This is a guest post by Wild Apricot, a trusted partner of ConnectAd.
It’s easy for nonprofit marketing professionals to think that if they had giant budgets, all their problems would be solved. That’s what Tricia first thought when she received a Google Ad Grant worth ten thousand dollars a month.
A few months into using the Google Ad Grant, Tricia saw a disconnect. She was ready to take things to the next level, but she realized that the rest of her nonprofit’s digital marketing strategies didn’t complement their Google Ads. She was running them completely independently of each other.
If your nonprofit is already using Google Ads, you know it’s a great tool. Google Ad Grants offer nonprofits and organizations a digital marketing budget that many couldn’t otherwise dream of.
But rarely is a single tool so great that it’s the only one you need. To do everything you want, you need an entire toolbox. You can get pretty far with a good hammer, but eventually you’ll need a screwdriver and a wrench, too. When you combine your Google Ads with other efforts like a solid email marketing strategy or social media campaign, your nonprofit will see even more results.
In this post you’ll learn:
- The importance of defining your goals
- How to strengthen your brand awareness and recognition
- How to complement your Google Ads through social media, email, and website strategies
Define Your Nonprofit’s Marketing Goals
The first step is figuring out what actions you want your audience to take. What do you want your Google Ads to do for your nonprofit? The more specific you can be, the greater your chances of success. Before you can really answer that question, you’ll need to consider your nonprofit’s larger marketing goals.
Examples of Google Ads goals include:
- In-kind donations
- Email newsletter subscriptions
- Website engagement
- Event registrations
- Volunteer signups
- Petition signatures or advocacy actions
Google Ads drive traffic toward your content, but once you get your message in front of your audiences, you need to take it from there. You still need to leverage that attention and build relationships with the people who’ve clicked on your ads.
Consistency is key. Keep your goals top of mind throughout the process of building your nonprofit’s marketing strategy.
Optimize Your Post-Click Experience
The goal of Google Ads is to put your nonprofit in front of people who are likely to engage with your cause. Getting the clicks is the first part of the user experience, but it’s important to think through what happens next, and how you’ll turn those clicks into action.
To take a user from clicking an ad to taking an action, like donating or signing up, you’ll need:
A Strong Nonprofit Brand
Branding is the way you tell people who you are. It includes visual elements like logos, colors, and fonts, as well as written elements like voice and tone.
As you introduce yourself to new audiences through Google Ads, your nonprofit’s branding becomes more and more important. They’ll quickly form an impression of who you are and whether or not they think you’re legitimate and trustworthy. Without a strong, consistent brand identity, it will be easy for new visitors to move on without taking action, fail to tell you apart from other organizations, and potentially forget their interaction with your site.
Branding is also critical when reacquainting returning users with who you are and what you do. A user’s journey toward taking action on your website will often include multiple channels, so if Google Ads brings them to a website that’s vastly different from other interactions they’ve had with your brand, it could be a confusing or off-putting experience. A strong nonprofit brand identity builds brand recognition by projecting a cohesive image of your nonprofit across channels and platforms.
Make a memorable first impression and build brand recognition with:
- A distinctive logo
- Brand colors that set the correct mood for your organization
- Fonts that support your message
- A clear voice (Are you warm and inviting? Authoritative and trustworthy?)
- Messaging that tells your story
- A brand kit that keeps everyone on the same page
Photos, videos, and infographics capture attention quickly and easily. Visual content gets more views, is easier to remember, and inspires more engagement. Use visuals in content to explain complicated data, provoke emotion, and tell stories, as well as document events and introduce the viewer to the people of your organization and cause.
You’ve created your Google Ads, built a strong brand, and told your story with engaging visual content. Now, all that remains is the moment of conversion, when your user transitions from consideration to taking an action. How do you get them there?
Take away any guesswork, and tell users exactly what to do next. Guide them to the next step with a prominently placed explicit call-to-action, like:
- Sign up today
- Follow us
- Call us now
Transparent Contact Information
If someone is engaging with your brand and wants to speak with you, how easy would it be? Would they have to go on a prolonged search or dig around your site?
Nonprofit marketing is about building relationships. All the brilliant brand building and advertising in the world doesn’t make up for being unavailable when people want to reach you. Make sure you’re easy to find by:
- Displaying your contact information prominently on your website
- Offering more options than a generic “email@example.com” email—such as a phone number, department directory, or contact form
- Using a chatbot to instantly answer common queries
- Creating a policy for following up with messages, including who does it and what kind of timeline you commit to
Coordinate Across Channels
Users will often interact with your organization on multiple channels before they decide to take action and engage.
When you’re running a campaign, use every channel and make sure your messaging is consistent across them all. Your Google Ads landing page, social media, emails, and other communications will reinforce each other as the campaign progresses.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is a great way to support your campaigns, and is an important channel in your nonprofit digital marketing strategy. You don’t have to be active on every single platform, but it’s important to stay current on the platforms that best fit your organization’s goals.
As new audiences become aware of your organization, social media is one of the places they’ll go to learn more about you. Capture their attention with:
- Visually-engaging content like videos, photos, and infographics
- Human stories that touch the heart
- A look behind the scenes at your organization
Optimize Your Website
Your website is the heart of your nonprofit’s digital marketing strategy. Unlike a social media platform, it’s space that you “own.” Most nonprofit websites have several functions — it’s where you send Google Ads users, engage supporters, educate your audience about your cause, fundraise, recruit volunteers, and solicit program participants.
The quality of your website makes a difference to your digital marketing strategy as a whole. Make sure you’re providing a seamless and simple user experience with an organized and prominent navigation menu, clear mission statement, and substantial content. Keep your calendar listings up to date and your links working.
Want to make things even simpler for users? Point your Google Ads to a keyword-driven landing page. You’ll reduce your bounce rate and increase conversion by taking users directly to the information they want. Audiences can quickly find what they need and then take an action, rather than getting lost in all the information about your organization.
Perfect Your Emails
Your Google Ads are where you start the conversation with a stranger or acquaintance. Your email list is where you continue the conversation to turn that user into a friend.
One tried-and-true way to convert website visitors into email subscribers is to incentivize joining your list with a lead magnet. This is a piece of valuable content that you give new subscribers, like a helpful checklist, an informative white paper, or an interesting infographic. Using Google Ads to promote your lead magnet can drive significant email acquisition.
Once someone joins your email list, and becomes part of your contact database, reinforce that they’ve made a good decision by welcoming them with a special email series. This should introduce them to your organization, mission, and cause. After completing that welcome series, you can add them to your general communication streams and drip marketing schemes.
Keep your audience engaged with your emails by:
- Integrating with your contact database so you can personalize each email with names and relevant inputs.
- Providing valuable content that isn’t simply asking for donations. Think about what your audience is interested in, what kinds of stories will inspire them, and what the most exciting things happening at your organization are.
- Segmenting your audience into groups based on their interests or connection with your organization. People who found you through Google Ads will have different interests than long-term volunteers and should get different messages.
- Reviewing audience responses to gain insight on what kind of email they engage with and adapting your strategy based on what you learn.
Strategize For Success
As Tricia considered what it would take to create a unified digital marketing strategy for her nonprofit, she decided to outsource her Google Ad Grant management. This freed up more time for her to focus on turning those Google Ads clicks into conversions and engagement. She set meaningful goals, coordinated with her Google Ad Grants manager to meet them, and within a couple of months, she started to see some of the results she’d hoped for.
The Google Ad Grant is a fantastic marketing tool for nonprofits, and when you add complementary strategies to the mix, you’ll create even more opportunities to expand your reach and grow your impact.
Wild Apricot is membership management software that helps thousands of organizations spend less time on administrative tasks like processing payments and updating Excel files and more time on growing their membership! With an easy-to-use website builder, a contact database, event registration, and more, it’s an all-in-one platform that allows clubs, nonprofits, associations and other organizations to save time and that’s easy to use even for volunteer-run organizations.