Website: crisistextline.org

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the US to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line trains volunteers to support people in crisis. With over 100 million messages processed to date, we’re growing quickly, but so is the need.

The Challenge

Born “from the rib” of DoSomething.org, Crisis Text Line provides free crisis intervention through SMS messaging. As an organization, they’re inherently data-driven (check out their separate site detailing Crisis Trends). However, they were eager to learn more about how their marketing and communications efforts and partnerships were affecting online engagement. Additionally, they wanted to improve their strategies with the Google Ad Grant and SEO content. In a second engagement, we focused specifically with Crisis Text Line on how to use all of these powerful tools towards specifically recruiting more volunteer crisis counselors.

What We Did

Over the course of two projects in 2018, Whole Whale worked with the Crisis Text Line team to better understand their website analytics, make smart use of their $40,000 Google Ad Grant, build a data-driven content strategy, and grow volunteer applications.

Google Analytics

With so much available data in Google Analytics, it can be hard to tell whether you’re moving your organizational mission forward — and when your work is literally saving lives, you want to make sure you’re acting on specific, actionable, measurable, and time-bound metrics. Whole Whale configured Crisis Text Line’s Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager accounts to track key performance indicators for both would-be texters and volunteers as well as supporting actions as codified in a funnel of engagement. Automated GA dashboards fit perfectly into Crisis Text Line’s existing data culture.

We also prototyped a larger model of data analysis that factored in CDC data, Google Trends, and Crisis Text Line’s own Google Analytics to help the team better understand whether they were meeting marketing or meeting need on a state-by-state level for instances of suicidality and depression.

Google Ad Grant

Crisis Text Line has the $40,000 GrantsPro level of the Google Ad Grant, and we wanted to help them spend that money wisely. We reconfigured the account to both support easier maintenance by multiple team members while staying compliant with Ad Grant policies. This resulted in a 43% increase in traffic to the site driven by Google Ads. In Phase 2 of our work, we focused specifically on ads that brought in more would-be volunteers for Crisis Text Line, which led to a 38% increase in volunteer applications in one month — thanks to a 200% increase in site traffic to the Volunteer page. That’s more than 24,000 potential applicants.

SEO and Content Marketing

We also helped Crisis Text Line to develop its content strategy, both to support Ad Grant campaigns and build search engine presence to meet users where they are. Building on an existing initial structure on Crisis Text Line’s Fast Facts section, we recommended a series of pillar pages built around the areas of crisis they most engaged in — the data for which came straight out of Crisis Trends.

The initial rollout of these pages, which linked to additional blog content, helped contribute to a 50% increase in organic traffic year-over-year, and by developing these pages we helped Crisis Text Line to rank #1 in Google searches for “self harm,” as well as over 100 related keyword searches.

Again, teamwork is essential for Crisis Text Line (and any org!), so we made sure they were able to stay in sync across multiple offices and time zones with a collaborative editorial calendar and regular SEO updates from their Moz account.

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