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.

6 Great Web Design Trends for Non-Profits

nonprofit web design trends

In today’s crowded online landscape, a well-designed website is a huge factor in the overall success of a non-profit.

Laying the foundation for success starts with setting realistic and specific goals for your website. You need to decide upon and map out exactly what you are trying to achieve, such as:

● Increasing donations
● Getting more volunteers
● Creating awareness

Once you have decided on your primary areas of focus, make qualitative goals – i.e. X donations per month. This lets you know how much you need to focus on the different areas, and also makes it much easier to measure and compare your success down the line.

Here are some website design trends to keep in mind to help you meet your goals and serve your cause:

1. Site design that allows visitors to quickly learn about your organization

Have you ever visited a website and struggled to understand what it was really about? Often the core message of a website can get lost in the clutter of widgets, advertisements, and navigation.

There are a couple of different ways you can make sure your mission statement is easily seen:

● Place it directly on the home page
● Have a prominent link to a clear and detailed ‘about us’ page

2. A simple (and mobile-friendly) way to donate

With mobile search traffic on the internet now surpassing desktop traffic, you can’t really ignore it anymore. This is why responsive design (that automatically adapts to device, screen resolution, and more) is the leading standard.

When you get someone on your website that has an interest in donating, it is important to make that a very simple process by removing any extra clicks or steps that are not essential to the donation process. Use helpers such as HTML input types to make filling out fields such as numbers and emails even easier.

3. Social Media that is obvious and easy to use

When it comes to social media, it helps to know your audience. This distills down to age, location, gender, and more. Pew Internet’s Social Media Demographics Study is a great place to start when choosing what networks are relevant for your organization.

According to the 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report Facebook is still considered the number one social media platform for non-profits.

That being said, a non-profit website should integrate seamlessly with the social media platforms that are being used. Content from the site should be able to be easily shared across the main social media sites. The easiest way to handle this is to use a plug-in like AddThis.

4. Email address collection

Building an email list is especially important for non-profits. It is integral to have a simple, easy mailing list signup form with lots of promotion on your website (a sidebar or even the top bar is a good place).

Take time creating your email signup form and try to turn it into something that not only looks good but converts visitors into lifelong supporters.

5. Interactivity

By having some kind of interactive component as part of your web design, engagement will increase.

An example of interactivity is the timeline on the CounterSpill website. By moving the slider around it is easy to see the effect of oil spills on the planet.

Try to think of something interesting you can do for your site that will encourage users to interact with it. This is a great opportunity to show your organization’s impact.

6. Video backgrounds

A recent trend, in the world of websites, is full-screen video backgrounds. To see how effective these can be, have a look at the Invisible Children website.

When done properly, this takes a passive element (your website’s background) and lets you display a short clip highlighting your organization, impact, or even providing a teaser into a longer video on the page.

Putting it all together

By having clear goals and knowing where to concentrate your efforts, you will be well on your way to creating a well-designed website that converts traffic into contributing supporters.

If you have questions about how to better engage your audience using digital marketing, please check out our full list of digital marketing services.

Need help with updating your current website or want to discuss getting a new website for your organization? Request a quote for a new website.

Evergreen Helps Dream Home Sell Out

kc rotary dream home

Rotary Club Gets Results from Evergreen Marketing Strategy

For the Rotary Club of Kitchener-Conestoga, the Dream Home Lottery, Turkey Drive and LobsterFest are the biggest events on the calendar, raising millions of dollars over the years for local charities and international projects.

When the club wanted to give the three fundraisers a marketing makeover, raising their profile on social media and the club’s website, it sought outMark Hallman of Evergreen Digital Marketing for help.

All 12,500 tickets for the 2013 Dream Home draw sold out, a first in recent memory.

“There were probably many reasons for that, but I think one them was our messaging online,’’ says Mike Gillespie, 2013 chair of the lottery. “I think the sense of engaging with the community was improved.”

Evergreen helped the club bundle the three events into a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes regular updates dispatched via email, Twitter and Facebook as it moves smoothly from one month to the next.

People interested in the Dream Home Lottery, which last year supported Strong Start and the Grand River and St. Mary’s hospital foundations, could also take a virtual tour of the house.

Hallman meets monthly with the club’s communications and marketing team to analyze how the campaign is performing with its larger online presence.

“It’s that monthly contact that helps demystify the whole process,’’ says Tony Denison, the club’s communications chair. “Mark is just very pro-active. He takes something and runs with it. He takes ownership.”

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.

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.