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Five initiatives ALL charities should be considering as part of their digital strategy

Written by Helen | 14-Aug-2014 14:48:00

Here at equimedia, we have worked across a large number of charity brands, all with very different objectives and requiring bespoke marketing strategies that deliver to their individual KPIs. This specific management of campaigns has seen us develop a toolbox of  digital marketing techniques, that work successfully for our charity clients, again and again. We want to share with you five top tips to help your charity achieve digital marketing success: 

1. Make sure you are using Google AdGrants

Google AdWords helps people find brands and can certainly help charities be found by potential donors. All charities have competition during searches, so you need to ensure that prospective donors can find you on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) during their consideration phase, when they decide which charity to support. Google AdGrants were set up some years ago to help support not-for-profit organisations find more supporters and allow them to invest in building visibility via awareness building search terms. This includes supporting campaign activity that may have been beyond their marketing budget initially. The standard AdGrant provides $10,000 per month for charities to invest, an incredible opportunity, but it does need to be carefully handled. You have to actively manage the account, and there is a Cost per Click (CPC) cap of $2, which could be restrictive in terms of brand-building keywords that have a higher CPC.

There’s much more to AdGrants than just setting up the account and hoping the donations roll in. Using a dedicated AdWords manager will not only keep you compliant with the grant terms of use, but it will help maximise what you are able to achieve from this fund. The AdGrant also doesn’t allow you full access to the Google AdWords suite of products such as Search Partners, Display Network, and Retargeting RLSA, so it’s important to understanding the limitations. We recommend using a paid companion Ad Words account. This works alongside the AdGrant account allowing you to build presence against key phrases that deliver value, with a more expensive CPC. The two accounts work together to get you the best results possible. You get the benefits of the grant fund, but without restricting your online strategy. Meanwhile the two accounts support each other and improve your positions for competitive search terms on the SERP.

And if you like the sound of $10,000 of Google’s money to spend each month – you’ll love the sound of the GrantsPro scheme… You need to pass strict eligibility criteria, but there is a $40,000 per month grant available too. Imagine what you could do with that!

2. Build engagement with your charity via Twitter

Twitter’s active user base now stands at 271 million monthly active users with 500 million Tweets being sent per day. Advertising on Twitter presents us with a fantastic opportunity to build communities of followers and influencers at a faster pace, allowing them to engage with pro/wp-content/uploads/files and share marketing messages with more people than ever before.

Ads appear within the users’ feed and are part of their Twitter experience. The ads can be targeted using topics such as interests, geography or gender to make sure ads are more relevant and are part of the discovery process. Advertisers will gain greater cut through choosing Twitter over Facebook for campaigns because at present only 23 percent of marketers make use of Twitter’s promoted tweets compared with 92 percent using Facebook’s promotion options.

There are opportunities to engage with users on multiple levels, for example:

  • Promoted tweets – get your tweets in front of the people most important to you by targeting specific users on a cost per engagement basis
  • Promoted accounts – grow your community and spread your message quickly by targeting users on a cost per follow basis
  • Promoted trends – gain mass exposure at the top of the ‘trending topics’ for a 24 hour period acting as a trigger for conversations around your message
  • Lead gen cards – give the user the opportunity to express an interest in your proposition, providing their email address
  • Website cards – this is content such as a photo and links within a tweet that can drive relevant traffic to any page of your site

A charity using Twitter’s managed service and spending their full insertion order by the original end date will be rewarded by Twitter topping up their ad budget by 20% at the end of the campaign, the day after the insertion order finishes. Effectively free advertising!

3. Track your activity through Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great free tool and very popular with marketers. Working with some of the UK’s most popular charities over the years we’ve learnt more than a thing or two about Google Analytics for the charity sector. To ensure you’re getting a true picture of overall performance it’s important to have a centralised, single Google Analytics account tracking all activity and maximise the use of pro/wp-content/uploads/files within the account to track individual areas of activity. We’ve helped charity clients take control of their cross domain tracking and reporting on offsite actions through partners like Just Giving. As a Google Analytics accredited partner we can help in a number of ways from complete set up, through to data ‘audits’ and updates, and training for you and your staff.

As well as using Google Analytics for pure ‘MACRO’ conversion trends and analysis (donations, memberships, etc.) using GA to understand MICRO conversions, often awareness or engagement focused that often pre-empt the “donation” or equivalent event, is also valuable and worthwhile in determining the roles and contribution of each marketing channel.

Keeping on top of changes to Google Analytics, for example the latest migration to Universal Analytics, is also important to ensure data accuracy and to provide additional insights offered by the new features. This makes sure you stay ahead of your competitors.

4. Sign up to the YouTube non-profit program

Google again, this time via YouTube, is offering something extra for charities with a number of additional features to help you make more of your existing YouTube presence.

The additional features include call-to-action overlays and video annotations, video streaming and production resource. One of the key extras is the addition of a donate button on your channel. Viewers of your channel content can simply click the donate button to contribute to your cause direct from your YouTube videos. We know that users don’t like to be distracted, particularly within a social environment, so this small addition will allow users to donate without being navigated away from the content they are watching.

5. Leverage value across charity silos through retargeting

This sounds straightforward with big financial returns, but it does require a step change in your charity’s planning processes. This requires stakeholders from different areas of the charity; fundraising, legacy, membership, visitor, shop, etc., to work collaboratively and putting the overall aim of the organisation before their own individual budget lines for one testing period.

Our experience working with charities has shown that by joining the marketing strategy up, the overall gain for the organisation vastly outweighs the performance of silo focused media planning and execution, greatly increasing the organisation’s overall return on investment.

A very simplistic way to view this that rather than three silos all competing for the same customer segment, trying to sell them something slightly different from the same business, we turn this approach around: Use the best possible hook or product to capture their attention and then focus on upselling additional products or services as the customer’s brand loyalty increases. Most businesses try to do that with their own customer relationship management, so why not pull that through to create a fully joined up end to end acquisition strategy?

Want to know more..?

Want help with any of these initiatives? We are constantly helping our clients test and build learnings from these channels to drive more membership acquisitions and donations for their charities.

Find out how we can help improve your digital marketing performance by contacting Stacey today!