Google’s One-Stop Shop for Nonprofits: What is Local Marketing?

Local marketing uses methods of promotion to bring customers to your brick and mortar location. In the case of nonprofits, successful local marketing can bring in supporters and volunteers for your organization.

Google Places is a free method for businesses and nonprofits to connect with local customers, donors and volunteers. 97% of consumers search for local business online, so Google Places is a helpful platform to ensure you’ll be there when customers are searching for you. You can add photos and videos, highlight special offers and respond to reviews from your Places for business account. Google Places allows businesses to proactively reach customers and build a close relationship with them.

Another popular local marketing solution is, a free service for local businesses to post information, pictures and website links. Customers can write reviews to share with the public. With over 66 million users and 25 million local reviews, Yelp boasts a very large and loyal following – the perfect place for nonprofits to spread their message to the community.

Foursquare uses location-based tracking to allow users to check-in to places they frequent. The social media platform has proven to be a very successful clientele retention tool, especially in urban areas.

Facebook Places is similar in that it allows users to check in at local businesses. Its advantage is that it completely integrates with the social network to drive traffic to the organization’s business page.

Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook Places are all pieces of a complete local internet marketing strategy. Blue Interactive Agency can help you develop social media marketing strategies to benefit your nonprofit organization. Offering a wide range of services including Facebook marketing, email marketing and SEO strategy, we help our clients reach their online marketing goals. For any questions, call us at 954-779-2801.

Google’s One-Stop Shop for Nonprofits: What are Google Grants?

Google Grants are part of the Google for Nonprofits program aimed to help nonprofit organizations achieve their goals. Google Grants have helped over 6,000 organizations by promoting their websites via free advertising on Google. Once an applicant is accepted, they receive an online advertising account of up to $10,000 a month to spend on Google Adwords. The ads can be used in a variety of ways, from general outreach to fundraising and recruiting volunteers. Google Grants have proved to be immensely helpful for nonprofits. Using Google’s advertising program, UNICEF’s ecommerce site experienced a 43 percent increase in sales, and children’s charity CoachArt saw a 60 to 70 percent increase in volunteers. To take part in Google Grants, complete the all-in-one application form at Google for Nonprofits.

Qualified nonprofits spend their monthly issued allowance by opening a Google Grants Adwords account to create and monitor text ads. By creating relevant ads and choosing the best keywords, nonprofits can draw increased traffic to their websites. Google insists on these basic rules:

  • You must have a website, and your ads must link to a page on your website.
  • The keywords you target must be relevant to your programs and services.
  • Your website cannot display revenue generating ads, such as Google AdSense or affiliate advertising links, while participating in Google Grants.
  • The on-going, active management of your advertising campaign is your organization’s responsibility once your account is active.

Note that grantees remain in the Google Grants program so long as their account is active and they adhere to guidelines, so it is important to continue monitoring and making the most of the online advertising benefit. A trick to making the most of the $10,000 per month advertising budget is to set the maximum bid to $1 per keyword and the daily budget to the maximum $330. To reach your target audience, choose specific ad text and keywords. You can use the Google Adwords keyword tool to generate suggestions. Go after long tail keywords that have less competition. Track your performance on your AdWords account to see how many clicks, donations, newsletter signups, and volunteer registrations you’ve attained. It is important to monitor performance regularly so you can remove or edit poorly performing keywords.

Blue Interactive Agency helps companies develop search engine marketing strategies to increase their online visibility. Offering a wide range of interactive marketing services including search engine optimization, email marketing, and link building strategies, Blue gives companies the tools they need to successfully promote their programs. For more tips on how to use Google Adwords or for any online marketing questions, call us at 954-779-2801.

Personalization & the 4Ps of Content Marketing

B2B marketers have encountered unique hurdles when it comes to interactive marketing. Although B2C companies have experienced great success with social media marketing, B2B’s are only recently beginning to establish their presence in the world of online marketing. In addition to social media, content optimization presents a unique challenge for B2B companies. According to research conducted by Chief Content Officer Magazine at IDG Connect, a global research library for IT professionals, B2B buyers “complain the relevance of marketing content has declined by 31% over the past five years.”

According to Bob Johnson of CCO Magazine, the answer is personalization (“It’s Time to Get Personal.” Chief Content Officer Magazine 5 Oct. 2011: 18. Print). “Your organization needs to ask questions that uncover your buyer’s role, business issues, buying stage, type and preferred content format – and use that information to create highly customized, effective buying pathways,” says Johnson. To get the most out of content, focus on the new 4Ps of digital content:

Profile: If your company produces any publication, it must include profile information to allow readers to judge whether or not it is worth their time.

Personalization: Get information about your buyer’s interests (needs, behaviors, learning styles) and use it to customize and improve conversions.

Path: Create clear links from one content asset to another based on personalization (i.e. topic, role, focus, buying stage) to avoid dead ends.

Purpose: “Push for better integration of sales and marketing automation to avoid content silos,” says Johnson. Create a content strategy that will drive down cost and increase the engagement intensity of buyers.

The answer to making content relevant again isn’t churning out more content, nor is it relying on search engine optimization magic. Build your buyer’s confidence with your content – “Each time they visit your site or read your content, you should be engaging in a mutual exchange of value, balancing your desire for more information with your buyer’s reluctance to share.”


Consumer-Generate Ads Growing in Popularity

Advertisers spend hundreds of thousands each year on consumer research, planning and campaign creation in attempts to reach target audiences and push their products. But for the past five years or so, some big name companies have reached out to fans to create their ads. It’s brilliant in its simplicity –what better way to grab the attention of your target audience than to have a member of it pen your ad for you?

User-created ads garner the most attention during football season. Whether you’re into the big game or not, millions watch the Super Bowl just to see what the companies who pay top dollar for ad spots come up with. For five years, PepsiCo has relied on consumers to create its Super Bowl ads, gaining the billion-dollar company plenty of pre-game media buzz. And who can forget last year’s Doritos ad with the personal space invader licking Dorito cheese residue off of his co-worker’s fingers?

Food and beverage companies aren’t the only ones getting in on the fan-ad action; Mashable reports that “[Saab] Thursday  launched a promotion on its Facebook Page where fans can write and star in their own Saab banners that are designed to look like the company’s actual U.S. ad campaign, “The Story of Saab.” Since the performance of banner ads, especially on Facebook, is notoriously low, Saab aims to improve upon theirs by choosing the best consumer-generated banners and featuring them on the homepages of The New York Times, Wired and AOL. Volkswagen also asked consumers to pick the name of their next SUV in 2006.

One of the latest companies utilizing consumer-generated ads is Callaway Golf for Like Saab, Callaway recently launched a promotion that allows users to create their own banner ads on ESPN’s homepage. Mashable columnist Todd Wasserman explains, “What makes the initiative attractive to ESPN is that after fans create their ads, they post on their Facebook walls. Fans’ friends could then click on the ads, which direct them to Fans who opt to make their own banner get a choice of four possible quotes to supplement with their own message. The ad promotes Callaway’s new line of RAZR Driver and Iron golf clubs.”

This new marketing trend has proven to be markedly successful for companies. Social networking sites have closed the gap between businesses and consumers, allowing for a unique one-to-one line of communication unlike anything we’ve seen before. Social media marketing is booming, with 4 out of 5 U.S. companies using interactive marketing tools to advertise. Consumer-generated ads are the next natural step in online marketing. Don’t miss a valuable opportunity to take advantage of this new buzz-worthy form of marketing, log on today and engage your fans directly!

10 Things to Do Before Choosing a Web Design Firm

You’ve budgeted money for a brand new website for your business and now you’re ready to select a website design company. But which one do you choose? There are several factors to consider before choosing a website design firm that will end up saving you time, money and energy in the long run.

You want your website to be competitive and to bring in business. Chances are your competitors have not only a website but a plan for search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing in place as part of a comprehensive interactive marketing strategy. In order to stay competitive, you should consider one firm that offers expertise in all areas of online marketing including web design, SEO and social media marketing.
Here are the top ten tips to consider for your website design.

1. Think about the purpose of your website. Who are you trying to reach and what are you trying to accomplish through your business website? This will help you decide what type of information to offer.

2. Ask for a quote. Getting a detailed quote up front for the cost of your website design and any ongoing service fees including SEO, blogs and social media marketing. Request a fee estimate for additional web design work in case you want to change aspects of your website later on.

3. Choose the right domain name. This is very important for your business and once the name is chosen, it cannot be easily changed so choose carefully. Your domain name should reflect your business and be easy for customers to remember.

4. Find the right web host. The web host is where your site will go live. There are many web hosting companies to choose from, so examine which one is the best for you in terms of cost, expertise, tech support and reputation. It’s helpful to read customer reviews to get a feel for which web hosting provider is right for you.

5. Look at the website design firm’s own website. How detailed is it? Does it have extra design elements? The site is a good indication of the level of quality and detail the firm is able to produce.

6. Request to look at previous work by the web design company. What better way to see what the firm is capable of?

7. Decide if you want the functionality to be able to update your website yourself. If you anticipate your website as always changing, it’s best to choose a content management system-based website. A CMS-based website will allow you to write articles, post videos and images directly.

8. Start engaging in social media networks. If you start participating in social media networking on Facebook and Twitter, you will have an audience to share your website with by the time your site is launched!

9. Consider including a blog on your new business website. A blog can be helpful in giving customers news and information about your products and services, as well as help with search engine rankings. Decide who will write and maintain your blog.

10. A successfully executed website will bring in business and leads. Have your products or services readily available by the time your business site is launched.

Companies Increase their Interactive Marketing Budgets

Print advertising, radio and television make up a traditional marketing budget, but modern media agencies are increasing their spending on interactive marketing. Online marketing such as internet advertising and social media is changing the way media agencies plan and measure their campaigns for clients.

As media agencies plan campaign strategies to most effectively reach consumers, there are a few rising trends. More than half of CMOs surveyed in the MagnaGlobal U.S. Advertising Forecast plan to spend more on advertising in 2011 following the last few years of recession cutbacks. Digital media is not just seen as an inexpensive alternative to traditional media anymore, but as a priority marketing strategy. In fact, online ad sales are expected to grow 10.5% in 2011 according to an eMarketers survey.

An impressive 80% of U.S. companies and 84% of Fortune Global 100 companies currently use social media for marketing purposes. 25% use the four major platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs.

So what’s up and coming? 75% of media agencies are stepping up their mobile advertising budget this year, so mobile devices may be the medium to look out for in 2011.

Email marketing is getting a makeover from traditional plain text to emails that include embedded videos, social sharing buttons and interactive graphics. According to a Web Video Marketing Council survey, 73% of marketers see an increase in click-through rates for emails with embedded video.

By measuring web data such as analytics and metrics, marketers can clearly see the results of their campaigns which then helps shape their future interactive marketing strategies.

Blue Interactive Agency is a full service website design and interactive marketing agency with areas of strength in search engine optimization, social media marketing and email marketing. See the full description of interactive marketing services to see what will most effectively reach your audience.