Wisdom: I didn’t say it was Your fault

Wisdom - I didn’t say it was Your fault - Pathmaker Blog“I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.”

What a world we live in! Not only does the vast majority of the population not want to accept the responsibility of their actions, they look for a scapegoat to blame their inadequacies on. That’s what makes the validity of this statement so devastating! You see, when Harry Truman put the now famous placard on his desk, “The buck stops here” it was understood that, when all is said and done, the one at the top is responsible for what happens due to what those under them do. Today, however, instead of flowing up, responsibility seems to flow down – – with the lowest person in the chain of command being stuck with the brunt of everyone’s actions/words.

What this does, of course, is create an extreme amount of paranoia and distrust among the ranks of the working populace. People are afraid to make an administrative decision for fear that they will be brought to task and punished if things don’t go as planned. Young, naïve underlings are sacrificed on the throne of corporate advancement while shrewd, manipulative over-lords spend as much time and energy covering their bases as they do furthering the firms they work for. “And,” as Sonny and Cher told us, “the beat goes on.”

If you want to be a successful, and beloved, manager, don’t look for people to blame should things go wrong, spend more time working with people on your staff/team to ensure that the things don’t go wrong! Nurture those naïve individuals who come under your tutelage, helping them to understand the process and showing them how they, too, can be successful. For as ridiculous as this may sound, the more you help others the more you help yourself. Maybe it has something to do with casting your bread upon the waters, or if you want to be great in heaven be a servant in this world, or maybe it just is the manifestation of the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

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Pathmaker Marketing: Free Online Marketing Tips to Capture the Attention of Your Target Market

In the online world, where getting lots of attention means cash in the bank, it is getting increasingly difficult to even get your target market to notice you. Here are some of the inexpensive and creative ways you can market your business online.
 

 
Pathmaker provides the strategic direction and professional services necessary to achieve your desired results. Find out more about us here www.pathmakermarketing.com/digital-marketing-agency.php
 

Tips to Capture the Attention of Your Target Market

Tips to Capture the Attention of Your Target Market

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Pathmaker Marketing: Benefits of Internet Marketing

Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for their buying decisions. This makes Internet marketing more important than ever before. Here are some benefits that could help you consider internet marketing.
 

 
An expertly crafted Internet marketing campaign can open up a whole new world of opportunities for your business. We can help you grow your business through Internet Marketing www.pathmakermarketing.com

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US Internet Marketing – Benefits of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing enables you to build relations with customers and prospects through regular, low-cost personalized communication, reflecting the move away from mass marketing. Here are some benefits you can consider.
 

 
Pathmaker provides a wide range of digital services to help you grow your business online. Visit our website www.pathmakermarketing.com for more information.

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Moving your Facebook Page to 100,000 Fans

Moving your Facebook Page to 100,00 FansThere are a multitude of activities where it can be said, “it’s a numbers game.”  This is probably no truer that in the realm of Social Media, and, of course, one of the major aspects of that realm is Facebook.  While “Fans” and “Friends” are important when you are socializing, they are downright vital when you are using your Facebook for business.  As a result, it is important that if Facebook is to be a major part of your Internet Marketing that you know the ways to build your number of Fans to 100,000 plus!

In essence, there are three ways that this can be accomplished.  The one you opt to use, of course, depends on a number of things, including but not necessarily limited to your budget and your time frame.  With these thoughts in minds, there are basically three avenues of approach that you can pursue.

PURSUE “LINEAR GROWTH”

This is accomplished when you use your Facebook Page to disseminate helpful content to your Facebook Fans.  To do this, it is helpful to have a true, heartfelt desire to share information that others can use.  When this happens, your Fans, in turn, will have a desire to Like, Share and/or Comment on your posting. Once this transpires, you will become part of the “News Feed.”  The next obvious step is the fact that the Friends of your Fans will then Like, Share, and/or Comment on your content.  And THAT is the key to this approach!

What you should have, nay, what you must have is Interaction with your content!  If you do not have Interaction, the content is basically “isolated” and, for all intent and purposes, is doing you little or no good.  On the other hand, if there is enough Interaction your Facebook Post could actually go Virile, and that, of course, would be a very good thing!!!!

Linear Growth is considered “organic,” as it is a “natural” growth.  As a result, you shouldn’t be surprised if it takes twelve to eighteen months for you to reach the kind of numbers you are looking for.

BOOST CONTENT WITH ADVERTISING

In this case, your “Advertising” is supplemental to posting good content.  The Advertising you do should, of course, be in Facebook.  The Advertising can be directly  related to the content, but does not have to be.  In this realm you have two choices:  You can Advertise for your Facebook Page, or you can even make it “Post Specific.”

As can be imagined, Advertising will excel the growth of your Facebook Page. Fortunately, this can be accomplished relatively inexpensively, utilizing as little as a twenty-dollar budget.  Known as “Ad Boost,” this will, typically, get you more “Page Likes..”  As usual, you have an option or two here at your disposal.  You can either Ad Boost to the Friends of your Fans, OR you can choose a specific demographic and concentrate on that with your Ad Boosts.  As one would suspect, Ad Boosts will create a situation where your “Growth Curve” will be greater than if you are only building your Page in a Linear manner.

CONTESTS AND GIVEAWAYS

The inclusion of Contests and Giveaways in your Internet Marketing Program gives you the potential of having the growth that takes place be on an exponential level.  The intent of the Contest/Giveaway Program is to accomplish three things:

  • “Rev Up” your Fans.
  • “Hook Up” with Fans your Brand may have but are not yet on Facebook.
  • “Connect” with potential new Fans.

Ideally, of course, when you proceed with your Contest/Giveaway you will do all three!

An issue, or concern at least, deals with the question as to whether or not your Contest/Giveaway should deal directly with the product/service you offer.  While they don’t have to, it stands to reason that they probably should.  Let’s look at an example and then explore why a direct correlation is probably beneficial.

A while back we had a client who was introducing a new Bible into the marketplace.  They decided to run a Contest, and the Grand Prize was a trip to The Holy Land.  As you can see, people who would be most apt to be interested in a trip to The Holy Land would also be pretty apt to be interested in Bibles so the contestants that participated in their Contest were virtually qualified leads.

Now let’s look at a scenario where the Grand Prize is so grandiose that you will get lots of contestants, but that may or may not be interested in your product/service.  Let’s say you are offering a Grand Prize of $10,000,000.00.  You can rest assured that you are going to get a lot of traction for your Contest.  But, it is pretty safe to assume that the vast majority of the people who enter your Contest are only interested in your Grand Prize.  On the other hand, let’s suppose you operate a Sporting Goods Store and the Grand Prize you are offering is a new 16’ Bass Boat.  Now, the people who participate in your Contest are, at the very least, interested in fishing and probably interested in hunting as well.  Now, you have people who are as much interested in your product as they are in your Grand Prize!

As you can see, whichever way you choose to build your numbers the ensuing growth is never happenstance, but rather the result of a well thought out, coordinated plan.  If you are not sure which way you want to go, or feel that you need help in implementing any or all of these programs, feel free to contact me, Randall Mains, at 1-800-224-2735 Ext. 1 or randall@pathmakermarketing.net.  I am sure that regardless of the route you choose to use, if you are committed and stay dedicated to it you will achieve the goal you have set for yourself!

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Online Fundraising – Tips For Online Marketing On A Tight Budget

The World Wide Web is a tool with endless limits. Creating and maintaining a business presence online is more practical than ever before.

Give us a call today at 623-322-3334 to talk about your needs and how we could help you find a path to success on the internet. Find out more about us, visit us at www.pathmakermarketing.com

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Peeking Inside a Successful Kickstarter Campaign

Kickstarter - TalesWhile Zack Brown’s “potato salad” campaign got a lot of press and brought him enormous Kickstarter results (His initial goal was $10 and he raised over $55K, garnering 6900+ backers from around the world!),  his experience was more of an anomaly than the norm!

Rather than talking about crowd funding campaigns that are just a stroke of good luck, I would like to discuss the success of a campaign we recently conducted for one client in regard to their children’s books, The TALES OF THE KINGDOM Trilogy.  In an attempt to document our lessons learned to strengthen potential future campaigns, and to benefit others who might undertake a future Kickstarter Campaign of their own, we took a long, hard look at our successful efforts and are sharing our findings with you here.

LENGTH | Our Kickstarter Campaign  began on June 27, 2014 and ended on August 4, 2014, running a total of thirty eight (38) days.  We labored over the campaign length numerous times but eventually selected this number of days as a compromise between prevailing Kickstarter recommendations [ 1  2  3 ] that say shorter campaigns do better (under 30 days) and pundits and experts saying go longer if it’s your first rodeo [ 1 2 3 ]. In retrospect, I wish we had extended it even further out from a pledging perspective, because I think our pledges were probably curtailed by the 38 day length. Here is the chart showing how our funding process went. As you can see, we still had significant momentum running right up through the last day.

Kickstarter Graph

Another successful Children’s Book project, launched after ours ended, set a 60 day funding goal and has done exceptionally well, ending up 3rd all time in the Children’s Book category.

One major lesson learned after this campaign was how important a good pre-campaign marketing and promotional launch is. If we had done one, we would have come out of the blocks much faster and probably ended up higher overall.  We had a very slow start because we under-engineered the pre-promotion and didn’t gain real tracking until about 19 days in when direct mailings started landing and pulling in substantial backers.

FUNDING GOAL | Our Campaign Goal was $22,500 and, when the smoke cleared away, we ended up raising $38,316 from a total of 144 backers.  This equates to 170% funding, and was accomplished with an average “pledge” of $266.00.  Our campaign ended up #14 Most Funded all time of over 3,000 Children’s Book projects on Kickstarter. It has since moved to #15 and may trend lower, as other successful Children’s Book projects roll out, but we were thrilled with those results when they happened!

But it was agony trying to decide on the correct funding objective, and we wavered back and forth from lows of $14,400 to highs of $73,000. Our challenge was made more difficult in that we were asking for funding for a TRILOGY (3 books) rather than just one book, which made all the publishing costs higher. In the end, we decided to be more cautious, and migrated to a lower number overall of $22,500.  By day 19 of the project it seemed like we might have overreached on the goal, and I recall a few pros in various Facebook Kickstarter forums telling me my campaign was sunk. But most of our heavy marketing plans had just started landing and we really started getting momentum at the midway point.

I think I would still lean lower for first timers, feeling like it’s better to get a successful campaign under your belt, with all the learning lessons that come along with that, than overreach and end up with nothing. But having said that, we went through 4 substantive BUDGET revisions, and even now that it’s over, I wish we had worked the budget numbers even further.

TIP: Spend a lot of time hammering out your budget. It’s important NOT to be losing money every time you get a new backer. Besides, how ever much time you think it will take to run a successful campaign, in the end it will take MORE than you anticipate. Our campaign was over 300 man hours, and I’m sure we under counted. And there will likely be other charges you incur you hadn’t planned for — hopefully smaller oversights, not bigger ones!

   Tracking the results provides us with some most worthwhile information.  For example, on July 15th, nineteen days into and half way through, the Campaign, we only had 30% of our Campaign Goal. According to the experts, our chances for success at this point were minimal to say the least.  In most instances, the successful campaigns are those who hit deck running hard, and most of their support comes in early.

   The reason for our slow start?  We had virtually no pre-promotion launch!  In retrospect, this definitely needs to be changed.  At the very least, you should plan on running a thirty-day (30) promotion in this realm.

   What we did do was utilize a full range of Marketing and Promotional Tools. During the course of our KickStarter Campaign we did three Direct Mailers – one letter and two postcards. We also “worked” the various e-mail lists at our disposal, sending out in access of 25,000 e-mails.  We drafted and submitted a Press Release regarding our endeavor, and employed Facebook Postings and ads.  Once these all started “landing,” about day twenty, things really started to pick up and backers started coming on board.

   We immediately realized that, for future success, we were going to need to calculate the benefit of each of these endeavors.  The four most beneficial avenues resulted in the following numbers:

          SOURCE                    # OF PLEDGES               % OF PLEDGES

          Direct Traffic                         38                                              32%

          Web-Site                                32                                               20 %

          Facebook                                25                                              15%

          KickStarter                             16                                              10%

One of the most important aspects of a KickStarter Campaign is your KickStarter Page.  We agree that a video is vitally important, and learned some most interesting things in regard to that, too.  For example, we had over a thousand “hits” where people played the video, but of those only forty percent (40%) watched the video all the way through (the video was 4:14 long).  This taught us two important facts:  Shorter videos might be more conducive to a successful KickStarter Campaign, and, if you feel you must do a lengthy video, be sure you get your key points “right up front” in the filming

As we alluded to earlier, we discovered that a lot of our stats reflect a near total antithesis of what you will typically read on KickStarter.  For example, they advise you to go for “small donations” stating that most backers will pledge $100 or less.  However, we found that forty-five (45) of our backers (thirty-one percent [31%]), pledged $157.00 or more.  In fact, we had five backers who “went in” for $2500 or more, and thirty-three percent (33%) of our money came from the largest reward level, though we did get backers at every level.  Due to our “unorthodox” KickStarter Campaign, one of the “KickStarter Gurus” proclaimed that, though we reached and even surpassed our goal, the Campaign was not a success.  And, even though we were seeking backers for a three-book package instead of the standard (one book) Campaign, we ended up fourteenth all time for KickStarter Children’s Books Campaigns!!!

As we did not end up number one, there are areas where we can, and will, improve in the future.  For example, we “over-engineered” our stretch goals.  The key is, to present a “realistic” KickStarter Campaign you should not “post” a stretch goal until you reach your original goal!  For us, that was on day twenty-eight (28), and that is when we announced our stretch goals.  Now, you will want to have a stretch goal in mind, but don’t post it prematurely.

Before preparing to close, we would be doing the reader an injustice if we didn’t stress one most salient point:  Be sure you accurately research and prepare your Budget!  If you don’t calculate what it is going to cost to purchase, and send! your backers the “gift” you promise them, a KickStarter Campaign can, theoretically, cost you money instead of raising it!

Referring to finances, it will probably help you to know the process for receiving your funds.  First, AMAZON will “run” all of the credit cards the day your KickStarter Campaignends.  However, there is a fourteen (14) day delay before you have access to the funds.  While we know the following will vary, we ended up paying KickStarter nearly $2000.00.  We were able to raise $6000.00 through KickStarter and, therefore, feel the $2k to be a worthwhile investment, even though we never received an “endorsement” or recognition of any kind from them, though we finished up 14th in our category on their “all time” list.

In preparing to close, we have several thoughts we would like to share concerning our success:

  • Be sure to have a “Strong Project” concept.
  • Offering backers a valuable reward is a good idea.
  • Make sure you have “assets” to work with:  Legitimate Facebook Fans; a good Direct Mail List and good e-mail lists.
  • Get your Marketing Plan in place and work it like crazy!  Trust me, there is a great deal of “Behind the Scenes” effort that you never see.
  • We found that “add ons” may have value, but they did not add much financial support to the Campaign.
  • You must have good graphics and a good video.
  • Be aware that your “Backer Curve,” like ours, might be totally non-conventional compared to most KickStarter Campaigns.

As a summary, we would just like to re-emphasize the following points:

  • Have a Good Project – Explain your story succinctly – “flesh it out” but don’t make it obese!
  • Be sure to have Good Graphics and a Good Video.
  • Feature Good Backer Rewards.
  • Develop a Good Budget.

If you’re a novice regarding KickStarter Campaigns, you need to keep in mind that there is a lot more work involved than you might think.  You really need to spend time planning and promoting your campaign.  Remember, “He who fails to plan plans to fail!”

(If you would like to pursue a KickStarter Campaign but feel you don’t have the time or ability to conduct one properly and would like to commission PATHMAKER MARKETING LLC to assist you in the project, please contact Randall Mains at 623-322-3334 or randall@pathmakermarketing.net.)

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First Backer

Kingdom Tales KickstarterWe have the first two Backers for the Kickstarter Campaign to revise, re-illustrate and republish the Tales of the Kingdom Trilogy, which David and I began writing some thirty years ago! These Backers have come in at the $157 and $300 levels, which insures (if we meet our goal of raising $22,500) that they will receive the exclusive, limited edition Kickstarter hardcover Trilogy—all three books—with their names printed in the books, and personalized autographs to the recipients of your choice. 

These particular editions will only be available for a limited time in a limited quantity through this Kickstarter Campaign. Our goal is to mail them to your door in time for Christmas giving. For those of you who have loved these books through the years, this is a wonderful legacy project to give to family and friends. Thank you first donors! You have kicked off the campaign! For more details, visit this website.
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E-Newsletters

E-NewsletterThere is a truth that is so obvious that it is often overlooked—E-Newsletters are, first and foremost, NEWS letters. Their main intent should be to be a Communication Tool first, a Branding Tool second, and an Income Generator last, and then only occasionally!  Far too often this fact is over-looked, and E-Newsletters have a mishmash of goals, none of which seem to get accomplished.  This is something that an email marketing specialist is aware of and keeps in mind when dealing with their clients.

Email marketing experts know that the very best E-Newsletters tend to cover a lot of topics; that “Content is King” so you need lots ofquality content and that the “delivery schedule” is vital – you need to sent it out the same day each time (third Monday of the month, for example). The E-Newsletter should include several main Articles, numerous “Tips & Tidbits” and often a Monthly Schedule/ Calendar. When drafted properly, with engaging text, not only will the E-Newsletter not be deleted before it is opened, it will actually be looked forward to by all those who receive it!  To demonstrate this, let’s use a Sporting Goods Store for our example.

The main articles may, or may not, be about your company per se.  Rather, they might be about important issues in your field.  For example, you might include an article about projected new hunting or fishing laws in the state, or even information on a particular species.  The more information you make available the better.

In regard to “Tips & Tidbits,” you might tell recipients which ponds and lakes are scheduled to be stocked, or what flies work especially well during a particular time of the month.  We would suggest that you keep your tipsgermane to the topics associated with area of expertise.  However, “The Five Best Restaurants to have Breakfast in before 6 am” might be a tip that sportsman would find most useful!

The Monthly Schedule/Calendar probably should include special events you are planning, such as one-day salesor “How to” classes.  Again, it can also reflect things that would be of interest to your recipients and germane toyour business, including some of the things you might be including in your “Tips & Tidbits.”

When drafting your E-Newsletter it should be remembered that this tool allows you to let people know who you are, and what you are passionate about! It should, obviously, revolve around your business and area of expertise. It is also a wonderful way to highlight some of your Key Personnel and to honor some of your Major Clients!

As newspapers often have ads, it is acceptable for our Newsletters to have “Sidebar Ads” offering Discounts and other Special Offers. Another acceptable ploy is to include a “Click Here” button after an article that will take the reader to a Selling Page.  For example, if you feature an article about Fly Tying, you can have your readers click through to where they can sign up for a class on Tying Flies.

Again, in a nutshell, an E-Newsletter is a “Letter of News.” It allows you to share with others what’s new in your business or group, and, for the most part, allows the reader to absorb information rather than take action. That does not mean, however, that it can’t be a Marketing Tool. To make your E-Newsletters as effective as possible it would, no doubt, behoove you to contact an email marketing firm sooner rather than later!

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How to be Part of the e-Book Phenomenon

e-bookThe world is expanding technologically speaking, and that’s why we would like to discuss the “latest and greatest” trends of the day, of which one of those is the booming eBook Phenomenon.

It goes without saying that before you can “post” and market an eBook you must first have a book. If you have a completed manuscript, either fiction or non-fiction, you can relatively easily take the next step and convert it to an eBook.

Your first step is to get your book into a digital format. If you wrote your book on your computer as a Word.doc you have already accomplished this project. However, if your manuscript was completed a number of years ago and you have only a “hard” copy you have two choices: you can either scan your manuscript and convert it to digital that way, or you can simply have someone re-type your manuscript and save it as a Word.doc.

Once you have your manuscript in digital format (either Word.doc or PDF) you can proceed and convert it into an eBook format. To date, there are two of these that you can choose from: The iPad needs an ePub format, while Kindle needs Mobi. Now, you can upload it as a PDF, but this is typically problematic for both iPad and Kindle, as it mandates a lot of scrolling and the pages may not “fit.”

Once your book is in eBook format you next need to make it available to the public. To do this you should go to Kindle and set up what is known as a KDP, or Kindle Direct Publishing, Account. In doing so, this makes your book available on Amazon, as Amazon owns Kindle. (Currently, Amazon is selling more eBooks than hard copy books, and it is most likely that the trend is not going to reverse itself.)

Accomplishing this is a process, but you can do it! (AUTHORS NOTE: You can expect to receive about 70% of the sales price with eBooks sold on Amazon, though this can vary due to fulfillment arrangements and so on.)

You are not limited to selling only on Amazon, but that is yet another process to be discussed another day!

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