Amy Wong, president of Dot Org Solutions in Akron, recently invited Annalisa and me to speak during her Coffee Shop Series on the topic, Digital Data for Nonprofits. We had a great conversation with Amy about what nonprofits can and should be taking away from their marketing data. This is a basic introduction to data analytics, and it’s perfect not only for smaller nonprofits, but also for small businesses that are just starting to dig in to their data.
Webinar Transcript for Digital Data for Nonprofits
Note: This content was created, and is best consumed, as video. If you do choose to read, please be aware this transcript was created using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and a little bit of human editing; it may contain mistakes and typos.
Amy Wong 0:05
Hello everyone and welcome to our June 21 Coffee Shop webinar with our solution. We’re so glad you’re with us on the call today and for those of you who are in Ohio, hopefully you’re enjoying a wonderful day like we are so hope we didn’t have to grab you from the outside to bring you in the webinar but we promise it’s gonna be a great hour with our guests today, day to day. So, if you could just please confirm that you can hear it by just doing a quick wave in the chatbox, really appreciate that.
All right, great. Well, as we are getting started here I just want to kind of go through a few quick reasons. Before we get started, and talk about our.org Cafe version development opportunities and coffee shop webinar. So I’m are talking about webinar today is one of our many network Cafe professional development opportunities that we produce free for nonprofits. Just kind of help them do things when we have our coffee SEC webinars, along with our coffee break newsletter that comes out monthly, and our weekly blogs that we talked about a variety of topics relevant to the nonprofit.
So, our goal today with our webinars to really be a really informative and productive nation that you may not have had before but also be labeled the same time. So, when we use our speakers we really just have conversations, as part of as part of these webinars and hopefully you know you’ll, you’ll learn a few things today that you can put to use right away. And we also just want to make sure that the questions along the way that we would love for you to be able to ask them.
So, the front end of our webinar today. For those of you who might be new to our coffee shop webinars, is that we are going to have panelists and today we’ll have two panelists that I will introduce here in a moment. And the moderator which will be me and my name is Amy Wong and I’m president here at Dot Org Solutions. Only the panelists and the moderator will be visible on the call, everybody else is going to be muted. Today’s discussion with our panelists will be a question and answer format, and we thank those of you who submitted questions ahead of time and hopefully we’ll be able to answer this for you. We’re going to do our best to address questions. Also during the session. So we’re actually talking about a particular topic, please feel free to put your questions in write them we want to make sure that we’re answering them and talking about those particular topics. We’ll also have the chat box in the q&a enabled, so that if you do have questions during the session that you can ask those so and then we’ll have five to 10 minutes at the end of the session specifically to answer any questions that that may come up during the webinar.
So let’s go ahead and get started. Hopefully everybody that is joining us unable to log in and be with us and so I want to get to this and we’re going to introduce our speakers here in just a minute. But really we want to talk about data and measuring the effectiveness of your nonprofit, digital marketing can really give you a lot of information that’s going to help you with your marketing strategy and things that you do. So it helps you know what’s working and what’s not working and that data can also help you understand your constituents and your donors. So, It will help you talk about evaluate your own marketing campaigns and then create personalized strategies because I think all of us now are really looking for that personal connection with the organizations that we support the data can help us a lot to be able to figure out how to do that. But the problem with data is that sometimes, if you don’t understand what it means. It’s very, very hard to know what exactly to do with it. You know something performing models, not performing well, what matters, what doesn’t matter as much. And then, how you actually take all that data and improve your marketing and fundraising.
Well our featured speakers today are fortunately going to help us understand a lot more about that and so with that I’d like to introduce Jen Carroll and Annalisa Hilliard. They are marketing strategy consultants with Data Dames Marketing. Annalisa and Jen both have a lot of years experience in marketing and most recently starting their company, Data Dames. They have a wide range of experience in creating implementing and measuring marketing for clients and also have a wealth of experience in both analytics and marketing, implementation and content just to tell you a little bit about them personally, I’m gonna embarrass them a little bit, because I know them well enough to be able to do this. But when Annalise is not dabbling in data I haven’t have a little fun alliteration there, because she does more than dabble in data she lives data, but she spends your spare time reading, listening to podcasts, advocating for social justice issues and spending time outdoors. I heard she’s also pretty good mixologist to like to try to be an amateur bartender. And then Jen also spends her time reading, and I found this out about her every five years like through the Tolkien trilogy. Every five years and that’s quite a commitment. Loves 80s music. We were friends when I read that, and then also spending time outdoors, … We get to do the embarrassing. You know, this is our webinar you know because on our own webinar or maybe on your podcast.
So why don’t we just go ahead and get started. Because, you know, as I mentioned in the introduction, that there was a lot to talk about in so we could probably spend the next month, really getting a deep dive of the data so maybe we should just start with kind of a simple question like Why did nonprofits actually care about their data and their families.
Annalisa Hilliard 6:17
So, obviously, you know, marketing, original marketing has been important to businesses for forever, and digital marketing has been important, mostly in the last 10 years it’s really gained traction. And I would say even more so with the pandemic and how things played out. So yeah, data is super important for you to, to look at and analyze, especially because you have limited time and resources and we want to make sure that your resources wisely.
Jen Carroll 6:59
I would, I would add to that, from coming from a nonprofit organization that I was recently before we started our company I worked for Mercy medical Center for seven years and a contractor long before that. But you know, I know, again already mentioned, limited time and resources, and I think that already puts nonprofits at a disadvantage because data analysis does take some time and energy and knowledge I feel like a lot of times you’re, you’re just trying to juggle a lot of things so.
Amy Wong 7:36
So you know, Lisa, you did mention and I, we record this I know in some things that we’ve done in Britain and also in our last webinar with the pandemic changed a lot about digital Can you talk about that a little bit.
Annalisa Hilliard 7:51
Yeah, so I guess, obviously, you know we’re on this call on a zoom webinar where, like pre pandemic we will probably be in person so it’s online, even more than we were prior to. And, you know, that kind of parallels with your marketing efforts as well. More people are looking for your services online. And so it’s super important to have a presence that people can find and engage with,
Jen Carroll 8:21
and not just fine but you sift through the noise as well, because people are online so much more, it’s going to be all that much more difficult to get your donors, attention, or even or even volunteer, you know, getting volunteers, you know, he important. Again, just difficult time getting people’s attention.
Amy Wong 8:46
And I would agree with that, I mean you start to see people of all ages but you know we think of certain demographics that may not have traditionally reached through digital means. And you’re starting to see that a lot more now, so you see a lot of older generations or people who support us typically online looking for things that are now looking for them. So, you know, they’re looking for your nonprofit. So what kinds of data analytics should nonprofits know and understand?
Annalisa Hilliard 9:22
Well I guess I would reframe that a little bit by saying, Where should you be looking at data? What mediums? So, obviously, your website probably comes to mind. Other things that you can collect data on and analyze would be email and social media.
Jen Carroll 9:42
We know some nonprofits do use Google Ads, and that can be, you can obviously collect data on other types of advertising, as well.
Annalisa Hilliard 9:53
Sure. And we’ll get into the tools a little bit later, I know, in our conversation.
Amy Wong 10:02
So like, so mainly I mean if we’re thinking is like kind of the three main areas of digital that nonprofits probably will want to dive into that would be like your web, email, and social.
Amy Wong 10:18
So, that’s easy. That’s easy to say, Sure, let’s just look at our website, email and social media data and you know we have reams of it but we can look through and things on googling like we have no idea what it is. So when we’re talking about the data. What actually, what actually is it because there’s mounds of it.
Annalisa Hilliard 10:40
And the great thing about it is access to it and your ability to watch it. So I would say two of the main categories that we’re breaking down into are your conversion data, and your engagement metrics. And so some of those would be for conversions we typically like to talk about micro and macro conversions. And so, like are going to be your smaller conversions maybe like people signing up for our newsletter or staying on your site for a certain amount of time video in a certain way, and your, your macro conversions are going to be your big ones, a donation. volunteer sign up for volunteers on a menu. Yeah. Right. So breaking it down into micro macro conversion is something that’s important because a lot of times your micro conversions, you’ll kind of see, leading up to that macro conversion and you’ll see increase in micro conversions. So it’s important to track both of them because you can have progress on one side before you have products and another and then it can kind of causation but it can definitely give you an idea of whether your efforts are gaining traction,
Jen Carroll 12:22
You know, and oftentimes if there, you know if it’s, you know, it’s additional data to show that you’re either being effective in what you’re doing or not. In between, you know, the bigger the bigger conversions it’s more and more evidence that you know you either are doing the right things, or maybe you need to pivot. I’m specifically talking about micro conversions and tracking.
Amy Wong 12:49
So, you know, we’ve already, you know, impacted me as a whole data thing conversion is like, what exactly is that what exactly I mean we’re talking micro and macro, and it’s, you know programs. What are you converting from I mean, what exactly does that, Does that mean?
Annalisa Hilliard 13:08
So, conversions. Conversions are really, you know what is, what is the goal, what are some of your goals, what are, what is the end game to those goals, what are we putting all of our efforts, you know, why are we doing these things. And obviously, you know, yes conversion and engagement are both important but you know you also have to consider your user and whether you’re reaching them and, and that goes a lot into like messaging, and whether you are speaking the language that your, your audience can relate to and to grab onto. So
Jen Carroll 13:52
maybe they’re kind of talking a little bit about conversion optimization so I don’t know if it’s helpful to, you know, I mean, obviously defining term conversion is people complete a goal that that you want them to complete a donation, would be a macro conversion versus you know watching a video as you know a micro conversion, but you’d like them to watch a video, you’d like them to donate. You know that’s kind of that’s kind of what we need. Does that help me like defining that a little better, or
Amy Wong 14:23
I guess I’m wondering so like, I’m thinking so what, what, what do you get to that point so maybe it’s like okay, we send out a social media so that has a video on it. So the goal of a social media post is for somebody to watch the video. Right, I mean, you’re sending out an email, the email has a donation link that somebody clicks on the donation link is the first conversion to the second conversion would actually be them. Being on a website, and actually going through the donation, is that correct.
Annalisa Hilliard 14:57
Yeah, one of the micro conversions would be actually even opening emails, right. On your email platform you typically have that kind of data, where you can see an open rate, and we would consider that.
Amy Wong 15:12
And we’re going to talk through some of this, I just wanted to kind of as we started out have people understand, like, you know, what exactly agree with me because I think that’s a relatively new current process or nonprofits don’t haven’t really done much in the digital marketing space it’s kind of a new onset and with being able to under understand that. So let’s talk a little bit about in an engagement and kind of conversions we have engagement. So let’s talk about engagement, a little bit. Now what that means. Not putting a ring on somebody.
Jen Carroll 15:53
It’s a little squishier.
Annalisa Hilliard 15:56
Yeah, so some of the engagement metrics that you can find in Google Analytics and again we’ll kind of get to the tools that we use on a regular basis, but a lot of the engagement data you’ll see, like I mentioned before, More in the micro conversion category of like, how long has one stayed on your site, how many pages they visited when they went on your site. If they watched a video on a call to action, or, or kind of volunteered to diversion and then the actual creation of volunteer application. So, when you look at like that you can say okay well, like maybe x number of people let’s say 10 people clicked on the button but only five people donated, and then you can analyze why might that be
Jen Carroll 16:56
another place, talking about engagement, versus, versus the conversion that you’re likely to have a lot more engagement, would you say that.
Annalisa Hilliard 17:11
Yeah, for sure, I mean especially when you’re trying to engage your audience so that they become a donor, or maybe they become a regular donor and so a lot of times it’s, it’s the little things along the way of the donation or the or the signing up to volunteer with your organization.
Jen Carroll 17:35
Because in the past you’ve had, we’ve had some kids who get a little bit fixated on bounce rates. Maybe I think it’s a good idea to mention that because it’s, you know, kind of prominent when people log into the data.
Annalisa Hilliard 17:51
Yeah, a lot of people talk about bounce rate. And that’s certainly a, you know, something to pay attention to, I would say more on a page level than when you open Google Analytics, and you look at a report, it will give you a page by page bounce rate but also give you an overall boundary. And so, I mean depending on the contact page like if it’s just a page, maybe an about page, you might expect the higher bounce rate than like a page where you want people to engage or spend time on. You want that bounce rate to be lower, and how they calculate a bounce rate is someone coming to your site and not engaging at all, and leaving, so a scroll is even considered engagement so if they don’t scroll they don’t click, they don’t do anything, and they leave, then that adds to the bounce rate. So, important metric, but also, yeah one not to get fixated on just because, I mean there are pages of your website where you’re just getting come in to get information and hopefully the information that they’re looking for. They can find without really even scrolling, and that’s not a bad thing, they’re looking for, you know, your phone number or they’re looking for your address would be, you know, something that they could come to your website, get and leave without engaging. So
Amy Wong 19:23
I think that’s really helpful because I think that, you know, because of the way Google Analytics hooked up and maybe the basic understanding a lot of people have this like they see that concrete number, and then directly within industry standard number and home suddenly terrible we have to redo it, instead of recognizing the fact that there might be some instances like that they just want your phone number, or they may just want your address, or they may find the download that they specifically needed right away because maybe it really good SEO.
Annalisa Hilliard 19:54
So maybe you go back in time and see how that function is changing. If it’s something that like was low and now it’s high. Well yeah, there might be something wrong with that page or it could be the tracking because every time you set up tracking, you know, technically, I don’t want to I don’t want to go down that path too far but, you know, every time you set up a different tag, or tracking data that can affect the bounce rate depending on how you set the tempo. So, you know, there are troubleshooting things that you can do, looking at your metrics over time can kind of help you with the bigger picture, you know, is it something that is just temporary. Is that something that, wow, fell fell huge amount, you know, where we went from a really high bounce rate to a really low bounce rate, which is great. Just kind of doing some digging.
Jen Carroll 20:53
Often times you’ve told me, again, that you like to do certain types of comparison with data as opposed to like February to March or whenever March to September, you know, by month you’d like to look at a specific time from the previous year.
Annalisa Hilliard 21:12
Yeah, so I know like a lot of nonprofits have, you know seasons as far as, You know, maybe certain fundraisers that they do, and it’s around the same time every year so that’s why it’s good to look, you know, year over year versus month over month, you might have done something, you know, you might have done a fundraising event in March compared to February, and of course you’re going to look at data that’s probably way better. And vice versa, you know, if you compare it to the next month and you had a fundraiser last month, you’re going to see your data, probably, you know, drop a bit and then you’ll probably be shocked. So that’s why, definitely, if you can, if you have that historical data, and in Google Analytics as long as you’ve had your Analytics installed on your website, you should be able to go back to when that code was installed so you might have five years worth of data, you might have. You might have two. But ideally, you would want to compare year over year.
Amy Wong 22:12
And I think that holds true seasonally for nonprofits. It could hold true for needs. So maybe you’re, we’re a nonprofit that have a very large presence, or need during the beginning of COVID and so you may have seen huge spikes in certain pages which are leveling off or. I think you’re right. And, and, you know that leveling off tells you a lot things, too. Like we joke that every time we post a new job, our LinkedIn followers goes way up. There are those weird spikes in data.
So you know we talked a little bit about, well, we talked a lot about website data, but what about like social media data, so you know social media is kind of like that wild frontier. You know you talked about likes and shares, interaction, impressions. You know what actually does that information help us do and what does that tell us?
Jen Carroll 23:20
Well, I think that much like micro conversions on your website is a little bit ago. I think it’s really important to think of social media engagement metrics as similar micro conversions. In that, you know, they are. It’s, it’s helpful, and if you’re tracking them properly, you can, you know you can discern some you know some of that information that helps you know if you’re going in the right direction or you’re making progress to your goals. But, you know, the social media metrics, again, you kind of just rent your space on social media, you do not own your presence on social meda. So, you know, Facebook and Instagram right now are at war with Apple, and it’s changing the metrics, and we have no control over that, we have no control over their algorithms. We have no control over a lot of things on social media, so I think it’s always important to like put those metrics into perspective, because, you know, you need to focus on your goals, and more on like what you want to accomplish, and are you moving more toward those goals, as opposed to, like how many likes your Facebook posts they got because your control over that is pretty minimal.
Annalisa Hilliard 24:56
For those of you who are into sports, it would be like an assist, right, like social media to be an assist to your larger organizational goals and your website goal.
Amy Wong 25:07
I think that’s a really good analogy, because, you know, social media is one of the things that is you have to be there but it’s misunderstood and that changes so much that it’s hard to keep track of everything that it is that you need to know is specific to you so you know your website, you’re right, it’s kind of that tell all of where you want to drive people when you’re in the digital space.
So, you know, we’ve talked a lot about like, you know, engagement and conversions are really I think you’re talking about digital are the two things you really want to try and accomplish. I’m a nonprofit. This is all new to me, like, where, where do I start like what do I do next. I’m kinda just starting to understand this digital stuff. What do you think I should be doing?
Annalisa Hilliard 25:59
I think that gets us into talking about tools. And thankfully there are a lot of free tools out there. Google Analytics is a free tool and it is probably the number one analytics platform out there. You can use it mostly for your website but there are ways that you can pull data from your, your email marketing or your social media, you can pull that into Google Analytics. But some of the some of the ways that you know you can learn more about Analytics, Google has a free Analytics Academy, that you can go through and they you know, it’s, it’s, you’re watching instructional videos and then at the end. There’s different like levels you can take there beginner beginner level, new to you. And then you can take a test at the end and become certified and I would say there’s probably plan three hours worth of education, and they offer they’re even just in the beginner course for free.
Another tool to use would be Webmaster Tools. So Google has kind of a suite of tools that are free, so Google Search Console is one of them, as well as Bing kinda has theirs. They call it Webmaster Tools. And it’s similar. Similar to Google only it’s on Microsoft Bing platform. And Google Tag Manager, which I would say with a caveat, that if you are new to Google Analytics don’t even think about Tag Manager. For now, I mean, know that it’s there, and it can definitely be something that you can grow into and and use in the future but it’s a very technical tool, and it takes a lot of time to learn, so I would suggest getting familiar with Google Analytics and the reports, and there’s a lot of reports even within Google Analytics. So, you know, get, get a feel for your way around and the reports, and all that you can all the data that you can look at and analyze, And once you’re feeling comfortable and confident with it, maybe you know adding a free tool like tag manager.
Jen Carroll 0:06
I think, you know, too, when you’re digging into analytics, it’s always important to go in with your goal in mind and talked about that. I mean we’ve mentioned it, you know, your, your macro conversions are tied directly to the goals that you have in the organization. Usually when we sit down with clients and Amy, I’m sure you have a very similar process, so you can jump in as well. But you know we always like to ask clients you know what, what are they doing to strengthen the foundation of their organization, like what’s that major objective? Is it to launch, you know, a new program, is it to, you know, sustain, the one that you have or you know whatever your objective and then you set goals so that you know you’re moving toward that objective so you know, does that necessitate a certain amount of donations, you know, a certain percentage increase from last year. It should be something numerical so that you know when you look at data, however you’re looking at, at your data. Some of you might actually even in addition to Google Analytics, you probably have lots of data in your, I’m thinking of your donation management system, whatever you might have. Blackbaud is one that I’ve that I’m most familiar with, but I know there’s more out there, you know, so you can come at your data with with those goals in mind, knowing, you know what you need to accomplish and then how does your marketing align with that. So I mean if you know if your goal is, you know, to, to grow, donations by you know a certain percentage then, then you’re in your marketing, whether that’s online or offline and hopefully they’re, they’re integrated together that marketing should be helping you move specifically toward that goal, and so that’s you know when you approach your data, be thinking about those things and
Annalisa Hilliard 2:08
Yea, and I would stress that because, I mean, there’s so much data, and you can collect so much data and you can spend so much time analyzing that. If you don’t have goals that kind of help you focus in on specific metrics that really matter, like you, you can spend a lot of time. And I know, obviously we talked, the beginning time, resources are limited, so, you know, making the best of the time that you have, really, really stems from setting those goals.
Amy Wong 2:40
And I think too, You know, it’s, I think we all have a tendency when we try something new, it’s like okay we have to go all in promoting events all the time we have to do all this. I mean, I think it could be even, you know, the goals have to be super massive goals, they don’t have to be extensive percentage increases, I mean, you may want to say like, Okay, we want to increase overall web traffic by 1%, a quarter, and these are the five things that we’re going to do, to push more people to our website and then maybe you just say like okay. Is anything working, is it not? And maybe start small instead of trying to say like, Okay, we need to increase donations by 15% across all digital platforms as an integrated thing and you’ve never even really spent a lot of time looking at your email and some of that information that might be really helpful. I mean, do you guys have any thoughts on like kind of some ways to really dip your toe into the water and the versus going all in?
Annalisa Hilliard 3:47
Yeah I mean I think it starts with expectations, right, So, with organic so the unpaid side of digital marketing. That’s kind of a long game. And so it’s important to kind of look at results over time. Hopefully you’re going like incrementally in the right direction. But also don’t abandon ship before you give it time, so give it, give it some time you’re doing, like let’s say you’re doing a blog series, you know, initially you might have some traction and you put a newsletter out here. You might have some initial traction and then it might fall off if you’re not sharing it on from me or something but you know one blog post is not going to be enough over time to see a large increase you got to continue, kind of, you know, maybe, weekly or monthly, you know, supporting that blog post with other social media promotion like I said, or continuing to write other blog posts on your website,
Jen Carroll 4:56
Or repurposing that content in another way, through a webinar into your email, I mean, that’s another piece that we’ve, you know, we’ve mentioned about your email and, you know, obviously, using your earned audience your email subscribers, you know, to the best of your ability is another way.
Annalisa Hilliard 5:16
And then you should start to see kind of build up, you know, those efforts over time but it will take time, especially if you’re in a very competitive space. You know, I haven’t worked a lot in nonprofits, but with the clients I’ve worked with, like, it’s very competitive space like plumbing, right. Your efforts are going to take a lot longer than if you’re in a non competitive space. A lot of our, you know manufacturing clients are, you know, they’re not as competitive, there’s not as many of them so keep that in mind too, if you’re, you’re in a space that’s very competitive, just know it’s gonna take more time.
Jen Carroll 5:56
And I can add to that, like, in the nonprofit space I mean it’s like healthcare is a, is a great example here in Northeast Ohio, you know there’s a lot of, you know, healthcare providers in this area some really amazing ones. And so, you know, in the healthcare nonprofit space like that, it takes time to, that’s going to take a long time to, to come to fruition just because it is highly competitive.
Amy Wong 6:22
And I know we’re not here to talk about content today but I think your others made a point about your repurposing content. Don’t, don’t be afraid to repurpose content, I mean I think people like campus out there a second time because we already did it, especially when you’re talking about social media, even your e-newsletters, we repurpose content all the time, just because we don’t know when a particular audience may see something and so, or when they know, I mean we have good analytics and we can or sometimes we repurpose things, if something is relevant again. So, you know, maybe you are in the healthcare space and there’s a topic that’s not COVID, maybe it’s Heart Disease Awareness Month or something, and it’s Heart Month, and there’s some content that’s evergreen that you can continue to use and maybe just need to refresh. I think nonprofits as a whole think, always have to have new, always have to have new. Always look at ways to repurpose what you have and because you probably have an arsenal of content that you can use.
Jen Carroll 7:28
I think it’s important, like you said, like we kind of talked about earlier about how much that we can’t control. And, you know, like the social media space, and, and we can’t really control how long that long game is going to take. So, you know, focusing on the things that you can control like, right, like repurposing that content. You know, looking at, you know, I think, one, one thing that that we talked about. A lot of times, Another thing we talked about how some clients get very fixated on bounce rates. Another thing that clients get fixated on is their most visited pages so they’re in analytics and they’re looking at their, their most visited pages and they’re like, oh you know what does this, what does this tell me. Well, you know, I don’t know. I feel like at least you can speak to this because it comes up a lot, so this is what it’s like front center when you log in.
Annalisa Hilliard 8:28
Yeah, so, again, it kind of, I think if you can step back a little bit and look at the bigger picture of things. Having your goals set so that you know like, are those actually the pages that we want people to visit the most, and, you know, if they’re not, then you know you know you need to kind of go back to the drawing board and, and, kind of, change your approach, or pivot. And so, yeah, I mean, going in and just opening the record up. It’s really hard to just open the report and say oh wait, oh man like these are our top 10 pages. These are our most important pages. Well, no, not necessarily. They’re just the pages that get the most traction as far as traffic is concerned. And again, knowing what your goals are, you can say okay well those are not the pages that we want or some of those are the pages that we want, and they kind of go from, from there. So, one thing that we always say is that data shouldn’t drive your strategy, that it should it should assist or should inform your strategy. So,
Amy Wong 9:43
yeah. You’ve talked a lot about comparison over the long term, so it’s probably a little bit more like investing in the stock market, you’re not gonna day trade you’re actually in it for the long term kind of thing.
Annalisa Hilliard 9:57
Yeah, I mean, obviously I’m sure most of you are familiar with the paid side of search and that’s kind of the short game like that can fill you in for, you know, you’re just starting up your organic search presence efforts, you know, supplementing with, with a can help if you have the resources. The thing to caution is don’t put all your eggs in that basket, just because as soon as you shut off your ads, your traffic. It might not stop but it will, it will definitely decline,
Jen Carroll 10:35
and I mean I know that a lot of, not all nonprofits and many nonprofits do have the Google Ads grants. And so, I do know that, you know, that, you know, nonprofits do sometimes get into that paid space, I guess, maybe I’ll just briefly off topic just say to definitely learn, learn that space because it’s very complex. It’s as complex as Google Analytics, and then make sure that it’s tied to your Google Analytics. So that you know that it’s functioning the way it should. So that was my–a little off topic.
Annalisa Hilliard 11:12
Google has some free tools to help you manage it. If you aren’t, check into it. You might be able to get some free grants.
Amy Wong 11:24
Now I do think that’s probably one of the things people will ask a question about because I think some nonprofits are a little bit more familiar with the Google algorithms and not and just since we are on this topic, what are, I mean, have you seen any nonprofits that have used that grant and, well, what are some things that maybe they can use background for because it’s pretty sizable.
Annalisa Hilliard 11:47
I think it’s up to $10,000, a month, a month, which is a lot of money to manage like we’re working with one nonprofit right now. And, like, they’re doing a lot of brand campaigns, this is great, but they’re not nearly maxing out my budget because they’re not really, they don’t have any campaigns that are that are non branded.
Jen Carroll 12:11
What does that mean?
Annalisa Hilliard 12:12
So the current campaigns obviously are going to have, you know any queries with someone searching, including the name of your organization, and not brands are going to be, you know, maybe they’re talking about the services you offer or they’re and it’s something that’s parallel, what you do. Or it intersects what you do so.
Amy Wong 12:38
So let’s say somebody is looking for mental health agencies in Northeast Ohio. That may be something that a mental health agency might viewed a Google AdWords or because they’re in a Facebook, more broad, and that people might be searching for a nonprofit, as opposed to, you know, XYZ agency might want promote one over the other, but, you know, and XYZ agency, mental health.
Annalisa Hilliard 13:17
Yeah, I guess, to go back to conversions. Amy, you asking, you know, if you’re using a Google grant, how do you use as well, how do you think you could use it well. Again, going back to conversions. What conversions do you have set up, and those should go back to kind of the why of your advertising. So if you’re advertising for, for a specific cause like a specific campaign or something then you know you want to track conversions. If you’re, if you’re in your campaign is just like raising awareness about your, your brand, your organization, you may not have those hard conversions, you might have, you know, more of the like, hey, we’re seeing traffic, and this, this traffic compared to other mediums, like if they’re coming from search, or they’re coming from social or they’re coming from your email newsletter. How does that traffic, compared to other mediums, you know, are they spending more time on your site? Are they, visiting your pages? Or even if they’re just kind of, compared to organic traffic. If your organic traffic does well, does your paid traffic do equally as well? That’s great.
Amy Wong 14:39
And I think that’s the thing about conversions and about tracking data is there’s no like right or wrong way to go about it, or I shouldn’t say right or wrong way, there’s probably not a set way that you go about it, or everything that you do right, so if you’re just trying to let people know that let’s say my mental health provider in Northeast Ohio as opposed to, we want people to come to your organization for the specific service, and you want them to sign off or you want them to make a donation or something and they’re very different measurements that have to be done in different ways, you’re going to be looking at that data very different.
Jen Carroll 15:20
Actually I will throw out one other things that I think you guys could look at and, Annalisa, you’ll have to jump in on this because this is not my area of expertise, but like the branded searches, like organic specifically talking about, you know ads and raising awareness. But, you know, we haven’t we haven’t even touched about how privacy laws and things are changing data and I feel like that’s like a little bit more of a separate conversation that we don’t need to get into but I mean privacy is changing the way data is collected, and so one of the best ways to see if awareness about your organization is growing, is through watching your branded organic, and, and so I would like to mention that briefly because I think it’s important. Yeah.
Annalisa Hilliard 16:10
Google Analytics used to show like search queries and traffic coming from a specific query, they don’t anymore. However, the Google Search Console tool that I mentioned briefly does allow you to see queries that people are using and so that’s one way to look again looking at specific times or comparing it to, you know, the same time period. Here you can see specific pages even and like queries that people are using. And, you know, when people are showing those pages in search.
Jen Carroll 16:50
So yeah, so obviously, one micro goal that you might have is, when you think like you tell somebody oh we want to, you know, one of our goals is to increase brand awareness. Well, one thing that you might look at is that metric in Google Search Console to see if, you know, year over year. Yeah, more people are typing her name into a search engine because they know us, they saw us on a billboard, they heard us in a radio ad, they may have seen our search google searchad or whatever.
Annalisa Hilliard 17:17
Yeah, I guess the one metric that would show in Google Analytics that would kind of correlate would be direct traffic. So people coming directly to your website not using search, find you, they either have you bookmarked or they find being directly into the router become right to your site.
Jen Carroll 17:37
So you’re seeing a nice increase on that, over time, you know that you’re doing something to get your name out you’re doing something well, that is making people more aware of who you are.
Annalisa Hilliard 17:50
Even that can tie back to like build, you know, billboards or doing you know ads in the community.
Amy Wong 17:58
That might be one of those situations where you see the spike, right? Or you may have a billboard campaigns or you’re seeing a particular page and like, like your particular area. So, we can have so much information that can tell us so when we do with that, once we have it?
Annalisa Hilliard 18:19
Yeah, so one of the great ways to kind of tie this all together and be like you. Looking at the data that matters to you. You can create, and they have templates already that you can maybe find the template with the data you want. They had Google Analytics offers custom reports, or custom dashboards, and so you can pull the data into one spot that you want to look at. And so I think, you know, if you can set up or use a template that they have already pulling in the data that matters. I think that that gives you a place where you can just you know at any point in time. Look at your metrics. You can change the date ranges to to do comparisons. And then, you know, Keeping in mind, and this is a long game. You know we have to we have to give it time to take back. Keep checking back, you can, you know when it’s, when it’s a constant if it’s in a custom dashboard that that data just updates automatically. So, you know, you can come in every week, and we can look at and say okay, like we’re incrementally moving in the right direction or you might see that, you know what you’re doing isn’t working and that’s totally normal. I mean, not everything that you do is going to be, gonna be a hit. It’s not gonna be, you know, a home run, so you have to make adjustments. And, again, not letting the data drive that, but letting it inform what you’re doing, and your, your strategy moving forward.
Jen Carroll 20:00
I think led to coming from a previous nonprofit job. Having a dashboard is extremely can be very custom dashboard can be very helpful, because I wasn’t even in the analytics you know once a week and sometimes was you know once a month and I was like prepared where it was one metric and I, you know, and then you waste all this time trying to figure out what that one important metric was. When you have a custom dashboard, boom, it’s right there. I don’t know if anybody else ever has any experience out there but it was my experience, all the time.
Amy Wong 20:35
Well, if you’re using dashboards, is this a really good one I’m looking for a really good practice anyway, whether you’re looking at a digital, you know, digital information or dashboard that you’re using to collect information on, you know your programs or your fundraising or other marketing that you’re doing because it really gives you some clear picture of, as she says, you know, measuring the things that matter to you, and what they matter to one nonprofit may not matter to another nonprofit, it is how are you going about doing things. And, um, you know, Jen, to your point, you know, establishing some regular time to look at your data, I think, you know, and I will say I’m guilty of that as well, not as guilty as they used to be but, you know, not looking at website traffic, where are people coming from and, you know, again, as you mentioned, this is not in the business, the b2c people have been doing digital really well for a while. And, you know, nonprofits are, and even B2B, we’re on more of a new revelation that people should be doing a lot of this. So, I guess, you know, having that dashboard is a great starting point for you. So the one, one thing you did say when we were preparing for the call today and I don’t remember which one of you said, but you did say let the data inform your strategy not dictate it and then you don’t follow the data where it’s going. And I can’t remember what context that was. Do you guys were talking about that a little bit because I think data can be informative yet misleading at the same time so I think that might have been what you were referring to.
Annalisa Hilliard 22:25
Yeah, and I guess I can’t stress that focus on your goals. Right. So, you know, if you’re looking at your goals, you can really go back to the data and say okay, I’m looking, I’m gonna look at this data, and I’m going to, you know, instead of jumping into, just opening Google Analytics, and the first report that that open, and you’re like, oh, like, the numbers and they just like suck you in. You start to like, you know, go down the rabbit trai. The Chase. Chase data and be like, oh, there’s literally just so much data to look at that, if you don’t have that focus, you’ll find yourself kind of chasing the data versus, you know, allowing, allowing your goals and your strategies to focus your efforts in analyzing the data.
Jen Carroll 23:22
Well, I think I was trying to remember the conversation maybe too and I wonder if we were I think maybe we were talking about, you know again if you have an action that you want somebody to take on your website. And you, you know, maybe in the data shows that they’re doing something else, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you know that that’s what they, that’s what they came there for, that’s what they want to do and could be like the way your website is laid out. It could be, you know, it could be that giant orange button that looks less important than the green button down here, but people are clicking on the orange button because it’s in their face, you know I mean so it’s that whole perspective of like back to your goals. I want them to click on the green button, not the orange button, but everybody’s clicking on the orange button so that maybe not necessarily weight, chasing the data, it could be, I need to swap out, I need to make a change on the site so that people are doing what I want them to do or whatever so I think making that was kind of where we’re talking about.
Annalisa Hilliard 24:31
Yeah, I know we do when we do an optimized page, not a website as a whole, but a specific page, you know one of the things in that optimization process is always, what’s the purpose of this page right and so when you determine what the purpose of the pages, you have to like look at it from a research standpoint, and it’s really hard because we’re on our websites all the time. We see our website all the time. And you know we’re. It’s an internal thing for us. We can’t always step out, outside of it and see the big picture, but if you can get in the mindset of doing that, when you’re, you’re running a campaign or you’re, you’re doing a piece of content or creating a new page on your website, you know, what’s the purpose of this thing, what do we want the user to do. And, is there a clear path for the user to do that. Get that question.
Amy Wong 25:34
Yeah and I think that’s really helpful. It’s a really good way of pulling data, I agree with you that. No, it’s like anything, we’re close enough or too close to something. We have that clouds our ability to see what somebody from the outside see it being able to step back and ask questions, certainly very helpful. So we are actually getting to the end of our time together today, but in our last few minutes, I would like to have everybody if you have questions, please put them in the q&a box, as we’re wrapping things up today, I’d like to ask you guys for your final thoughts about digital data, and, you know, the lesson or recommendations that you might have for folks today.
Jen Carroll 26:25
Annalisa Hilliard 26:26
Focus is a huge thing, right. Using tools to your advantage. With those goals in mind so that you can focus your efforts,
Jen Carroll 26:38
recognize it’s okay, when, when data is not, you know when data is not going in the right direction, use it as an indicator that you need to make some changes.
Annalisa Hilliard 26:49
Or give it more time.
Jen Carroll 26:50
Yeah, great. Well, actually, great point. I don’t even know if we mention the long game. Yeah, so remember that, you know, maybe, maybe it’s going to take a little time to gel, you know, just trying to think if there’s anything else just, I mean that to let data inform your strategy, not dictate it. Just like just a wrap up of the key points.
Annalisa Hilliard 27:15
Yeah and I would say, you know, one great thing about digital marketing is you get the data piece, you know, the traditional side is is necessary, and it still has its place, and it’s still important to your overall goals as an organization. But the nice thing about digital is you can track your effort and say, Hey, is this is this doing what we kind of intended it to do.
Amy Wong 27:44
And I will say here we are talking about the Google Analytics Academy I know a lot of people don’t go into Google Analytics on their site, and it is overwhelming but the academy club is very, very good. And it’s a really great way to help you understand the basics of it, and, you know, so for those who, you know, have a little bit of time or want to make some time to understand their using little data better. It’s a great way to be able to be able to do that. Well, I want to thank both of you for joining us today, and I know that data isn’t always the most, you know, engaging topic but really you know, it really does a new thing for us and should be able to inform our decisions. We did get a quick question that came on the news. Oh, this was just a comment, a question about content actually down directly tube is when you use content again and again, you rephrase it and you directly request repurposing content.
Jen Carroll 28:51
I think I think when you are moving in completely different platforms. I think you would absolutely. You know, I wouldn’t necessarily rephrase it, I might quote it so you know if it’s, you know your email in your email newsletter I mean, you may not want to put the whole article in there but you might want to give that, that intro and send them, you know, if you’re doing a social media post absolutely you can use, you know, directly pieces and parts of it. The only thing you don’t want to do is create multiple pages on your website with the same exact content that’s that’s definitely a no no. But otherwise, I would definitely feel comfortable like in different in different marketing’s spheres or variants, just using that content, you know, again. Annalisa, do you have any thoughts on this?
Amy Wong 29:49
I think in terms of repurposing content you know the content itself, everything, really a lot of what I think there will drive people to your website as much as possible. And then that way you don’t have to change the contrast but how that content may be pushed out on the social media may sound differently than that. But if you’re running the same social media posts, there’s no problem whatsoever of copying the exact same social media. So I think a big factor in like how you’re actually doing that content of your email newsletter that goes out to donors, and then you may have one that goes out to program participants. The article may be relevant to both of them but the meetings may be different descriptions of those particular audiences. Finish and start started down that path and my guess was audience audience. Audience is a whole different discussion that we won’t be talking about today, but, but thank you again to both of you and before we head out today.
We just want to talk a little bit about to talk about our coffee shops. Upcoming webinars, we’re actually done we’re going to be taking a few months off during the summer and we’re going to be starting our webinars again in September so we’ll be sending more information out in August about what we’re going to be doing we’re excited about what we’re gonna be doing for the fall over time we’re going to continue to have our, our blogs out for you, monthly newsletter and all those other kinds of things but we’re gonna take a little summer break, and give you a little summer break from webinars as well. But if you do have questions I just wanted to put up Annalisa and Jen’s and my information. So if you guys do have questions. That information is there for you. So, we are at three o’clock. Oh yeah, I just jump in and say those actually are their email addresses so I get that. So, oh my gosh, I apologize for that. So it’s jen at datadamesmarketing.com and annalisa at datadamesmarketing.com. And I apologize for that. A little typo there but that is their pictures, that’s really
All right, well thank you everybody for participating today and we will hopefully see you again in September.
Jen Carroll writes. She excels at making complicated things understandable, telling a compelling story, and developing manageable plans to achieve big ideas. She’s the content marketing and social media advising half of the dynamic Data Dames duo.