Nonprofits can gain from search: SES

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NEW YORK - Search is an underutilized marketing channel that could be used to drive donations to nonprofits, according to a panel Friday at the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo.

At the session called "SEM for Non-Profits and Charities," executives from nonprofit marketing agencies discussed the opportunities that many nonprofits miss by not developing good search campaigns. An important thing to consider is the landing page, for example.

"When you think of what you do with your home page and how it represents you to the world, you should apply the same importance to your Google landing page or your Yahoo landing page," said Kevin Gottesman, founder of Gott Advertising. "More often than not, your search page is your door to the world."

Mr. Gottesman discussed a Humane Society campaign that his agency managed which used search as an acquisition tool. With the strategic placement of a photo of a puppy on the landing page, the Humane Society saw 60,000 clicks and grew its e-mail list.

Another factor that could help nonprofits use search is by integrating search with social media.

"Social media can help a campaign, because search engines like it," said Nan Dawkins, partner at RedBoots Consulting. "And by social media, I don't mean advertising. I mean human-to-human contact."

Ms. Dawkins cited the John Edwards presidential campaign as a good example of using social media. The site at www.johnedwards.com lets users create their own blogs. Users throughout the network can then vote for the best blogs to be featured on the page.

But when it comes to a nonprofit search campaign, a multichannel effort is key.

"ROI is going to be higher with a multichannel strategy, because different channels will influence different campaigns," Ms. Dawkins said.

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