Ten tips to help you get found, get clicked and win online

publication date: Dec 7, 2011
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author/source: Jonathon Grapsas
There's definitely a science behind online advertising, which is likely why, as a direct response junkie, I love it. Right now I'm running a ton of different forms of online advertising with clients including re-targeting people who have visited their site previously, behavioral display (where we target prospects based on their online behavior), search engine marketing through Google AdWords and social advertising through Facebook.Jonathon Grapsas photo

They're all very different, but with some strikingly similar keys to success. Here are ten tips on how to get found more, clicked more often, and most importantly how to "close the sale."

Think about the pathway, including the destination

Online campaigns usually fall down because there's too much emphasis on what happens when I land somewhere, or conversely, what's the hook to get someone to click it in the first instance. They should be given equal weighting. Your ad needs to be clear, enticing, and unique. Your landing page needs to be free of clutter, rich in content and easy for someone to complete what you're asking them to do.

Is it relevant?

In certain instances (like Google AdWords) you can be penalized for producing content and a landing spot that doesn't fit what the advert is displaying. Sure I could advertise free beer at my house, but if the landing page is about helping to free child soldiers, clearly my ad isn't relevant. Clever doesn't work. Ensuring a connection between an ad and a relevant page does.

Keep it simple

That's the ad and the destination. Easy to read, clear language, free of jargon. Don't make it hard for me to read or watch. The moment it becomes too hard, I switch off.

Rich content

That's striking a balance between good, emotive copy and compelling, riveting imagery and video. Find the hook to get someone in, then keep them there with good content. Video isn't used enough, yet is such a rich, powerful source.

I need to do it now

If there's an inkling that it can wait till later, game over. Your proposition must tell people the single most important thing that they must do, right now. It makes them sit up from their slouched position and take action (by clicking, then getting their wallets out). Offering any "get out" (by not using strong, urgent wording) is a sure fire way to lose potential supporters.

Minimize the clicks

That means don't make me work hard. You want to take people somewhere interesting, engaging (sometimes fun), but wherever they end up (say, on a custom built page with a video story), the ability to make a gift needs to be right there, no more than one click away.

Learn all the rules

For example did you know when running Google AdWords campaigns you should capitalize all words in your ad's copy (except small, joining words like an, at, or on). That's been tested to death and always shown that doing it improves overall response. This information isn't hard to find. Subscribe to blogs that talk about this stuff. Buy the relevant "...for dummies" book that relates to this topic.

Be flexible

The beauty of digital recruitment is that you live in the moment. You don't close your eyes and hope for the best. It's dynamic, it's able to be monitored and updated easily. Don't think the work is done when you've gone live. Test, tweak, refine and learn.

Set up tracking

That means getting Google Analytics working on the site to which you're sending prospects, and setting up conversion funnels to see which prospect sources result in donations. Most of the tools you need are available free. Get someone to help set these up for you. But make sure it happens. Spending a chunk of time advertising and not knowing what's really working (beyond impressions and clicks) is a poor use of your organization's resources.

Follow up, follow up and follow up

Getting a gift from someone in the first interaction you have with them online is tough. Include rigorous follow-up in your plans to turn prospects into supporters, or one-time cash donors into monthly donors. Think about how to capture more phone numbers so you can call people. For those who don't provide a phone number, develop an e-communications plan to continue the conversation. Above all, factor this part of the process into your planning.

Online advertising can be fruitful if done in the right way. Far too many try without working their way through the fundamentals behind it. Follow the steps above and you'll be well on your way to finding a new audience.

Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world focused on digital, direct response and campaigning stuff.

If you'd like to chat to Jonathon you can email him, follow him on twitter @jonathongrapsas or check out www.flatearthdirect.com


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