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Three Ways to Use Search Marketing Programs to Maximize Holiday Giving

Finding new ways to attract Donations during the holiday season is an annual challenge for charities and non-profit organizations. It’s even more difficult when the news cycle focuses people’s attention on one or two high-profile issues. How can nonprofits make the most of the giving season, even if their chief issues aren’t on cable news every day?

Here are tips on how to make your Search Marketing Programs work for you this winter:

1. Target, Target, Target

Today’s Search tools allow us to reach specific types of people with pay-per-click (PPC) ads, which means we can target organizations’ ideal donors. We review analytics to build a description of who they are – their gender, age and income level, for instance. We then place higher bids on users who fit those characteristics. You can even target users in a certain city. In one of our programs, we looked to see which cities were the origins of the highest donations and the largest number of donations, and then targeted ads to those locations. You can even target one group with one type of ad and another with a different one. For example, we found that in one program, men had a higher conversion rate on one social issue, while women had a higher conversion rate on another issue. We designed and targeted our ads accordingly and increased conversion rates on both.

2. Focus on the Most Lucrative Days

Identify the most important giving days for your organization by reviewing historic donations. Did you get the most donations on Giving Tuesday, for instance? What about certain holidays? Organizations focused on eliminating hunger, for example, often see the largest number of donations on Thanksgiving, while religious organizations tend to see more giving on their particular religious holidays. New Year’s Eve is often the biggest day for many organizations, since it’s the last chance for people to make a tax-deductible donation for that calendar year. When you know which days people are most likely to give, you can ramp up search programs during those time frames. You can also pull back on days that are less likely to garner donations, such as Election Day, or other times when the attention of potential donors is focused elsewhere.

3. Bolster Brand Awareness Year-Round

Keep in mind that general brand awareness is the single most powerful factor when it comes to donations. For one of our national nonprofit clients, at least 90 percent of donations come in on brand strength. More awareness through all channels, from television to social media to print ads, means more people talking about an organization, which in turn results in more people searching for that organization or related terms. It doesn’t have to be a paid strategy that lends lifts to organic and paid search, either. Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. That series of user-generated videos became an online phenomenon that created more buzz about ALS than any paid effort, and ultimately resulted in a donation landslide. When you’re planning your annual marketing and fundraising efforts, don’t wait until the holidays to consider what you could do to build buzz.


About the Author

Ariana Wolf

Campaign Analytics & Insights Director

Ariana is a data-driven paid media strategist. She has worked on local directory search, paid search and social PPC for travel, tourism and nonprofit clients. She dreams in 70 characters or less.


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