If your charity was offered a cheque for $120,000 (about £95,000), you definitely wouldn’t turn it down, no matter how big your organisation is. And you wouldn’t waste it..
Or would you?
Google offers charities the equivalent of $120,000 a year ($10,000 a month) in free advertising through AdWords. But how many are really making the most of it?
At Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, we are far from experts. However, through investing time and resource in our Adwords account, we have seen our web traffic increase significantly, bringing quality visits and conversions to boot.
Here are some of the big AdWords lessons we’ve learnt along the way:
Communicate the value
AdWords is now firmly part of our communications strategy at Jo’s. Staff, our Chief Executive and even Trustees understand the value of the grant to the charity.
Not only is this a source of shared motivation, it can help with securing extra resource, sharing ideas or workload..
Take baby steps
AdWords can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to it.
We set aside an hour or two every a week to work on our account. It sounds simple, but creating a clear plan with small steps that focus on one activity at a time makes it so much more manageable.
Cast your keyword net far
Keywords are your fishing net. To make sure you get a good catch, ensure your keywords are divided into Phrase, Exact and Negative groups so you can filter out irrelevant traffic.
Also, monitor your bounce rate via Google Analytics. This proves you are targeting the right keywords, attracting quality traffic and of course avoiding being penalised by Google!
Don’t use AdWords in isolation
The insight you get into user behaviour and search terms through AdWords and Google Analytics can be an invaluable tool. You can use the most popular keywords and create more SEO friendly web content around them.
Make sure the pages you promote actually use the keywords you’re targeting.. Help users find what they are searching for straight away.
Use all your ad space
Don’t forget to tailor your descriptions and extensions by ad group – the more relevant they are to the user, the more likely you’ll get a click.
Make your buck go further
While $10,000 (or $40,000 if you’re lucky enough to have GrantsPro status) seems like a pretty big budget, the $2 keyword limit can be quite restrictive. Track, test, refine and test again to drive down cost and improve impressions and make that money go even further.
Don’t forget to set up conversions on your website. This is where you can really demonstrate the impact of your ads.
More importantly, knowing someone has called your helpline or signed up to an event because of your ad is extra rewarding.
Try not to get complacent
AdWords is unlike most grants, where you may be required to report on progress, be limited by an end date or reach a spend limit. While Google do review accounts, this is unusual, so it’s easy to push it down your to-do list.
Join industry groups and look for events to share challenges and learn from others.
Above all, keep the image of that $120,000 cheque in mind, and keep going!