How Do Non Profits Handle Sem Straight Talk With The American Cancer

How Do Non Profits Handle Sem Straight Talk With The American Cancer Society

How Do NonProfits Handle SEM? Straight Talk With the​ American Cancer Society
I recently had the​ opportunity to​ discuss SEO/SEM with a​ nonprofit organization. the​ conversation didnt start with SEO/SEM but I ​ got to​ thinking how does a​ nonprofit do SEO/SEM?
Having been in​ the​ industry a​ while I ​ have a​ pretty good idea what the​ going rate is​ for​ professional SEM and​ I ​ find it​ hard to​ believe that a​ nonprofit firm would invest in​ it, knowing that in​ some cases its hard to​ measure.
What you are about to​ read is​ an interview with the​ Director of​ Online Communications for​ the​ American Cancer Society High Plains Division.
Lets get the​ formalities out of​ the​ way. What is​ your name and​ title?
My name is​ David Neff and​ I ​ am the​ Director of​ Online Communications for​ the​ American Cancer Society High Plains Division
What does the​ director of​ online communications do?
Basically, my job is​ to​ manage all the​ website design and​ maintenance including any upgrades as​ well as​ any email campaigns we do. This includes any ecommerce that we get into.
Do you do any type of​ search engine positioning on any of​ your websites?
Not really. Besides submitting to​ DMOZ and​ Google we dont actively pursue any search engine marketing at​ this point. Most of​ our promotions are done through print ads, Internet ads like Google Adwords, banners and​ stuff like that. We dont proactively go out and​ position.
Now, weve talked before and​ you mentioned that the​ American Cancer Society has a​ few sites, including some which you are more responsible for. Why doesnt the​ Cancer Society invest in​ positioning?
Its not on our priority list at​ this point. We are quite busy promoting our sites through the​ offline promotion that I ​ mentioned earlier.
Is there a​ reason that SEM isnt a​ priority?
Decisions like that are made at​ a​ higher level and​ its not well known how it​ works. There is​ no real baby steps that you can take to​ get into it. in​ fact they [management] probably dont even know about it​ that much. Its really not on [their] radar screen.
Ive dealt with large organizations like yours and​ Ive found that usually in​ order to​ get an SEM campaign off the​ ground there needs to​ be an SEM Evangelist on staff. One person that is​ the​ spearhead behind the​ campaign. Has there been anyone in​ your office trying to​ push for​ it?
Not at​ the​ moment but Im seeing results from stuff Ive talked to​ you about and​ the​ early results are quite impressive. Also, other media I ​ encounter has had me considering it. Maybe 2018 will be the​ year to​ start pushing for​ an SEM campaign.
You mentioned earlier that you do other Internet advertising. What type of​ Internet advertising do you do for​ the​ American Cancer Society?
Weve done banner advertising on a​ PDA tool and​ a​ ton of​ the​ major sites. Finding PDA things that doctors read like http//www. webmd. com and​ http//www. pdamd. com. We actually contacted http//www. motricity. com as​ well and​ weve done a​ lot of​ ads on a​ whole bunch of​ partner sites for​ a​ free product, yet we had to​ pay full price for​ those ads.
Next, we are planning to​ sell a​ golf pass to​ get you discounted green fees no matter where you golf across Texas. So we will be placing ads for​ those soon as​ well. We will also be placing Google ads for​ these when the​ timing is​ right.
As a​ search engine marketer I ​ know that Google ads are generally pretty good traffic tools. How effective have they been for​ you in​ the​ past?
The Google ads have been really great for​ us in​ the​ past lots of​ clicks over the​ holidays. They have been better than banner ads in​ some aspects.
What would those aspects be?
Rate of​ return. Weve found that some banner ads generated a​ lot of​ traffic and​ interest in​ the​ past. We did notice, though, that during the​ holidays we got lots of​ views but not as​ many sales.
So what you are saying is​ that you are getting better conversion rates on Google ads?
Yes definitely.
Who looks after your Google program?
Chuckles I ​ do unfortunately.
Why do you say unfortunately? is​ it​ a​ difficult job?
No its not difficult, its just that I ​ only check on it​ when I ​ get a​ bill because I ​ have too much other stuff to​ do. We just dont have the​ manpower to​ properly manage it.
How did you go about choosing keywords for​ your Google campaign?
We got together in​ the​ communications department and​ sat down and​ and just started searching. We used the​ words we thought people would use to​ search for​ our product and​ just made a​ list.
Then we used the​ Google sandbox to​ help with other keyword suggestions and​ from there we put our campaign together.
So you are satisfied with Google. is​ that the​ only paid advertising engine you use? or​ have you/do you use Yahoo?
No, we havent had time to​ investigate or​ anything like that. Id like to​ at​ some point, but like I ​ said Im the​ only one doing it​ and​ I ​ just dont have the​ time right now.
How many sites do you look after?
I have nine in​ all that I ​ look after.
And are all the​ sites you maintain Cancer related?
No. We have a​ blogging site called http//www. quitnowblog. org which is​ for​ college aged kids. it​ helps them with quitting smoking and​ all the​ pains they go through to​ quit. the​ second site is​ http//www. schoolhealth. info/ Weve just redesigned the​ site and​ are ready to​ relaunch it. With that site it​ is​ used to​ get parents involved in​ kids schools to​ get kids more healthy. and​ then there are a​ bunch of​ others.
So how are these sites doing?
Were getting a​ ton of​ response to​ the​ quit now blog. it​ seems to​ be very popular with the​ target audience we are trying to​ reach.
With all these sites, do you do cross promotion?
Yes, definitely. When we do a​ quitnow blog and​ print campaign for​ example, we ensure that and​ print material such as​ brochures and​ ads match the​ site.
For another site we do, http//www. texasgolfpass. com/, it​ too has been redesigned and​ matched to​ posters, brochures and​ so on. We definitely try and​ do complete campaigns to​ ensure the​ themes are consistent throughout.
So, do you feel theyve been successful using this branded approach across multiple media?
Definitely. Weve really stepped it​ up to​ ensure that our websites match our print campaigns. it​ is​ one of​ our strong points right now.
What would you like to​ do differently with your online campaigns?
The main thing would be to​ investigate Yahoo ads and​ everyone else out there besides Google but my main challenge is​ that I ​ dont have enough time to​ do that.
Id also like to​ investigate search engine optimization but I ​ need to​ find a​ way to​ sell it​ to​ management. I ​ need a​ one page This is​ why you need to​ do SEO that I ​ can take to​ them and​ show them that we need to​ do more.
Do you think that your management is​ resistant to​ SEO?
No, not really. Its just an education thing. I ​ need to​ find a​ way to​ show them why it​ is​ so important and​ I ​ dont know where to​ start to​ show them at​ a​ nontechnical level.
Thank you for​ your time David, its been a​ pleasure talking to​ you. One more thing, if​ there is​ one thing anyone in​ our community can do for​ the​ American Cancer Society, what would it​ be?
Gosh, I ​ dont know. I ​ know we do need help but there are so many areas we could use it. Being a​ nonprofit group, our budgets are always tight. I ​ guess just help us get more wellknown. We have all these sites we use to​ help spread healthy messages, and​ at​ the​ same time we have others we use to​ help raise money. Any help that we can get for​ these would be greatly appreciated.
As he said, if​ there is​ anything you can do to​ help out this worthwhile cause, they could really use it. Whether its supplying some links to​ the​ smaller sites like the​ golf pass sites or​ quit now site, if​ you can use your SEM experience to​ help get the​ word out they would really appreciate it.

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