince these donors to support the organization’s overall mission and give unrestricted. Using a foreign language is not a silver bullet First generation immigrants are often not prepared to be philanthropic. In many cases, it is the 2nd or 3rd generation from an immigrant family that has the resources to be strong donors. But it is also these 2nd or 3rd generations that do not keep up with fluency in their parents/grandparents language. The best cases are generally using a mix of English and a Foreign Language.
Online Marketing can be very focused Based on the fact that you are going out to a specific, niche market, your banner ads, emails and other online marketing can be very focused. You get a chance to speak directly to this audience, and so can use pinpoint messages, and go after specific sites and lists. Be Prepared for a separate email and cultivation stream Just “getting them in the door” is not the end-game. High ROI from these donors will come over time, as they give second, third, fourth gifts. This means that in addition to acquiring Diaspora Community donors via focused messaging, a separate email and cultivation stream should be devised before you even start, so you’re ready.
Do you have the right target market? Do you have a target market?
There are very few “superbowl” moments in today’s distributed communications and entertainment environment. Years ago, getting exposure in Time, the Wall Street Journal and major network Nightly News would have meant you reached almost your whole audience. These days, there are very few opportunities to hit a mass market effectively
Technology has made this our reality. That means that just “getting stuff out there” about your organization is not really all that helpful, or effective. It’s much more important to define a specific target market of individuals to go after in your website marketing, social media efforts, email capture and offline marketing. It’s only in this way that you will be able to create multiple exposures and impressions to the same audience. It’s only when someone hears about you multiple times that they will seek you out. A few of the maxims currently being used by staff to communicate this to organizational leadership and Boards: o “People are more likely to donate to us if they have heard of us” o “Even Coca-Cola, with seemingly unlimited marketing budgets, very tightly controls who their target is and where the ad spending will go” o “We know that everyone should be interested in our mission, but who is out there that would be more interested than others?” o “We don’t have enough resources for 8 different people from our organization to go out to 8 different target markets on any given day. Imagine if all 8 of us were focused on the same target market…”
Do you have the Right Target?
Is your target market in their philanthropic years?
Is it the “right-size” – not too big, not too small?
Is there a natural fit between your programmatic work and the target?
Is your target too abstract, or is it easily identifiable?
Are all staff, vendors, Board members aware of your target market?
Killing 6 Birds with One Stone: Multi-Use Digital Content
- You’re trying to keep up. You’re trying to get news stories out on your site, as well maintain a diligent email schedule…in addition to keeping up with Facebook, Twitter and other social media…as well as blogging. Oh, and keeping your base website fresh.
- Are these 6 different projects?
- In our experience working with a host of international non-profit organizations, such as SOS Children’s Villages, Project HOPE, OIC International, Catholic Relief Services, the Millennium Water Alliance and others – the most efficient and effective way to push out great content across multiple digital platforms is to multi-purpose your content.
- This is a very simple concept, and on paper, it looks and sounds obvious. You’re great email Subject Line is also your Facebook update, as well as your blog title and the title for your next enews story. The blog entry you’re posting is also the content for your next email and website update.
- The obstacles to doing this are generally internal, political or somehow related to creative control. But things are heating up and getting faster and faster. So, if you can attack this head on, and become a Multi-Use Digital Content expert, you’ll be able to spend more time developing that one great hook, and less time writing different content for all those platforms.
- A side benefit is that you instantly become integrated and multi-channel, and let your supporters, followers and donors receive consistent messages.
A Goldmine of stories, photos and video from Overseas Country Offices
- We all need to tell our stories – the stories of our work overseas with real beneficiaries, real people. Great stories, authentic hard-hitting photos and real video are not just “nice-to-haves” in online content, email and social media development, they’re absolutely crucial…and need to be refreshed constantly.
- But we cajole, beg, demand and scrounge for authentic stories, photos and video from field and overseas staff, but to no avail. Executives even travel to the field, but come back with less-than-stellar photos and little in the way of stories.
- And so we recycle old stories and photos.
- There is another way! And it’s so simple you will be astounded.
- It’s a technique that has been used by several international non-profits for years, and has the potential to deliver droves of new photos and stories – a Story & Photo Contest.
- You will create a poster and set of communications that go out to your field and overseas staff announcing the contest; the poster will include notes on “what the judges are looking for”
- You will set cash prize amounts for winners; the cash prize will go directly to the local staff member that sends in the photo/story/video
- You will collect many stories, photos and video and then select the best and provide the cash prizes
- You will then have ALL of the submissions to use for your content, emails and social media campaigns
- You now have a Goldmine of stories, photos and video from Overseas Country Offices
- The two reasons this works and has worked consistently for years with international non-profits:
- A $100 cash prize (for example) to a field staff member in Kenya or Haiti or Vietnam is a lot of money
- The field staff are with beneficiaries every day, and are close to them, unlike a hired photographer or visitor that swoops in and swoops out.