Archives for February 2010

10 Tips for Successful and Effective Internet Marketing #5-6

In this third of five blog posts, I’m providing you with 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are numbers five and six:

5.    CALCULATE YOUR LIFETIME VALUE STATS – In this sales instance above, you need to factor in “Lifetime Value” of each customer that you make.  “Lifetime Value” alludes to the fact that your first time customer may conduct more than just one business transaction with you over time.  The “real money” may not be in the initial sale from them, but rather in upgrades, up-sells or repeat business for other products or services that you have to offer.  With Lifetime Value being considered, a 100% return in sales on your ad prospecting dollar might be considered an excellent investment given the long term rate of return.  That being said, you need to calculate your lifetime value metrics to know how many “sales” or leads you need to make to allow you to make your advertising work. For some businesses, it’s 85% of your ad prospecting dollar, for others it’s 100%, for some others 150%.

6.    GRASP THE LANDING PAGE CONCEPT- The objective of e-mails and banners is to get qualified potential customers to visit your Landing Page.  Once that happens, the burden of responsibility shifts to your website. It’s at the Landing Page that visitors are converted to leads or sales.  The key here is very simple – if your Landing Page is “broken” don’t blame the Advertiser!  Your goal, is to create a Landing Page that works hard to convert qualified traffic into company assets…it needs to motivate the visitor to follow through on what got them there in the first place. Think of your advertising as making the sale, and your landing page as closing the sale. The #1 most important thing you can do for your advertising plan is make sure your landing page(s) work.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.

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10 Tips for Successful and Effective Internet Marketing #3-4

In this second of five blog posts, I’m providing you with 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are numbers three and four:

3.    SCRATCH THE BIGGEST ITCH – This necessitates you knowing your Target Market thoroughly if not intimately.  In the case of Pastors, for example, the “biggest itch” is pretty apt to be the challenge of preparing to preach a sermon each and every week.  Anything offered that will assist with this on-going task is not only going to receive thoughtful consideration, but will also be most appreciated. Know your audience. Figure out what makes them itch, and learn to offer products or services that really address their primary needs.

4.    GET THE METRICS — An understanding of this aspect of Internet Marketing is what will allow you to accurately determine whether your Marketing program is having a positive or negative effect on your “bottom line.”  To help you with at least a minor grasp of this concept we have included the following example.  However, if you feel you need more information to fully appreciate the Metrics of Internet Marketing in regard to your product or service, contact us for further assistance, or contact an expert in the field and make arrangements to be instructed by them.

Example:
When utilizing e-mails for your Marketing Program you need to know that there are three basic metrics to keep an eye on: Open Rate – Click Through Rate – Conversion Rate.  Open rates can vary by client and industry and offer but respectable ones run from 10-20% (Divide the # of unique emails opened by the number Net Delivered). Reasonable Click Through Rates vary too, but can run anywhere from 5-20% (Divide the number of unique Clicks by the number of unique Opens).  Good conversion rates can run anywhere from 2-5% (Divide the number of sales or leads by the unique Clicks).

Once you get the metrics, do the math. If 100,000 e-mails are sent, and you get a 15% Open Rate , you have 15,000 opens. If you get a 10% Click through Rate, you have 1,500 clicks to your website. If you get a 2% Conversion Rate, you got 30 sales or leads.  If the Program cost $1,500.00 to implement, then each lead cost you $50…or each sale cost you $50. Now that you know the metrics you can determine if 30 leads or sales was a good investment for your advertising spend.  If you are an Architect, and you can convert 10% of your 30 leads into $10,000.00 contracts, you will, undoubtedly, be ecstatic with $30,000 of sales on a $1,500 investment.  If, however, you are selling a $79.95 power point presentation for Pastors, the numbers get tighter, but you may still be happy with 30 sales for $2,398 total on a $1,500 investment.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.

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10 Tips for Using Google Image Search in Search Engine Optimization

Be sure to include images in your search engine optimization efforts. You can get even more visitors to your website by properly preparing and coding your images. The reason is that properly prepared and coded images will be found and indexed by search engines, thereby increasing your search engine rankings. Here are some tips.

1. Use high quality images that are optimized for the web.
If your images get picked up by Google Images, more webmasters will link to crisp, clear photos, resulting in more people click on your photos and ultimately to your website. Also specify a width and height in the HTML to help speed up the length of time it takes your page to load into a browser. Pathmaker Marketing‘s professional search engine optimization services take into account the user experience, which ultimately results in more visitors and more conversions of visitors to business assets.

2. Give all images a descriptive title using your keywords.
rose.jpg is much more descriptive than img010609.jpg, and if “rose” is one of the strategic keywords you use for search engine optimization, you’ve increased the incidence of that keyword on your page. If you’re a florist who sells roses, daisies, carnations, etc., people doing a search for roses might be more likely to find your site if you use a more descriptive image name that uses your keywords. In its search engine optimization services, Pathmaker Marketing will help you research keywords that not only are strategic but are more likely to help you increase your page rankings.

3. Always use descriptive <ALT> tags, preferably using your keywords.
ALT stands for alternate text. If your link to the image breaks, or if people have images turned off in the browser or email client, they can still see a description of what you wanted them to see. But an additional useful feature of the <ALT> tag is that you can benefit from them in search engine optimization. Search engines will “see” what’s in your photos because of your <ALT> tags. If your photo is rose.jpg, and Rose is not a flower but a person who owns a bicycle shop named Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop (which is also a keyword), the <ALT> tag might be <ALT=”Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop”>. Google warns against “stuffing” the <ALT> tag with keywords. Avoid something like: <ALT=”schwin shimano Windsor mountain bike”>. Sure, these might be the types of bicycles Rose sells, but none of them are in the photo. If she’s sitting on a Windsor mountain bike you could put that in the <ALT> tag: <ALT=”Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop sitting on a Window mountain bike”>. Just be sure everything is in context.

4. Never put captions inside the image.
Sure, it makes it easier to keep your caption where you want it if you include it in the image itself, but it’s a really bad practice for search engine optimization. Put copyright info inside the image if you want, but not your descriptive keywords. Keep those in the HTML.

5. Opt toward JPG images when appropriate.
There are various types of image files, including GIF, PNG and JPG. Some older browsers don’t read PNG images well yet, and some search engines default to looking for JPG rather than the other two mentioned. That means the search engine is more likely to recognize your photo as a photo if you use the JPG format.

6. Put your images as close to the <TITLE> tag as possible.
If the title of your page is <TITLE=”Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop in Podunk”>, and someone is searching for “bicycle podunk”, your page could get picked up. If your <IMG> tag says <IMG src=”www.someplace.com/images/rose.jpg” ALT=”Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop in Podunk”>, and it is close to the <TITLE> tag (at the top of the page), the <IMG> tag reinforces the <TITLE> tag to help improve your page rankings. 

7. Use strategic keywords in all links to the photo.
“Click here” is a good action phrase that people are used to seeing and therefore know what to do when they see it. But “See a picture of Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop” uses your strategic keywords while also using an action phrase that people can quickly figure out what to do with.

8. Register your webpage at Google Webmaster Tools and tag them with Google Image Labeler.
Google Webmaster Tools is a free service that allows webmasters to optimize and check the indexing status of their sites. It’s located here: http://code.google.com/apis/webmastertools/. Google Image Labeler is located here: http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/. 

9. Provide context and relevance.
If your photo and everything that describes it is of Rose sitting on a Windsor mountain bike at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop in Podunk, it won’t help if the page content is about studying Japanese in Los Angeles. This will just send a confused message to search engines, and it could do more harm to your rankings rather than good.

10. Protect your images in a way this is friendly to search engine optimization.
You can put copyright info in the image, and some people also include a watermark. Most people don’t mind the copyright info, but watermarks could result in webmasters not linking to your photos. Google also recommends providing a snippet of HTML for people to use to give you attribution when embedding your image on their page. Be sure to include a link to your page on that snippet. This will increase visits to your site also.

Pathmaker Marketing offers search engine optimization services along with non profit fundraising services, Internet business marketing promotion and more. See how Pathmaker can help you, whether you’re looking for a non profit consultant or other Internet business marketing promotion. Click or give us a call at 623-322-3334.

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10 Tips for Getting Higher Rankings in Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization is a specialized field that helps your website get higher rankings in search engines. Your goal in search engine optimization is to capture as much of the page 1 real estate in searches relevant to your business. Whether you’re developing a new website or updating an existing site, you should keep the following guidelines in mind as new content is developed and coded.

1. Structure your site appropriately to be found by search engines.
Google webmaster guidelines say that your site should have a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.

2. Make navigation easy and clear.
Google recommends a site map with links that point to the important parts of your site.

3. Remember that “content is king.”
It’s easy to get bogged down in attempt to make the site look great and forget that search engines are looking for content, not looks. Google recommends that you create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.

4. Think Through and Liberally Use Appropriate Keywords.
Google recommends that you think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it. Pathmaker Marketing can help you carefully research keywords; we regularly uncover keywords for our clients that they may not have thought of and that have a higher likelihood of being found in search engines. Call us at 623-322-3334 to see if we can help you do a more thorough job of researching appropriate keywords for your business.

Designers love to create headlines in fonts that aren’t available in HTML. They do it by making your headlines images, and this is one sure way to harm yourself when it comes to search engine rankings. Google recommends that you use text instead or at least use the <ALT> tag to include a few descriptive words of the image.

5. Make sure <TITLE> and <META> tags are used appropriately.
These are HTML codes that search engines look for when ranking sites. The <TITLE> tag should not be the same for every page of your site (for example, merely the name of your company). It should contain keywords that have been carefully researched. <META> tags contain specific information that search engines look for when deciding what each page of your site is all about. There is a <META> tag for description, and you should supply your coder with a short paragraph to describe why someone would want to visit this page of your site – it may not be used in ranking, but it could be displayed under the title of the page to help potential visitors decide if they want to click on your listing. These should contain words that actually describe the page content to avoid being penalized by search engines.

6. Check for broken links and correct HTML.
Your will severely hurt your rankings in search engines if you have broken links in your site or if your HTML cannot be read by search engines. Your coders need to be sure to check all code and clean up any extraneous codes left by edits or inserted by HTML generators. Several people should click on every single link in the site to make sure there are no broken links, and it should be re-done every time the site is edited. Also, Google recommends keeping down the number of links on any given page to fewer than 100.

7. Keep parameters short on dynamically-generated pages.
These are pages that are automatically generated from a database. The URL of this type of page will have a “?” in it. Google warns that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages and recommends that the parameters be short and few.

8. Be straightforward in your site structure.
Some sites create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content thinking they’ll trick search engines into believing there is more content on the site than there is. You’ll get found out of you do this – so the best advice is to avoid it. Google recommends that you avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content. If you site participates in an affiliate program, you need to develop your own content that adds value and gives potential users a reason to visit your site rather than the hundreds of others who also participate in the same affiliate program.

9. Make your photo captions text rather than embedding inside an image.
Search engines can’t read text that is part of an image. There rarely is a case when you need to make a photo caption part of the photo, and you’ll benefit in search engine rankings if you keep the captions to HTML text.

10. Use <ALT> tags and descriptive names for all photos and images.
This was briefly discussed with the tip about headlines. All images should have an <ALT> description so search engines will consider the images when ranking your site. These tags need to contain useful information about the subject matter of the image. You also need to use photo names that describe the content. Google states, “my-new-black-kitten.jpg is a lot more informative than IMG00023.JPG.” 

Pathmaker Marketing offers a full range of website design, search engine optimization services, fundraising services, Internet business marketing promotion, Christian marketing, non profit fundraising and more. We would be happy to discuss with you how we might be able to help you get the highest rankings in search engines or any other topic about your fundraising needs. Give us a call at 623-322-3334.

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Include Virtual Tours in Your Internet Marketing Ideas

A virtual tour can be an interesting and valuable addition to your website, and if you do it properly, it can be a valuable part of your internet marketing ideas.

But if you’re thinking of adding a virtual tour to your non profit website design, you’ll need to take a number of issues into account before getting started.

1. What is the goal for your tour?
If your Internet marketing idea is to showcase your business, then you’ll want a lot of photos of your campus – this is a more informational type of tour. But if your Internet marketing idea is to tell the inspiring story of how your ministry, church or business started, you’ll want to have more drama in your tour – and this could add to the bandwidth as you include more sound effects and perhaps video. 

As you begin to compile information for this particular Internet marketing idea, you’ll want to always keep your specific goal in mind and organize that information in the tour so that it will be easy to present and experience. And you’re going to want to focus on what makes your campus, business, product, etc., unique.

Whether you include a virtual tour in your website as an informational or inspirational Internet marketing idea, you’re going to need to provide a real guided tour – not just drop people off and make them find their own way around on their own. This brings up another point, some people will want to be dropped off and explore, meaning you’re going to need a visible map so anyone can find their way around … and include the words “Begin Here” in the map.

2. Who are you trying to reach?
If your non profit is a university primarily for people directly out of high school, this Internet marketing idea should showcase the sorts of things that appeal to younger people. But if you have a combination of younger students plus people coming back for some mid-career training to stay relevant, you may be talking about two different tours. You need to think this through so filming day takes the approach for the generation you’re attempting to reach, and you’ll want your script, and the narrator, to have the voice of the generation you’re trying to reach. Any information you provide is going to need to be relevant and interesting to your specific audience – from their point of view, not yours.

3. What kind of interactivity will your audience most appreciate?
Some people, especially younger people, want to be in control of their browsing experience. They’ll appreciate choices – where can they click to find out more information? Some older people may want the tour to completely load and allow them to sit back and watch with few needs on their part for making choices. Your tour should be more than QuickTime videos with some text. It should be a special production that integrates many different kinds of media – videos, text, maps, photos, etc.; but these should be done in a seamless way so the viewing experience is appropriate for the audience and flow well. And provide choices for people who want to sit back and watch your tour as well as those you want to get dropped off and do a more self-guided tour.

4. What kind of bandwidth will you be working with?
Your IT department will be very unhappy if a virtual tour suddenly goes online that you have not discussed with them because they have a specific amount of bandwidth to work with, and you need to make sure your project is going to be well served without taking from other functions of the server.

Pathmaker Marketing is a professional fundraising company that serves ministries, non profit organizations and a for profit businesses. We offer search engine optimization services, fundraising services, blogging services, business marketing promotion online, and many Internet marketing ideas. Give us a call at 623-322-3334 to see how we can assist you, whether with a virtual tour or any other kind of website design or online fundraising services.

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5 Steps to a Great Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan

Promoting your website is similar to promoting any product, but there are several aspects of an Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan that you’ll want to take into account as you create a plan for non profit fundraising.

1. Define WHAT (the message) I want to say to WHOM (the audience), WHY (ROI) I want to say it to them, and WHEN I want to say it to them.
This is an important first step in developing Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan because it provides the framework around which to build the rest of the plan. Once you’ve analyzed who your audience is based on solid research, it typically takes about an hour or less to develop this framework for your promotional plan. It should result in about one page or less of text, and you’ll want to keep coming back to this information as you work through the next steps of creating your plan. 

2. Identify internal channels to pursue.
Many people forget to include ALL of their internal channels when developing their Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan. These include staff who give to or buy from your business or non profit in addition to people who give to or buy from your business or non profit. 

3.  Identify the media outlets that will accomplish #1 through paid advertising. 
When I have skipped Step #1 and moved directly to Step #2-4 while developing an Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan, I have found myself wandering around in a sea of details and struggling to sort through them. It isn’t until I get my head out of the details and go back to Step #1 that I get a handle on how specific media outlets will help me accomplish my big picture goals. 

Once you’ve identified the best media outlets based on who they reach, what it costs, and availability (back to knowing the WHEN identified in Step #1), then you can quickly sort through them to whittle down your recommendations to fit your Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan budget. Part of the research needs to be whether or not you can meet the outlet’s deadlines – if you want to advertise in a magazine with a 3-month lead time, and you’re 3 weeks away from launching your advertising, move on. If the deadlines is within your time frame but your ability to deliver isn’t, move on. There are plenty of outside places to advertise, so long as you get moving and don’t get so bogged down in the details of planning that you never move on to implementation. 

4. Identify other channels that will accomplish #1 through publicity.
In addition to writing news releases and articles for other websites to publish, you’ll want to carefully include social and professional networking channels in your Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan, as well as the blogging community in your promotional plan. You can advertise on Facebook and Twitter, the most popular social networking sites, but don’t forget the professional networking sites like Linkedin and Naymz. Also, find the bloggers who are talking about your subject matter and ask them to write about your product or non profit. If you have a product, give them a sample so they know what they’re writing about. You could also include a “blogger tour” in this plan, which is similar to a media tour but with popular online bloggers.

5. Flesh out the strategy with tactical details, cost, specific due dates and responsibilities.
Many people try to start here when developing an Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan, but it is the last step until you’ve done all your homework. You need to specifically spell out who is going to be doing what so there are no misunderstandings (and so you know those people have agreed to do what you’re asking them to do). 


Pathmaker Marketing can help you sort through the best channels to promote your non profit. Give us a call at 623-322-3334.

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10 Tips for Successful and Effective Internet Marketing #1-2

In the next series of five blog posts, I want to provide with you 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are the first two:

  1. DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVES – As you craft your Banner Ad or Email campaign or other online ad initiative you need to know exactly what you are expecting it to accomplish for you.  There are basically two things that you can hope to achieve from your Internet Marketing endeavor other than exposure — a lead or a sale.  Typically, your product or service will determine which you should expect.  For example, if you are pitching your services as an Architect for Church Building Expansions, you will undoubtedly be pursuing leads, not sales.  The complexity of the sale process and the probable high cost make online sales prohibitive. On the other hand, if you are selling a $79.95 downloadable resource entitled “6 Steps to a Perfect Sermon,” your end objective is most likely a sale.  Once you understand your objective (sale or lead) you can develop better copy and art to achieve your goal, and you can better measure the results of your campaign to get qualified leads or sales.
  2. ADD THE “FREE WATCH” – As much as we may want to purchase something, many of us often need that little extra motivation or incentive to push us over the top and make that decision to purchase that which we are considering.  One of the best ways to accomplish this with your Internet Marketing is to give a free bonus gift.  Mentioned at the end of your offer, this extra incentive often becomes that “little extra” that convinces consumers to act on the offer!  Be creative with your “free watch.” This could be free shipping, 20% off, an extra goodie, bonus products, a discount coupon for a future purchase, etc.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.

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