Grantee best practices summary

Thursday, February 4, 2010 | 2:25 PM

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This quarter we got an impressive collection of best practices offered up by grantees who are really making the most of their Google Grants AdWords accounts. You can check out more grantee success stories as they come in on our website, too.

Alternative fundraising practices
If your organization is using direct mail or other off-line methods of fundraising, try using your Grants AdWords campaigns or YouTube for Nonprofit channel as well. Carrying the same message in a variety of media outlets helps extend your message to a wider audience. If you're trying to secure donors and support for smaller programs, you can leverage your grant's ad dollars until these programs are robust enough to justify separate marketing budgets.

Test everything
We hear this often amongst our savviest AdWords users, whether they be paying advertisers or grantees: test, test and test some more. Some grantees are now testing deep links on their sites by adding these to their ads and taking users directly to the deep-linked content to see how well they perform against more general landing pages.

It's also common and useful to test varieties of keywords, especially low-volume but high-converting keywords to see where you can get the most bang for your buck. Try sorting your keyword list by CTR to see which terms convert at a high rate and then dedicate a higher CPC to these terms to increase traffic. You can also try creating new iterations of these terms for your account to see if you can take advantage of additional high-converting traffic. It's also likely that these are terms unique to your organization, so there will be less competition.

Set clear goals
Set goals based on what your org sees as success and measure your account's performance against these success goals regularly to see what's working.

For instance, if you're trying to increase awareness around a new program or resource you provide, take a look at the current traffic coming to this section of your site and set a goal to increase that traffic (or even clicks on that section) by a specific percentage. Then, as you create new campaigns for this new area, make sure to watch progress toward your goal. Make changes and test different approaches as you go.

Focus efforts
Just because one part of your site or organization is using AdWords or online marketing effectively doesn't mean they all are. Take techniques and strategies from your existing AdWords campaigns (like CTR goals, successful calls-to-action, keyword building strategies) to organize content from across your website and then build other AdWords campaigns accordingly.

Get help
Sometimes an AdWords or online marketing expert doesn't already exist inside your organization, but they are definitely out there! Recruit a specially trained volunteer, or someone with a keen interest in online advertising, to make the most of your grant and get them to actively manage your campaigns.

Work smart, not hard
The new Intelligence feature in Google Analytics (free) does all the monitoring for you and then lets you know when to pay attention. So, you just set up alert thresholds and when your account hits them, you get an email alert with the details, prompting you to check in to your account and make the smart changes that will help you hit your goals.

For example, if you have the goal to increase new visitors to a lesser known part of your website, you can set an alert with Intelligence in Analytics to let you know when this landing page receives an increase in visits of, say 25% or more, compared to the previous day. Then you can check your account and pat yourself on the back - success!

Use the right tools
Determine the marketing challenges of your organization and seek out the right tools to help you meet them. There are lots of Google resources and tools for different types of challenges. Some favorites are this blog for non-profit best practices and products, the Keyword Tool for finding new keywords based on your website's content, and the Grants discussion forum for questions you have about your Grants AdWords account.

Check back each quarter, or better yet, add our RSS feed to your reader or Gmail inbox, to get the latest in AdWords expertise from non-profits around the globe. If you've had a recent success with AdWords or Grants that you'd like to share, please visit our discussion forum to share with other grantees right now or share the story with our team here.