Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) is the leading patient-empowerment and advocacy organization in the United States, providing balanced and objective information on colon and rectal cancer research, treatment, and policy.
Helping Fight Cancer: Growing Fight CRC’s Network of Advocates
Fight CRC began working with Whole Whale in 2019 for a nonprofit accelerator project, designed with a focus on developing a data-driven content marketing strategy. This evolved into a 4 year partnership where Whole Whale served as a strategic sounding board, providing ongoing support for all of Fight CRC’s digital initiatives and online engagement. Together we’ve collaborated on everything from website tracking to digital advertising and online fundraising strategies. After completing our initial three month scope, which was essential in establishing foundational web analytics systems, we transitioned into SEO work, which became even more essential in early 2020 when Fight CRC moved forward with plans to redesign its site. Since then, we have supported Fight CRC across an array of needs, including UX and website design for their new Advocacy Platform, web analytics testing & tracking, online and offline fundraising campaigns, and email tool migration. As much as we consult Fight CRC, we are also constantly learning together in this mission to end colorectal cancer.
- Nearly 75% increase in website visitors from June 2019 to Dec 2021 period over period
- Improved quality of visitor engagement with visitors staying 34% longer per visit
- > 3x growth in email subscribers, with Fight CRC logging over 9,000 new emails between 2020 and 2021 via Facebook lead generation campaigns
- Fight CRC ranking for more priority keywords like colonoscopy prep and chemo rash, indicating that their website is more visible when users search for colorectal cancer-related content on Google Search
- Maxed Google Ad Grant spend to drive over half a million website visits and 2,500 resource downloads
- Helped launch Fight CRC’s Advocacy Portal, which was designed in collaboration between WW’s technical director and Cornershop Creative
WHAT WE DID
Over the course of our partnership, Whole Whale and Fight CRC have worked across almost all aspects of digital marketing, including: paid advertising, content marketing, SEO, email, fundraising, campaigns, conversion optimization, and user experience (UX) design. Our work has helped the Fight CRC team tie together different marketing channels to reach relevant users, moving them from general awareness to interested users, from interested users to engaged community members, and engaged community members to committed volunteers and donors.
Awareness: Growing Organic Traffic for “Colonoscopy Prep” by 138% with SEO
One of the most successful ways to capture relevant user attention to Fight CRC has been a “Colonoscopy Prep Tips” blog post, which has been a significant driver of traffic to Fight CRC’s website these past few years. Having uncovered its potential in our initial content audits, we helped Fight CRC edit the contents of the page very early on in our partnership for greater search engine optimization (SEO). After publishing SEO changes in 2019, this page began to rank #1 for the search query “colonoscopy prep tips” and grew to be responsible for greater than 2X the % of traffic to Fight CRC’s website, bringing in 865,000 more website visits than the two years prior.
This page also attracts engaged visits, having driven over 1,100 users to the Donate page and 4,000 downloads of the Screening Mini Mag, one of Fight CRC’s key colorectal cancer prevention resources. It has also been one of the main contributors to Fight CRC’s overall organic traffic growth of 138% in the last two years.
Interested: Driving Engagement & Leads with Targeted Advertising
We have developed and managed several digital advertising campaigns for Fight CRC on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This work has served to both grow Fight CRC’s target audience and move them further down-funnel to greater engagement, advocacy, and action. Between July 2020 and December 2021, our social ads have directly contributed to Fight CRC’s achievement of campaign goals, including:
- 9,000+ new email subscribers (a greater than 2X increase period over period)
- 800+ event registrations
- $28,000+ in online donations during year-end fundraising
- 1,100+ web series attendees for Wellness Wednesdays during the pandemic
- 43,000+ video views on YouTube
Given the growth in website traffic and email subscribers, we were also able to retarget past interested users and supporters with key calls to action, such as risk screening resources and end-of-year giving asks.
Whole Whale also took the helm of Fight CRC’s Google Ad Grant. We built out new campaigns and bid on new keywords to increase traffic and conversions of valuable online resources for patient education and care, consistently maxing their $40,000 per month spend. This led to:
- +55% increase in ad grant utilization from 2019 to 2022
- 500,000+ additional website visits and 2,500+ resource downloads
Engaged: Getting 6,900 Vital Resources to Users
Each year Fight CRC publishes guides that provide critical updates in the fight against colorectal cancer for supporters, survivors, and recently diagnosed patients. Using paid advertising and the Google Ad Grant, we have helped Fight CRC get these important resources into the hands of those who need it most. This includes:
- 3,500+ downloads of the Screening Mini Mag
- 2,900+ downloads of Beyond Blue
- 300+ downloads of Guide in the Fight
- 140+ downloads of the Skin Toxicity Mini Mag
- 80+ downloads of the Biomarker Mini Mag
Committed: Launching Online Portal for Colorectal Cancer Advocacy
In 2020, Whole Whale collaborated with Fight CRC and Cornershop Creative to develop Fight CRC’s first ever Advocacy Portal to mobilize states in the fight against colorectal cancer. This microsite serves as a dedicated space for Fight CRC’s policy and advocacy content, allowing community advocates to sign petitions and share knowledge. Between June 2020 and December 2021, this microsite has been visited over 18,000 times, leading to 5,400+ petitions and letters signed, 800+ Advocate signups, and 350+ federal and state issue brief downloads.
Committed: Raising Dollars through Online Fundraising
Throughout our partnership, Whole Whale has developed paid advertising, content marketing, and email nurture strategies for Fight CRC’s online fundraising efforts, both for EOY giving as well as tentpole fundraising events such as the annual Climb for a Cure.
For end-of-year giving in 2020 and 2021, Whole Whale provided strategic recommendations and direct advertising support for Giving Tuesday and general EOY Giving campaigns to reach new donors, capture donor leads, and drive direct appeals. We deployed prospecting and remarketing tactics to grow and convert Fight CRC’s donor base. In 2020, Whole Whale also created a ‘3 Days of Hope’ advertising and email campaign to capitalize on online giving momentum in the last three days of the year. This campaign ultimately helped raise over 25% of overall EOY fundraising. We also helped Fight CRC tag their email campaigns in MailChimp so they could attribute donations to specific email communication across custom audiences. Other EOY fundraising wins included:
- 15% of total 2020 Giving Tuesday revenue online from tailored email segments
- 166% increase in dollars raised during 2020 ‘3 Days of Hope’ campaign
- 2020 EOY fundraising targets exceeded by 10%
In addition to supporting end of year campaigns, we worked with Fight CRC on their annual fundraising event Climb for a Cure. Typically the Climb is an in-person event where Fight CRC supporters pledge to walk a million steps for colorectal cancer in one day. Participants show their support for the organization by engaging in peer-to-peer fundraising and posting photos of themselves walking. In 2020, when the event was forced to be “virtual” due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Whole Whale ran ads to support the online event and sold hundreds of tickets that accounted for over 50% of total purchases.
Tying It All Together with Analytics
We worked with Fight CRC early on in our partnership to establish a comprehensive data tracking system for key user actions and engagement online. We also built a custom Google Data Studio dashboard to centralize reporting across their website, Facebook, YouTube, and Google Analytics into one place to make it easier to find and track numbers that speak to their impact. These dashboards are branded, interactive playbooks that invite all members of the organization to engage with web data. They are automated to deliver directly to the digital teams’ inboxes every Monday morning and can also be downloaded as PDFs for easy sharing.
From the Fight CRC Team
“Our partnership with Whole Whale allowed our teams to dissect every aspect of our digital marketing, allowing us to streamline and grow our efforts. We are a small internal marketing team, so ensuring we’re making the most impact with the work we’re doing is vital. Together, we increased web traffic, visitor engagement, lead generation, and analytics, setting us up for success moving forward. Working with Whole Whale was a true partnership — we shared a vision to end colorectal cancer.”
— Andrew Wortmann, Director of Marketing,