Late last year I talked about my love for Google.
Three months on and we've got a lot of learning at Pareto Fundraising about how charities should be using Google AdWords. If you want some more context on what Google Adwords are, check out my earlier post here.
Here are some things you should consider:
- Understand why you're using it. In other words, what are your objectives? If you're thinking of it as a means to drive loads of traffic which in turn will generate a significant number of donations, you'll quickly be disappointed.
Running ads is great for delivering click throughs to your nominated destination, but for the most part charity websites are not great vehicles to solicit donations. So do one of two things:
1 Consider driving people to a custom built micro site, where you can take people on a journey (much like you would during a conversation in person or on the phone), or, (and the most preferred option)
2 Consider asking people to do something other than donate. Ask them to do something small in the first instance - like sign up to your e-news list - then begin to talk to them (regularly, ever few days) via email, ultimately get a telephone number and use these methods to get them to become a financial donor. Ideally a monthly donor.
- One of the words you'll hear talked about often when it comes to running successful AdWords campaigns is relevance. Ensure that the ads you're running are appropriate for the people you're trying to attract. No point running ads that have copy around 'helping children in need', when it fact your work centres around environmental issues.
It's not about volume, it's about getting the right people to click through to where you want them to go.
Also, follow the same logic with the URLs you are sending prospects to. If you're a human right organization and you're ad talks about the abhorrent treatment of child soldiers, you're not really continuing the message if you send them to a page about landmines.
- Regularly monitor and update your ads. Initially I'd suggest daily, then after the first couple of weeks aim for every 2-3 days.
Take the time to sift through the keywords that are delivering strong CTR's (click through rates) - by strong I'd say above 1%. Look at whether you can maximize results by applying these keywords to other ads you are running, where relevant.
- All of the testing I have seen shows that capitalization is key in AdWords campaigns. A good post here about it.
- As mentioned above, running Google AdWords, even very well, will not transform your fundraising. In isolation they help drive some traffic, working within a multi channel approach (including e-blasts, banner ads, other prospecting activity) they can be very powerful. Simply because the volumes alone will not make it a viable fundraising tool, but amongst other drivers it makes sense.
- Be aware that once you have your Google Grants (read here if you're not sure what I'm talking about) there is a limit of $1.00 that you can bid per click.
What that means is that whilst you're paying for clicks (I.e. before you get your Grants) you can bid as much as you like, but the science to this is working out how to make your keywords and ads work best for no more than a $1.00 per click. There are loads of good resources on this, no better I think than Google AdWords for Dummies.
Remember, Google AdWords are great. But make sure you think about why you're using them, be realistic about expectations, and use all of the great resources out there to maximize the performance of your campaigns.