So, what’s the difference? Well, with a regular PPC strategy, the challenge is honing in on the right keywords amidst a sea of potentials and overcoming the competition to generate sales profitably. With a PPC strategy for faith-based products, the challenge is finding keywords that have enough search volume to warrant using them and convincing people to buy something they may not have necessarily been looking for initially.
Always Incorporate the Religious Element
I once worked with a religious denomination (we’ll call it “DenominationXYZ”) that was selling church branded environmentally friendly home and kitchen products. To give you some background, it was part of their faith to support sustainability across all areas of their lives, so they thought that this business idea could be profitable. The money that they made was going to put towards charitable work across the globe.
They wanted to use keywords like “reusable lunch bags” and “eco-friendly kitchen products.” While that does technically describe what they sell, there are a number of problems with that strategy:
1. The eco-friendly market is a very competitive space. You do not want to make your job more difficult than it has to be. Don’t focus on what you do that makes you like everyone else. Instead, focus on what you do that makes you unique.
2. That approach doesn’t address why someone would want to buy the products. Anyone can go to a chain superstore down the road and buy a reusable bag; but they were the only ones selling these products for their church. The proceeds benefited their church, which was the value proposition that they needed to use to market to their church’s attendees.
3. Someone interested in being eco-friendly is not necessarily interested in supporting their church. It is much more likely that someone interested in supporting their church is also interested in protecting the environment. For this reason, you should target the religious audience first, even though it’s a much smaller audience.
For these reasons, it was important to use keywords like “DenominationXYZ bags” and “DenominationXYZ home products.” We generated a whole bunch of these types of keywords that tied the religious name to the products to test.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use Broader Keywords
Building off of the last point, those keywords that we decided to use were great; but in some cases, they didn’t have much (or any) search volume. For this reason, we had to think broader. Now, going broader with your keyword list is a crummy approach in many situations because it can cause you to get low quality traffic. However, in this case it was just what we needed.
Many people who were members of this church denomination weren’t aware that there were products available for sale that would benefit the church’s outreach efforts. Using keywords like the names of their most popular outreach and missions projects brought new visitors to the store, where they could see that these products were tied to those causes and provided an easy way to support them.
We integrated general church terms as well like “DenominationXYZ church,” DenominationXYZ donations,” “support DenominationXYZ ,” “DenominationXYZ foundation,” etc. and also used gift-based terms like “DenominationXYZ gifts” and “gifts for DenominationXYZs.” This let us get our ads in front of an audience that was already bought into the idea of supporting the church.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!