Essential Digital Marketing for Your Business

essential digital marketing

Types Of Essential Digital Marketing For Your Business

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses many types of services. The goal of digital marketing is to use different digital channels to improve branding and recognition for companies. For small business owners, digital marketing is essential and can help to expand the company’s customer base. With the following information, individuals will discover more information on the most beneficial services of digital marketing agencies and how these services can improve a company’s bottom line.

Why Do I Need Digital Marketing?

For small business owners, digital marketing is extremely important. While print ads and traditional means of advertising have their place, there is no better way to reach the masses than with digital marketing.

The right digital marketing plan allows businesses to interact with their potential customer base and really get to know their needs. Business owners will also find they are able to instantly track the results of each campaign that is launched so they can determine its effectiveness.

Most people check out online search engines and learn about a company before ever visiting a brick and mortar location or making a purchase online. If a business is not easily noticeable and does not rank high enough, it will be passed over.

Understanding the Different Types of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing involves many different services and most marketing campaigns will involve more than one. A combination of services will give small business owners a tailored approach that will help them fully meet their marketing needs and see success in their campaigns.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When people think of digital marketing, one of the first things they consider is search engine optimization. SEO is important for all types of businesses but is even more important for those who operate online companies.

When people are searching for products or services, they are typically going to check out a search engine first. Millions of users use Google, Yahoo, and Bing each day. If a business is not listed high enough in the results, it will likely get very little attention, if any.

Studies have proven people rarely click past the first couple of pages of search engine results. SEO is crucial for helping a business rank as high as possible so it can garner attention from searchers. This practice means optimizing the website, campaigns, and content to ensure they allow the business to receive a high rank.

Hiring an SEO professional helps to ensure the right strategies are put in place. The process will not cause a business to soar to the top overnight, but with continued efforts, major improvements can be made and a business can see their listing nearer the top.

When practicing SEO, it is always essential to achieve white hat results when it comes to keywords, content, and optimization. Using black hat approaches may give a quick rise, but could result in a site being blacklisted which can spell disaster.

Search Engine Marketing

While SEO is essential for helping a site rise in rank, it certainly is not the only approach. This approach involves buying ad space on search engine result pages. The ad shows up at the top or near the top, depending on what ad space is purchased.

This is an effective means of digital marketing and is affordable for all budgets. Google and other search engines offer ad space and businesses only pay when users click on the ads. These ads look almost identical to typical search engine result listings, but Google places a small “ad” indicator to let users know this is an advertisement.

As of now, there are two popular paid search services and they are Google Ads and Bing Ads. It is essential small business owners have ads running on Google Ads for the best results. The best part of purchasing these ads is business owners can customize them to only be shown to a particular audience, making the ad campaign much more successful.

Many business owners simply do not have time to plan, launch, and manage their search engine ad campaigns which is why so many rely on the professionals for help. Hiring a professional takes away much of the guesswork and will help to ensure the ads offer a high ROI.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

According to Pew Research, around seven out of ten adults use Facebook. There are now more people on social media sites than ever before and companies who are not tapping into that market are missing a big opportunity to spread the word about their business.

Most people are shocked to learn there are now over 65 social media sites and this number is climbing higher each year. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest are all gaining momentum.

Sharing stellar content on social media sites is one of the best ways to engage an audience. Here, business owners can connect with their customer base, learn more about them, and take the initiative to meet their needs in a more personal way than ever before.

There are also organic and paid options for reaching an audience on social media sites. Just like with search engine ads, social media ads on Facebook and other sites can be targeted to only be shown to a specific demographic. This makes this form of advertisement much more cost-effective and beneficial for small business owners.

With a strong presence on social media sites, small businesses can position themselves as a leader within their industry niche. The right social marketing campaign can propel a company’s recognition and branding like no other method of digital marketing.

Content Marketing

No digital marketing campaign would be complete without stellar content. Content is one of the biggest factors in determining rank and it is also what speaks to customers and engages their interest. The goal of content should be to inform and provide solutions for problems customers have. When a company can offer trusted solutions and information, the loyalty level of its customer base will naturally rise.

The goal of content marketing is to provide information and subtle marketing so that a reader does not even realize they are reading marketing material. The material should be non-promotional in nature and should provide the most accurate and easy to read information possible.

Yes, keywords can be used in content marketing and should, but keyword stuffing is an outdated practice that will never allow for proper rank. The goal of this type of marketing is to produce high-quality content that gains customers’ trust.

There is a myriad of ways companies can purchase content and they include blogs, guest post blogs, webinars, eBooks, reports, and white papers. Digital marketers hire talented writers to ensure their content is superior and sets a company as an authority in their industry niche.

Content marketing is, arguably, one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. A small business owner needs to have the best content on the Internet and they should produce articles and other written information that sets them apart from their competitors and convinces readers to take notice.

If the website’s content is not stellar and authoritative, search engines like Google will reduce the rank while indexing and this can have a negative impact on the company’s traffic flow and their eventual bottom line.

Landing Page Marketing

A landing page is a standalone webpage that is created specifically for marketing and advertisement. A targeted landing page can add a great deal of success to any digital marketing campaign and can result in a higher conversion rate.

In most cases, digital marketers are going to directly link a landing page to its corresponding ad so when users click the ad, they are taken right to the landing page. Landing pages must be made with careful thought. Every detail of the page is important, from the font and colors to the spacing.

It is crucial landing pages are mobile-friendly and load with lightning-fast speed. If a page takes over two to three seconds to load, the bounce rate will be incredibly high. A professional digital marketer is an expert in creating purposeful landing pages that are targeted to get the best results.

From the call to action button to the convincing text, every detail of the landing page must be masterfully crafted to create a reaction in the reader. It is not enough to simply say the right words, every detail matters and digital marketers know this better than anyone.

Conclusion

Most small business owners will see the greatest success with a combination of the above essential digital marketing services. For small business owners, these services are essential for gaining customers and launching or improving branding.

A digital marketing agency can take over all the steps involved in any successful marketing venture. It takes skill, the right tools, and a concerted effort to perfect a marketing campaign, so relying on the professionals is absolutely essential.

If you are a small business owner in need of help with your digital marketing approach, consider the above services and talk to us about how we can help you meet your needs and can give you the results you want.

Effective Google AdWords Time Management for Nonprofit Professionals

google ad grants time management

Article written by Mark Hallman, Evergreen Digital Marketing – originally published on NTEN.org – September 12, 2016.

If you work in a digital, fundraising, or communications role at your organization, there is a good chance you’ve come across Google AdWords. Potentially, you have also been tasked with managing the account.

For nonprofit staff, managing an AdWords account can become an additional burden that gets ignored in the face of more important tasks. This article outlines a routine and task list for managing your organization’s AdWords account.

What is AdWords and Google Ad Grants?

For those not familiar with AdWords, these are the ads that are shown at the top of the Google search results page above the organic results. These paid ads allow advertisers to jump the organic search results and help bring people back to their websites when the user is actively searching for products or services.

Google Ad Grants is the nonprofit arm of AdWords. Google provides approved charities and nonprofits with up to $10,000 per month of in-kind AdWords advertising. This allows organizations to promote their organization on Google through text ads on the search results page.

The Reality of AdWords Management

Google AdWords can be a highly effective way to bring traffic to your organization’s website when used correctly.

But it isn’t something that can be set up and left to sit. To get the most value out of AdWords, either through a Google Ad Grants account or paid use, you should routinely review and work within your account, making fine adjustments along the way.

But before you start…

Set Goals for Your Account

Like any good marketing campaign, taking a step back and planning out desired goals will keep you focused and give you something tangible to work towards.
Common goals for an AdWords account:

  • raise awareness
  • highlight programs and services
  • increase donations
  • encourage newsletter sign-ups
  • online event registration

Having goals in place allows you to make adjustments within your account in a meaningful way. Increased click-through rates, better response to your ads, and higher conversion levels are all outcomes of working towards specific goals.

Setting Realistic Work Flows

For dedicated AdWords managers, working within AdWords is part of our daily routine. But spending that amount of time in AdWords isn’t realistic for nonprofit staff who have a multitude of other tasks to complete each day.

Below is a suggested list of tasks and timelines that will keep you on track for regular account management that is meaningful and time-effective.

Weekly Tasks

Keyword Level

  • Review for disapproved keywords: A disapproved keyword usually means there’s an issue with one or more of Google’s advertising policies.

Ad Group Level

  • Review for disapproved ads: Broken links to your webpage are the most frequent cause for disapproved ads and are easily fixed, for Google Ad Grants to ensure that your ads point back to your approved domain.

Campaign Level

  • Check alerts in your account at the top right corner of the interface; a little grey bell with a red alert will show up. Alerts related to account health should be dealt with quickly, but items like suggested keywords and ad groups can be reviewed at a later date.

Monthly Tasks

Keyword Level

  • Look for gaps in search terms of your ad groups and add keywords as necessary. The Google Keyword Tool is great for finding additional keywords to add and may turn up some unexpected results.
  • Review low performing keywords: Keywords with low quality scores, low click-through rates, and low conversion rates should be reviewed and paused.

Ad Group Level

  • Review A/B Testing: Well-managed AdWords accounts run A/B tests on ad copy and click-through-rates. Incremental differences in your ad performance can make a big difference in conversions over the course of a year.
  • Pause low-performing ads: Comparatively low click-through rates or conversion rates are reasons to pause ads.
  • Write new ads: If you’ve paused ads in your ad groups, now is the time to start a new A/B test by writing new ads.

Campaign Level

  • Review your campaign budgets: AdWords allows users to split the budget between your active campaigns. Once a month, take the time to review how much of your daily budget is allocated to each campaign and ensure your high priority campaigns have adequate budget allotments.
  • Check your geographic targeting for each campaign.

Additional Monthly Tasks

  • Reporting: Pull necessary reports on budget, campaign performance, and conversions.
  • Account access: Review permissions to ensure only current employees or approved 3rd party vendors have access to your AdWords account.

Quarterly Tasks

Keywords Level

  • Review your search terms report: This report shows what people are keying into Google to trigger your ads. Look for terms and phrases that can be added to your keyword lists.
  • Add negative keywords: In the search term report, you will also find phrases that aren’t relevant to your organizations. These keywords can be added as negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing when people search for them.

Ad Group Level

  • Review ad group configuration: Look for the opportunity to create new ad groups and improve the relevancy between your keywords, ads, and landing pages.
  • Pause or remove out of date ad groups: Specifically, look for expired events, seasonal programs, or old information.

Campaign Level

  • Add new campaigns in advance of seasonal fundraising, future events, and upcoming programs or services in your organization.
  • Connect with communications and development teams: Look for further opportunities that may have been missed.
  • Review dated campaigns for relevance: Keep your account up to date so that you continue to highlight your most important campaigns.

Ongoing Opportunities

The following blogs are excellent resources for learning more about Google AdWords and digital marketing:

It’s a cliché, but AdWords is easy to get started with and difficult to master. By working in your account on a regular basis, these routine tasks will take less time and become easier for you to complete.

Need help with your Google AdGrants account?

If you need help getting started with Google Ad Grants, or would like assistance optimizing your account or having ongoing account management, please contact us.

Google Ad Grants New Year’s Resolutions

google ad grants new years resolutions

9 Google Ad Grants New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofit Communications and Marketing Staff

With a new year freshly underway, now is a great time to set goals and strategies for your Google Ad Grants account. Sticking with your New Year’s resolutions may be tough, but by setting some small goals and objectives you can make the most of your $10,000 per month grant throughout the coming year. To help you see tangible results that are better than the year before, we’ve provided 9 resolutions that if followed can help you improve the performance of your Google Ad Grant. You’ll be more active in your account, you will make the critical changes that can improve your placement and performance on Google, and in turn you will bring more targeted visitors to your site. All of this means that you will be helping more people find the services and programs your organization offers, better connect with the people who care about your cause, and improve your overall digital marketing efforts.

Here are 9 Resolutions that will help you get the most out of your Google Grant:

I will actively log into my AdWords account at least once per week.

  • The most common issue we see in Google Grants management is that non-profit staff do not consistently log in to their accounts.
  • You can start small. Commit to logging into your account once a week and spending 15 to 30 minutes managing your campaigns, ads, and keywords. If you are serious about improving your understanding of AdWords this is the minimum commitment you should make.

I will connect my AdWords account to Google Analytics.

  • You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is an old management adage that holds true for digital marketing and specifically AdWords. Analytics is where you can set goals and conversions for AdWords so you can measure the impact of your efforts.
  • The good news is that Google makes this a very easy step for you to take. Just follow the instructions in their help article titled: Link Google Analytics and AdWords.

I will set goals for my Google Ad Grants account.

  • Having meaningful goals for your AdWords account is imperative if you want to improve upon your previous year’s successes and failures.
  • Some examples of goals you can track newsletter sign-ups, online donations, or something as simple as new visitors to your website.

I will A/B test my ad copy.

  • Don’t assume you are able to write a perfect ad the first time. Instead, run two ads concurrently with slight variations in the ad copy and see which ad performs better.
  • Testing ad copy and making small improvements to your click through rates can give you significant yields over the course of a year and will also help you understand the language that connects with your audience.

I will add negative keywords to my campaigns.

  • Negative keywords allow you to exclude search terms from your campaigns. This feature can help you focus on the keywords that matter to the people searching for your programs and services.
  • Not using negative keywords can mean the difference between your ads showing up for a query of “homeless shelter” vs “animal shelter” – make sure your ads are shown to the right audience.

I will remove or improve low scoring keywords.

  • Keywords score poorly for a few reasons, but the main reason being that the keyword you’ve selected doesn’t line up well with your ad and landing page.
  • Review your keywords with a score of 3 or lower. These keywords should be deleted or added to a new ad group which is better aligned with the keyword to improve the score.

I will review my landing pages for relevance.

  • It is important that you make the best effort to get people to the right page on your website. If a user is taken to a page that doesn’t quickly speak to their search query there is a good chance they will leave your site and may not come back.
  • A common error we see is that ads send people to the organization’s home page. Take the opportunity to send donors to your donate page, and people searching for programs and services to the corresponding pages on your site – your visitors will thank you for it.

I will set geographic targeting for my campaigns.

  • Geographic targeting allows you to restrict the area that your ads are shown in – by country, region, city, or postal code. Make sure your ads are being shown to people that you serve or offer relevant information to.
  • If your organization has a walk-in program in a specific city there is not point in showing those ads to people across the country. An added benefit of having a tight geographic focus is that you’ll have a better understanding of how many people in your area are searching for your programs or services online.

I will add sitelinks to my campaigns.

  • Sitelinks give you an added opportunity to include more context and information below your text ads with links that point to internal pages of your website. For example, you could include a sitelink for “Donate Today” that points back to your donation page.
  • Sitelinks will also help you dominate the search results page as they take up a lot of space when they are shown below your ads.
By committing to these 9 Google Ad Grants New Year’s resolutions, you are taking the first step to an improved impact for your organization in 2017!

Do you not have enough time in your day to actively manage your Google Ad Grant account?

The reality is that a lot of nonprofit staff do not have enough time in their schedules to actively log in and manage their accounts. If this is your situation, don’t miss out on making an impact for your organization. We offer Google Ad Grants management packages specifically tailored to nonprofit and charitable organizations. If you would like to learn more about our work with nonprofit organizations and how we can help you get the most out of your Google Grant, please contact us.

Evergreen Builds up Capacity Canada’s Online Visibility

capacity canada

Evergreen Helps Attract Visitors

When Capacity Canada redesigned its website for a launch it brought in Evergreen Digital Marketing to help draw visitors to its pages.

Websites, like tourist towns, are lonely places without visitors.

So when Capacity Canada redesigned its website for a launch in February 2011, it brought in Mark Hallman of Evergreen Digital Marketing to help draw more visitors to its pages.

“We wanted to make sure we were seen,”says Andrew Wilding, Capacity Canada’s director of operations. “I was looking for somebody who specializes in the Google Ad Grants program, and Mark stands out in that way.”

Formed in 2008, Capacity Canada helps other non-profit agencies strengthen their administrative and board-governance skills. Hallman helped the organization get more out its Google Ad Grants account.

Google Ad Grants is similar to Google AdWords, the fee-per-click, search-engine marketing opportunity Google offers to businesses.

AdWords picks up on the keywords typed into a Google search and displays advertising relevant to those words in the paid sections at the top or side of the results page. Google Ad Grants gives the same advantage to non-profit organizations, offering up to $10,000 a month of free advertising through the Google for Nonprofits program.

When a web searcher types in “board governance,” a Capacity Canada ad appears in the paid section at top or side of the page.

Google Ad Grants, says Wilding, gave Capacity Canada a “huge bump” in web visits —from visitors around the world. But mastering Google Ad Grants and wringing the most out of the program isn’t as easy as it sounds.

“That’s one of the hardest parts —being able to think of those keywords to influence someone to come to your website,” Wilding says. “Mark took care of all that.’’

How to Recruit New Volunteers Using Google Grants

recruit volunteers

One of the biggest challenges faced by non-profit organizations today is recruiting quality volunteers. This post will teach you how to use your Google Grant to successfully advertise directly to potential volunteers while they are searching for a place to donate their time.

Google Grants have many uses. They are great for promoting programs, services, events, and fundraising, but the one piece that is often overlooked is volunteer recruitment.

Your potential volunteers use Google like everyone else. They type in what they are looking for, in this case, places to volunteer, and view the results. This is where a Google Grant can help.

If your organization does not have a Google Grant click here.

How to Set Up A Successful Volunteer Recruitment Campaign

Campaign Level

Start a new campaign. I prefer to be straight forward when naming campaigns, so I would call it “Volunteer Recruitment.” This way it is easy to find and monitor your results in your account. Another benefit of having a separate campaign is that you can easily put the campaign on pause when you are not actively advertising for volunteers.

Set the campaign to run only in the appropriate geographic areas. You don’t need people across the country applying to volunteer if you are only looking locally.

Ad Groups

People typically search for volunteer positions in two ways. One, they search for volunteer opportunities by location and then read through the results to see what is out there. And the other way they search is by the type of volunteer work they want to do.

Set up two adgroups, one serving each kind of search. While your text ads may end up being similar, it is easier to keep track of your ads if you organize your adgroups this way.

Keywords

There are two approaches that you should take here:

1) Be broad – catch all potential volunteers who are looking generally, by using keywords such as:

  • Volunteer Toronto
  • Where to volunteer in Toronto
  • Best places to volunteer in Toronto

2) Be specific – so people looking to volunteer with organizations like yours find what they are looking for:

  • Volunteer with the elderly
  • I want to help elderly people
  • I want to volunteer with the elderly

Experiment with both types of keywords and measure what brings the best results for your organization.

Landing Page

Now that you have brought users to your website, it is important to have a dedicated page for volunteer recruitment.

This page should have a description of any available volunteer positions, information about your organization, and clear contact information so that potential volunteers can get in touch with you.

Use visuals on this page. A photo of your current volunteers in action is ideal. Adding a story about how your volunteers positively impact your community will help convert people from being potential volunteers to people asking how they can become involved.

For more information on how the Google Grants program can benefit your organization contact us.

The 7 Top Myths for Small Nonprofits and Google Grants

google grants myths

It has been well documented on this blog that the Google Grants program is of great benefit to non-profit organizations. However, there are still a number of misconceptions about the program and how it relates to small organizations. This article will address the most common myths that I hear about the Google Grants program.

Myth #1 – You Will Use the Full $10,000 per Month

The Reality: The average participant in the Google Grants program ‘spends’ $300 per month.

The limiting factor in this equation is the number of people who search for your keywords in the geographic area you have defined. For example, if 500 people see your ads and decide to click on them you will have used $1,000 (assuming it costs the full $2/click you are allowed).

For small non-profits who have a regional, not national, presence it is hard to use the full $10,000. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t use the full amount each month. Instead, focus on your goals and monitor the results.

Myth #2 – Having a Google Grant Is Free

The Reality: Managing your Google Grant costs staff time and salary.

The major cost is employee wages. Starting and running a successful online advertising campaign takes skill, knowledge and time. If your organization does not have a marketing department or a staff member that specializes in online marketing, this could be a burden on your resources.

Myth #3 – Small Non-Profits Can’t Compete with Large Organizations on Google

The Reality: Small organizations that serve local clients may have the upper hand.

Google rewards relevancy. Including your city or region in your keywords is helpful in having your ads shown to users searching for keywords in a specific geographic area. For example, someone who lives in Toronto and searches the term ‘places to volunteer in Toronto’ will more likely be shown your ad over a national organization’s ad assuming everything else is equal.

To capture the most traffic, it is a good idea to also use descriptive keywords that include your city.

Myth #4 – Google Grants Will Mean Increased Fundraising

The Reality: Direct fundraising is difficult with Google AdWords.

This is one area that large nationally recognized non-profits are at a definite advantage. For smaller organizations, it is difficult to convert users searching for your programs directly into donors. However, it is very possible to capture the email addresses of visitors to your site. By doing this, it is easier to stay in touch with the people who have searched for your keywords and turn them into future donors and supporters of your organization.

Click here for more information on Using Google Grants to Build Your Contact List.

Myth #5 – AdWords Is Easy For Staff to Learn and Manage

The Reality: Google AdWords is complex and can be difficult for a beginner to learn.

There are a lot of online resources to help you learn AdWords, but there are no shortcuts. Search Engine Marketing takes time and effort to learn and the Google Grants program is no exception. When starting out with AdWords, it is easier to digest if you don’t overwhelm yourself on the first day. Learn at your own pace and designate small blocks of time that you dedicate to learning the program.

For a head start, read the Getting the Most Out of Your Google Grant Series.

Myth #6 – Small Non-Profits Won’t See a Benefit from Google Grants

The Reality: Any organization who offers programs and services that are searched online will benefit.

You don’t need to have an overwhelming response to your ads in order to benefit from this program. If your non-profit is highly focused and only offers services that are sought after by a small segment of your community it is okay to not see a huge influx of traffic.

Take the time to set up campaigns that are important to you. You never know who will find you online – potential volunteers, clients, partners – but this will only happen if you set up related campaigns.

Myth #7 – Applying to Google Grants is Difficult

The Reality: It isn’t.

Applying for a Google Grant for your organization is not difficult at all. The application is very straight forward and shouldn’t take too much time to complete. The hardest part is deciding to apply.

Get Help with Your Google Grant!

If you need help getting the most out of your Google Grant please contact us.

Using Google Grants to Build Your Email List

build your email list

One of the biggest challenges faced by organizations is finding a way to stay in touch with potential supporters and clients. If you have a Google Grant and have built successful campaigns, you will have a lot of new visitors to your site. Finding a way to stay in contact with this new traffic is very important if you want to grow your client and supporter base. Building your email list is an easy and inexpensive way to accomplish this.

Luckily, all of these people will have an email address, so building an email list is an easy and inexpensive way to keep in touch. Each email you capture is someone that you can send weekly or monthly newsletters to. You can use these newsletters to share information on events, fundraisers and organizational updates.

How Do I Get Their Email Address?

Because you have a Google Grant that uses advertising to bring relevant traffic to your site. There is an easy way to convert some of this traffic into email subscribers for your contact list – using email sign-up forms.

Where Do I Get Sign Up Forms?

I use Campaign Monitor and Opt-In Monster for the contact forms on my site. You can see them on this page in the sidebar and at the bottom of this post. I like them because they have customizable forms and great newsletter software, but there are other good providers such as AWeber, MailChimp and Constant Contact that you can use as well.

Where Should You Place Sign-Up Forms on Your Website?

After Blog Posts

When someone finds an article on your blog and reads to the bottom of the article, they are interested in what you have to offer. This is a great place for an email sign-up form.

Placing a form here converts well and it asks the reader for their information when they have just received information that has either helped them or has caught their interest.

Top of Your Blog Sidebar

Right at the top of your sidebar above the fold is the second most important area to place your email sign-up forms. This form will be visible when the reader lands on the page and it is in an easy location to find even if they don’t read to the bottom of the article.

In The Footer Of Your Site

This is similar to the first reason. If readers scroll all the way down your page and get to your footer they are interested in what you have to say. Again, when readers are engaged and interested in what you have to say is the best time to ask them to sign up.

On Your About Page

This is one of the most-read pages on your site. When readers go to your “About Page” they are interested in learning more about your organization and service so this is a good time to ask them to sign up for regular newsletters.

The one place I recommend that you don’t place a form is on your donation page. If someone has decided to visit that page you don’t want to distract them from making a donation to your organization.

If you need help with building your email list using Google Grants, please contact us.

How to Test Demand for Your New Product Using Google Ads

test demand for your product

One of the biggest risks that small business owners and start-ups take when developing a new program or service is not properly testing for demand. While you may think you have an idea that will be an easy sell, without proper testing you may find no buyers when you take your idea to market.

Using Google to test online demand for your product is a great way to limit your downside risk by spending a few marketing dollars up front to determine whether you are meeting a need. This post will show you how you can use your AdWords account to test and analyze online demand for your products or services.

Need help getting started with Google Ads? We can help with Google Ads management.

What is Google AdWords?

In short, AdWords are the little ads that show on top and beside the organic search results on Google. When placing these ads you will have control over keyword selection, ad text, and how much you are willing to pay for each click. Typically advertisers use AdWords for directly advertising a service or product that is currently for offer. For example, I use AdWords to bring potential clients to my website for account management and training services.

An Alternate Use for Google Ads

Google advertises their Ads program as a way to bring traffic to an organization’s website by matching a user’s search query with relevant advertisements aimed at meeting the user’s needs. They are incredibly successful at doing so, and this is primarily how Google makes money.

Because Google is an active search tool that people use when seeking information or products, you will be able to quickly test if there is demand for your new product or service. This is different than using social media or other passive methods that broadcast information to users when they are probably not in the search/buying mode. While that is great for awareness, it doesn’t help you with testing.

How to Test For Product Demand

Set up a regular ad campaign in your Google Ads Account.

Choose keywords that users would use to find the product or service you will be testing. Try different variables and be fairly broad so that you capture any potential searchers.

Write text for your ads highlight the benefits of your new product. Showcase the main benefit of your product and explicitly mention how it is going to help the buyer. Poorly written ads can negatively skew results and keep people from clicking through to your site even if they would be interested otherwise.

Be Very Geographically Specific

Only run ads in the areas that you are making the product or service available. Failing to limit the campaign to a local or regional area may skew your results and show an inaccurate level of demand.

Choose Your Budget

Testing should be thorough but affordable. You’ll need to set the maximum cost per click you are willing to spend as well as your daily budget. Not setting these properly could cause you to burn through your test budget too quickly.

Set Up a Landing Page

Since your product won’t be ready for market, set up a page with some info on the product you are planning on launching. If applicable, use an email capture form so you can gather email addresses of interested buyers. At the same time, give them an incentive to sign up –sneak peeks, early updates, or first access to your product is a great incentive to get an email address.

Look at the Results

If you find that there is a steady stream of traffic responding to your ads you will know that there is a market and demand for the product or service you are developing. Try to capture email addresses so that you can contact these interested parties when you are ready to launch.

On the other hand, if no one is responding to your ads you may decide that the challenge in finding buyers may outweigh the potential for your product. Tweak your ads, study your keywords, but if you aren’t finding demand through online advertising now you probably won’t find it after the product is launched.

3 Potential Downfalls

There are a few mistakes that can be made that should be avoided when testing:

1) Failing to segment the testing campaign:

If you are using Ads for products and services that you currently offer, don’t run ads that you are using for testing with other campaigns – set up a new campaign titled ‘testing’ or ‘experiments’ so you can clearly differentiate this campaign

2) Duplicating keywords from current Ad Groups:

Try not to use the same keywords that you have in other campaigns. If competing, Google will decide which ads to show and you may be pulling impressions away from vital ads.

3) Not running thorough tests:

While it may be tempting to jump to conclusions after a handful of clicks, I recommend letting the ads run for at least a few hundred clicks so you properly determine demand.

Summary

Google is a great testing tool for people that are willing to take the time to learn to use Ads and experiment with the results. Take the time to try new things. If a test fails, you can always delete the campaign and move on. For best results, try to set some time in your calendar to actively manage your account.

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Why You Should Be Bidding on Your Organization Name

bid on your organization name

A common question that is missed by many Google Grants beginners is should they be using AdWords to bid on their organization’s name. This is usually overlooked because they are already on the top of the organic search results and they are eager to start using their account for promoting their programs, for volunteer recruitment, or for soliciting donations.

While those are all important components of any well balanced Google Grant, the starting point for most accounts should be building a campaign around your organization’s name. Because the number of keywords is very limited, this is an easy campaign to build when learning AdWords. Surprisingly, you may also find that this can be the most important campaign in your account.

Do Users Search for Our Organization by Name?

You already know that users are searching for your organization online. Many will be searching for you by name because they are looking for your contact info. They could also search for your name because they know your organization, but may not know the website address.
When it comes to using Google Grants and search engine marketing, it is important to bid on your program and service category keywords so that people can find you. But it is just as important to bid on your organizations name keywords. Here are the top reasons.

5 Reasons Why You Should Bid On Your Organization Name

Control your message

When running an ad for your organization, you will have the choice of which page you send users to. With organic results, you are counting on Google to pick the best page for you. While this is normally your home page, you may have goals that require users to be sent to a different landing page.
There is also the opportunity to use sitelinks in your ad. These can be to pages on your site that you decide are important to showcase. Examples of this are “About Us”, “Donate Now”, “Home Page”, and “Programs”.

Dominate the results page

Your organization will probably be at the top of the organic results. You may use Google Places and have a map and organization info appear on the right side of the page as well. Having your ad appear on the top of the sponsored results is just one more level of saturation for the results page that can help keep your competition from showing up either through paid ads or organically.

High Quality Score

If your website is properly optimized, you will likely have a perfect 10 quality score for your organization’s name as a keyword. This is helpful for a few reasons. Firstly, Google will reward you and normally recognize your ad as being properly associated with your website – this will help you secure the top ad position. Secondly, Google rewards having high quality scores throughout your entire account. Relevancy is important to Google, and high quality scores influence how they view your account when showing your ads.

Block the Competition

Bidding on a competitor’s business name is a common practice in Google AdWords. If your non-profit competes with for-profit businesses, there is a high chance that they may bid on your organization’s name to try and steal customers. Bidding on your own name helps you by making sure your ad is also displayed alongside your competitors, and as a side benefit it drives up their bid cost.

It is Free

The best part of bidding on your own name is that it is free through your Google Grant. If you are serious about marketing and controlling your brand online, there really is no reason to not bid on your organization’s name.