Thursday, April 19, 2012

Guest Blogging and Press Releases as Tactics to Increase Traffic.

Do you know who has some of the best content out there on the affairs of society? You do!

Guest blogging and press releases can help drive more traffic as well as increase rankings on search engines, as long as you do it the right way. What is right way? Having quality and original information.

As part of operating your business, you have access to unique information about the sectors you service and the challenges your constituents face. This quality and original content is perfect to package into a short article to appear on blogs or on a press release.

The internet, last I checked, is still made up of people – and we appreciate content that is informative. Good content will be read, linked (which helps in SEO), clicked on (traffic) and serve a branding affect (authoritative).

As you put together your content, make sure you don’t get “spammy” with it. People don’t like it, and search engines like Google certainly don’t either. So no excessive links in your articles or press releases, and while tooting your own horn is OK, don’t get too excessive with it either where the content is overwhelmed by self-congratulations. Also, be careful about “over optimizing” your articles or press releases by trying to stick a bunch of keywords in there – Google especially seems to frown up on it. And by frown, I mean that they will severely penalize you for it.

OK, so you have content and it’s not spammy, now you want to know where you can share this wonderful content. Here are a couple links that go more in depth with best practices as well as places where you can start: - in depth guest blogging strategies. - tips on Press Releases

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Paid Search – Not Just for Donations

I understand the pressures of allocating dollars to marketing. You need to gain a return on your investment quickly. The most effective online channel, of course, is your internal email list because you have a list of people who are already familiar with your brand and were interested enough to learn more.

Marketing to your in-house list is a great first step, but I’m sure you want to grow the list or start one if you don’t already have a list – this is where paid search can help.

Paid search, as mentioned in the last post, delivers strong ROI because you can target your message to people who are interested in your type of cause through what is called “keywords” (I will talk about this in another post). However, just as important, you can direct people to any page on your site. This means you don’t have to send them to your home page – and you shouldn’t. Send them to custom pages where users can learn more about your cause, but also commit to action very easily, whether that’s donations, or email signups.

The screenshot above is from “Children International” – I’ve used them as an example before of how to run a great online marketing campaign. This page is what users land on when they click on their paid search listing. This is NOT their homepage, it’s a custom page made to convert users to their desired actions – signing up for an information kit or donating for a specific child.

Do the same, make custom pages and send traffic it to it. Make it easy for them to donate or give them the option of signing up for your newsletter. If you get users to donate, you will get an instant ROI, however, even if users only commit to signing up for the newsletter, you know the long term value of a that user, they may actually donate more in the long run.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Social Media Omnibus

I am happy to share with you Decisive Point Marketing’s first ever Omnibus post! What is Omnibus? It’s a post containing several different themes in one – for this post there will be two topics. So, without further ado, here we go:

How should you go about Social Marketing (SM)?

SM is an ever-growing platform with a seemingly endless array of services you can use to engage with your audience – this includes Facebook, G+, Twitter, and Pinterest among many others.

My quick take: focus your resources on the platform your strongest at – then expand slowly. For us, we started with Facebook and our blog site, only recently have we begun using Twitter (join us at and we will launch G+ in a few months.

Might seem weird for a marketing company to go about it this way but the point of SM is engagement, not merely presence. Content for content sake is disposable; quality is loyalty, brand recognition and ultimately, greater business success. It’s tougher and takes more time, but it’s worth it.

Use Facebook (FB) as your Mobile Site

For many nonprofits, having a mobile friendly website is very expensive. FB, with their apps, gives you an alternative. Fifty percent of FB traffic comes from mobile devices, which is much higher than the average, so chances are you already get a lot of mobile traffic exposure to your brand.

Take advantage of it by installing apps such as causes ( to enable donations on your page. There are also other apps you can install, such as the ones I use to the left to show my Twitter feed and latest news. There are many companies out there that provide these apps for free, I used Tradablebits, but I encourage you to check around and find the best fit to customize your page.

That’s it for today - follow on Twitter and have a happy Monday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How NOT to run an Email Campaign

I wanted to share a quick, real world story involving me trying to volunteer my services to an election campaign. I’m not going to say who this was for, only that it’s for a Senate race and that the State he’s running in borders Maryland , West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. And his last name is Kaine. As in Tim Kaine. But other than that, his identity will be a mystery.

Anyway, I wanted to volunteer my services as a search engine marketer to plan and execute campaigns for Google, Yahoo and Bing. I went to his official site and signed up under the “Volunteer” section of his website – see screenshot.

I did this almost three weeks ago and I have yet to receive a reply that was not a canned response for donations or to check out where he stands on the issues of the day.

This upset me quite a bit, and it will upset anyone who goes to your site and takes the time to write to you, only to get onto a mailing list that was not explicitly stated on the sign up page and not even get the courtesy of a response. Even something as simple as “we already have a person leading our search marketing efforts, but thank you for inquiring”, would have been better than nothing.

Obviously Tim Kaine is not personally running these campaigns, his staff are the ones who dropped the ball, but this still reflects poorly on him as a brand – as it will for you too if you do the same.

This is not the only mistake, they also do a poor job of segmenting the names to make the emails more personalized. I just got an email thanking me for my “generous donations” to his campaign – I’ve never donated to his campaign. They should be able to match my name to a database that shows if I donated or not and then send the proper email content. At minimum, the emails won’t seem as wooden and artificial, at best, they will probably increase their donation rate.

Learn from the mistakes of the Tim Kaine Campaign - respond to emails quickly and start segmenting your email database to make your blast more personalized and effective.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Don’t forget about Microsoft!

In my earlier posts I’ve mentioned Google several times in reference to its non-profit services - which is free to use. Now, I want to talk briefly about Microsoft (MSN).

Unlike Google, MSN does not have anything like the Google Grant, which allows for free in-kind advertising on However, they do provide donated or license free software for many of their products including Sharepoint, Office Professional (excel, PowerPoint etc), Communicator and many other applications.

Here is Microsoft’s Nonprofit Homepage:

Here is the eligibility parameters and how to apply:

Here is a Nice slideshow presentation showing what you get and how to use it:

My recommendation is to check it out and map out how the MSN products can integrate into some of the other free or low cost applications out there such as Google.

Stuff like communication and collaboration may seem less exciting than things about donations or creating email or newsletters, but don’t ignore it, streamlining and lowering costs in all areas of your business adds up – and can enhance the services you provide to your constituents.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Need to quickly make your site mobile friendly on a tight budget?

Smartphones like Droid and the iPhone have come a long way and have made screens bigger and more vivid than they were just a few years ago. However, despite this size increase, it's still small when compared to a laptop or even a tablet like the iPad, or Kindle.

A website not optimized for the smaller screens will look awkward and be very difficult to navigate and read. As a result you could lose a lot of potential supporters to your cause.

The best thing to do in this case is to create a mobile friendly site either in-house or by an outside party. Of course the price tag, or time investment may not be worth it. The good news is that you can create a template mobile site that looks good for about $20 a month.

The con of using a service like this is that you don't own the site - once you stop paying you lose the mobile website. Two, you lose customization, want to add social elements or plugins? Can't do it, they just take your current site and put in a mobile template. Three, if you continue to pay long enough, the cost will soon exceed the price of an outside vendor - so think in advance about going mobile, and the steps involved so that you can wrap your arms around the cost.

But for the short term, especially if you are entering a busy period, a service like bMobilized makes sense. If you go to their site you can preview what your site would look like if you used their service.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Are you using the Google Grant?

Organizations like the NAACP, American Red Cross and Direct Relief International use the Grant to advertise their mission on Google for free. If they use it, so should you.

The grant allows you to advertise for free on for up to $10,000 per month. Use it to get the message out, fill your donor pipeline and find more advocates for your cause.

Of course its not that simple. Google gives you a wonderful gift, but its up to you to understand the technical details to create the account, execute it, and manage it to get the most out of it. Don't let that turn you off though, once you get it, you'll be fine.

You can read all about the requirements and tips here: (this is a Google PDF doc)

You can submit your application here:

As for getting the most out of it beyond the technical tips in creating the account, check out the rest of my blog below to find tips on best practices to get your new visitors to convert to your desired action once they arrive at your site.