Online Marketing for Nonprofits: 6 Steps to a Potent PPC Strategy

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the easier (yet still effective) ways to kick start online marketing for

nonprofits. When used in combination with social media campaigns, a frequently updated blog and a website that’s SEO-optimized, you’ll be in possession of a potent digital marketing game plan. Ready to get started on PPC? Let’s go: 

1. Get the basics right first 

The key to any successful endeavor lies in meticulous planning. PPC is no different. Before you register for a Google Adwords account or hire a copywriter, set aside a

couple of hours to go over the foundation of your PPC efforts. First off, identify what it is you want to achieve – via both your overarching online marketing strategy and your PPC strategy in particular. Do you want to create brand awareness? Attract more leads? Increase your donor retention rate? Your objectives will dictate all further PPC actions, so get clear on your marketing goals before doing anything else.

Now it’s time to look at your budget. How much are you willing to spend in order to achieve these goals? As we’ve mentioned before, Google AdGrants enables nonprofits to run PPC using AdWords – for gratis. Nonprofits who qualify (you can find out more here) are allocated an AdWords budget of up to $10,000.00 per month – so take advantage of this opportunity to amplify your online marketing for nonprofits. If you want to further boost your online marketing for nonprofits by incorporating PPC on other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, determine how much you’re able to set aside monthly.

2. Do your keyword research 

This step is of paramount importance, as the success of your PPC efforts hinge on the keywords or phrases you use. There are three factors you need to be aware of: the search volume of the keyword/s you want to rank for, the competition, and the suggested or average bid.

Search volume is crucial: if too few people are searching for a keyword, you’re better off finding a similar keyword that has a higher volume of search. That said, if search volume is high, but the competition is too, you’ll have to spend a large amount of money to rank for it. Again, identifying a similar keyword is advisable. Lastly, if you happen upon a keyword that has a high search volume (good), relatively low competition (great!), but the suggested bid is out of your price range (unless you’re using Google’s AdGrants), you’ll want to find another keyword that has similar search volumes and competition, but is less expensive. In short, identify keywords that have high search volume, low competition, and aren’t eye-wateringly expensive. As such, allocate adequate time to do thorough keyword research to make sure your PPC strategy pays off.

3. Create unique landing pages for each keyword or phrase, 

One of the biggest benefits of online marketing for nonprofits, in particular, PPC, is that you’re able to track and measure its performance. To do this, you need to use a unique landing page and thank you page (each with their own tracking code) in order to track your conversion rates.

4. Quality over quantity

Google’s algorithms are smart. So smart, in fact, that they’re able to ascertain the quality of your PPC ad content. It works like this: AdWords assigns a quality score to your PPC efforts which is determined by your keyword, your ad copy and your page copy, and the way they relate to each other. If you’re using the keyphrase “volunteer in Africa”, for example, but your ad copy and landing page copy talk about “easy ways to donate online”,your quality score will (unsurprisingly) be low. Why is your quality ranking so important, you may ask? Because it directly affects how much you’ll pay for each keyword. The higher your quality score, the cheaper your keyword. Conversely, the lower your quality score, the more you’ll pay. What’s more, PPC ads that have a low quality score are relegated to the back pages of Google. If there was ever an argument for the importance of clear, compelling and consistent copy, this is it, so make sure you invest in a master wordsmith!

5. Analyze, optimize and repeat. 

Making a success of your PPC, and online marketing for nonprofits as a whole, requires constant optimization. It’s futile using a data-driven approach if you’re not paying attention to how your various PPC ads are faring. Are they attracting sufficient traffic? What page are they currently shown on? If they are being clicked on, how many of those visitors move onto your landing page, and more importantly, your website? Other equally important optimization considerations include checking your bids – are you paying too much for a keyword that’s, frankly, under performing? Do you need to increase your spend on another keyword that’s performing particularly well? To do this properly, ensure that you set aside a few hours every month to adjust your bids, keyword usage and ad copy in line with data analytics.

6. Embrace free resources 

In addition to Google AdGrants, inbound marketing behemoth HubSpot has an easy-to-understand, and even easier to implement PPC campaign template, that walks you through your research, set-up and optimization stages. You can access it here. Bear in mind that PPC, along with the other factors of your online marketing for nonprofits, is best thought of as a marathon, as opposed to a sprint. 

Inbound marketing is a holistic, data driven approach to online marketing that attracts potential donors to your website and converts them to lasting customers. If you would like more information about online marketing for your nonprofit download our free guide entitled How to Use Inbound Marketing to Attract New Donors.