With a content network that reaches over 75% of unique internet users in more than 20 languages and over 100 countries, Google AdWords can be a powerful marketing tool. Though the efficiency of the program continues to be debated, Google Grants could offer your nonprofit free ads and assistance setting up an account! It should be noted, however, that while Google Adwords is one potential source of advertising for nonprofits, the volume of response from its campaigns to date have been lackluster.Google provides the reach, but it is up to you to write an ad that pulls net surfers in. Just how exactly do you go about writing an ad with a low cost and high ROI? An article from SiteProNews, by Leighton James explains 10 costly mistakes to avoid when launching your AdWords campaign.We’ve taken this advice from SiteProNews and added a nonprofit twist. If you need more detail on what not to do, make sure to check out the article. Otherwise, read on for our modified list of the do’s and don’ts of writing an ad for Google AdWords.1. Create a short list of targeted keywords: Generic terms lead to high fees and low ROI. Instead of writing a long list, take time to identify your target group beforehand and think of terms that will appeal directly to them. Online strategist Riche Zamor highlights the importance of conducting keyword research prior to launching an ad. Though you can pay someone to do this for you, MSN and Google offer free tools to do your own research. Cross checking keywords with multiple search engines to see the number of results and types of ads that it generates is also a good idea. Another aspect to consider that may not come to mind is seasonality. Google Trends allows you to see how keywords fare over time and to pinpoint when during the year searches for the keyword are most popular.2. Identify what is unique about your nonprofit: Identify your marketing strategy and highlight what sets you apart in your ad. Conduct a competitive analysis of the organizations you will compete with using the selected keywords, and look into possible variations of your selected keywords until you find a combination that places you in the first several ads that appear. If you need ideas for related keywords, Google’s Keyword Tool allows you to search for synonyms and get new keyword ideas.3. Use keywords in your ad text: Good ads spell out exactly what they are promoting. Well-placed keywords in both the title and body of the ad ensure that when people click they know what they are getting.4. Direct users to the specific area of the site, not the home page: People want to find what they are looking for without hassle. Directing potential donors to your donation landing page makes it that much easier for them to give. Links to your home page can be helpful if you are working on brand name recognition, but otherwise direct people immediately to the relevant page that matches your ad.5. Separate ad groups: Split up your keyword buys into different categories. For example, you could have one ad group devoted to recruiting activists, and another for reaching out to recruit potential donors. This distinction allows you to better track the progress of each campaign.6. Take advantage of single ad groups: Keep everything organized by creating containers to hold related ad groups. Keyword buys that relate to each other can be grouped into logical categories that will help you organize, but more importantly that allow you to track the success of each keyword.7. Use various phrase keyword-match types: Selecting various keyword types allows you to either expand or refine when your ad appears.The negative keyword option lets you select keywords for which you don’t want your ad to appear.The phrase match option allows your ad to appear only when terms are searched in the order you have specified.Broad match is less specific and targeted, and can incorporate related or relevant keywords.8. Use the AdWords ad serving service: This provides a platform that displays ads with highest click-through rates more frequently than ads with lower rates in the same ad group.9. Track your results: Which keywords were successful and which didn’t get results? Take advantage of Google Analytics to get in-depth reports on various aspects of your campaign. Use it to assess and evaluate your performance. Was it successful? Did it meet or fall short of your goals? There are many ways to track success, some more sophisticated than others. Google’s Website Optimizer is a tool used to track your progress.10. Modify bids before entering the contact network: AdWords allows advertisers to set different bids on the content network then appear on the search network. By modifying bids you can potentially pay less per click while still getting the same amount of traffic.Source: Frogloop, Care2’s nonprofit communications and marketing blog: http://www.frogloop.com/
By Jono SmithDo you believe in the power of the web to help nonprofits create social change? Do you know a talented Web strategist or developer interested in coming up with new ways to use the Web for social good? The Case Foundation is sponsoring two $10,000 prizes for Web enthusiasts who do just that.Network for Good, NetSquared, and the Case Foundation have come together to challenge developers to mash-up the Network for Good online donation processing API with another Web service to either (a) enhance the online donor experience or (b) revolutionize a nonprofit’s ability to fundraise online. As if changing the world was not enough, the two winners will each receive a $10,000 prize. Full details here: www.netsquared.org/mashup/donatenowchallengeMashup? Mash what? Learn more here.
Here are six great, easy steps to improving your email outreach that Anne Holland presented at Marketing Sherpa’s Email Summit:Opt-ins – Make it easy for people to sign up to hear from your nonprofit right on your home page. Don’t make them have to hunt long and hard to find how to sign up, or go to through many steps and pages to do it.Welcome messages – Only half of folks Marketing Sherpa surveyed welcomed new sign-ups within 72 hours. You can stand out just by saying hi and starting a conversation once people do opt-in to hear from you.Transactional emails – People open them at much higher rates than anything else. Of course – they want their receipt or to track their stuff if they’ve bought something. So when you receipt (and I hope, thank) donors, you might consider putting in a bit of nice additional content. I wouldn’t ask for more money right then because donors are tired of that, though.Reputation – from AOL to Earthlink to Yahoo!, providers are sorting spam by the reputation of the organization sending the mail. Even though you’re a nice nonprofit, you might get blocked if you’ve had too many bounces or unsubscribes from your emails. So think about slashing your list so it’s just made up of people who really want to hear from you, and consider being more careful about sharing it with people who might spam your supporters.Design and rendering – Did you know half of all folks 25-54 have images blocked on email by default? Wow. And a high number of folks read all their email in preview panes. MAKE SURE your emails appear right. It turns out when people get an email with a funky layout or blocked images, many think it’s spam. Second, make sure that if your images are blocked, there is something interesting to read so you don’t lose people. Third, put what’s interesting at the top and at the left so people can see it in preview.Landing pages – Sherpa says they give you the best bang for your buck. So don’t just write great emails. If people click through, make sure the place they go is very compelling.
Nonprofit organizations make many mistakes when it comes to the design, presentation and content of their websites. Here are the five deadly sins we commit:Too egotistical: The home page is too often simply an About Us page. It should not be an electronic brochure with your mission statement. It should speak to the user’s values, interests and desires. It’s not “about us,” it’s “about them.”Too meek: There is often no clear call to action on nonprofit pages. Grab a friend or relative, sit them down in front of your website home page, and count how many seconds it takes them to find and click on your Donate button or find another way to do something. If it takes them more than two seconds, you need to place your button in a far more prominent position. Make it central to the page. Make sure it is above the fold. Make it big. Make it colorful. Make it impossible to miss.Too laid-back: Too often, there’s no reason to act now – as opposed to later, or never. You want to inspire someone to act right now, but that can be hard to do if there’s not an urgent crisis to address. Create a sense of urgency for donating by creating a campaign with a goal and deadline, matching grant, or appeal for specific items or programs that are highly tangible.Too dodgy: People want to know where their resources will go if you support them. You must inspire trust. Where will the money go? What impact will result? What lives will be saved, what credible goal will be achieved?Too short-sighted: Recognize that getting clicks requires cultivation. While you want someone to take action right away, it’s important to remember that it takes time to cultivate people. Be sure your website includes a way to capture the email addresses of visitors so that you can build a relationship with visitors and turn them into donors in the future. A newsletter is not very exciting; give people a more compelling reason to surrender their email addresses.
Here is today’s fundraising and marketing tip from Network for Good! You can sign up to receive them via email here.Online fundraising only makes up a portion of your overall marketing plan. It’s not a stand-alone initiative–it’s an integrated part of your communications strategy. Not only is your strategy multi-faceted, but your donors are too! Below, check out our tips for integrating your offline and online tactics to best reach your donors across all channels in your online plan: Offline Mailing Tips: •Ask your donors their preference. No, we’re not talking about pizza toppings or movie genres. Reach out to your donors and find out what communications and donation options they prefer. You may think the majority of your folks are strictly offline (or exclusively online). Don’t assume! Get to know them! •Send a cultivation mailer to your lapsed donors inviting them to visit your website. Direct them to a special page on your site that makes an appeal for why they should make another gift. Learn how to make this landing page compelling. •Use email to boost direct mail response. Remember: Your donors hang out in multiple channels, and you want to give them options. You can email your subscribers telling them to watch the mail, or wait for the call. You can also try following up a special appeal with an email, saying, “We hope you read our recent letter, just click here to make your donation online today. It’s convenient and saves us money.” The first renewal effort might be conducted by email, followed by the usual multi-letter series, and eventually a phone call. •Develop a program to gradually gather the e-mail addresses of direct-mail donors who want to add email to their communications with you. Test asks in the direct mail (P.S., buckslip, reply device, etc.) and track response to find the most effective and least expensive ways to gather e-mail addresses without depressing gift response. •Follow up with email. Email is the fastest and cheapest way to let your donors know what happened after they donated. If your donation appeal made the situation seem urgent, your donors will be left scratching their heads if they don’t hear anything else from you about it. •Create complementary content. Entice donors reading your printed communications to visit your website for “exclusive” content. Not sure what to offer? Maybe you have educational tips (“Download 10 tips for managing your diabetes!”) or other downloads of content people can’t get from a postcard or letter. Tips for Other Channels to Consider: •Events. Having a fundraising walk? Hosting an educational program? Create an email list sign-up sheet to capture in-person email opt-ins. •Marketing collateral. Craft your call to action on your brochures and handouts–and let that action have an online option! If you’re requesting donations, give potential donors the address/directions to donate online if they so choose. Remember: Include your website on everything you print/produce. •Business cards. In a previous article we advised building your email list in a variety of ways, including email opt-in information in your email signature. Next time you order business cards, why not include a small call to action? (Ex: Donate online at… Or, Visit our website to learn more…) •Phone calls. Did you just collect a donation over the phone? Does a donor want some follow up? Try this: After you finish a telemarketing call, tell the donor, “We’d like to send you a receipt to acknowledge your gift. The most efficient way is via e-mail – that way we don’t have to waste paper and postage.” (Thanks to the great Madeline Stanionis for this tip!)
And the winner of the haiku challenge is…Lorraine. Not only is she good, she’s prolific. I loved them all, but she takes the cake (book, actually). Here’s my favorite from her body of work:Old Marketing HaikuSuch a big, loud adCosts your client a fortuneWith no ROI.New Marketing HaikuWant to sell your stuff?Stop shouting at your buyers.Try conversation.Lorraine, email me your address for your free copy of Robin Hood Marketing!
You can almost see the line over to Katya ‘89, who is marketing for good. Open it up and it says, “Haverfordians make a difference in the world through their support.” And it asks me to support the education of people like them. It’s about me, people I can help, and the difference we all make. I love this appeal because it connects to the reader literally and emotionally. It’s like looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of myself – and my aspirations.What’s good: focusing on the donor. What’s bad: focusing on yourself. It doesn’t feel good to look at something that should reflect you and not see yourself. My alma mater, Haverford College, earlier this year sent me a bad email appeal. I lamented this poorly led, “all about us” missive. Here’s what it said:January 1 is New Year’s Day, according to the Gregorian calendar. Sometime between January 21 and February 21 is the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. Many cultures celebrate the New Year on the day of the vernal equinox, which is also when the ancient Babylonians used to celebrate it. April is the month of the Nepali, Thai, and Cambodian New Year’s celebrations, among others. And at Haverford, when the calendar hits July 1, it is the new fiscal year!The last fiscal year was one of unprecedented success for the Haverford Fund, with 52% of our generous and loyal alumni contributing $4.2 million dollars!The 2007-2008 fiscal year promises to be an exciting year on campus, with the arrival and inauguration of Steve Emerson ‘74 as president. We hope to show him how committed the alumni body is to the current life of the College by sustaining and improving upon last year’s great success by increasing our participation to 53%!Why do I care about these dates, the fiscal year or the development department? What does this have to do with me? I looked at this appeal and I did not see myself. I did not recognize the do-gooder, warm institution I remember.Later in the year, Haverford sent me a fantastic mailed appeal this week that is gold-standard marketing. I looked at this and I saw myself; literally.
Jeremy Gregg at the Raiser’s Razor blog asked me to answer the following question: What drives your philanthropassion? In other words, why have I, like you, chosen to be overworked and underpaid in the third sector?Part of the answer for me is, I spent a number of years working as a journalist in very poor countries. And the poverty and pain I saw on a daily basis was hard to simply witness, over and over. So I stopped reporting and started working to remedy what I was seeing. (This is not to say journalism does not do much to contribute to the social good or to right wrongs – it does. I just wanted to be more involved in the story.)So part of my motivation is based on need.But the bigger part of it is based on change. I saw enough good when I was reporting that I also grew to believe there was hope in most situations. And that, ultimately, is the most motivating thing of all.I started my book this way: We all have moments in life when we happen upon our calling, and mine was when I encountered a giant, smiling condom in Cambodia. I go on to tell the story of being inspired by the ground-breaking work of the nonprofit PSI to make AIDS prevention fun and hopeful (including via a giant condom balloon), to great success. I saw the good in the story and possibility in the future.I think ultimately, what makes for the most powerful motivation (at least for me) is not how bad something is now but rather how much better it could be.
Katya’s note: The name of a white paper recently caught my eye – it promised 15 rules to good email subject lines. My marketing colleague Rebecca Ruby here at Network for Good was interested too — and lucky for us, she read it and summarizes it here for us. Thanks Rebecca!By Rebecca Ruby, marketing maven at Network for GoodLyris HQ has a great a white paper “Email Subject Lines: 15 Rules to Write Them Right,” which highlights the make-or-break importance of subject lines. It’s well worth taking a few moments to go through their registration and obtain your own copy, but here my favorite highlights:•Test! Test subject lines. Write them early (not at the last minute). Test again, measure results, and use those analytics to drive future content.•Structure and content are both important. You need to be cognizant of where the key info goes, as well as how strong your call-to-action is.•Subject lines play into trust-building. The subject line can include a branding element or another device to tie to the “from” address. A quick way to kill that positive messaging? Stretching the truth about what’s inside the message.Here’s a breakdown of their entire list:1. Read the newspaper. Newspaper headlines highlight a story’s most important fact in a limited space—which is coincidentally exactly what marketing email subject lines should do.2. There is no sure-fire formula. Subject lines are non-recyclable and not necessarily the same when sending different types of campaigns.3. Test, test, test. According to rule 2, there’s not a surefire winner, so be sure to allow time for testing.4. Support the “from” line. The “from” tells recipients who sent the message, and the subject line sells that recipient on whether to open it. You don’t need to repeat your company name in the subject, but do consider some subject-line branding (ex: the name of the newsletter).5. List key info first. Put the key information in the first 50 characters. Not sure where the subject line will be cut off? Send it to yourself to test and check!6. Open rates don’t always measure subject-line success. Your end goal is not necessarily high open rate, but to have subscribers take a specific action. Focus on those results instead of open-rate numbers.7. Personalize. Personalize subject lines based on your recipients’ content preferences and/or interests, and then be sure to make it easy for readers to find and update this information upon receiving your message.8. Urgency drives action. Set deadlines for action, and consider using a series: “Only five days left until–!” followed up later in the week with, “Just 24 hours left until–”9. Watch those spam filters. Run your copy through a content checker to identify spam-like words, phrases and construction. A couple of big no-no’s: all capital letters and excessive use of exclamation points.10. “Free” is not evil. As a follow-up to number 9, avoid putting the word “free” first, but you needn’t leave it out entirely.11. Lead, but don’t mislead. Subject lines are not the place to overpromise. Be truthful about whatever the text claims to avoid distrust.12. Write and test early and often. Flip your thinking: Craft and test your subject line prior to composing the rest of your message. (Remember rule 3?)13. Review subject-line performance over your last several campaigns or newsletters. Not only will this type of data-mining shed light on your subject-line successes (highest conversation rates, click-through rate, etc.), it will drive future content strategies.14. Continue the conversation. Sending campaigns more frequently than once per month or quarter helps create a back-and-forth with readers, and also allows for content follow-up if something from a previous campaign has news.15. Can you pass the must-open/must-read test? Must-read means this: If a subscriber doesn’t open the email, they will feel like they are out of the loop and may have missed an offer they will regret not taking advantage of. Also, be sure to check out whether your message is going to the bulk-folder (see rule 9).
We can’t easily change what our audiences believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-set we unleash great power behind our benefit exchangen — and our message.The values of our audience may have nothing to do with our cause, but we can still use them. Consider the messages we see every day and the values they represent. Ads for women’s running shoes are all about strength and empowerment. They practically scream, “I am woman!” Pharmaceutical ads during the nightly news show how certain drugs help seniors attain what they want: a happy and independent life. During a televised basketball game, an ad for men’s deodorant shows a woman ripping a man’s clothes off in an elevator. No need for interpretation there. Each of these ads reflects a value the target users of the products care about, think about, and deeply desire. And each is fairly far removed from the product in question. Is self-actualization related to running shoes? Does arthritis medication buy happiness? Are deodorants the first thing that comes to mind when you think about sexual desire? Probably not, but the associations work because the values in question are close to each audience’s heart.A famous, frequently cited example of the value-based principle at work in social advertising is the successful Don’t Mess with Texas campaign. The phrase has become so famous that many people outside Texas don’t even realize that this is not a state slogan but rather a long-running marketing effort to get people to stop littering. The young Texan men who were the target of the campaign didn’t care about littering, but they did care about their macho image, and no one doubted the fierce pride they had for their home state. By tapping into these powerful feelings with the Don’t Mess with Texas concept, which didn’t have a thing to do with trash, the ad agency that created the campaign (GSD&M) drastically reduced roadside litter.Remember: Make your message about what your audience’s values, not your own, if you want people to listen.