Archives for June 2009

Email Fundraising Tip on List Segmentation

Here’s a nifty tip to your ongoing email fundraising list segmentation efforts:

Once each month after you are done emailing, proceed to establish the following basic sub-segmentation lists from your prior month’s efforts:

  1. Givers or Buyers (those who gave or bought something)
  2. Clickers but no Actions (those who made it to your landing pages but never made a donation or bought a product)
  3. Openers but no Clicks (those who opened your email but never clicked to your landing page)

You can then begin to combine the givers from January with February etc to formulate a master file of all those who have responded to email solicitations.  This sub-list will become your prime email fundraising list for your nonprofit fundraising efforts.

Over time your lists will begin to be parsed into better subgroups. You’ll have an ongoing file of all your customers; an ongoing file of those who clicked but never purchased or donated; an ongoing file of those who open email but never click.

Your future ePhilanthropy strategies can then begin to take shape as you understand a little more about the behavior patterns of your various subgroups.

You can pull off these online fund raising steps easily in blasting systems like Exact Target, even iContact, although in some cases you may need to re-import your Givers lists back into your blasting system.

If you need prefer to use our fundraising services to help you generate significant $$ from email fundraising, contact Pathmaker Marketing today online or at 623-322-3334, and we’ll do our best to see if we can assist you further.

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Autoflow Your Blog Posts Across the Internet

If you are using a Premier Blogging Service, like this compended marketing tool that I’m promoting here, for your ministry blog or church blog, you can also auto-flow your blog posts across the internet for maximum church outreach and internet business marketing promotion.

Once you’ve got your core blog services established and you are blogging away, consider the following process for leveraging your content across the internet.

  1. Establish a new account with ping.fm
  2. Establish a new account with twitterfeed.com
  3. Create a new feed in twitterfeed that pulls content from your source blog and auto-flows that content into your ping.fm account.
  4. Choose the accounts you want to establish in ping.fm

For example, blog acounts include: WordPress, Blogger, Xanga, LiveJournal and Vox.
Social accounts include: Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, Linkedin, Jaiku, Tumblr, etc.

Doing this will populate your blog posts into your free blogging services, and into your social networks, without any need to spend extra time.  You can then begin to implement efficient, effective internet marketing.

You can also just use the ping.fm account on its own.  This is relatively simple process but it requires you to create a simple message every time you want to flow content out. So it’s mildly more involved but still a superior method than updating all your accounts one by one.
I like to auto-flow my blog posts across the internet, then use ping.fm for additional messages that are not part of my blogging process.

If you need professional help to get this done for your church outreach or small business, don’t hesitate to call me directly at 623-322-3334 and Pathmaker Marketing will be happy to perform the process on your behalf. 

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The Power of Email Fundraising to Generate $$

I still find non profit organizations that are apprehensive about email fundraising.
It seems like their concerns sometimes hover around issues like: “Will email cannibalize their snail mail results?” or maybe even more fundamentally, “Will people react negatively to solicitations?” from their non profit through email.

To address this issue I want to share a recent client Case Study from Pathmaker Marketing. Before April 2008, this client had not been doing any email fundraising. They agreed to let Pathmaker start a monthly email fundraising effort on their behalf that was tied to their monthly snail mail fundraising efforts.

After doing an initial Verify My Email campaign, their email list netted out to 20,000 deliverable names.

Here are the results from our last 13 eAppeals for them:

Thirteen-month Summary:
1,816 gifts = $190,887 gross income generated
(Averages: 140 gifts for $14,683)

Month-by-month eAppeal Income Summary:
13. April eAppeal: 118 gifts = $10,305
12. March eAppeal: 91 gifts = $11,813
11. February eAppeal: 69 gifts = $13,184
10. January 09 eAppeal; 88 gifts = $9,521
9. December eAppeal: 122 gifts = $23,833
8. November eAppeal: 161 gifts = $16,950
7. October eAppeal: 106 gifts = $6,853
6. September eAppeal: 231 gifts = $17,828
5. August eAppeal: 199 gifts = $28,550
4. July eAppeal:  112 gifts = $18,500
3. June eAppeal: 139 gifts = $10,450
2. May eAppeal: 138 gifts = $12,528
1. April 08 eAppeal:  242 gifts = $10,572

During this period we saw no dilution in their snail mail results. In fact the opposite could be aid: email was giving LIFT to their snail mail efforts while also standing strong on its own two feet in the metrics analysis.

Said differently for this client, staying on the sidelines prior to April 2008, meant they were effectively foregoing almost $15,000 in additional revenue PER MONTH.

I would say that’s a significant amount of income for any not profit organization to overlook.

If you are looking for a professional fundraiser or non profit consultant for your charity, non profit organization, or church, please give me a call at 623-322-3334 to consider whether Pathmaker Marketing can assist your enterprise in generating significant sources of email fundraising income.

Don’t be shy if your email lists are small to begin with. Pathmaker can help you implement a Traffic Conversion Plan and list growth strategies that will build your email file into a company asset that can deliver significant results for you. We’re confident that we are one of the fundraising companies that can move your non profit marketing to the next level.

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9 Reasons to Choose a Premier Blogging Service

Installing an effective ministry blog or church blog can be a simple decision.  Do you want to go the free route, using a service like WordPress or Blogger, or do you want to go with a premium service like Compendium which costs something but is a real marketing tool for your ministry?

I would argue to go with the premier blogging service first.  Then add your free blog services later.  Let me explain why I feel that way. 

The compended blog tool that I use is a superior outreach and promotional vehicle for my company and could be for your ministry, church or small business as well.  It gives me the following advantages in effective internet marketing:

  1. It allows me to establish multiple Keyword blogs. (See my Category list down the right sidebar of this column). Each of these Keyword blog terms has been carefully researched, then run through 2-3 serious evaluation layers, giving me a high degree of confidence that my Keyword Blogs can bust into a Top 10 listing on Google, Yahoo or Bing.  As long as I stay committed to developing relevant content for my keywords, this tool assures me a fighting chance for a Top 10 listing on my terms. It could do the same for you.
  2. It populates all my Keyword blogs automatically as I create my primary blog posts.  This saves me a hige amount of time and energy.  It effectively leverages my writing effort dozens of times over.  For example, once I finish writing this blog post, the system will automatically “compend” it to these other relevant Keyword Blogs (Blog Services, Ministry Blogs, Church Blog, Premier Blogging Service, Ministry Blog, Christian Blogging, etc). Do you get that incredible advantage?
  3. Each Keyword Blog is also fully Search Engine Optimized on that term for Google, Yahoo and Bing.  That begins with each blog having a unique URL. It also includes a nifty color bar tool that enables me to create each post in a way that my copy is fully optimized for my terms.  I would have to do these steps manually otherwise, a time-draining process at best, even for a marketing firm like ours.  For those who don’t understand the SEO process at all, this advantage would be out of reach. If you paid someone to Search Engine Optimize your blog, it would cost you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars of income.  It might even be money well spent, if it gets you a top listing for your blog, but the point is, I don’t have to spend any money on SEO with this tool, because my blogs are already optimized for every keyword in our system.  Yours would be too.
  4. It allows me to have unlimited blogger accounts. I can open up the blogging process to as many staffers or writers as I ‘d like, at no additional cost to me.  This gives me the advantage of getting content from multiple sources rather than just relying on myself or a few dedicated writers. If you’re a church, for example, you could have your Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor, Youth Pastor, Worship Leader, C.E. Director, even Deacons and Elders all blogging on the same system, under one account.
  5. It notifies the search engines each time we update our blog.  This process, called pinging, keeps Google informed that there is new content available for evaluation. It does this step so you don’t have to.
  6. It is actively fighting to get me visibility on my keywords — it’s a true marketing tool.  The compending and optimization process, by intent and design, is looking to establish a presence for each keyword in my blog in the Top 10 results of a Google search. This primary goal recognizes that if I get presence on my terms, I will get qualified traffic from those terms to my blog. Qualified traffic to my blog means qualified names added to my email lists, new leads to my church, new sales for my business and/or gifts to my ministry.  This system is prospecting for new customers for me even as it establishes me as an authority in my areas of expertise.  It would accomplish the same strategic objective for your company.
  7. It allows me to auto-flow my content to the free blog services.  Once my premier blogging service is installed, then I also have the option to begin flowing my blog content automatically into numerous other free blog services like WordPress, Blogger, Xanga, LiveJournal, Vox, etc.  This way I get all the advantages of my superior marketing tool and maintain a presence in the other blog services, without any additional effort on my part. You would establish a substantial presence across the internet with this tool in your marketing lineup.
  8. It allows me to control the posting process.  Each post that gets submitted from my bloggers goes into a queue waiting for my approval. This allows me to oversee the posts, perform quality control if necessary, and approve them before they go live. You would have the same measure of content control.
  9. It comes with a superior team of tech support professionals. Although it’s really a turn-key process, if you need help in getting to success using this superior tool, the Pathmaker Marketing team and Compendium are both available to help you.

For a Free Demo of these online marketing tools, call me today at 623-322-3334, and I’d be more than happy to discuss in more detail how this resource could be implemented for your church ministry, non profit organization or small business.

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Social Network Sites and Nonprofit Marketing

Social networking has grown up very quickly. It was just a couple of years ago that Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace were mainly used by high school and college kids. But as more and more people discover the ease and convenience of the Internet—whether it’s to connect with family and friends, stay up to date on news and information, or donate to their favorite nonprofit organization—social network sites are now firmly in the mainstream. So if you haven’t already incorporated this area of Internet marketing into your nonprofit outreach ideas or small business marketing strategies, you should give it serious consideration.

You might be thinking, “Well, most of our organization’s supporters are older. They prefer traditional direct mail, and probably don’t know what a tweet or blog post are.” Think again: According to the Inside Facebook website, the fastest-growing population of Facebook users is women over age 55. Over a six-month period, from fall 2008 to spring 2009, the number of users in this category rose by 550%, to 1.5 million.  

Many older people are joining social network sites to keep up with their children and grandchildren. Others are finding fellowship and community that they might not otherwise have. In a recent New York Times article, a housebound 73-year-old named Paula Rice, who spends up to 14 hours a day chatting online at Eons.com, says that the site for older baby boomers “gave me a reason to keep on going.”  

Furthermore, if your supporters are older, what better way to introduce your organization to young people—whole new generations of potential supporters—than by utilizing these sites?

“Okay,” you’re saying. “But we already have a web site. Why do we need to create pages on another site?” One big reason is for the new marketing channel.  If people—whether older or younger—are already spending hours a day interacting on Facebook or receiving Twitter updates, you can easily reach out to them right there. No need for them to make a special visit over to your site to see what’s going on. Non profit organizations are creating pages on Facebook and Twitter that allow followers to instantly see their latest news, ask questions, and interact with each other. Twitter is a site that’s quickly gaining popularity as a new channel for posting brief updates for your followers and supporters and allow them to respond.

Still not convinced that social networking sites are a must-have online marketing tool? There’s a Web site and an e-book (available for $5) titled The Reason Your Church Must Twitter. Perhaps its author, “technology evangelist” Anthony Coppedge, can convince you. (Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book myself yet, just came across it while Web surfing.) Aside from that, here are a few immediate examples of how not for profit organizations and ministries are harnessing the power of Facebook, YouTube, and other social networking sites:

Compassion International has a Facebook and a Twitter page. The Facebook page features profiles of staff workers, sponsored children, and children still in need of sponsors. The Twitter page includes updates, prayer requests, and posts that link to longer articles.

Compassion Facebook
Compassion Twitter

World Vision posted a short video that graphically illustrates what it would be like to only have dirty water available—the situation facing millions around the world. The video went viral and helped increase traffic to World Vision’s main site by 11%.

World Vision Facebook

Here’s the Facebook page of the Forefront Church in New York City:

Forefront Church Facebook 

    If you have any questions about how to get started using social networking sites to spread your message, contact Pathmaker Marketing at 623-322-3334. As specialists in effective Internet marketing, Pathmaker can get you going in the right direction in no time.
Or for further information visit our Twitter accounts:

PathmakerServes Twitter account on church outreach ideas
_pathmaker Twitter account on general business marketing promotion online
RandallMains Twitter account on internet marketing ideas

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Targeting Keywords for Effective Internet Marketing

One of the basic principles to grasp in regard to effective internet marketing is the concept of targeting keywords. This is most easily explained through a specific case study. Let’s start off by considering your name.  If you’re the executive of a company, a high profile individual, or even just trying to carve out a niche for yourself on the internet, start off your keyword marketing by working on your name. 

This is your first step in effective internet marketing.  Look to establish a presence in Google first, then move onto Yahoo and Bing.  For examples of this strategy I’ll use myself as the illustration. Google “Randall Mains” and notice how I have effectively dominated the real estate around my name. I currently “own” the top 20 results on that search on Google.  This didn’t happen by chance.   It took a lot of hard work and effort to get there.

For example, in Google, the top 10 results as of June 20th are as follows:
1. My Linkedin account
2. My NAYMZ account
3. My Facebook account
4. My comments on GetSatisfaction.com
5. My biznik account
6. My Pageflakes account
7. My Twitter account
8. My Plaxo account
9. My BusinessCard2 account
10. My Zoominfo account
11. My Google Profile
12. My Blog
13. My Classmates account
14. My publishing company website
15. My Spoke account
16. My publishing company website #2
17. My marketing company website
18. A mention of my participation in global internet training
19. My Mixx account
20. My Fastpitch account

I also have 19 of the top 20 results in Yahoo, and 17 of the top 20 in Bing.

Granted, I’m working to move some of these higher up the ladder, while letting others fall where they may, but overall I have effectively dominated the search results on my name with accounts that I manage so that I can control the messaging around my brand and get all the click through traffic that may occur.

If you can grasp this concept of targeting the keywords surrounding your name, then you can take the next step in your keyword battle plan which would be to establish real estate on your company name.  After accomplishing that you can expand your horizons to begin the harder work of establishing a presence in the keywords that make sense for your business. These keywords will give you qualified traffic, and very possibly qualified leads or sales.

If you need any help to implement a keyword marketing plan like the one above, don’t hesitate to contact me directly at Pathmaker Marketing at 623-322-3334 and ask for our assistance in helping you establish an effective internet marketing plan based on targeting keywords.

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Good ePhilanthropy Practices: Email Fundraising

An important non profit technique for ePhilanthropy is email fundraising. The first step you need to take when considering email fundraising is to find an Email Service Provider (ESP). Pathmaker Marketing LLC can help you find an appropriate ESP for your ePhilanthropy efforts. We also can help you develop and implement appropriate strategies. 

There are some basic tips I want to share that will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your non profit email fundraising and newsletters.

Good ePhilanthropy Emails

  • Speak to the reader rather than yourself. You know you’re speaking to readers when you identify the benefits of your offer to them and use the word “you” more often than the words “we” or “our.”
  • Can be skimmed. Your direct mail letters may be many pages long, but your emails need to be just a few paragraphs. Your reader needs to be able to scan the email in a few seconds and see in headlines, subheads, bold text, link text and graphics what you want them to do and why they should do it.
  • Are focused. Don’t send the reader off in too many directions. You want readers to take a specific action, so keep your email to that one ask. And give them several opportunities to click to take that action. Words like “go here” and “learn more” are better than “click here,” since “click here” could get your email sent directly to spam jail. You can use “click here” in images though.

Non-So-Good ePhilanthropy Emails

  • Are too formal. People buy from people they know, trust and like. Your readers may not know you, but you want your emails to sound like they do. You want to write your fundraising emails as if you were speaking to the reader in person. Use informal language, short sentences, and—I can’t emphasize it enough—the word YOU.
  • Bury the action step. If your readers have to read the whole email—and scroll and scroll and scroll—to know what you want from them, you’ve missed the mark and need to consider a rewrite.
  • Are confusing. And that means you’ve covered too many topics, written too long of paragraphs, or offered too many action steps. You need to stick to one topic and one action step.
  • Aren’t well designed. Don’t use the same generic templates your reader could find in their own word processing software. Invest a few bucks into a design that compliments your non profit branding materials.
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Philanthropy Goes Online

A couple of trends are making it vital that non profits, churches and ministries add ePhilanthropy to their fundraising strategies. The “older” donors that filled non profit coffers are now disappearing and being replaced with a new generation of “older” donors: Baby Boomers, who are typically much more connected to the Internet than their predecessors. Also, with the cost of everything going up, online fundraising reaps a healthier ROI than many offline approaches. Email fundraising is a great ePhilanthropy strategy.

Don’t abuse your donors by sending too many emails, but also don’t sell yourself short by being too cautious. Your email list needs to hear from you at least once a month, preferably twice. You can ask for lots of small donations, especially recurring donations. You can also offer premiums, especially if you offer premiums in your direct mail.

In fact, Pathmaker Marketing LLC can help you convert your regular direct mail into a cost-effective ePhilanthropy email fundraising effort. Call us at 623-322-3334 to schedule an appoint to find out how.

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Effective Church Outreach on the Internet

Hard times tend to bring more people to church. According to a December 2008 article in The New York Times, evangelical churches around the country have experienced a swelling in their ranks by up to 50% with each recession cycle since 1968. This current recession is definitely no exception! So what can you do on the Internet to extend and leverage your church outreach efforts to reach both your new members and people looking for a congregation to join?

First, effective church outreach on the Internet necessitates a great website. That doesn’t mean bells and whistles. It means the site is easy on the eyes, offers simple and clear navigation throughout, and provides content that is both useful and fresh. 

Useful church outreach content answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” Sure, people need to know your service times, who is the pastor, and when to show up for upcoming events, but they also need to know why they should come to your church rather than the one down the street. What is it about the pastor, ministries, and congregation that will help the reader’s family get though these tumultuous times with peace and tranquility? How does your youth ministry influence the reader’s teens to stay out of trouble and grow in Christ?  How are people helped through grief, whether by losing a loved one or getting laid off from a job they held for 30 years? You get the picture. Speak to the reader, not yourself.

Second, effective church outreach requires that people can easily find your site, and they want to keep coming back. Once you have a website that speaks to the reader’s needs, there are some simple online church outreach strategies you might want to try.

  1. Sign-Up – You need an email list for the strategies below to work. You can ask people to provide their email addresses in various ways, including through your church bulletin. You can also invite people to sign  up online, asking for their first name and email address in exchange for some benefit, such as a free download of some kind … a special message, a regular eNewsletter, etc. The sign-up form needs to be located in the upper left of you home page because that’s where people’s eyes first go. The form needs to link to More Info on a dedicated landing page that outlines the benefits of signing up.
  2. Traffic Conversion – once you get people to sign up, then you want to pull them deeper into the goings on of the church. You can get more contact information by offering to send something in the mail … a book, a bookmark, a prayer journal, etc.
  3. eWelcome Series – This is an online church outreach version of your welcoming committee. The intent is to introduce people to your church and its ministries. You can send one email a week for 5 to 7 weeks. Each email introduces a different portion of the website or the church –all spelling out the benefits to the reader of the various aspects of your church, ministry, congregation, and church outreach.
  4. Autoresponder Plan – Pathmaker Marketing LLC has worked with a large church in Chicago that challenged people to fast from wrong thinking for 40 days. We helped them set up a 40-day autoresponder system to allow people to participate in the fast from wrong thinking and receive a daily email message about a topic from which they would fast for that day. What kind of multi-day message could your church develop to minister to people during these tough economic times?
  5. Prayer Walls – Pathmaker  has helped several ministries install an interactive Prayer Wall to their websites. This is an effective church outreach strategy because it specifically ministers to people in a non-threatening way, and it helps people realize that they are not alone. The Prayer Wall invites people to leave a prayer so others can pray for them – and of course to pray for others who have left their prayer requests and praises.
  6. Blogging Tool – Pathmaker uses a blogging tool that is a powerhouse for getting your website seen in search engines. It’s based on extensive keyword research. We help churches and ministries develop keywords that are strategic to their church or ministry, and then help them develop a blog that will maximize their church outreach by multiplying each blog entry into several entries that entice search engines to, “Come find me.” This not only increases the visibility of your site in search engines, it provides ministerial content that can benefit readers around the world.

The tough economic and political times in which we find ourselves have people searching for your church. Your church outreach efforts can be extended and leveraged when you employ the strategies listed above. Pathmaker is experienced in helping ministries implement these tools. Call 623-322-3334 to schedule a time to discuss how we might help you.

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Christian Blogging is a Powerful Church or Ministry Outreach Tool

So many people are talking about blogging these days … bloggers … the ever-powerful blogosphere …  that you may be wondering if Christian blogging can help you reach your church or other ministry goals. No doubt, Christian blogging is a powerful outreach tool! But you may want to start at the beginning, in case you’re now too embarrassed to ask the question you should have asked five years ago: What’s a blog?

According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, a blog is a contraction of the term “web log.” The “web” part of the contraction indicates that your Christian blogging is done online – it’s a website. The “log” part of the contraction refers to the fact that a blog is basically just a log of entries – related or not. You could opine about your trip to Jamaica one day and then evaluate all 31 flavors of your neighborhood Baskin Robbins the next, and all your friends and family could keep up with your musings without you having to write to each one separately. And they can comment on your entries.

And that’s not a bad strategy if your blog is meant only for friends and family. But for church or ministry outreach purposes, you might want to take a more strategic approach to your Christian blogging.

  1. Invest in a good blogging tool. There are several free blogging tools available, but I recommend a tool that will turn your Christian blogging into an outreach power tool for your church or ministry. People have to see your Christian blogging efforts for that to happen. Getting seen by people looking for a church or ministry like yours requires getting your blog listed on the first page of search results on search engines like Google and Yahoo. And that requires being strategic in your use of keywords that relate to what your church or ministry does. To do that, you need a “compended blog.” Pathmaker Marketing LLC blog uses an unique and powerful blogging tool. For a free demo on how this tool can help you in your Christian blogging, call for a free demo at 623-322-3334.Those free tools might seem like a good deal, but they don’t compile each of your blogs into multiple blogs and then optimize them to secure page one listings on search results. You have to do that yourself (and, believe me, it’s a lot of work!). This will make your Christian blogging easier, faster and more effective.
  2. Invest in keyword research. When Pathmaker set up our blog, we gave Compendium a list of strategic keywords that people would search when looking for a service like ours. The Compendium tool automatically compiles our posts into multiple blogs under all appropriate keywords, not just the one into which we posted it. This work-leveraging feature also optimizes the posts to tell the search engines to, “Come find me.”Pathmaker helps clients select keywords that not only are used by people searching for their services but also (a) get a lot of searches and (b) don’t have too much competition for you to break into. We also help clients evaluate where they currently stand in search results for those keywords and then develop strategies to improve those standings.
  3. Develop ministry-oriented content that uses keywords. Not only do you want people to find your blog entries, you want them to find the information useful enough to convince them to visit or contact your church or ministry and get the benefits you offer them. Christian blogging should be ministerial in nature, and you should provide contact information so people who need the ministries you offer can easily find you.

When you use the right kind of blogging tool, put adequate time into choosing keywords and develop concise but helpful content using those keywords, your Christian blogging can become an effective online extension of your church or ministry outreach efforts.

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