Archives for July 2009

Top Ten Church Outreach Ideas for the Internet: Church Blog

Four years ago, I was a wreck.  I was an arrogant, self-involved person who proclaimed that she had no need for God.  I did not see the value of reading the Bible or being in fellowship.  Faith to me was nothing but psychological gibberish masked as religion.  I believed that the only person I should have faith in was me.

Fast-forward to today.  I am changed person.  I have become a person whose basic principles and beliefs are centered on the Bible.  I am an active member of the church who often volunteers to make sure its activities go well.  I sing in the choir, host Bible studies, share the Gospel and invite my family and friends to church.

So, what happened between now and then?  Well, I literally and figuratively searched for God on the internet and was led from one website to another.  Finally, all the information I collected in my head translated into spiritual grace moving in my life.

I believe that I was not the only one searching for God at that time.  I am blessed that my search led me to my salvation.  But, wouldn´t it be a shame if there were someone like me in your area searching for your church but you could not be found?

This is why we are writing this – to make sure that your church is able to use the World Wide Web to upgrade your church outreach on the internet and to help your congregation grow both spiritually, in number and in resources. To that effect, we’ve compiled this list of Top 10 Internet ideas for Church Outreach and Online Marketing.

 1. Launching a Ministry Blog to Expand Your Outreach and Find New Friends is our 1st of 10 Church Outreach Ideas for the Internet.

A blog is an online commentary that can be read by an infinite number of people at any given time. There are many people out there who follow a couple of blogs on subjects that are of their interest.  Chances are you also read the blogs of your family, friends and mentors regularly.

To maintain a ministry blog is a exceptional way to speak and minister to a diverse, often international audience.  By writing down your current spiritual insights, excerpts from your sermons, or devotional thoughts, you can communicate powerful messages that would help your readers grow in their faith.  Additionally, you also get a chance to interact with many people as they share their own reflections or their point of view in your blog´s comments section.

Truly, a church blog is a wonderful way to enlarge your online ministry and get to know the thoughts of people both within and outside your congregation.  That being said, you must remember that there are over 50 million blogs out there.  Your ministry blog will easily get lost in cyberspace if you do not use the proper techniques that guarantee that you reach your target audience. So, how can you leverage your blog to expand your outreach while also establishing new friends?

Unless you have plenty of time to search engine optimize (SEO) your blog, you should avail yourself of a premier blogging service from Pathmaker Marketing.  It has costs associated with it, but it excels in so many ways beyond the free blog options available on the internet. The compended system in a effective internet marketing tool that helps you write keyword-rich blog content in a search-engine friendly manner. This powerful tool allows you to write one blog and then it populates (compends) your content across multiple “keyword” blogs, thereby saving you enormous time and effort.

It also automatically provides search engine optimization services for your blog (and each keyword blog), making them all friendly to Google, Yahoo and Bing.  Plus, you can have as many users as you’d like on your blog system, meaning your staff, associates, youth pastor, deacons, elders can participate too.

The goal of this church outreach tool is to get your blog to display in the Top 10 search results on your target keywords so that people find you online in internet searches. When your blog shows up in a Google display of results, you get reader traffic that can become new ministry friends, new church visitors, etc. As your church blog shows up in Google results, your blog truly becomes an outreach onto the internet, ministering to new people even as it encourages them to become ministry participants or church visitors. For examples, see:

Dr. David Mains´ blog is a 20-Keyword compended blog rich in keywords and spiritual content.

Or examine the Pathmaker Markering blog to see a 50-Keyword compended blog system in action.

You can also Google: Premier Blogging System

For a free demo: Call Pathmaker Marketing at 1-623-322-3334

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Premier Blogging Service Delivers Premier Blogging Results

What you really want out of a premier blogging service is to see it deliver results, right?

Well, consider this.  With four posts to this compended, Keyword Blog system, I’ve already gotten to a Top 10 position on Google for this Keyword phrase: Premier Blogging Service. And I intend to stay there by talking about all the merits of this keyword marketing, compended, premier blogging tool.

For one, it flows my blog posts automatically onto the appropriate keyword blog categories. That saves me a ton of time and effort that I get to spend in other areas of my life. This unique feature is called compending. Said in another way, it automatically”populates” each appropriate keyword blog every time I post to my main blog.

Secondly, it search engine optimizes all my blog posts, guiding me to create content that makes the search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, very happy. Plus the content is targeting keywords on the internet.

Thirdly, I can have unlimited users on my system so other friends, staffers or colleagues can help me in the blogging process. That doesn’t cost me anything extra. And I like the extra help. It gives my blog the edge in developing ongoing, relevant content.

Fourthly, it allows me to generate content that gets flowed all across the internet. In doing so, it finds me new friends, who like what I have to say, and want to consider further the services I have to offer.

Fifthly (is that a word?), I can autoflow all my blog posts from this system onto my other “free” blog accounts.

Finally, it’s so easy to use, I just love it. And it comes with complete tech support so that if anything ever goes wrong (which it never does), I’m covered.

If you’d like a Free Demo on this exceptional internet marketing tool, (which can easily become your church blog, ministry blog, church outreach, christian blogging tool, christian marketing tool, non profit marketing tool, or small business blog service), please call me today at 1-623-322-3334. Ask for Randall Mains, and I’ll be glad to share my enthusiasm with you about this fine product that you can take advantage of too.

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Develop your Email Fundraising and Online Marketing Tools

The primary goal of your email fundraising is to raise gifts or sell products, not deliver ministry (that’s what your e-newsletter does). E-fundraising is an entire course in itself that fundraising professionals like Pathmaker Marketing teach, but when done effectively, it can become an monthly income-producing channel for your ministry that might even rival your direct mail and telephone fundraising efforts.

But you’re not ready to do e-appeals until you’ve properly introduced your new found friends to your ministry. Once they know who you are and what you stand for, then you can begin implementing fundraising for nonprofits and begin requesting their support for your worthy causes.

In general, the basic components of any email solicitation include your Subject Line, your message in HTML and/or text, and your Landing Page.

The primary goal of your Subject Line is to get your emails opened. The primary goal of your email is to get click-through traffic to your Landing Page. And the primary goal of your Landing Page is to get conversions on your offer (i.e., gifts or sales, leads, list signups, etc). Each component has a specific goal, but they must all work together harmoniously to produce effective results. 

There are different schools of thought on basic email fundraising strategies like: short email to long landing page, or long email to short landing page, but to determine what works best with your constituents, you just need to test, test and continue testing.

In addition, there’s the landing page process of effective internet marketing, which brings to mind the importance of your understanding of landing page conversion protocol. This subject is a big one and we’re only touching its surface today, but to show you how advanced you can become in this arena, here’s a patented formula I use to improve landing page conversion:

Landing Page Conversion = 4m+3v+2(i-f)-2a
M= the user’s motivation; v= clarity of the value proposition; i=incentive to take action; f=friction elements of the process; a=anxiety about entering information. Proper use of this formula from the Marketing Experiments Corp. can significantly improve your landing page conversions.

The formula basically says that the greatest weight in the conversion process is given to the motivation of the donor to support your cause, followed by the strength of your value proposition, followed by your incentive less the friction of your checkout process, less the anxiety that the donor feels about doing business with you online.  Three factors can improve your conversion rates, while two factors can decrease them.

For more assistance with your email fundraising, contact Pathmaker Marketing at this webpage, or call us today at 1-623-322-3334. Or IM with us via Skype or Yahoo at 

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Strategic Web Communication Principle #3 of 5

Link relevant content to search-centric promotion.

The reality of communicating with people online, and particularly via email fundraising, is that you have to constantly collect new email addresses. The typical growth rate in 2008 for any ministry list was 25% per year, which was comprised of 5% new names, less 3% name loss to unsubscriptions and bounces (mostly bounces). Said differently, if you’re not prospecting for new names constantly you can expect to see a 3% per month attrition in your email lists. Since people will move on for one reason or another, you need to replace them with new friends.

How to do this? Populate your website with relevant content that’s consistent with search-centric promotions that you conduct online. Relevance is key. If someone is searching the Internet for a church in Dallas, and you are one, that’s relevant. But if you’re a homeless shelter in New York or Dallas, that is NOT relevant. You need to start by targeting keywords: determine the Internet search streams that are relevant to what you offer, and then optimize your site to those searches via your site content and code. That way, your website is more likely to pop up in a Google search and get you qualified traffic from people who are looking for what you have to offer. That also means you must regularly update your website to relate to changes in relevant search terms.  You might call this keyword marketing.

Practical Tip: Search engine optimize your site.
So let’s talk about optimizing your website so that you can be easily found when someone looks up terms relevant to you on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines.

If someone searches a topic such as “how to help a troubled teen,” your site can get listed in the results. But unless it’s in the top 10 results, or on the first page, it probably won’t get many visitors from those search results. There’s a whole science to getting your site listed at the top, which again is too detailed to go into here, but the basic process—known as keyword marketing via search engine optimization—is something you should know. It involves finding the search terms related to your ministry, including those search terms in relevant content on your site, optimizing your site copy and code for the search engines, and finally submitting your site to the search engines. In most cases, this core process will result in you getting ranked higher in the results, thereby driving more qualified search traffic to your website.

Here are some examples of what organic search term results look like:

Google: How to Help a Troubled Teen

Yahoo: How to Help a Troubled Teen

Bing: How to help a Troubled Teen

Google and Wordtracker offer free keyword online marketing tools for finding common search terms:

You can input your own keywords to see how many people are searching those terms. Don’t get tempted to expand your terms if you see people searching on a topic that doesn’t relate to your primary goal – instead, stick to what you know, and your outreach ideas will be the most effective. You won’t be sorry if you put your effort into thinking up and searching for the search terms people are looking for that relate most directly to your ministry.

What do you have within your organization relevant to what people are searching for that you can develop and put online? This is a new level of site content depth – deepening the relevance of what you’re saying overall. You may have a particular niche – maybe issues related to teens, or matters of the heart for women, or guy stuff. By deepening your content in these areas, you establish a deeper focus that is really relevant in a particular area, and then you develop it and make it search-centric.

For example, you might learn that a lot of people are searching for “war in Iraq.” If your ministry doesn’t have anything relevant on this subject, you wouldn’t want to develop it just because someone’s searching for it. On the other hand, when The Presidential Prayer Team learned that many people were searching for “soldier’s prayer” because of the war, PPT developed a printed version of a soldier’s prayer, entered into a pay-per-click advertising agreement with Yahoo and Google, and then, when people clicked to the site to get the soldier’s prayer, asked them to adopt a soldier to pray for. Visitors also could sign up for the Adopt Our Troops e-newsletter. The strategy did a great job of building their Adopt Our Troops email list.

If people find your site through a search, they will quickly leave if they don’t think the content applies to their needs. To have a better chance of helping them see your site’s relevance, avoid the common mistake of talking too much about your needs, such as ushers and gifts. Visitors want information that addresses their search needs, and that’s what you should give them.

Once you’ve learned how to get listed in the search results, your qualified site traffic will take off, giving you plenty of new friends to build relationships with. So, optimize your pages so people can find you through search engines, and then make sure your pages are relevant to those search terms. If you need assistance, Pathmaker Marketing provides search engine optimization services that will help your website rise in the search rankings.

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Email Fundraising Case Study: Blasting to Splits and Non-opens

I wanted to present you with a GENERAL analysis of one client’s current email fundraising results to assess the effectiveness of re-marketing splits and re-blasting to non-openers.

I’ll present a fuller analysis later after I analyze every single motive code.

In this case a three-way Split Test was developed (three different creatives) and run out to three 7% random sampling of the master file (no overlapping names).  The strategy was short cause email to long cause landing page (A), long cause email to short cause landing page (B), and short premium offer to short premium landing page – no cause (C). The blasting process then unfolded as shown below:

June 18 Split Test (A,B,C) = 36 gifts for $2897 from June 18-21.
A had 11.6% Opens, 22% Clicks, 6% gift conversions of 14 for $1,150 total
B had 11.2% Opens, 10.5% Clicks, 12.6% gift conversions of 13 for $1,555 total
C had 9.9% Opens, 19% Clicks, 7.7% gift conversions of 12 for $680 total
Based of these numbers we executed the following schedule of blasts:

June 22 Full Blast to B = 114 gifts for $8905 from June 22-23
June 24 Re-blast of B to Non-opens = 68 gifts for $4615 from June 24-28
June 29 Full Blast to A = 86 gifts for $6444
July 1 Re-blast of A to Non-opens = 75 gifts for $5503

Total Campaign (gifts still coming in) = 379 gifts for $28,364

Many of the details and nuances I have excluded from this post in order to display these general results that convey various blasting points re-fundraising for non profits.

Ranked by dollars given
$8905 from “winning” B Full Blast (114 gifts)
$6444 from “losing” A Full Blast (86 gifts)
$5503 from “losing” A Re-blast to Non-opens (75 gifts)
$4615 from “winning” B Re-blast to Non-opens (68 gifts)

Analysis of “Winning” version vs “Losing” version blasting
“Winning” B version of the eAppeal: $13,520 from 182 gifts
“Losing” A version of the eAppeal: $11,947 from 161 gifts

Remember, this is a first blush analysis, but it illustrates the point in general WHY it’s often meritorious to send both split test versions of your email fundraising efforts. If we had NOT sent the “LOSING” version, we would have FORGONE $12,000 in income from 161 givers.

Analysis of First Blast vs Re-blasts to Non-opens
First Blasts = $15,349 from 200 gifts
Re-blasts to Non-opens = $10,118 from 143 gifts

Same disclaimer here, but it illustrates the point WHY it’s often meritorious to send to non-openers. If we had NOT sent to Non-opens we would have FORGONE $10,000 in income from 143 givers.

Crazy idea:
If we HAD NOT SENT the “LOSING” version NOR SENT to Non-opens, we would have RAISED $11,802 from 150 givers and FORGONE $16,562 from 229 givers.

These are real time online fund raising results that have occurred during June 2009, also showing that despite the rotten economy, the right offer at the right time with the right executional effort can yield some very substantial results.

If you’d like some help to implement a plan like this, contact Pathmaker Marketing today at 623-322-3334 and we’ll do our best to help your not for profit organizations.

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Use Your Common Sense in Email Fundraising

I use ExactTarget to provide fundraising services for clients of ours. Exact Target is really are at the apex of the email blasting tool industry.  But recently I had to question the wisdom that the ET representative passed along to my client about email fundraising.

The ExactTarget representative told my client that similar “emails have been sent multiple times to the same subscribers, which is not considered a best practice. If a subscriber did not open an email to begin with, they probably won’t open the same email if they receive it again—most often they will just hit the spam button or unsubscribe.

I looked at the data sheet of metrics the ET rep was using to make her claim: 10 months of eAppeal results from January 2008 to October 2008, including instances where similar emails were resent to non-openers or to openers but not clickers or to clickers but not givers. The ET data showed the complaint rates to have been running at .08% over 10 months and 66 different emails. The unsubscription rates hovered at .15% over the same period. In essence, the combined spam complaint and unsub rate for this client was .23%.

Said differently, 99.77% of all their email recipients DID NOT hit the report spam button or unsubscribe, despite various instances where similar emails were resent to sub-groups like non-openers, or non clickers.

By way of contrast, the income generated from these results indicated the efforts were worthy attempts to generate additional income from the same email.  The dollars generated justified judicious targeting of specific subgroups, especially when your email creative work is all done and in the bag.

Lesson learned: A superior email blasting tool doesn’t always come with superior advice. Use your common sense when evaluating various blast strategies that could improve your email fundraising results. Get different opinions, then evaluate the data to determine what makes sense for your organization.  But don’t assume that the advanced tool always come with advanced advice.

To reach a professional fundraising company like Pathmaker Marketing, visit us online or call us by telephone at 1-623-322-3334.

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