Here are some Helpful Tips to consider:
1. Include specific keywords in your descriptions and titles
Be sure to include all of the keywords or phrases in your title and descriptions that a person might do when they use the “keyword search” to find your opportunity. Don’t forget to include the name of the country. Note that if the person who is searching enters “teach” as a keyword it will match “teach”, “teacher”, “teachers”, “teaching”, and “teaches”. However, if they enter “teachers” it will only match “teachers”.
2. Use creative word descriptions to capture interest
People are drawn by action verbs and colorful adjectives, so be creative! Paint a picture with your words. This is especially true with the “Brief Description”. When a person makes a search they will get a page showing ten-20 “Brief Descriptions”. If you catch their eye in the first three seconds and they will want to look at the full details of your trip!
3. Make use of the two different titles
The “Title of the Opportunity” field is what is displayed to inquirers, so word it as to draw attention. The “Internal use Only Title” appears only in the Trip Manager and is never displayed with the trip information. This is for your eyes only, in this title you can abbreviate words and use your mission acronyms so you can quickly identify and distinguish between your trips.
4. Select all of the regions that apply
If the opportunity is in Latin America, be sure to select “Latin America” and the specific area like “Central America”. That way your trip shows up whether they search generally for (Latin America) or more specifically for (Central America). The same holds true for Asia. If you offer trips in the USA and Canada, be sure and choose the state also to narrow down search results even more.
5. Watch out for the scroll wheel!
If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse and you use it to move up and down the page, be careful that you are out of the drop down boxes before you roll it. You can do this by clicking on any blank space on the page. If you don’t, you may accidently change the selected “inquiry contact” or “date type” without realizing it.
6. Use the “Duplicate” feature to speed up entry
If you have several similar opportunities, enter the information for one basic trip, save it, and then click the “duplicate” icon to the right of the trip name on the Trip Manager tab. This creates a duplicate copy of the trip. Open the duplicate copy and modify the details that are different for the new trip. Be careful not to get too lazy with this though–you may turn people off to your opportunities if they all have the same “Brief Description” and sound too much alike!
7. Watch what you say
Concerning security and closed countries: Remember, anything posted on the internet can be read by anyone around the world. That means your opportunity descriptions could be read by government officials of the countries to which you are taking a group. Therefore, on some countries you will want to tell enough to interest the searcher, but not enough to close the door to your going to that country! A phrase such as: “develop relationships while learning about their culture and worldview” is more neutral than “do friendship evangelism”. With closed or restricted access countries it is often best to avoid using the following words: evangelism, missionary, evangelize, evangelism, witness, missions, etc.
8. Open another window
So that you won’t have to log in and out of the Account Control Panel in order to see how your trips will appear in the search results, open two windows in your browser. Use one to display the Account Control Panel, and the other for searching to see how your opportunities are being displayed. You can do this by clicking on the “File” menu and selecting “New Window”.
9. Have someone else read it
After you are finished entering an opportunity, have someone else read it. Ask them what their initial impression was. Then ask if they had questions as they were reading it that the information didn’t answer. Remember, you can think your descriptions are the best out there, but if no one else does, it won’t do you a whole lot of good.
10. Roll over opportunities to the next year
In April, May and June up to 18% of the searches are for the next summer already, and some of the searches are actually for 2 years out! So, in the late spring and during summer, when you have passed your application cutoff dates and your trip “expires”, it is wise to quickly edit and republish the trip for next year. Enter an approximate start month selection and approximate funds needed range so as to keep the opportunity visible for next summer while you finish getting the details figured out.
If the opportunity will be a bit different next year, you can preface the present description with: “Here is a description of the trip currently in progress. Next year will be similar.” Do this on at least one of your opportunities in order to keep your agency contact information visible to people browsing the site all year long.
Some of the people looking for opportunities a year in advance are newly elected student mission fellowship officers who are beginning to plan the short-term mission trips for the next summer, which they will announce in Sept and Oct. If you want school groups, you need to have your info up, even if it is general!
11. Ask us questions
We are more than happy to answer your questions and help resolve any problems you may encounter, e-mail us at [email protected]