Archives for May 2012

Animated Emails

Animated EmailMake no mistake about it, we do live in an entertaining world!  And, whatever entertains us the most is going to get our attention.  That is why the talented e-mail marketing experts at Pathmaker Marketing LLC stand ready to help you design and employ a major technological breakthrough – – Animated E-Mails!

One of the main things that you need to know, and keep in mind, regarding Animated E-mails is the fact that the methods used to generate Animation on a Web page are restricted for an E-Mail.  For example, websites can use FLASH, JAVA and a variety of other technologies.  With E-Mails, however, the major technology is Animated Gifs.

Most professional email marketing services will tell you that Animated Gifs is “old school,” and has been around for quite some time.  Like most forms of technology, there are a number of people around who dabble in this particular medium without being really proficient in it.  That’s where Pathmaker Marketing LLC , an email marketing firm, comes in— as they are  qualified, experienced, and immensely prolific!

While Animated Gifs is “the way to go,” it is not without its restrictions.  For example, a Gif with a lot of frames creates a large file, which causes the E-Mail to load slowly.  In a day when two seconds seems like an eternity, a slow opening E-Mail runs the risk of immediate deletion.  Too, while most E-Mail Boxes will display Animated Gifsjust fine, Outlook 7 is an exception.

Still, within these parameters creativity can abound.  Check out the addresses below to see some of the better Animated Gifs currently on the Internet:

                                    http://stylecampaign.com/blog/?p=72

                                    http://stylecampaign.com/blog/?p=96

Pathmaker Marketing LLC recently accepted the challenge of something totally spectacular – – including a countdown within a client’s E-Mails!  The process began by creating a countdown for their Website (for an example of a countdown on a Website go to http://www.flashxml.net/countdown.html).  With a visual style to work with we were able to develop animation for their E-Mails, and were able to dovetail it with their Website countdown (http://jerusalemprayerteam.org/email/archive/0818.asp). While it appears that the countdown is actually taking place in the E-Mail, this is an illusion that we created, giving only the impression of a countdown.  This was accomplished by using only fifty-three (53) frames, thus making it a manageable size.

To learn how, exactly, you and your Company can benefit from an Animated E-Mail Program prepared by an email marketing specialist you need to contact Pathmaker Marketing LLC to schedule a private phone conversation as quickly as possible.  After all, you want to entertain everyone you send E-Mails to!

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Basic HTML

basic HTMLWhile the number of changes regarding the Internet seems to come Geometrically rather than Arithmetically, email marketing experts know that there is one standard that is vitally important to successful E-Mail Campaigns: HTML. The abbreviated form of Hyper Text Markup Language, HTML is basically the “Computer Language” that is read by browsers and lets it know how to display things in your E-Mail, from Font to Colors and from where images are positioned to paragraph breaks!

The email marketing professional is aware that while there are a number of Internet Languages, not all are suitable for E-Mails. For example, a popular, and effective, language for Websites is CSS or Custom Style Sheet. However, most ISPs tend to “strip out” CSS in e-mails, thus making the E-mail that was CSS unreadable and, obviously, ineffective. While your designated recipient will receive your E-Mail, there is no idea what it will look like, so avoid CSS when designing HTML E-Mails. Another language not supported by E-Mail is Flash. Avoid that in HTML E-Mails as well.

Another Language, and a relatively simple one, is simply known as “Text.” Unfortunately, Text has some major disadvantages compared to HTML. For example, you cannot include any images in Text, nor can you “track” your E-Mails to determine who’s opening them and who isn’t. Inasmuch as both of these are vitally important in an effective E-Mail Campaign, it is most apparent why HTML is superior to Text.  Any professional email marketing service will be quick to point this out to you.

Knowing HTML and using it to code your E-Mails is just the first step. To ensure that your recipients are receiving the E-Mail the way it looked when you sent it, you need to follow up and discover how each “E-Mail Box” is rendering the E-Mail when it comes in. There are a number of “ISPs,” with the most prevalent being AOL, G-Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Outlook. Prior to doing a “Mass Mailer” it is imperative that you send a sample to each “Box” and verify that it is being rendered properly. As can be imagined, a poor looking E-mail does not speak well of your company and/or organization.

Not everyone understands the subtlety of HTML and the way to “check” an E-Mail’s rendering in any of the Boxes. As a result, it may be wise to have a direct email marketing firm like Pathmaker Marketing LLCwhom employs a group of talented experts who stand ready to assist clients in the skillful art of HTML Coding. Dedicated to producing effective E-mails and making sure that they are rendered properly in every Box, these email marketing companies produce E-mail Campaigns that not only present their client’s position but also deliver results.

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ESPs – Email Service Providers

Email ProviderIf your goal is to achieve success on the Internet by becoming a viable email Marketing Firm, you need to have at least a working knowledge of ESPs, and be able to decide which one, exactly, will serve your needs best.  That’s why email Marketing Specialists  have done the leg-work to identify and research the various ESPs to determine which one will serve you best.

Unbeknownst to many, ESPs fall into three levels:  Entry, Mid, and Elite.  Following is a sampling of ESPs in each category:

ESP Sampling per Category
 Entry     Mid  Elite
iContact Convio Exec Target
Emma Vertical Response Bronto
Lyris
Com F5

Typically, unless your Mailing List exceeds 10,000 you need not go above the “Entry” Level.  With this information in mind, email marketing experts can evaluate your needs and help you determine which ESP would be best foryou!  If you are involved in Professional email Marketing, choosing the correct ESP is a must!

 Make no mistake about it, in this day and age you need to get into an ESP if you haven’t already done so, and many direct mail marketing firms, like Pathmaker Marketing LLC, stand ready to help you select the one best suited for your needs.  If you are already in one, they can help maximize its use to increase your level of success!

To learn how, exactly, you can involve yourself with the ESP that will best meet your needs, you need to contact an email marketing professional like those at Pathmaker Marketing LLC to schedule a private phone conversation as quickly as possible. After all, reaching people via the proper ESP is an important step in ensuring email Marketing success, and can be easily accomplished with the help of an email marketing company like Pathmaker Marketing LLC! If your goal is to achieve success on the Internet by becoming a viable email Marketing Firm, you need to have at least a working knowledge of ESPs, and be able to decide which one, exactly, will serve your needs best.  That’s why email Marketing Specialists  have done the leg-work to identify and research the various ESPs to determine which one will serve you best.

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Email Fundraising Concepts

e-mail fundraisingIt is obvious that the 21st Century is making each and every one of us re-evaluate the way we do things.  This is as true for Churches and Non-Profits as it is for Businesses.  One of the most prominent undertakings of a 501 (c) (3) is Fundraising, and there are many e-mail marketing companies who are offering their services to assist with this challenge.  In fact, Randall Mains, CEO of Pathmaker Marketing, LLC, a true email marketing specialist, has had immense success with his clients in doing just that, having raised well over a million dollars for them in the past four-plus years!

When conferring with Pathmaker Marketing, or any professional email marketing service, they will advise you that there are several important email fundraising concepts, which deals predominantly with “testing”  to ensuring that your e-mail fundraising endeavor is, in fact, a successful one.  Following is brief descriptions of each of these, to help you better understand the email marketing expert’s approach to e-mail fundraising.

DEVELOP YOUR E-MAIL STRATEGIES – Basically there are five strategies that you can employ, which include:

  1. E-Mail Tied to Current Events
  2. Monthly “Themed” E-Mail Campaigns
  3. Direct Mail/E-Mail Combo
  4. Media/E-Mail Combo
  5. “Stand Alone” E-Mail Fundraising Campaign

“SUBJECT LINE” TESTING – This process finds you mailing the exact same email, but changing what you write in the subject line.  As you experiment with these, you will find that one subject line may get more attention, and a better reaction, than another one that you use.

“SPLIT” TESTING – In this instance you try different “creative angles” to see which works best. This might include varying the copy that you use, or the photos.  Obviously, you will send out several simultaneously to determine what the results are.

“CLICK THROUGH RATE” TESTING – Typically, in each e-mail the recipient will have several ways to “click through” to support your cause.  This can either take place via a “Banner, “Learn More,” or an “Action Button.”  What you will eventually do, of course, is concentrate on “Click through Optimization.”

LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATION – This may be, perhaps, the greatest “bug-a-boo” for email fundraisers.  Often, people have an excellent “click through” rate, but no one bothers to donate!  As a result, the conclusion drawn, albeit an erroneous one is that e-mail fundraising doesn’t work.  The reality is, it is the landing page that is “broken” and needs repairing, and that is where landing page optimization comes in!

It is, of course, possible that all of this may seem a little overwhelming, especially the landing page optimization concept.  That is why that you may find it most beneficial to contact an email marketing professional like Randall Mains and his e-mail marketing firm, Pathmaker Marketing.  They can assist you by explaining the process in greater detail, and implementing the programs as well!

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E-Mail Marketing 101: Getting Started

E-Mail MarketingIf yours is an enterprise that can be considered “B to C” – Business to Consumer – then E-mail Marketing is something that you not only need to be aware of, but need to be participating in. This is especially true if “coupons,” or special offers/special events serves a vital role in your Marketing Program. With Restaurants and certain Retail Shops, E-Mail Marketing is pretty apt to be your ticket to “Marketing Paradise.” It can work well for churches as well!

 In order to explain the process in detail, let’s use a Restaurant and a church as our examples as to how the program works. To begin with, we need to realize that there are two major challenges in implementing an effective E-Mail Marketing ProgramBuilding your contact list and coming up with viable offers to send to your list. The key to building your list is that you have to provide a reason for people to join. In the case of the Restaurant, you might offer a “2 for 1” coupon, or a “20% Off” your next order when they sign up. You provide patrons the opportunity to enroll while they are in your establishment, and at that time you explain that future coupons will be forthcoming when they “enroll” with you.  A Church might offer a free White Paper on Prayer or How to Enjoy Better Family Life for signing up.

      Once you have a list to work with, you can start your E-Mail Marketing Program. You might send out coupons for Karaoke Night, or for Holiday Discounts, or maybe even to join you for Monday Night Football. It is important to remember that an E-Mail Marketing Program is primarily to provide your business with “spikes,” corresponding to the event or holiday. Inasmuch as E-Mails tend to have a short “shelf life,” these are good for “short term” promotions.

Churches might want to offer an invitation to a special Holiday Service or even a “Movie Night” or special musical presentation.  Again, the idea is to get people into the church so that you can determine what their needs are and how you can help meet those needs.

      Regardless of the type of business you own and/or are promoting, there are several important facts you need to keep in mind when building your E-Mail Program. Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that you will want to design your coupons in HTML. This not only allows you to develop and forward an “attractive” coupon that will render properly, it also provides you with the means to “track” your E-Mails, allowing you to know how many of them are being opened and even how many recipients are “clicking through.”

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E-Mail Fundraising

E-Mail FundraisingOne of the paramount challenges for churches and para-churches is fundraising.  While there are a number of “tried and true” methods available, the advent of the Internet and email has created paradigm shifts that mandate to enjoy continued success it is going to be necessary to stay on the “cutting edge” of technology.  Since ministry is the major concern of these institutions, it is probable that they will want to benefit from the experience and expertise of an email-marketing specialist with a successful email marketing firm such as Randall Mains and PATHMAKER MARKETING LLC.

Randall, a PK, grew up understanding the importance of fundraising.  If you’re like his Dad, the Rev. David Mains, asking for money isn’t your favorite pastoral activity. But, you do it because that’s how you fundeverything from keeping the lights on in the sanctuary to paying salaries to supporting ministries that present the life-changing message of the Gospel to hungry souls.

Over the past 25+ years, God has blessed Randall to help numerous churches and ministries with their fundraising needs through some specific skills that he has learned in life. His experience spans a variety of areas… radio, direct mail, various fundraisers, publishing, product sales, but (most recently), raising hundreds of thousands of dollars through online efforts such as email fundraising.

Here’s what he was able to accomplish for one growing church in Chicago:

The church retained him to help them open up new channels for funding their growing outreach ministry, which includes a church, radio ministry, television ministry, international humanitarian efforts, and the sale of the pastor’s books and teachings.

His first step was to help them build their email list. They were sending people to their website, but they weren’t capturing as many email addresses as they could. In addition to offering general technical support for their store, he installed 3 important things.

  1. He upgraded their website with an eNewsletter sign-up form and dedicated, benefits-oriented landing page to secure new email addresses. Together, these have gotten them thousands of new emails addresses – both to add to their mailing list and to replace those that inevitably fall off of mailings lists when people change email addresses or simply move on.
  2. He installed an eight-week series of welcome emails. Not only do these emails run on autopilot for ease of use, but they also introduce new acquaintances to the various aspects of their ministry.
  3. He went to work raising funds from the people on their email list. He writes, designs, codes, installs, and blasts a regular eAppeal for them that raises over $10,000 each month.

Below are several Email Fundraising Case Studies that will give you a solid idea as to what Randall can accomplish:

A. For a church in Chicago, who contracted with them to do their email fundraising, they recently filed a recent report that showed they helped the church raise $127,739 through email in 2010.

B. For a large broadcast ministry in Phoenix, they conducted a 13-month email campaign that reaped 1,816 gifts for a total of $190,887 in income, netting them $158,387 after considering all expenses.

C. They also have served several television ministries. One from the East Coast first contacted them for help with good web communications. That quickly grew into a successful eMail Marketing effort that has generated $750,000  in email donations from 9,000 gifts during their 53-month relationship to help them fund their ministry endeavors. For 2011, their email fundraising income was over $200,000 in an otherwise dismal economy.

As you can see, it would probably behoove you to make arrangements to work with email marketing experts like Randall and PATHMAKER MARKETING LLC sooner rather than later!

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E Welcome Series

ewelcome seriesProper Business Etiquette is as much a part of the business world today as it ever was, and that is just as true in regard to the Internet as any other business aspect! Fortunately, the email marketing experts at Pathmaker Marketing LLC are the virtual Emily Posts of Internet Etiquette! And, we stand ready to help ensure that anyone who visits your website is treated appropriately, wooing them back as not only interested parties but as actual clients!

As you have undoubtedly already surmised, you want to be sure to properly respond when someone visits your Website. For example, if they take the time to fill out a form or survey, it would behoove you to send an e-mail thanking them, and also provide them with a special gift! Your “thank you” e-mail should be something that is both eye-catching and memorable. With such an e-mail you will indicate to the recipient that, though you don’t know them yet, they are already important to you!

The “special gift” can be a downloadable White Paper that elaborates on how you and your company can assist them. This White Paper should not only elaborate on the services/products you offer, but also convince the reader at the very least they should give you and your company a closer look!

Contact with your “visitor,” however, should not end there! Your first follow up to your initial contact should probably come in the form of a coupon for their first order. This could be either a “percent off,” or perhaps a free gift with the purchase of an established amount on their first order.

How many contacts should you make?  An email marketing specialist will advise you to always keep in mind that the basic concept in using the Welcome Series is to get beyond the “Acquaintance Stage” and get people “up to speed” in regard to what you do and who you are! Your goal is to get people involved with your company as soon as possible and as much as possible!

Keeping in mind that this program is to help you develop a relationship with your customers, the “Welcome Series” program works equally well with Businesses and Charitable Organizations. In either case, this program does, in fact, get people up to speed in regard to what you do and who you are!

Perhaps the best way to envision what the Welcome Series helps you accomplish is through the use of the Development World’s “Pyramid Model.” In that particular Model, the “base” is where most people who contact your company/organization are located. The more involved they become with you, the further they “move up” the Pyramid. The goal, of course, is to get them to the very pinnacle of the Pyramid, where you have become an integral part of their world!

You may have noted that many companies and/or organizations already have a “Welcome Series” that they use via the U.S. Mail. With our experience and expertisePathmaker Marketing LLC can coordinate the two rather easily. With the transition of our world to the electronic age, this might be an excellent way to make the transition from “snail mail” to “e-mail!

To learn how, exactly, you and your Company can benefit from an E-Welcome Program you will want to contact an email marketing firm sooner rather than later! After all, you want everyone to reach the pinnacle of your Pyramid!

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