If you followed the guide on our last blog, and that nothing went wrong, you should now have access to a large $10,000 a month Google Ad fund thanks to the Google Ad Grant. If you missed it, or need to go back to it, just click here!
Though now that you have it, you may find that it is difficult to actually spend that budget or have any activity in the campaigns you create. I want to help you solve this problem with a five-step plan to create winning ad campaigns.
Don’t waste your time on broad keywords like “donation,” “nonprofits,” or the name of a city. If you do, it’s likely that your ad won’t be shown since there are already huge organizations and other companies that are bidding on that same keyword. It will be like a small fish jumping into the ocean, you will not be noticed.
Create a list of keywords by brainstorming a list of topics that are relevant to your organization. These can be anything: difficulties that your nonprofit is confronting, communities that you serve, causes you to support, or services you provide. Conduct keyword research based on data. Google’s Keyword Planner is an amazing free tool that will give you: monthly search volume, competition level, and the top of the page bid rate of a keyword and similar keywords automatically. If you have the money, you can also look into buying SEM and SEO software such as SEMRush. This software isn’t just good for Pay-Per-Click Campaign (PPC) planning, but general website SEO diagnostics.
When doing your keyword research, keep in mind which keywords are being reported as having “high competition” or below 1000 search volume. These keywords are likely to be sub-optimal unless the keyword is the actual name of your organization or the name of a key person/spokesperson for your organization.
Another tip for keyword research is to create a “customer persona.” According to Hubspot, a customer persona can best be described as,
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”
Creating a customer persona will help you understand your target audience and what they are actually searching for. A good strategy is to have keywords that “target the next layer out”. These keywords will cause you to gain attention from those who are familiar with the problem your organization is trying to solve, but not familiar enough to know exactly what to do to help in that mission.
A great example of this is Golf. Everyone knows who Tiger Woods is, even those who have no interest in golf. So the first thought of advertisers could be to target the word “Tiger Woods” in their PPC. Though not everyone who is searching for Tiger Woods is actually interested in golf or wants to buy the newest set of clubs. Though when we go to the next layer, we have Phil Mickelson, an all-time great golfer. Most people don’t know who he is, but the people with actual interest in golf would. These people are those in the middle of the funnel. Think of it like Goldilocks eating the three bears’ porridge, one is too high and one is much too low, meanwhile, there is one that is just right.
Simply put, negative keywords are the keywords for which you don’t want your nonprofit ad to be displayed. They are polar opposites of keywords. Using them helps eliminate searches from those who aren’t interested in your organization, activities, or services.
An example of a good negative keyword is to go back to the golf analogy. If you are selling golf clubs, one word you might think of targeting is “clubs.” Though now you have people who are searching for dance clubs, book clubs, and other types of clubs seeing your ads and ignoring them. Worse, they could be clicking on your ad and tricking the algorithm into showing your ad to more people like that. So “dance clubs” would make for a good negative keyword.
When the relevance of your ads is improved, your audience will find them more interesting. This means that your campaigns will have fewer wasted impressions. This leads to stronger conversion and click-through rates. Your Quality Score will improve as your CTR rises.
Organize your keywords into general categories. A good rule of thumb is that all ad groups within a campaign should lead to the same landing page. This will result in a more personalized customer journey for your target demographic. In Google Ads, an ad group is a collection of one or more ads that all use the same set of keywords. This is in between the campaign level and the ad level.
At the ad group level, you can set up:
Each ad group carries its own bid, which is the most you’re willing to spend to have the ads in that ad group served. For Search Network campaigns, this is your maximum cost-per-click, also known as CPC. It’s worth noting that the overall budget, bidding technique, geotargeting, and start and end dates are all established at the campaign level, rather than the ad group level.
The messaging and objective of your landing page must match the keyword and ad copy. In other words: it must accurately reflect what is promised in your ad. This is also known as “Ad Congruency.” When your funnel does not have proper congruence, you risk having people click off of your funnel early because they believe they either clicked on a scam or that they got to the wrong site somehow.
Ensure your landing pages are fast, functional, and relevant. Constantly test your ad copy to improve your expected click-through rates. This will help ensure your keywords have a Quality Score of 2 or better.
Also, don’t drive all your traffic to your home page. To get the highest Quality Score possible from AdWords, make sure the landing page assigned to your keyword is pulled from the most relevant option on your site. If you don’t have them, build them.
You should be sending people to the best pages on your site, based on what your ads promise them. Do you want people to go to a donation page; an event page; a volunteer page; a newsletter sign-up page? Deliver on your promise and send visitors to specific pages based on the keywords used.
your landing page should:
Winning campaigns are founded on clear data, therefore it’s vital to understand how to efficiently analyze the results of your advertising efforts. Connect your Google Ads account to Google Analytics to see which campaigns and keywords are performing the best.
Pause or remove any irrelevant keywords that are overspending. Replace paused keywords with new ones. Pause, decrease bids for or remove any keywords that have lots of cost or clicks, but no conversions. Replace paused keywords with new ones. Pause, decrease bids for, or remove keywords with consistently low click-through rate (CTR). Replace paused keywords with new ones. In Google Ads, look at Search Terms and add relevant or high-performers (high CTR or conversions) as keywords.
Since Grant requirements mean you must have at least two ads per ad group, this gives you the opportunity to test ad copy. Over time, you can determine which ad has the best CTR. You can then choose to replace the lesser performing ad.
Constantly measure and evaluate the success of your campaigns and ads and change them as needed. Furthermore, conduct an account audit every two weeks to ensure that it is still structurally sound and performing. Tuesdays are usually the best days for this.