fundraising/development, keeping up with trends, marketing consultant, online advertising, staying current, Understanding Your Environment

Online Advertising Isn’t Just For For-Profits

While I’ve spent much of my career working in the non-profit world, most of friends, family, and colleagues don’t make the connection that I have. This is probably due to the fact that, while many healthcare organizations and health insurance plans are non-profit/not-for-profit organizations, their size and extensive advertising campaigns which I’ve overseen cause others to think of them as for-profit organizations.

In light of the above, despite volunteer work with non-profit organizations like “Home for Little Wanderers” and “Relay for Life”, many few me as a new kid on the block as far as developing and executing marketing and fundraising campaigns goes.  Luckily, I’ve had the good fortune of working with organizations that the general public readily views as non-profits on both a paid and pro bono basis — organizations that provide social services and funding to vulnerable populations.  And, what I’ve learned from this is that many of the marketing and communications tricks that work well for for-profit organizations also work well for non-profits — whether they are looking to create awareness of their organization or raise funds for their organizations.

A prime example is online advertising, specifically paid search and display advertising. I worked with a well-known Boston non-profit to create an ad campaign to support a holiday fundraising event, and am now managing it. Because individuals are equally interested, if not more interested, in researching both fun things to and charitable things to do, as they are researching business matters, the search and display ads are receiving a pleasing number of “click-thrus”, which my client and I hope and anticipate will lead to increased ticket sales from last year to this year.

I’m really hoping that more non-profits, particularly those that are indeed viewed as charitable/cause organizations, will be interested in speaking with me about the cost-effective and budget-maximizing activity that is online advertising.  My last blog post spoke to “Missed Opportunity”.  I believe for a non-profit to dismiss the possibility of employing online advertising to promote their organizations and/or raise funds is another “Missed Opportunity”.

community involvement, fundraising/development, good will creation, keeping up with trends, making time for things you value, marketing consultant, social media, staying current, Target Marketing

Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Do Good

Every marketing blogger probably already has or plans to blog about the success of the ALS ice bucket challenge, but I’d be remiss as a marketeer who understands both the perils and benefits of social media, if I didn’t post about the great example of using social media for good that the ice bucket challenge represents.

Social media is no longer a new or innovative form of promotion. It has been around for quite some time now and, almost undoubtedly, is here to stay — for better or for worse. Since both organizations and individuals have very little control over what is said about them on various social media sites, particularly Twitter and Facebook — and even YouTube because of the ability to comment on videos — it’s a wonderful day for an organization when social media users use these channels to support good activities and altruistic behavior.

I imagine there will be lots of copy cats now — particularly, non-profit organizations who could really use a large influx of funds to support necessary research for their cause, or just to carry out their social service activities. I certainly won’t blame or criticize any organization with health-related or other social service missions for trying to launch an equally effective campaign. However, I do believe the organization in-question will need to still come up with a theme and activity that differs a fair amount from ALS’.

First of all, it wouldn’t seem fair or right to steal ALS’ thunder or divert funds away from them using tactics they employed so effectively and on a large scale. Secondly, if the majority of large non-profits decide to implement similar campaigns, I believe there is going to be a limit to the return on investment. Perhaps, I’m wrong, and I welcome your thoughts, but each and every individual and organization only has so many $$ they are willing and able to contribute annually, so regardless of the effectiveness of such campaigns, both the dollars and newness/fun factor that encourages people to participate are going to run out. So, those implementing such campaigns are going to need to come up with something very different and engaging to both grab the attention and donations of their target audiences.

I have to close with thanks, prayers, blessings, and good thoughts for both Pete Frates and his dear friend, Corey Griffin, who was so instrumental in launching the campaign. As most of you may know, Corey recently lost his own life to a scuba diving accident. My heart and thanks goes out to both of their families too — for all the pain and suffering they’ve endured or will endure and all the good they’ve done through their support of and work related to the ALS campaign.

I am adding Pete and Corey to my Keep Up the Fight page right now as I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

marketing consultant, online advertising, social media, staying current, Uncategorized

Online Advertising 101

No wonder lots of non-marketing individuals and even marketing individuals are so confused.  I can’t think of any other form of advertising or marketing that is referenced in the number of ways that what I call “online advertising” is.

It would take hours and hours to explain the pro’s and con’s and different opportunities associated with online advertising, so this post simply aims to provide a basic understanding of terminology, so you can at least feel comfortable initiating or participating in a discussion about online advertising.

  1. Online advertising or marketing = digital marketing, and is advertising that appears above or to the right of search engine results (search advertising), when you are visiting a web site (banner or display advertising) or social media site (social advertising).  All these forms of advertising and marketing are only accessible through an internet connection via a computer, tablet, mobile phone, or other hand-held device.
  2. PPC or P-P-C advertising = pay-per-click advertising = advertising that you only pay for when your ads are presented to an individual online, either as a result of a query they typed into a search engine like “Google” or “Bing”, or as a result of an individual visiting a web site that is part of the “placements” you selected for your “display” advertising.
  3. Google Adwords advertising = search network or display network advertising.  You can have your ads appear above or to the right of organic search results as a result of an individual typing an appropriate search query into the Google search engine (search network) or you can have them appear on web sites participating in Google’s display partner program, such as the “New York Times”.
  4. Paid search advertising = advertising for which you pay  to appear in response to individuals entering certain search phrases (or what’s known as “key words”) into a search engine like “Google” or “Bing”.
  5. Banner advertising = when you purchase ad space directly from a particular organization (such as the “Boston Globe”), so that your ad will appear on that organization’s Web site. This form of advertising has become significantly less popular with the growth of paid search advertising since, in general, paid search allows you to reach a larger number of individuals who may want or need your product or services, at a much lower price.
  6. Social advertising = actual ad presentation or promotion of your profile or page within a social media site, such as Facebook.

As I stated at the top of my post, understanding the terminology is just the tip of the iceberg as far as online advertising goes.  There are so many different online advertising opportunities.  For example, you can choose to only run your advertising in certain zipcodes, at certain times of the day, or on certain days of the week.  And, you can decide you only want your ad presented when someone enters the exact phrase “online advertising genius” into a search engine, is identified as having a particular interest, or is reading content related to your product or service (contextual advertising).

I am currently studying to become a Google AdWords Partner, while enhancing my previous hands-on experience managing, monitoring, and optimizing campaigns by overseeing both my own and client Google search and display network advertising campaigns.  In addition, I’ve overseen online advertising for my most recent employer.  What I’m learning as I manage campaigns and study for exams is this — anyone can set up a Google AdWords account and start a campaign, but in order to truly run an effective campaign — one that maximizes both your budget and the achievement of your objectives, whether they be awareness, requests for information, or actual sales — you really need to have a strong understanding of all the many intricacies of search, display, and social advertising, and how to best optimize your campaign and maximize your online marketing dollars.

I suggest the following:

  • Unless you have the time and staff to understand the many nuances of and opportunities available through online advertising, particularly, Google Adwords, don’t go it alone. You’ll probably end up wasting valuable marketing budget dollars because you won’t know how to identify the most efficient mechanism.  Hire an expert, like my organization, to help you set up your advertising in the most effective fashion, and to monitor and tweak it, as needed.
  • Have someone on your team study for and take the Google Adwords exams.  Even if they don’t pass — which is not an easy feat, but well worth the education — they’ll be better positioned to make intelligent decisions and recommendations regarding your organization’s online advertising.

I hope you’ll reach out to me at gail.moraski@gailm.sg-host.com with any questions you have about online marketing/advertising.  Based on how quickly and frequently online advertising options have changed and grown during the past decade, I expect they will continue to expand and shift. Rest assured that, as a marketer particularly interested in digital and online marketing opportunities, I will continue to stay informed and knowledgeable about all online advertising opportunities, so I can help you maximize your marketing dollars.