It’s a tricky old world out there for charities. Grant funding cut. Competition for donations rife. Lots of incredibly worthwhile causes.

That’s why every penny counts.

If I was to tell you that many charities are missing out on over £94,000 ($120,000) of free ad spend per year you’d think I was telling porkies, right?

It’s true – Google give away up to $10K per month to charities and nonprofits in ad spend through their Google Grants initiative.

Through Google Grants, charities can increase their reach, become more discoverable, promote events and fundraise with Google search ads.

The wonderful thing about Google advertising? Unlike social channels which are primarily community and leisure spaces, people have intent when searching on Google. They’re actively looking to do something or searching for something your offer, it’s about getting yourself in their line of sight and connecting with them.

Here’s how to check if you’re eligible and more details about getting set up.

But now down to the nitty gritty. Once you’re all set up it’s all about keeping Google sweet and delivering some kick ass content.

It’s not only important to get your money’s worth but also keep in Google’s good books. To keep your account live you need to be achieving an average 5% or more click through rate. If you don’t? Google will say ‘nah, I’m alright thanks mate’ and take it away from you. Wanna get it back? A hard, time-consuming and frustrating task.

Here’s our top seven tips for keeping your ads on form and off Google’s naughty list:

1. Use keyword insertion ads

Kicking off with a nifty little feature, keyword insertion ads dynamically update your ad text to include a keyword that matches a customer’s search terms. For example if you’re running a campaign to advertise a fundraising event the snippet of code that you’ll insert in your Display URL might look like this: {KeyWord:fundraising}.

Then, when a customer uses one of your keywords in their search, Google Ads automatically replaces the code with the keyword that triggered your ad. However, when a keyword can’t be inserted in your ad, Google will insert the word fundraising instead.

How does this help? It makes your ads appear more relevant to whoever is searching. And what does that mean? They’re more likely to click.

What’s also awesome is that Google makes dynamically inserted terms bold meaning your ad will stand out from its competitors.

2. Monitor keyword performance and remove badly performing ones

It’s important to take a look at keyword performance on a weekly basis, track your quality score and diagnose your keywords, this will help you become more specific and relevant to your potential audience. Here’s more about keyword quality score.

A good way to start? Remove duplicate keywords. This happens when one of two or more of your ads are using the same keyword list. It’s best to avoid having duplicate keywords in your account because they are essentially competing against each other – daft.

Sometimes single-word phrases smash it out of the park. Sometimes they just aren’t specific enough and are being served to people who frankly, don’t need to see them.

3. Give dynamic ads a go

Dynamic ads are gold if you have a well developed website. They are the easiest way to find people searching on Google for precisely what you offer.

When someone searches on Google using terms related to the titles and frequently used phrases on your website, Google Ads will use these titles and phrases to select a landing page and generate a clear, relevant headline for your ad.

You heard right! Google will create the ad for you based on what someone has searched for and what it reads on your website. It’s perfect for websites that don’t change every single day and, if you’re a little time poor, it’s great to create ads that will provide real value. Obviously don’t just rely on dynamic ads but they are really useful.

4. Be more audience specific

As with all marketing the audience is always key. Think in a deeper way about who you’re targeting, where they are – geographically and mentally and consider what they’re searching for.

If you’re running an event in Sussex, bare in mind that most people participating will likely be in the surrounding areas. There’s little point serving ads to a Welsh audience.

Likewise, if you know that your target demographic is retirement age, make sure you’re serving ads to them. Consider what their capabilities are, what they relate to and how they think. This shouldn’t be hard considering you have contact with them in other ways – face-to-face, phone and through social media. Really listen to how they communicate and what they care about it and serve up ads that resonate.

5. Be creative

Make sure you’re answering any pain points a user may have in a constructive and helpful way. You can do this by:

Including call-to-action addendums that answer frequent objections or concerns

Using social proof and benefits within a call to action e.g. “80% of people feel it’s important to give back to causes they care about”

Being emotive – think about the emotions you want to evoke and how to truly connect with an audience. Use feeling led words and phrases like “Have you heard” “Magical” and “Surprised” to stir up intrigue and interest.

6. Test various calls to action

Considering what you’d like to achieve is, as with any marketing, super important.

Do you want people to buy tickets for your fun-run fundraiser? Do you want people to be more aware of what you do? Do you want more donations for a specific campaign?

Think about what you want and try inventive call to actions.“Read how much Sally enjoyed her fundraising run” “Imagine your child’s face when they see you doing that sky-dive” and “Take care of those who take care of you” are far more dynamic then “Donate now.”

Likewise, adding a phone number can also be really powerful. Many people don’t only want to connect online, they want to reach out and have a conversation. Make it easy for them.

These ads build relationships and prompt action, what great advertising is all about.

7. Let us manage this for you

Take the headache out of your Google Grants spend and let us look after it for you. We’ll develop copy for you, test and report back on success.

We also know the problems and pitfalls associated with this kind of advertising and will navigate them with ease.

Want to find out more? Here’s how we improved Rowcroft Hospice’s Google Ads.

If you’d like to discuss or get help with anything in this blog please get in touch. We’re your guiding light in the world of social media and digital marketing.


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