3 Benefits of a Well Managed Social Media Campaign

We all know social media is a crucial part of any digital marketing campaign. While many have taken this fact to mean all that you need is a facebook page for your organization, there are many reasons why that is simply not the answer. What you may not know are all the benefits that are gained with a well-targeted and properly executed social media campaign.

A targeted campaign reaches your intended audience. Period.

A basic principle of marketing is to know your target audience and social media channels have made it incredibly easy to obtain a great deal of information about your intended audience. Getting your organization in front of your target is where the real science comes in. No matter how narrow or broad your audience may be, it’s crucial to target your campaigns directly to them to get the most out of your social media marketing strategy. The more information you know about your audience, the easier it is to tailor your content to them. While this may take your team weeks to accomplish, a professional in the social media industry will have your organization in front of the ideal audience in no time at all.

Social Media for organizations greatly benefits SEO.

Your organization’s social media status has recently played a factor in the overall success of your site in terms of search engine optimization. Although that was not the case just a couple of years ago, search engines have incorporated your social metrics into their algorithm.  This could easily make or break your site’s rankings if your social media campaign is nonexistent, or worse, exists without any optimization or activity.  If your social media campaign is managed properly, this can lead to higher rankings in search engines and an increase in traffic to your website.

Social media creates a highway for easy connections.

Although hashtags have been a taboo topic in some cases, one can’t argue that they serve the purpose of easily connecting your audience with your organization. Hashtags are widely used by people who are looking for information or are referring to a specific topic. Create hashtags that are exclusive to your organizations’ campaign and promote them wherever it makes sense. When hashtags are used properly, people are able to share and search for them which creates a domino effect of attracting a new audience.

How Does Google Find its Results?

No matter how we look at it, Google is a part of our everyday lives. But before Google became a household name and created their infinite number of ways to be incorporated in our society, it was simply a search engine. Google offered this crucial tool to conveniently accommodate our appetite for information on the World Wide Web. The search engine Gorilla quickly provides millions of results in a split second for any search query that a user searches for, any time, from anywhere in the world. This incredible convenience is certainly a luxury that our society might be in a different place without. Think about it, the overused term ‘Google it’ would have never existed.  But how does this happen?

Before Google can provide the infinite number of results in the search engine results pages (SERPs), these results need to be found. This is where the work of robots commonly called ‘spiders’ comes in to play. When these spiders get to work, they are busy generating lists of words from an inestimable number of pages across the internet. Their journey begins by looking at prevalent pages and widely used servers. These spiders will index the words on each page and try to follow every link found on any of the pages.

In order for the search engine to run as efficiently as possible, Google’s system runs on its own Domain Name Server (DNS) so it doesn’t have to rely on a separate Internet Service Provider (ISP). Google spiders look at the HTML version of any page taking two things highly into consideration; the words on the page, and where they can be found. With the exception of articles such as “a”, “an” and “the”, each word is crawled in a number of positions where they can be found on a webpage, including the title, subtitles, title tags, headers and footers. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) becomes an integral part of your website being found online. Taking special consideration of these particular positions, Google’s spiders also pay close attention to the top 100 words that are used most frequently with greater emphasis in the first blocks of content on your homepage.

Google has nearly perfected their search engine tool for the masses and yet continues to constantly improve upon their algorithm to provide the most accurate and up-to-date results. The ever-changing landscape of SEO is what keeps us up-to-date on the latest information and the time-honored best practices that have exceptional results.

The Importance of Staying Up-to-Date in Digital Literacy Trends

The answer is simple; knowledge is power. As a decision maker in your organization it’s crucial that you are able to make educated decisions whether it be about a new program to use or a different method of client/donor outreach that needs to be addressed. More importantly, you need to present yourself and your organization as an industry leader and authority on the topic when it comes time to answer the tough digital questions from your prospective donors or clients.

The good news is that you don’t need to earn a master’s degree in research to be successful at staying up-to-date in digital literacy trends. You do, however, need to make sure you are getting the most reliable and current information. With the numerous outlets of gaining information in the nonprofit industry, it’s important to be relying on credible sources. Information that’s available online via blogs, articles, forums and social media need to be well researched before they can be deemed as a credible resource. There are also more traditional sources of gaining information in the nonprofit industry that require networking skills, such as trade shows, conferences, joining a nonprofit organization or meeting with a mentor. Look for networking events to attend in your area or educational seminars such as ADG Digital Literacy Seminar. Below is a list of credible online resources for the latest news, tips and information in the nonprofit industry.

                The Nonprofit Times

                Nonprofit Hub

                MAP for Nonprofits

                Ascension Development Group Resources

Once you’ve identified your list of credible sources, you need to invest time into each source. Schedule a little bit of time each week, if not every day, to get the most out of your sources. Spend this time reading new articles, researching the tips and suggestions that would best benefit your organization. Meet people in your industry on a monthly basis to gain insight on competitors and industry trends that your organization should consider.

With the proper resources at your fingertips (or at least within driving distance) and a sufficient amount of time invested in your digital literacy education, you will position yourself and your organization as a leader in your industry which in turn makes you, yourself, a very valuable resource.

5 Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make with PPC

Not knowing the competition

When you aren’t familiar with the competitive nature of AdWords in your industry, you are bound to make a few rookie mistakes that all lead to minimal Click-through-rates, low quality scores and ultimately wasted dollars. For example, you may want to set a budget of $25 per click on a highly competitive key term. The tougher the competition, the higher your bids will need to be until you establish some credibility with AdWords. Bidding $75 per click upfront could quickly increase your quality score and put you in a position for much lower bids in the long run.

Tip: Take a close look at what your competition is paying for and how much they are spending to get a good insight of what your bidding strategy should be. Put some research into what the value of a click might actually be for your organization. If one click could lead to an annual donor or a registration for your program, this may be easier to justify the increased budget to your board.

Not separating Ad Groups

Ad Groups are designed to keep multiple ads organized and easily differentiated between one another. The common mistake is when one Ad Group has several different focuses such as youth programs, adult programs, family services etc. These key terms would perform much better in terms of ad quality score and CTRs if they were split into different ad groups.

Tip: Consider yourself as the end user who is searching for your product or service. As many users won’t be searching for every service that you offer all at once, put just the terms that are closely related to one another into the same ad group. Then create another ad group for the next service and so on.

Not directing to the ideal landing page

All too often we see an ad that is targeted to an audience who is looking for a specific product, service or action such as enrolling or donating, yet the ad directs the user to either the homepage or a contact page. Either of these pages will just create an extra step for your audience. Eliminate the extra step by directing your audience to exactly what they are searching for.

Tip: It is best to direct the ad to the ideal landing page that speaks to the specific goal you have in mind for that user. For example, if your ad has key terms focused on gaining more enrollments, and ad copy that coincides with that focus, it would be best for the ad (and your audience) to direct the ad to your enrollment page. There they can quickly see more information and follow through with the call-to-action that is intended on that page.

Not utilizing negative keywords

Setting negative keywords is crucial in any successful AdWords campaign. Setting specific key terms that you do not want your ad to appear for will eliminate possible clicks from users who are looking for something that you do not provide. For example, if your ad is focused on gaining more registrations for your all boys summer camp, a few negative keywords would include girls and winter.

Tip: Set your negative key terms as any words that a user would search for that relates to your organization yet would not lead them to what they are looking for. Using “broad match” for your ads is acceptable as long as the proper negative key terms are included in the ad campaign.

Setting and forgetting

There is a reason that so many PPC DIYers turn to a professional sooner than later to manage their AdWords campaigns. That’s because many already have full time positions that do not allow much time for the maintenance needed to keep a successful ad campaign running. There is an abundance of resources, guides, videos etc. that make setting up an AdWords campaign seem like a breeze but it is anything but when it’s time to reevaluate and update your strategy.

Tip: Do the research needed to have a basic understanding of the principles of PPC. Learn about the amount of time, money and attention that is needed to be put into managing a campaign with your specific goals. With that knowledge you can comfortably move forward with a professional who can invest in creating a campaign that will not only have an increased quality score and CTR but attract your ideal users that will bring more traffic to your organization.

3 Mobile Marketing Tips You Probably Haven’t Considered

NICHOLAS FRENCH - Here at Ascension, we aim to increase your funds raised through comprehensive digital strategy. One of these components that may not be a central focus (but should be) is mobile marketing. On-the-spot searching leads to further action 73% of the time, BIA/Kelsey reports in their 2014 study, Phone Calls are the New Click.

Here’s a few pointers on how to navigate the mobile fundraising landscape to ensure that you’re maximizing your potential!

Make Your Donation Page Mobile Friendly

With more people using their smartphone to search than their computer or tablet, you’d better make sure that your website looks great and is easy to navigate on a 4-7 inch surface.

Additionally, from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) standpoint, a site that isn’t mobile friendly will hurt your ranking on Google.

Don’t know if you’re mobile friendly? Follow this quick checklist:

“-looks great and is easy to navigate.”

  • Loads quickly (just as quickly as it does on a laptop or desktop)
  • Has multiple giving options
  • Style (colors, fonts, etc.) are the same
  • Font is legible without zooming in
  • Navigation is intuitive

Give Text-to-Give a Spin

Being able to donate at a flick of the finger is a nonprofit organization’s dream. And I’m here to tell you that the future is now; this technology is available to you. All you need to do is set up a mass text service (give https://cel.ly/ a go) and then promote the signup number on your offline marketing, live events, e-mail blasts, and social media. Crowdfunding couldn’t get any simpler than this!

Cut out the Middle Man

Bringing the donation platform closer to the donor is fundamental to lowering the bounce rate (which is how many links a user must click through). Amp up your e-mail marketing by having an available short link URL that will direct them to either sign up for text alerts or start their donation immediately. That way, people can donate to your organization on-the-go!