The following is a guest post written by Bobby Fitzgerald discussing how RestaurantsAgainstCancer.com was developed to raise money for the children of Camp Sunrise.
Recently at a American Cancer Society meeting I was told about CEO’s Against Cancer, a smoking cessation program the ACS operates. I jotted down restaurants against cancer and bought the domain through Godaddy’s app before the meeting was over. For the next few weeks I worked my contacts in the industry and asked them to pull together to support a summer camp for children fighting cancer. The total cost of food and supplies for the two-week over-night portion of the camp is $15,000.
Out of 8,000 restaurants in Phoenix we need just 30 at $500 each. Everyone said “great idea” and walked away or looked at me with a blank stare. In three weeks I got one restaurant to commit. I went to my WP guy on Elance and had a site built based on a directory model I am tweaking for a budding restaurant network (BethesdaRestaurants.com). A week later RestaurantsAgainstCancer.com was up.
The first day the site was live we raised $2,000. Eight days later we raised over $8,000. I was shocked and thrilled at what had been accomplished for the children of Camp Sunrise. The Arizona Restaurant Association stated this could be a marquee event for the industry and associates in Chicago and Denver inquired about starting the effort there.
I called a national supply company’s HQ in another state and left a VP a voicemail mentioning the site. Five minutes later the local manger called me and said they were in. I know what happened, the VP went to the site and saw his customers listed and his largest competitor. All this because I added dot com to the end of a phrase I had been touting for weeks with no return.
Putting three words on a website made it something REAL. The power of this has blown me away and I cannot stop with the ideas of what else this formula could do for charities. Every restaurant and vendor who has joined the fight is now walking around saying, “We are part of RestaurantsAgainstCancer.com, go see.” Add in a PPC campaign (using $75 promos) during the two weeks of the camp to promote the restaurants involved and we have delivered a ROI for them as well.
Interestingly, a number of people have asked me if it was .org so that extension is forwarded. Everyone knows the internet is limitless and seeing your name or brand online is a huge form of recognition.
Elliot certainly did a great job of this by listing his contributors to the NYC Ronald McDonald House, which may soon be a retirement home if the health-food-activists get their way. (LOL) Nothing has the potential for worldwide exposure or is cheaper than bits, so recognizing on a website works well. It is way more than a plaque on the hallway to the John. It could even be a WordPress or Blogger template with a domain simply forwarded. This is how we our restaurants’ blog works.
I want the SEO value of WordPress so it’s RestaurantName.Wordpress.com and we get top billing on searches plus back link value we control. A site for a worthy cause can be up in minutes with no cost.
So if it is selling Girl Scout Cookies or any worthy cause, many who read this blog have the ability to easily get a site up to help the effort. This little exercise shows first hand the potential impact. Many people want to give back but truly do not know how. Now you do…
Descriptive CTA domain names can be fantastic for commercial/non-profit use. Something like YouCanLearnSkydiving.com or ReallyGoodSushi.com or WinTheGame.com (<- that one might have some resale value) always bring very high FR numbers in market study groups, in spite of being of little use to domain resellers. The catch is, they're usually used for disposable campaigns rather than as the bedrock basis for the entire brand.
The most illuminating experience I ever had was being on the other side of a two way mirror during a market research session and listening to group after group of John Q's pick the same few product slogans, none of which I would've guessed and very few of which lived up to the conventional marketing wisdom they teach in school.
The saying oft cited by Rick Schwartz- "See John Jones through John Jones eyes, you sell John Jones what John Jones buys…" That was the first time I saw through John Jones eyes and he disagreed with everything I had been taught, up to that point.
Regarding CTA here, the “Action” needs to be something people already do for an easy conversion. In this case, restaurants already order food and supplies. We simply ask them to order them for the camp. Easy…just like setting up a site is easy for some of us.
One thing I quickly learned with the restaurant network is it is easier to get advertisers from those already spending marketing dollars online. It cuts the decision process in half.