Raising brand awareness online can seem challenging at first. The internet is full of a million distractions and competitors, so your organization needs to stand out to the people who matter most: your supporters.
That’s where Google Ad Grants come in.
Google Ad Grants give eligible nonprofits up to $10,000 in ad credit each month. With these ad credits, your nonprofit can place targeted ads in search engine results about topics relevant to your work. Think of how easily you could meet your fundraising goals if you could double or triple the number of visitors to your website!
The key to raising brand awareness is to make sure that your brand is being seen. You can master Google Ads to get clicks online with a little time and practice, and anyone can learn the basics in a few short minutes. To increase your brand awareness with the Google Ad Grant, you should:
- Design a branded website.
- Identify high-priority conversions.
- Create targeted ad campaigns.
- Meet your supporters’ needs.
We will explore a few tips that anyone can use to gain an edge with their brand awareness online, starting with the center of it all: your website.
Design a branded website.
Your website is the most influential piece of your branding strategy. Remember, a poorly designed or under-used website can say just as much about a brand as an expert one.
An effective and well-maintained website is the headquarters of your nonprofit’s online success and how well the Google Ad Grant will work. Here are a few things to examine to improve the quality of your website’s branding and functionality:
- Your mission statement should be featured prominently. Your mission statement is like your nonprofit’s heartbeat. It inspires visitors to take action and gives your brand a chance to speak.
- Choose your images wisely. Images and infographics provide a splash of color and useful information that can stay with a reader long after they have moved to the next website, but be careful about image sizes. An image that’s too large can make your website take a long time to load!
- Say what you mean and say it well. The text on your site should be engaging to your readers. Think of your website as an always-on spokesperson for your nonprofit’s brand, and write something that gives life and energy to what you do.
- Make your website accessible to all. Ensuring that your website follows accessibility guidelines, such as being navigable by keyboard alone or using clear fonts and text sizes, are simple steps that may help your website be fully functional to a wider audience.
Having a quality website is also one of the things that Google checks when examining your application for the Google Ad Grant. Put in the time to make your website into your brand’s helpful home on the internet and you will find that more of your visitors decide to stay awhile!
Identify high-priority conversions.
Getting visitors to your site isn’t everything. You also need to make sure that they are interacting with your site in ways that contribute to your cause. This is called a conversion.
A few high-value conversions include:
- Increasing donations
- Recruiting volunteers
- Connecting with local businesses to encourage workplace giving
- Getting views or downloads of important content
- Signing up for an email newsletter
Ask yourself: What does your organization hope to accomplish? What do they want to be known for? Which statistics might help with future grant proposals or program expansions? Ultimately, the conversions you decide to anchor your brand around will form the basis of how you target your ad campaigns with Google Ads.
Create targeted ad campaigns.
When you post an ad with Google, it doesn’t appear in every search on the internet. Google Ads can only place you at the top of the right search results if you know which searches to target, which will likely require a bit of critical thinking and research.
Spend some time thinking about your cause and your brand. What are common internet searches that your ideal audience might make? Use demographic data and from past fundraising or volunteering if you have it to inform your decision. Prospect research can also help you identify your ideal audience.
For example, let’s say you run a nonprofit that aims to place stray animals in loving homes. If your organization was hoping to find volunteers, you could target phrases like “where to help animals in my area” or “benefits of volunteering with animals.” However, if you’d rather fundraise, you could shift your ads to target phrases like “support local animal rescues” or “how to help stray dogs.”
As you gain more experience in placing targeted ads. you will see what strategies and marketing channels are more effective to reach your ideal audience.. Your supporters have much to offer, but you need to understand them in return.
Meet your supporters’ needs.
Making a difference in your community is a collaboration between you and your supporters. It is important that you consider what they hope to gain through their volunteering or support for you, and meeting those needs will help to solidify your brand in their mind and build trust.
The Google Ad Grant gives you an easy way to speak directly to them. Think of your targeted ads not as marketing, but as the chance to answer a question, and even get to know your donors’ needs in the process.
Here are a few tips for how to meet potential new supporters where they are:
- Track past ad campaigns to see which ones work. Google Ads tracks extensive data for you. This allows you to explore which ad campaigns are more successful than others and which goals they are helping you to meet.
- Tailor your messaging to the campaigns that work best. Successful campaigns indicate that something is resonating with your readers. Try to focus on what made those campaigns effective as you think of future ads.
- Connect tailored messaging and your brand. Your supporters will show you which messaging works and which doesn’t. Take what you learn beyond Google Ads and use it to help improve your brand’s tone and voice everywhere that you communicate with your supporters.
Seeking change in your community is a team effort. It means taking the time to listen to your supporters and understand their needs and wants. Google Ads provide a way for you to find new supporters and communicate with them both directly and indirectly, providing essential information you need to help your organization thrive.
The size of your organization doesn’t have to limit how many people you can reach or what you can accomplish. Whether you choose to put the Google Ads to work for yourself or seek the help of Google-certified grant management, there is something for everyone in the Google Ad Grant to increase brand awareness.
Grant Hensel is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused 100% on Google Grant Management for nonprofits. NPM is honored to manage the Google Grant for 370+ leading nonprofits worldwide and to be an inaugural member of the Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals community.