Founded on the idea that non-profits should have the same access to expertise as enterprise companies, Nonprofit Megaphone aim to provide specialized, measurable marketing tools to a variety of non-profit organziations. Read more about this unique agency in this spotlight interview with CEO and founder Grant Hensel.
How would you describe your company in less than 100 words?
Nonprofit Megaphone acquires and manages the Google Grant for nonprofits. We work with a wide variety of organizations, from YMCAs and JCCs to zoos, adoption centers, animal rights groups, church planting ministries, international development agencies and dozens more. The Google Ad Grant is a program that gives 501(c)3 organizations $10,000/month in advertising credit to promote their work to the world. We have created a video showing how the process works in more depth, available on our homepage: nonprofitmegaphone.com
Besides acquiring new customers, what is the biggest challenge in growing your business?
Hiring people who share our values and standards. Nonprofit Megaphone has four core values that every new hire must demonstrate:
- Honorable. We do what is right, regardless of whether or not it is easy, or if anyone is watching. This sense of honor and integrity comes from within, and doesn’t need to be imposed externally.
- Delivers Results. Many people are passionate, many people are talented, but few people deliver real, tangible results. At Nonprofit Megaphone, everything can be measured, from client performance to satisfaction to retention. Our people know how to “move the needle”, for ourselves and for our customers.
- Go-Getter. We don’t just take orders, we take the time to understand our ultimate goals, and develop new ways to get there without needing to be prompted. Members of the NPM team suggest ideas all the time, and we prioritize and execute on them every week.
- Vision. Ultimately, our work is about impact for the organizations that we serve. Our people catch this vision for the future and want to see us empower hundreds of organizations and thousands of people all over the world.
Finding these qualities is remarkably difficult, which forces us to hire slowly and carefully. However, the benefits of creating an aligned and high-performance organization are well worth the wait. As they say in racing: sometimes you have to slow down to go faster.
What do you think is the most interesting recent trend in digital advertising?
I think nonprofit organizations will increasingly see the benefit of creating custom landing pages tailored to specific advertising messages. The organizations we work with are always interested in improving visitor experience and conversions after they click on an ad. We are able to share the value of tightly integrating the ad message and the landing page message with them.
One stat we have recently confirmed is that the average Google Ad Grant recipient only uses $300 per month of their $10,000 credit, which is an incredible lost opportunity. Agencies like Nonprofit Megaphone step into that gap and help nonprofits derive many, many times more value from their Ad Grants than the average. We also have an opportunity to help them make their online presence as a whole more sophisticated, ensuring that website analytics are set up and properly configured, and that impactful conversions are being tracked.
How will this trend(s) impact advertisers in the future?
With ad prices rising over time, the impetus is on advertisers to increase the value of each click they receive as well. More sophisticated landing pages, capture and nurturing strategies and reporting capabilities will be needed to keep up. For example, we are working with a number of clients to implement fun, informative quizzes as a way of simultaneously educating visitors and capturing their email addresses for further communication down the road.
What trends do you see in PPC reporting?
For our organization, the most important element in a PPC reporting tool was the ability to automate as much of the repetitive, manual work as possible. Moving forward we expect to see a greater focus on providing interactive online and mobile friendly or native app dashboards. Agencies will need to provide reporting for a client base that is increasingly interested in near real-time performance or updates on the go. One observation from our clients in particular has been the value of including definitions of online ad agency buzzwords. As a result, we include a key at the bottom of each of our reports, just in case someone forgets what an “impression” or “click through rate” actually means. We all have enough to juggle already!
What are the biggest challenges you face in PPC campaign management?
Our niche is managing the Google Grant. Although it gives us access to $10,000/month in budget, our max cost per click bid is capped, so it is always a creative challenge to find lower cost but still high value search terms. While this is a main challenge of our work, having done it successfully for dozens of clients gives us a great starting point for each new campaign.
We have had a number of clients whose campaigns only begin performing to our desires after weeks or even months of creating campaigns, tweaking copy and adding keywords, only to suddenly break through. One client is in the very competitive credit counseling industry, which is typically dominated by deep pocketed rivals that can outbid a nonprofit’s $2 max cost per click. Our team discovered that the organization also had a series of very helpful tools on their websites, such as loan calculators, and built campaigns around those. As a result, the client is now getting hundreds of new people to their website each day.
What are the top 5 tools or apps you use almost every day?
Slack – Our team communication lives on Slack, with channels for different areas of focus.
Google Drive – All corporate files are stored in Google Drive, with permissions allocated according to individual team members’ needs.
Asana – This is our team nexus for project management and task management. Asana keeps us sane and allows us to juggle various responsibilities.
HubSpot Sales – Our CRM and sales platform, HubSpot sales makes keeping track of clients and prospects much easier.
Text – We are starting to give our cell phone numbers out to clients so that they can always be confident in their ability to reach us if an urgent need arises. Business is ultimately personal, and we want to be there for our clients no matter what.
Where do you see your company in 3-5 years?
I see us serving hundreds of nonprofit organizations instead of just dozens, helping them drive millions of people a year to their websites and programs. I see us expanding to a few other select “high ROI, highly measurable” services similar to the Google Ad Grant over time. And I see us continuing to build a culture of results, taking initiative, honorably doing what is right for our team and our clients, and having an even more expanded vision for the future.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you have given yourself when launching your business?
Start it sooner! While research and preparation is valuable, there is no substitute for just diving in and getting started.
Grant Hensel is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone. His company helps nonprofits acquire and manage the Google Grant, which gives organizations $10,000 per month in online advertising funds. You can reach him at @npmegaphone