Grantee best practices, National Women's Law Center

Thursday, August 13, 2009 | 10:42 AM


National Women's Law Center is one grantee who is really putting AdWords and Grants to work for their organization. The way they've gone about implementing and running their Google Grants AdWords account, as outlined in this two part series by their Online Outreach Manager, Robin Reed, is an excellent example of how to go from zero to 60 with AdWords as a participant in the Google Grants program.

If your organization is currently running an AdWords account, or it's just getting started and you're wondering how other non-profits run successful campaigns, read through these best practices from NWLC and see which of these tips you can use with your own account.

Start off right
NWLC began by reading through our Beginner's Guide before diving in. This is a great way to get a baseline understanding of the AdWords program and discover tactics for starting your account on the right foot.

Get everyone involved
Sometimes it's hard, as a sole individual within a larger organization, to pull together all the best ideas and information for a marketing campaign. By involving other team members, and even your founders, in the process it becomes much easier to do everything from coming up with relevant keywords to developing a strategy for testing marketing initiatives.

Use the right tool for the job
While you definitely know your organization better than any outsider, sometimes enlisting the help of AdWords tools can give your account a boost. NWLC used the Keyword Tool to help fill in the gaps in their keyword list and, when they were stuck with keywords that weren't performing, they added new combinations of terms drawn from ideas presented by the tool to boost traffic in their account.

Be creative
By understanding that their standard marketing messaging wasn't going to work within the constraints of AdWords character limits, NWLC pared down their standard message by focusing on action-oriented terms and a concise but powerful message. They were also creative with the scope of their ads, making sure to have ads customized to each ad group's theme.

Some ad types in their campaigns include:
"Evergreen" ads that are always running and provide general links to their organization's offerings, but are not tied to a specific topic:

Seasonal and timely ads that speak to specific events as they approach or are underway. Branded ads that use their organization's name and its common misspellings.

Use your budget wisely
They direct more of their budget to the better performing campaigns and those that are sending a timely or seasonal message; while they direct less of it to the lower performing campaigns, and pause ad groups when their messages are out-of-season.

Look to your results for best practices
When you've taken stock of your successes, keep track of what you did that resulted in success - then do it some more!

NWLC realized the value of running timely ads associated with events in the news, and also recognized the boost in traffic their account could receive if they actively optimized their keywords and ads to match the searches users were doing. During campaign season, for example, they ran ads encouraging people to register to vote and saw their highest numbers of the season.

They saw that all their testing and experimenting paid off in the end, and determined that they'd continue this practice of testing and experimenting with future campaigns. They also used the effective messages from their AdWords ads in other communications, based on which ads performed best and received the most traffic.

National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit organization focused on protecting and advancing the progress of women and girls at work, in school, and in virtually every aspect of their lives. NWLC has been a participant in the Google Grants program since 2008.

If you have your own best practices or experiences that you'd like to share with other grantees and nonprofits, we encourage you to strike up a conversation with other members in the discussion forum and possibly submit your testimonial to our team.