How does your non-profit organization use SEM?

An effective way to market your agency’s website

By Rose Reinert
Guest blogger
rose1For those of you who are new to the DonorDreams blog, I’m going chapter by chapter through Lon Safko’s book, The Social Media Bible,  on Mondays and applying his thoughts to the non-profit sector. We continue this lovely Monday with Chapter 19, “Marketing Yourself (Search Engine Marketing)”. Last week we began exploring SEO, and this week we dig a little deeper into marketing yourself through SEM — Search Engine Marketing.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one of the most effective strategies to market and advertise your website; however, there is a cost. In this chapter, Safko unpacks the idea of the idea of CPC (aka Cost Per Click) or PPC (aka Pay Per Click).
At first glance, this entire chapter seemed difficult to apply to our non-profit world. Many budgets are tight and marketing generally does not have a lot of wiggle room. However, after some additional research, I found an awesome manual that will help us explore how to apply SEM to our non-profit world.
The Non-profit’s Guide to Search Engine Marketing  is a free online manual to help your non-profit organization spread its message, cheaply and effectively, with the help of SEM. It gives great examples from real non-profits that effectively apply SEM to increase visibility, attract supporters and donations, and create awareness for their cause.
pay per clickOne great suggestion I found in this resource was to think about ways to turn your charity projects into brands (e.g. the Tap Project). It helps if the brand is descriptive, as opposed to abstract, because people tend to search for generic terms. For example, “CureBlindnessNow” could be both a brand and a search term i.e. “cure for blindness”, “how to cure blindness”, etc.
This online manual doesn’t just explore SEM, but it also provides the reader with even more topics addressing overall online presence, social media, etc.
It is a great read (as is Safko’s Social Media Bible) and worth the click!
I am interested in hearing how your agency utilizes SEM for your organization. Please share your experiences.
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