Internet MarketingWhether you are a premier blogging service, non-profit consultant or a fundraising company, the bottom line is you need to generate revenues. Do you know how to make people buy from you? Well, they have to trust you. Do you know how to make them trust you? Basically, they have to believe that you know what you are talking about. In short you have to be viewed as the expert that they can count on in your field.

In this post, I will detail the things that you need to do in order to push your brand and be seen as an expert in your field. Once you have accomplished this, you can be sure that you can easily generate sales through your blog. Here’s how:

1. Write contents that they would be willing to share - The first thing that you should do is to write contents that are share worthy. This means that on top of the facts that you are going to present, it has to be an interesting read and helpful to the readers. If the content you wrote is share worthy, people will recommend it to their connections and this will increase your online exposure to a wide range of audience. This will bring awareness to who you are and the kind of knowledge that you bring.

2. Use multimedia - When I say contents, I don’t mean only written ones. You can also share your expertise using audio and video. You can for example upload  talks on Blog Talk Radio or create a podcast at Blubbery. All these can be automatically uploaded to iTunes for greater exposure. And you should not forget to start your own YouTube channel because the exposure that you will get here is simply awesome.

3. Use the features of the social media - Give links to your contents in Twitter, answer questions in LinkedIn Answers, interact on Facebook. In short, using the social media can be helpful.

4. Join groups that are looking for experts for media exposure - Facebook and LinkedIn have groups that are constantly looking for experts for media exposure. Look for these groups and join them and then answer queries related to your expertise. Profnet  from PR Newswire is also a good place to brush elbows with journalist and authors to further your exposure.

5. Interconnect your efforts - Your business marketing promotion online should be integrated so that you can exploit its power. You can interconnect your Internet business marketing promotion website and Ministry blogs with Facebook through its social plugins and use tools like Twitterfeed so that you can feed them to Tweeter as well. Aside from the exposure that you will get, you will also increase the PR of your website and blogs through these links.

Unless people see you as an expert, you cannot expect them to part with their money. By making enough credible noise, people will begin to see you as somebody who knows what you are talking about. Take note, you have to make credible noise and not just any noise. This means accountability on your part because the moment that you publish something erroneous, that would be the end of your online fund raising career. 


Animated GIF

We have emphasized the importance of a tailored message in your email fundraising campaign and animated GIF is just another way to infuse more personality to it. Although this technique is no longer as famous as it used to be in Internet business marketing promotion still, it’s very effective and as a professional fundraiser it’s still worth your time.

With the exception of Outlook, animated GIFs are compatible with most email clients and therefore, you can be sure that your animation will be viewed by your recipient. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

1. Display a complete message in the first frame - In case the entire animation does not display well with the recipient’s email client, make sure that the first frame conveys the entire message. This is to ensure that what you wanted your clients to know will get to them even when things don’t work as expected.

2. Small is better than big - In the case of animated GIFs, small is better than big. This is so because you want to avoid the spam filters of most email clients. Another thing is, you want to maintain the speed of the way your email loads because if it’s too slow, you know already what your recipient will do with it.

3. Let the animation cycle for several times - Allowing the animation cycle for several times will ensure that the viewer can see the entire message. After this, allow it to go static for 30 seconds. This is also another reason why you have to keep it small.

4. Consider how the email would look like without the animation - There are email clients that are intentionally set to block animation and that is why, you have to consider how your email would look like without it. The point here is to avoid relying solely on animation to convey the message. You have to remember that your purpose of using it is just to spice it up a bit but not to cripple the entire campaign just because the animation part does not display well.

5. Avoid overusing animation - In relation to the above, avoid using animation too much. There are a lot of disadvantages of overusing animation and that is why, you have to use it sparingly. Aside from slowing the loading down, it can create a visual mess when not used properly. You have to remember that you don’t want to irritate your recipient and too much animation is the best way to accomplish that.

Although a lot of professional fundraisers have abandoned the use of animated GIFs in their email fundraising campaigns, still we suggest that you reconsider using it. It is a great way to customize your mails and add a little bit of personality to it. If done properly, you can be sure that it will bring a great deal of conversion to your overall online fundraising campaign.


email marketing

Email marketing and email fundraising have been known to have a good return on invesment (ROI), but a good business person will not simply disregard all the expenses incurred in the entire business marketing promotion online. Knowing the actual cost of an email marketing or email fundraising campaign will help you get the best value for your money. In this article, we will break down the actual cost of email marketing for you. Knowing the cost of an undertaking will help prevent surprises that could be unpleasant down the road.

 1. The number of campaigns  - Knowing the number of campaigns is the most obvious determinant of the cost of any Internet business marketing promotion. When you are just starting out, this is not going to matter the most because you will obviously have lesser campaigns to make. But as your business grows bigger, you will have to begin to plan the number of campaigns that you are going to make because this can be potentially burn a hole in your pocket.

 2. Number of contacts and emails you want to send - Another thing that you have to look at is the number of contacts which correlates to the number of emails that you want to send every month. The higher this goes, the higher you will have to spend.

 3. Fees for marketing manager or agency - For those who are just starting out, the tendency is to hire a cheaper ESP (Email Service Provider), but these may have certain caveat. Sometimes cheap is also synonymous with lousy service and that is why you have to be very careful in the selection process. As your business grows, it stands to reason that you have to consider hiring a top tier fundraising company which means, higher fees as well.

 4. The cost of the email list - For those who are too lazy to build an email list from scratch, you would have to count also the cost of renting an email list. As we have warned in our previous posts, this can also mean low conversion because of low relevance.

 5. Fees for technical support - Depending on the plan that you bought, some fundraising companies do offer technical support for an extra fee. This will give you certain advantage but you have to remember that this could mean extra expenses too.

 Since cost is the most important factor in every business decision, knowing the cost of an email marketing campaign has a lot of advantages. But despite its cost, email marketing has great return of investment and therefore should not be ignored by any online business person. Studies have shown that for every dollar that you spend on email marketing, it will have an ROI of $42. Planning for it though, will even give you a better bang for every buck.


interenet business marketing promotion

Email fundraising is not something that only the professional fundraisers can do to raise funds. Even a newbie fundraiser can do such if he/she knows the secrets of this campaign. Just like any Internet business marketing promotion, targeting a hungry niche is of topmost importance otherwise, you will be wasting your time because all your mails will be instantly deleted. Here are some tips:

 1. Customize your email  - Do not send a “one-size-fits-all” email to all your targets. This is an instant turn off because people will just know it when the mail is not really for them. Take your time to create a customized email for the specific niche that you are sending it to. Generic email is a sign that you are being lazy and believe me, people can sense it.

 2. List quality is very important - It is common knowledge among professional fundraisers that paid addresses will always perform less than those gathered organically (e.g., if the donor gave you’re their email address). Although it’s not a totally bad idea to have paid addresses, you should make it your aim to have more organic addresses than paid ones.

 3. Don’t overlook your landing page - It is often said in SEO communities that you have to treat all parts of your website as a landing page because you don’t know where a prospect will land when following a link. You can bring a visitor to your site but if it is not optimized to convert them to donate, you will be missing a lot of opportunities there.

 4. Don’t just ask for money - Again this is an automatic turn off. People will not just give their money without knowing the value of what you are trying to do. Before you send a solicitation email, make sure that you already have sent at least two that tells a compelling success story, something that recognizes the donors and volunteers and similar things.

 5. Personalize your email - With all the information available online, there is no reason that your donor should receive a “Dear Donor” type of mail. Generic or a one-size-fits-all kind of mail will easily find its way to the recycle bin and that is why you need to personalize it. Put the name of the donor in your opening remarks and it is even better if you can tailor the asked amounts based on the giving history of each of your donor.

 If you are trying to win a non-supporter, send a customized email designed to welcome them to your cause and to introduce them to your core programs. This can be accomplished through compelling story contents which will convert them to donors in no time.

 Email fundraising has its own downside but following the tips provided above will greatly improve your batting average and of course, donations will increase too. Although email fundraising is not rocket science, you don’t have to take it lightly to the point that nobody believes you at all.


5 STEPS TO FACEBOOK MARKETING SUCCESS

The bottom line to successful facebook marketing for emerging businesses, churches or charities has to do with two basic objectives: 1) build your fan base, and 2) convert your fan base into customers.  Here are five steps you can use to Facebook successfully.

For the creative businessperson, the fact that Facebook now allows companies to have public pages presents a big opportunity for effective internet marketing and small business marketing strategies to emerge. 

Your task is to apply these steps below, and then stick with it overall. This is a bit of a long run play. While some companies may cash in quick, remember, by marketing in Facebook, you are choosing to market in the #1 SOCIAL NETWORK on the internet. Did you grasp that? It's the top social network.  With over 500 million users, most people are on FB to swap photos of their kids, talk about the movies, find old classmates, share cool experiences, and other social endeavors. Even so, there are certain aspects to Facebook that are highly attractive to marketers and certain online marketing tools that you can take to lead to success in this enormous online channel!

1)    Obtain a Facebook Page for Your Company

Acquiring your company Facebook Page allows you to lock of this important piece of real estate now, while you develop your strategic Facebook marketing plan after. Do this asap. Especially if your company name is common. Here's where you go to start that process. Otherwise, visit facebook.com and look near the bottom where it says Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business. Once someone else gets your name first, you could be stuck with the backup version, which is less ideal, and it may not be the one you prefer.  Realize that these pages are valuable becasue they are public, so you don’t have to be logged into the Facebook channel to find them or interact with them. That means Facebookers, non-Facebookers and the search engines can access your page online. That's where the internet marketing ideas begin...

2)    Develop Your Facebook Strategy

You have to determine what, exactly, you want to accomplish using your Facebook Page, which will help you determine what you are going to do.  If increasing your Fan Count is your initial goal, as it usually is, you could accomplish that by running a Contest or Sweepstakes or Giveaway.  These have been very successful on Facebook for companies of all sizes. To learn more about these, Google: Contests on Facebook, or go here. Of course, the best contests are heavily promoted wihtin FB and without FB, so recognize you have to use every asset you have in your arsenal to promote your contests in order to see them utilized and helping you to build your fan base.

One client Pathmaker has been honored to help in this regard is the New Living Translation fan page found here. In Feb of 2010 they had 500 fans on FB, but now after three contests / giveaways and ongoing organic growth they are running at a much stouter level of 24,500 fans plus, and growing.

What you may fail to realize is that when you run contests n Facebook, not only do you build your fan page "likes", but typically, when done right, you also build your email lists. So in the NLT case above, in addition to page fan growth, they have also enjoyed growing their email database by over 20,000 names.

Another strategy for Facebook is to integrate what you are promoting in your business in general to your Facebook page.  For example, if you are planning on stocking an entire section of your Sporting Goods Store with fishing equipment to correspond with the upcoming Fishing Season, you might run a Contest to name the area (Anglers Corner, Getting Hooked, Rod and Reel).  Also, part of the entry could include the entrant explaining why they think we need to pass the Love of Fishing to future generations.  Now your FB contest corresponds directly into what you are doing online and offline! Cross promotions can occur.

Another strategy is to provide an ongoing channel of open communication with your constituents. Use FB to talk with your fans and listen to what they have to say about your company and its products or services. Dialogue

3)    Talk to People About Your Exciting Things

When you communicate with your fans on Facebook, talk to them with passion and fervor.  Share your enthusiasm for your company and what you do. You can’t expect others to get excited about what you are doing unless you are!  Your goal is to transmit enthusiasm and the Facebook channel is an excellent way to do that!  In general, while the Best Practice rules for Facebook company page messaging are still emerging, it seems to be that a routine of 2-3 posts per week is currently acceptable. Make sure to monitor your posting for feedback and reactions and get into dialogues with your fans. The key here is to be engaged in a ongoing conversation with your fans and supporters. Be genuine. Be real. Be available. Be active and interactive.

4)    Build Your Fan Base to Larger Levels

As you undoubtedly know, when you post something on Facebook, it is spread onto your Fans News Feeds and to their Friends News Feeds and so on.  So, obviously, everything you can do to increase your Fan Base is going to greatly affect your outbound messaging impact. As you post more messages, more people are going to see you showing up in FB.

Some ways you can do this:

1. Socialize any email communication you do. See an example here of a client email template Pathmaker just updated to optimize the social networking aspect of their outbound communication. Since you may be already doing email, facilitate the sharing aspect of your messages on Facebook, and other social networks, with methods like these.
Notice the header and footer ingredients of this email template. This client is wanting their email recipients to "Like" them on Facebook and share their Newsletters with their friends and family. Since their email list is much larger currently than their Facebook fans, they are using email to push their FB fan page up.

2.  Promote your company Facebook page in the media. If you are a broadcast enterprise, promote you FB page on radio or TV. Or promote it in any print ads you place, or even on your company business cards. Think of all the old school methods you have within your power to cross promote your FB page, and you will see your fan growth improve.

3. Cross promote your FB page online, on your company wesite and blogs. See an example of this at our Pathmaker website where we promote FB up top and down at the bottom.

4. Take out Facebook Ads to promote your company Page within the Facebook community. To learn about that go here.

…And a Bonus Thought Regarding Facebook

5)    Provide Your Fans With Opportunities to Become Customers

You will notice that your Facebook Page is going to bring you success in a sequential manner:  You will first get Likes, and then Likes and email addresses and finally Likes, E-mail Addresses and Sales.  Remember, first you build your base, and then you endeavor to turn your fan base into customers.  It is that final step that will make your Facebook efforts a successful business channel, that's contributing to the bottom line for your company.

Ways to do this? Consider posting Facebook only special offers, coupons, discounts, deals or terms. Let your fans know you recognize their support and want to reward them for being good customers. In this way you slowly begin to convert your fans into customers, and enjoy the benefits of watching Facebook successfully contribute to your bottom line.

Randall Mains is the Co-Owner of Pathmaker Marketing, LLC - a Phoenix, Arizona internet marketing agency helping emerging businesses, churches and charities reach their online marketing goals and objectives.
 


The bottom line to successful search engine optimization services consists of the following six steps to effective internet marketing in search.

6 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING

    Since the inception of the Internet, one of its most popular uses has been Search.  As a result, Search Engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have became prevalent and Search Engine Marketing has become a viable way for businesses to market themselves online.  But due to fact that you usually have extensive competition when participating in Search Engine Marketing, the successful company needs to know, and adhere, to all of the following practical steps, in order to be successful in search and related internet marketing ideas.

1)    Conduct Comprehensive Keyword Research

Preparatory to undertaking your Search Engine Marketing Program you must devote the time, money and energy to conducting comprehensive Keyword Research. Start with the Google Keyword Tool which is free to utilize.  You may go through mulptiple rounds of research to really find all the terms that relate to your company, but don't worry.  A really good set of keyword research may turn up nearly 1500 search terms that work for you...maybe even more. One client we did Keyword Research for had nearly 50,000 applicable terms at the end of their keyword research project.  Once you have completed your Keyword Research, prioritize the search terms into winnable keywords for your company, meaning those you have a probable chance of winning a Page One ranking. 

Obviously, determining winnability is a vital step, so we use three strategic indicators to help us weed down our list into those that we might potentially win a page one ranking on in Google, Yahoo or Bing.  1st is any term under 2500 a month in Google Global Search Volume. 2nd is any term costing under $2.25 per Google PPC. And 3rd is any term ranking under 45% per the SEOmoz Difficulty Ranking.

2)    Search Engine Optimize Your Website

To enhance your chance for success in any organic page rankings, you need to optimize your website pages for two or three of the winnable terms you chose.  In general, figure that each page is going to be optimized for 2-3 terms. This process will increase your Page Rankings in Google, Yahoo, Bing, AOL and Ask, thus bringing qualified potential visitors to your website site. There are multiple tools to help you SEO your website, so Google Top 10 SEO Software Tools or go here to start your SEO research project for online mareting tools.

3)    Launch Google Pay Per Click

Google PPC (aka AdWords) is a wonderful form of online marketing, as you only have to pay when someone actually clicks on your ad and goes to your site. What I like most about Pay Per Click is it allows you to run live tests on multiple search terms to discover which terms are getting you leads, sales or conversions!  Once you have ascertained this information, these are the terms you will want to pursue in the other four areas of search engine marketing: SEO, blogging, linking, and social networking.  

4)    Begin Keyword Blogging

As much as possible, you want to blog about the terms you are trying to win!  There are, typically, a wide number of variations on a keyword theme, which will allow you to write about the terms from slightly different perspectives.  The key here is to develop depth of content in your Keyword Marketing, so that when you are targeting keywords you are blogging in detail about your subjects, and developing your expertise on the subject.

5)    Start Social Media Marketing in Facebook, then Twitter

The first step here is to acquire your Company “Real Estate” as soon as possible.  Get your company acounts in Facebook and Twitter first. If you can, also Claim your company listings in Google, Yahoo and Bing.  Once that land grab is accomplished, the next step is to develop your social media strategy. Think of yourself as an ambassador for your company in Facebook and Twitter. You need to abide by the appropriate "rules" of the various channels you opt to concentrate on as you look for ways to represent your company to those markets.  

6)    Perform Ongoing Link Building

While concentrating on your Keyword Terms and Phrases, you need to approach Back Linking with a four-pronged attack:

a.    Develop Volume Links back to your company website.
b.    Develop Deep Links to subpages of your site.
c.    Pursue Authoritative Links if possible—If you are a Sporting Goods Store and get backlinks from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, FIELD & STREAM and DUCKS UNLIMITED you will have Authoritative Links!
d.    Establish Local Links within Local Niche and Business Directories

To validate the success of this link building undertaking, you will want to monitor results at least monthly if not weekly!  Links will bring you traffic to your site and improve your standings in the search engine results.  Be sure to alt-tag your terms whenever possible.

For other small business marketing strategies, visit my blog covering a variety of methods for business marketing and promotion online, or call my arizona internet marketing agency at 623-322-3334 for help by the phone.  Ask for Randall Mains


5 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL BLOGGING

Blogging is an excellent way to use the Internet to promote you and your business, church or charity.  As with any “tool,” however, to be most beneficial it has to be used properly.  Below are five basic thoughts you need to keep in mind when using blogging as a effective internet marketing tool.

 1)      Write About What You Know About—in Detail!

Blogging helps you establish yourself as an expert in your field.  As a result, you will want to concentrate on making sure your posts demonstrate your areas of expertise.  The key is to share in-depth on a particular topic rather than addressing a lot of topics without sharing any real information.  The catch phrase here is “Depth is more important than Breadth.” Be as articulate as you can, because for many prospective clients, your blog will be your first impression to them, and you want to demonstrate your areas of expertise.

If writing content is a real challenge for you, you may want to opt to have someone ghost write your posts, either someone on your staff with more flair for copywriting, or by retaining a professional. You could constent to be interviewed on your topics of expertise, so your specific thoughts come through in the final copy.

 2)      Be Genuine—Not Promotional!

This is not a time to “hype” yourself and/or your company.  Share real information regarding the topic you have chosen.  For example, if you are operating a sporting goods store and are blogging about the five best flies for trout fishing in June, elaborate on the various merits on the different flies, not on why everyone should come to your store to purchase them!  If your blog is a ministry blog, then make your outreach real, not just hype or hyperbole, If you share valuable and valid information in your posts, people will be drawn back to your blog and, eventually, to your website or online store, or even to the phone meet you in person and get more information—and, hopefully, the five flies too!

3)      You need to be Consistent—and if possible, Prolific!

Blogging is often like exercise—we know we should do it, and have every intention of doing it—when we can get around to it!  Also like exercising, it is only truly beneficial when we do it consistently.  A minimum of one to two blog posts per week will give you the kind of content quantity you need, but if you can ramp up to three-four a week, that would be even better. In other words, be consistent first, then increase your volume over time. One rule of thumb to consider is that Google will start to notice your blog after about 50 posts, and then revisit you for updates. Once your blog is initially spydered and ranked, you can train Google to return more frequently, by posting new content consistently.

4)      Choose the Right Blogging Tool

There are two basic blog services you can use—fee-based tools like Compendium and free blog tools like WordPress.  While the latter has the upside of being free, the former may be far more beneficial for your needs.  Understand that a major goal of blogging is to win “Page Rankings” in Google, Yahoo, Bing (and lesser Search Engines) on your target terms.

It's important to remember that tools like WordPress, Blogger, Typepad may require you to manually search engine optimize your posts to puruse your page rankings, while a Premier Blogging Service like Compendium is engineered from the ground up to optimize your posts for targeting  keywords.  Based on return on investment in getting you search engine rankings results, Compendium is generally a better blogging tool than WordPress, even though it costs, because of the fact that it helps you search engine optimize your blog posts while writing in order to succeed at getting your desired page ranking results. In other words, a free blog tool is a great deal, only if you are getting ranked in the search engines, or you can generate readership independently. 

In truth, our company uses both, with Compendium being the premier blogging service tool we lean on most, and consider to the best blogging service out there, while WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, LiveJournal and others are also used frequently or judiciously, when budget or other reasons need to be carefully considered. See a side by side comparison I did recently on the topic recently.

5)      Pick the Right Terms to Blog About.

Using the right search terms by targeting keywords in your business or ministry blog posts will result in increased page rankings in the search engines.  This is accomplished by determining your winnable keywords via careful and comprehensive keyword research, and then incorporating those words and terms into the text as you write.  You can do this keyword research on your own, using the Google keyword research tool (Google: Google Keyword Tool), which is one of the best keyword research tools to start with. You can also retain a pro services company like Pathmaker, that is adept at the process, to ensure you get it done correctly. Once proper research is done, any company can usually identify a total potential keyword pool of about 1500 terms to pursue. Then you have to rank those terms by winnability: determining their potential for you to win a page one ranking on each of them. Some will be winnable. Others will not be winnable without an enromous budget.

And here's one final bonus step to Successful Blogging:

 
 6)  Protect Your Content

WordPress has a documented habit of just closing down blog sites if they determine that the user has violated their usage standards for one reason or another.  Unfortunately, bloggers often don really know what those “standards” are, nor do they give you the opportunity to change your content to adhere to their prerequisites, once your site is down.  This is one of the hidden little secrets to the free tools out there...you could lose all your content since it's hosted on their servers, not yours.

The best way to protect your content is to install a tool like WordPress on your own web server rather than on theirs.  Then blog away. Your content resides on your own servers, not theirs, and you can rest easier knowing that it's safer.  A simple task, this is truly a worthwhile endeavor as a precautionary measure to protect your content. Obviously, you should always have local PC backups too for all content posted on your company or church blog.

For more assistance with blogging, don't hesitate to call Pathmaker Marketing, LLC in Phoenix, Arizona at 1-623-322-3334, and we'll be happy to help you sort this out further.


            At the request of my Pastor I created a 20 Step program for Marketing our Church on the Internet. To make it as inclusive as possible, I recruited the assistance of Randall Mains, CEO of Pathmaker Marketing LLC. Realizing that the results of our efforts would be beneficial to a number of churches, charities or small companies, I decided to do a 20 part series and place it on the Internet so as many people as possible could benefit!

            I trust that as you read my posts regarding launching your blog, doing comprehensivek keyword research, and SEO-ing your website, that you have come to realize that the Internet really can work for not for profit organizations, and that the Internet is also a pretty good church outreach idea. A church blog is a major part of this, as it as it allows you to be targeting keywords

           The next thing I want to discuss with you is how link building serves well as a church, charity, or small business marketing strategy. After all, church marketing 101 teaches us that a church is, in fact, a small business and therefore the Internet business marketing promotions that work for companies work equally well for churches.


            Have you ever noticed that invariably some of the most important things we need to do are also the most time consuming and the most boring? That is exactly the situation with your website and link building! While an excellent way to strengthen your website's rankings in the search engines, the process of link building back links is often laborious at best. 

            “Why,” you may be wondering, “is link building relevant to our church, charity or small business?” 

Actually, there are two significant reasons that you should plan on making link building a part of your core Internet marketing plan. The first is somewhat obvious - - the more listings you have with backlinks to your website, the more opportunities exist for people to find your website in various locations online, thus bringing you qualified visitors. With a dynamite website, each time someone visits your website you have the chance of having them become a visitor to your church, charity or company.

            The second reason deals with the fact that a well-developed and properly implemented link building campaign will increase your page rankings within Google search results. This, of course, is clearly to your advantage, so link building should be an on-going part of your search engine marketing program (to be discussed in a subsequent post), thus allowing your website to be that much more available online.

Your next thought may very well be, “How do we develop a link building battle plan? Well, there are a number of techniques that you can use. First, get your company placed in as many relevant directories as possible - - national, local, and niche.” The purpose of this, of course, it to then have your listing in these communities, and get it linked back to your website, driving traffic in your direction from those sourcs.

            Work diligently to ensure that you get linked in relevant areasTo be listed in places just because they are available may be a waste of time and, in some cases, may even be counter-productive. As in any form of marketing, you need to identify your target market and pursue them with your link building efforts and dollars


            Next, establish links on relevant blogs, community sites, and forumsThese are excellent places to establish your church or charity as a leader in your community for providing services that individuals may be looking for, as you will have the opportunity to interact and dialogue with those individuals who visit the sites, thus making their arrival at your church that much easier. 

            With social media being the latest buzz, it shouldn’t surprise you that you should be incorporating links from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter into your link building rogram as wellIn as much as your Facebook account reaches out to untold thousands, the ability to link back from there to your website should prove to be a major hub in your Internet marketing program as well.

            You may have found that there is more to link building than you ever imagined! I trust that you have also discovered what a viable tool this is in your over-all Internet marketing strategy!

            The look on his face assured me that Jim was more than just surprised, he was mortified! Everyone in the place was giving us their undivided attention - - many of their faces reflecting sympathy; most reflecting curiosity, and at least one was reflecting empathy! Jim, a good friend who runs an independent Sporting Goods store, had become somewhat of a protégé of mine regarding internet marketing ideas. Affiliated with Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing, I have had an opportunity to acquire a fair amount of knowledge regarding small business marketing strategies and internet business marketing promotion online and have shared this with Jim on several occasions. Every once in a while Jim runs into a snafu, and, of course, immediately searches me out for an explanation or assistance in the matter.

            “Well, Jim, tell me what happened,” I opened.

            Settling onto the stool next to mine, and indicating to the counterman that he needed a cold soda right away, he paused for a minute as he organized his thoughts. Typically we would move to a booth, but interest was running so high on this one I decided we should stay put and let as many people as possible, or wanted to at least, gather around and listen to our discussion.   Taking a long pull on his beverage, Jim began his report.

            “Well, remember how you convinced me to let Annie help the rest of the employees establish blogs and add a post or two a week?”

            Nodding affirmatively, I reflected back on that conversation. Annie is Jim’s teenage daughter, and when she recommended the blogging program I advised him that blogging is, in fact, an effective internet marketing tool. I explained that Pathmaker actually has clients who use us as a blogging aervice, developing their blogs and ghostwriting their various posts. It took a while to convince him that businesses should actually allow their employees an opportunity to blog “on the clock,” as long as it is “business related,” but he was enjoying a fair amount of success as he had made several large sales based on the fact that his employees have a tremendous amount of expertise in what they sell and share that expertise in their posts. 

            “Well, we have been doing that, and then this morning I got a notice form WordPress that they had shut down my site!”

            “Did they tell you why?” an interested party to the left of me asked.

            “All they said was that I was in violation of Terms of Service. Floyder, can they do that?

            Jim had, like so many others, found out about WordPress’ dark side the hard way. Unfortunately, they typically don’t tell you what, exactly, the violation is/was, nor do they give you an opportunity to rectify the problem. 

            “Well, Jim, obviously they can do it because they did,” I advised him as gently as I could.

            “Do you have any idea why they would shut me down,” he asked, the confusion in his eyes making him almost pathetic looking.

            “Well, actually there are a number of reasons that they might take action against someone. For example they can shut you down over RSS fed content, or content they don’t approve of. And, …

            “Wait,” Jim said, interrupting me. “What is ‘RSS content’?”

            “RSS - Really Simple Syndication. It is usually a situation where blog content is fed to Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social networking.”

            Jim pondered that for a minute, and then reminded me I was about to add something else.

            “If you read their information on the internet,” I began again, speaking slowly so everyone gathered around us could follow, “there is a paragraph that says ‘we kill spam dead.’ It discusses the fact that it will keep spammers from leaving comments on your blog, and that it will shut down ‘spam blogs’ that might try to sneak onto WordPress.com. Perhaps they considered yours a “spam blog.”

            Jim sat there, slowly shaking his head back and forth. Heaving a couple of huge sighs, he looked at me and asked the inevitable question,

            “Now what do I do?”

            “I would suggest that you go onto another Host Server, one where you pay like GoDaddy or MyDomain. The cost is minimal, and you won’t have to worry about this happening again. What you do,” I went on, “is simply install WordPress on your own server, and then you can't get your content removed by WordPress any longer.”

            “What if you haven’t already been shut down, any way you can avoid it from happening to you?” the same voice from my left asked.

            “Sure,” I assured him, “transfer your account to a pay server before they get the chance to shut you down. You can migrate your material from one to the other, so it won’t be too much of a hassle at all.

            Jim was now shaking his head - first up and down, then side to side, then up and down and then side to side and so on. I watched for a moment, wondering just how long he was going to keep it up. Finally, realizing that he was, apparently, “locked in” I broke the silence and stopped his head bobbing routine!

            “What’s wrong, Jim?”

            “Floyder,” he said with somewhat of a sheepish grin, “what I can’t figure out is how they would even know that we had fried Spam for dinner the other night.”

            Jim is, without a doubt, precious!


           Floyder - - Even People YOUR Age Are Using Social Media!

           Jim’s comment raised a few eyebrows, and even got a few guffaws from the crowd. Good friends, Jim and I have an easy relationship, with each respecting the other.
That’s why I was surprised that he had alluded to the double decade difference in our age with his opening comment. Sporting a wry grin, I ordered us each a cola and then we made our way to a booth.

            “What,” I asked, with a smile on my face and in my voice, “is that supposed to mean?”

            “Oh, not that!,” he responded immediately, realizing the connotation that could have been made. “What I mean is, maybe I can use Social Media as part of my Internet Business Marketing Promotion after all. Remember, we were discussing the fact that Facebook and Twitter might not be appropriate as the majority of the people using it really aren’t part of my Target Market? Well, apparently that isn’t as true as we had first thought.”

            Jim and I have, in the recent past, had a quite a few discussions regarding Internet Marketing Ideas. He is trying to make his way into the 21st Century as best he can, and, as a result, has high hopes and aspirations of using the Internet effectively to promote his independent sporting goods store. For the most part he is doing pretty well, though occasionally he gets his facts a little askew. This time, however, it appeared he knew what he was talking about.”

            “How,” he asked, almost philosophically, “does Twitter and Facebook compare to Blogging as a Marketing Tool?”

            “Well,” I began, taking a sip of my beverage, “let’s look at the immediate differences. Your Blog can be several paragraphs long, where a Twitter is limited to 140 characters or so. I would think that Search Engine Optimization is probably a possibility with Twitter and your blog, but probably not for Facebook.”

            “Randall would know for sure on that, wouldn’t he?” Jim asked.

            He was referring to Randall Mains of Pathmaker Marketing, which offers both Search Engine Optimization Services and a Premier Blogging Service as well LEARN MORE > >. Randall and I have worked on several projects together, and Jim more or less uses me as a conduit to glean needed information from him.

            “Yes,” I assured him, “I’m sure he would.”

            “You know, since I have to be concerned about Targeting Keywords, I can pretty much write anything I want to on my chosen terms, right? Floyder,” he went on, not waiting for a reply, “How, exactly would you use them if you were me?”

            “Well, you might Tweet that you are offering a special sale for the beginning of a season, and drive people to a dedicated landing page that features the offer. Or, on your Facebook page you might promote the fact that you have a Sweepstakes running with significant prizes from a particular vendor.  In your blog, you might write a Case Study about a customer who's had some succesd using your business expertise.”

            Jim took a draw on his drink, and sat there looking very contemplative. I checked my watch and realized I needed to leave for an appointment. I had made my way almost to the counter when I was interrupted.

            “Hey, Floyder,” Jim declared, “thanks for the soda and the advice. You know,” he went on, his voice taking on a tone of impish frivolity, “you’re still pretty sharp for someone your age.”

            Not bothering to turn around, I just waved a good-bye and grinned as I walked out, feigning disgust as best I could!


IT ISN’T CAUSED BY POISON IVY!!

 

            “Floyder,” Jim began with a look in his eye that told me while his body was present his mind was somewhere else. “I can’t decide, so I would like your opinion - - wood or plastic?”

            It was obvious that Jim and I were about to have another one of our discussions where only he knows what we are talking about in the beginning. After a few well chosen and asked questions I can usually figure out what it is he is talking about, but sometimes he gets a little frustrated before I can get there! And, I have discovered, it isn’t just me - - pretty much everyone has this challenge with Jim! Anyway, I figured before I gave my opinion I probably should figure out what he was talking about.

            “Wood or plastic what?” I asked.

            “Why, back scratchers of course,” he replied, intimating by the tone of his voice that I should have known exactly what he was talking about. 

            “Do you mean which one do I like best?” I asked, still trying to figure out where this was going.

            “Well, I guess. I mean, like you and Randall said at the seminar at the Rotary Club meeting, we should always try to scratch our clients biggest itch, so I thought I would send them a back scratcher since I can’t possibly be there to actually do the scratching myself.”

            Obviously only Jim’s body was present at the seminar, too! What he was alluding to was the fact that Randall Mains, owner/operator of Pathmaker Marketing, had done a presentation on Internet Marketing Ideas and effective Online Marketing Tools. In his presentation he had mentioned that the most Effective Internet Marketing takes place when the business owner concentrates on his clients by “scratching their biggest itch,” Jim, who owns an independent sporting goods store, is always on the outlook for Small Business Marketing Strategies, but, as in this instance, he frequently gets his wires crossed in regard to what he is learning. Having more than a little success with the Internet Business Marketing Programs Randall and I have helped him with, he is always willing to follow our advice to the letter - - even when he has no idea what we were actually talking about.

            “Jim, that was Randall’s way of saying you need to find your client’s biggest need and then fill it for them.”

            He just looked at me like a kid who has discovered that a cow can’t really jump over the moon. As he shook his head back and forth a bit, I noticed that his eyes were back in focus, and that we probably were going to be getting somewhere now.

            “So, you really don’t scratch their back or anything”

            “No,” I assured him.

            “Ohhhhhhh,” he replied contemplatively. “Well, how do I know what their biggest need is?

            “Probably the best way to find out is to simply ask them,” I advised him truthfully.

            “You mean I have to call up everyone on my list?” he asked, incredulity heavy in his voice.

            “No. Since you have a pretty good size e-mail list, you can either use “Survey Monkey,” or put together a short questionnaire yourself.”

            “Can Pathmaker help me with this, or do I have to do it all myself?” he asked, the panged look on his face non-verbally pleading that we help him.

            “Sure, we can help.”

            “Great! So all I have to do is run the questionnaire and I’ll know what kind of things to offer forever!” he exclaimed triumphantly.

            “Well, that’s not quite true,” I informed him. Continuing before he could ask, I explained my comment. “Look, Jim, your business has several specific seasons that you deal with - - hunting, fishing, softball and so forth. And, in fishing that breaks down to summer and winter, as the needs for ice fishing are different. You should, I think, send out an e-mail at least every two months and see what people are looking for to make their sporting endeavors more enjoyable and productive.”

            “Ahhhhhh,” Jim said, his nod indicating he understood what I was talking about. “Boy, the people whose business isn’t seasonal sure have it a lot easier, since they only have to survey their clients the one time,” he commented.

            “That’s not quite right either,” I informed him. “With the number of paradigm shifts that are taking place in our society today, everyone needs to keep a finger on the pulse beat of their clients' needs.”

            Jim again nodded in agreement, and prepared to change the topic. He did, however, have one more question.

            “Floyder, what’s your biggest itch?”

            I realized that Jim was right about one thing - - he would need Pathmaker’s help with his questionnaire!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


            I heard him. And, I understood what he said. I did not, however, have any idea what he was talking about. Unfortunately, this seems to quite often be the case when Jim and I get together. He is a wonderful person, and a true and loyal friend. But sometimes he is just a tad out of step with the rest of the world. I used to think it was just with me, but I have discovered that it’s with everyone. The problem is, I have surmised, that typically Jim only shares half of what he is thinking at any given time. So, while it usually only takes a minute, it is wise to get the whole story from him before responding.

            “Jim,” I began slowly, making sure he would stay with me, “should what be digital or analog?’

            “Why, the watches!”

            We were almost there, but I still wasn’t sure what he was talking about.

            “Watches? What Watches?’

            “You know. You told me to be sure to add a free watch, and I just want to know which kind to buy.”

             A-ha! Now I knew what he was talking about. The day before I explained to him that Randall Mains and I had been talking about the importance of “adding a free watch” when doing an Online Ad. Randall shares this concept with his clients as an excellent Online Marketing Tool. It is but one of the many Internet Marketing Ideas that Pathmaker advises their clients to incorporate, and since Jim knows that I often work with Randall, he frequently picks my brain in regard to Small Business Marketing Strategies. Jim and I had been discussing Business Marketing Promotion Online, and I had mentioned that it is often wise to give a “free watch.”

            “Jim, the ‘free watch’ doesn’t really have to be a watch,” I said with a smile.

            I immediately knew I had lost him. He gave me a look as empty as his glass, so I ordered another round of colas and began to explain.

            “Jim, people often need extra motivation to buy something - - even when it is something they want or need. The ‘free watch’ concept is to provide them with a free gift that will push them over the top, if you would, to purchase that which they are considering.”

            “Ohhhhhhhhhh. What else can you use, and how do you know what to choose.”

            “Well, I’ll answer the second part of that question first. When choosing your free gift, make sure that it doesn’t eat up all of the profit you will realize when making your sale. A good rule of thumb is the gift might cost you five to ten percent of the profit realized.

            “Now, the gift should relate directly to what you are selling and your target market. For example, if you are going to feature a new fishing rod in your ad, you would not want your gift to be a free Bible Study, for example.”

            “I see. So, my free gift should be something sportsman would be interested in?”

            Jim was following the conversation extremely well!! As the owner of an independent sporting goods store, sportsmen were, in fact, his target market.

            “Yes, but you should try to make it more specific to the exact target market you are hoping to reach. In our example about the fishing rod, it would be better to give a free fishing lure than a free duck call. While fishermen and duck hunters are both sportsmen, the fishermen don’t have to be duck hunters, so the free duck call might not push them over the top.

            “So, the free gift is always an item?”

            “No, not necessarily. A really good ‘free watch” is to offer free Shipping and Handling. Also, ‘how to’ manuals are excellent free gifts.”

            “Hmmmm. With the fishing rod, a manual on how to tie your own flies would be better than one giving five easy steps to building a duck blind?”

            “By Jove ”, I thought, “I believe he has it!”

            “Any other questions?” I asked, wanting to make sure he had a full grasp of what I had shared.

            “Just one. Should they have straps or bands?”

            Sometimes Jim has a one-track mind with a narrow gauge!!!!

 
Pathmaker Marketing exists to find you ways to win on the web. Give us a call in Phoenix at 623-322-3334 if you'd like our help with Internet Marketing Ideas that can help your business grow.


“FLOYDER, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH 365 BIBLES?”

 

            It was a legitimate question. In fact, I suppose one could wonder what anyone would do with 365 Bibles. Not only did I not have an answer to Jim’s question, I had no idea what he was talking about!

            You remember Jim - - my friend who is typically a day late and a dollar short when it comes to Small Business Marketing Strategies for the Internet. He is always on the lookout for Online Marketing Tools, but seems to misinterpret most everything he tries. He has had some luck in promoting his Sporting Goods Store, especially with Social Networking. Due to my relationship with Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing, he usually shares his ideas with me to get my take on it. This also usually results in my clarifying the points he is a little short of understanding. Today, however, it seemed that he had something other than Internet Marketing Ideas on his mind.

            “365 Bibles?” I asked, recognizing the lack of intelligence in my question. 

            “Yeah. You know that contest that you and Pathmaker were working on for the New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible?”

            Nodding my affirmation, I listened as he continued. 

            “Well, I went to http://biblecontest.newlivingtranslation.com/contestrulesandconditionss2.php and entered the contest - - and I won!!!”

            “You mean you won the trip for four to the Holy Land?” I asked, the excitement in my voice causing enough commotion that everyone else in the place began to start paying us a little attention.

            “No, I was too late for the first contest. I am,” he went on, “entered for the Grand Prize for the current contest - - the trip for two to the crystal clear waters of Oahu’s North Shore. No, that’s not what I won - - what I won was one of the Daily Bible Give Aways. Saaaaay, I’m not going to be disqualified because I know someone who works with Pathmaker, am I?”

            I assured him he wasn’t, and then asked, “Why did you ask about 365 Bibles?”

            “Well, I won a daily Bible, and there are 365 days in a year, so I guess that means I won 365 Bibles.”

            I took a deep breath and decided I would have to explain to him how the contest works.

            “Jim, the Daily Bible Give Away doesn’t mean that the winners get a Bible daily, it means that each and every day of the contest someone is chosen and they win a Bible.”

            I watched Jim for a moment, always intrigued by the metamorphosis his face under goes when the truth about a situation sinks in. This time was as enjoyable as ever. He was a little deflated, but rallied quickly.

            “You know, Floyder, I checked that New Living Translation Study Bible out, and it is really pretty neat. After reading it, I seemed to understand God’s word a little better than I usually do. Winning one was a pretty sweet deal.”

            He began to beam again, preparing for his parting salvo.

            “Besides, Floyder, what would I do with 365 Bibles!?!”

 

 

 

 



            “Floyder, I am ready!!!”

            Not only did Jim’s proclamation get my attention, it got the attention of everyone in the place. And, like me, they could all see that Jim was, in fact, ready. The question was - - ready for what? He was attired in some of the most unique garb I have ever seen anyone wear. His outfit looked like a cross between a Haz-Mat suit and something retrieved from the prop storage unit of a really bad Science Fiction movie. Where he actually did acquire all of the various parts of his outfit was a mystery, but not as confusing as why he had chosen to dress that way - - and then announce to me that he was ready. By now everyone had actually gathered around us, and I figured we should find out what was going on.

            “Jim,” I asked, “what are you prepared for?

            “The contest. I heard you and Randall talking about a contest where you have to sweep steaks. I have been around enough raw meat to know that it can get more than a little nasty, so I thought I had better get an outfit that would protect me from all the yuckiness.”

            If you have read many of my other blogs you already know about Jim. Owner of an independent Sporting Goods Store, he is, to the best of his ability, trying to go “Hi Tech” with his Marketing. And, as a result, he sometimes gets his wires crossed in regard to the different programs being offered. That, obviously, is what had happened this time. Jim had joined Randall Mains, Director of Pathmaker Marketing, and I the other day late in a conversation we were having regarding the various aspects of a project we are working on for a client. Pathmaker’s area of expertise is coming up with Internet Marketing Ideas, which ranges from Keyword Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Services to Premier Blogging Services and everything in between. For this particular client, the “contest program” that we are employing includes the base contest, a sweepstakes, and a giveaway. Jim, having heard only bits and pieces of what was being said, surmised that there was a contest where the winner would be the one who could best sweep steaks. I smiled at Jim as I explained to him, and all of those present, what Randall and I had actually been talking about.

            The loud groan from the crowd indicated that everyone present was hoping to watch the steak sweeping actually take place. Everyone but Jim drifted away, and once we were alone he just gave me a somewhat sheepish grin. I smiled back, knowing that to him a steak-sweeping contest might actually be a valid Small Business Marketing Strategy. As I thought about it, I could almost accept that it could be an Internet Business Marketing Promotion if you reached the right Target Market with an E-mail blast. 

            “Floyder,” Jim said, breaking my train of thought, “is the contest program working?”

            I assured him that it was. So well, in fact, that this was actually the second contest we are doing for the client. That seemed to satisfy him, and, bidding me adieu, he sauntered out of the restaurant to parts unknown. I, on the other hand, could only wonder if he would have, in fact, won the steak-sweeping contest!

To preview our real NLT Facebook Sweepstakes, Bible Contest and Giveaway, visit the linked copy in this string of text through April 30, 2010. You could enter to win one of our daily NLT Bibles or the Grand Prize of a trip to Hawaii.


            Boy, I hate to burst a friend’s bubble! Especially when that friend thinks he is excelling in my area of expertise. Especially when that friend is Jim.

            Now, you probably have already read about Jim though he wasn’t referred to by name. Jim is the gentleman who referred to “Pay Per Click” as “Paper Clip,” and wasn’t thrilled by the program’s results, nor by the fact that I had corrected him on it. Anyway, he is doing his best to keep up with technology, and decided he would start a Blog. The owner of an independent sporting goods store and a pretty fair fisherman, Jim decided he would do a Blog on fishing. He has been at it for about a month, and when we had lunch the other day he breezed into the restaurant and announced that he had finally hit the big time!

            Enjoying the beaming smile on his face, I asked what was up. He explained that he had fourteen hundred hits on his latest offering, 5 Important Facts about Fly-Fishing in Arizona.  And, he proclaimed triumphantly, he didn’t think that many people even knew his name. Without thinking I informed him that undoubtedly most of them didn’t. He gave me a hard look - - he wasn’t to the point of fuming, but he was, at least, brooding. Knowing he deserved an explanation, I shared a few Internet Marketing ideas with him.

            The reality is, I explained, that approximately 82% of the people who read our Blogs have not typed in our name, but rather a keyword. This, I went on to tell him, is the basis for Keyword Marketing. Keyword Marketing is an excellent Online Marketing Tool, and one that Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing, the firm I am associated with, feature as part of their Search Engine Optimization Services. My best guess was that people were looking for advice on fly-fishing in general, and fly-fishing in Arizona in particular, and that’s how they came upon his Blog.

            Jim was a little deflated; there was no doubt about it. He is a friend, and not wanting to bring him down and leave him there, I shared some of the positive aspects about his situation. I first pointed out to him that now fourteen hundred people do know his name. Next I suggested to him that he might want to use what he had started as a social Blog as a subtle way to market his business. His spirits were lifting, and he seemed genuinely interested in the prospect of using his Blog to increase his business.

            Warming to the discussion myself, I explained how another Pathmaker Marketing associate, Karen Randau, knew a gentleman who had developed leads for a hunting lodge that he owned and operated. He just wrote about some of the interesting experiences the people who stayed there had enjoyed, and before long people were asking about flyers and what not. Utilizing all of the knowledge and expertise at Pathmaker’s disposal, I assured him, would allow us to help virtually any business use a Social Networking program such as Blogging to promote their business without violating the unwritten code of “fun” that is associated with Blogging.

            By the time lunch was over Jim had returned to being his beaming self. We discussed some other topics that might bring him new readers, and speculated on how many hits each one would receive. He was thrilled that he might get fourteen hundred new customers, until I pointed out to him that probably half of them were probably from out of state. I got that hard look again, until I explained to him how he could deal with that, too - - - but that’s for another day and another Blog!

            To learn more about Keyword Marketing visit http://blog.pathmakermarketing.com/blog/keyword-marketing/0/0/keyword-marketing-using-a-five-part-strategy.

 

 

 

 


            If a man could have a dollar for every misconception regarding the various aspects of Internet Marketing he wouldn’t have to involve himself with Internet Marketing! Case in point - - I was jawing a bit with a friend of mine and he said, somewhat disgustedly I might add!, that whoever invented Twittering ought to be shot. I was a little taken back, of course, and asked him why. His explanation really blew me away! Twitter, he explained, is nothing more than another application of the Internet to take up a teen-ager’s time. It has, he went on, no practical application for business and, as a result, was a colossal waste of creative energy.

            He paused, waiting to see what my response would be. He is aware, of course, that I am affiliated with Pathmaker Marketing and had been introduced to Randall Mains, Pathmaker’s founder and one of its creative geniuses by another staff member, Karen Randau. The sly grin that began to creep across his face made me wonder if his earlier statement was a reflection of how he really felt, or if he was just trying to get my goat. Whatever his motivation, I opted to choose this as a challenge for me to defend my position as an expert in the realm of Internet Business Marketing Promotion, and decided if I couldn’t dazzle him with my brilliance I would at least baffle him with my bull crap!

            “Do you know who created Twitter, and why?” I asked, knowing that he didn’t. Not waiting for an answer, I explained to him that back in 2006 Jack Dorsey was conducting a brainstorming meeting for Odeo. His goal, he has since shared, was to create a Short Message Service (SMS) where the best, freshest, and most relevant information could be shared between people. He and his group viewed Twitter not as a social network, but as an information network. In fact, I went on, really starting to get into it, today Facebook is the number one Social Network while Twitter is the number one micro-blogging network.

            It was close, but at that point I figured my grin was bigger than his! Others near us were becoming intrigued with what I was sharing, and I realized that my friend’s whole intent was to make us the center of attention. Warming to the challenge of monopolizing the whole room that he had set up for me, I continued with my barrage of techno-talk, consciously trying to submerge the entire room with a tsunami of verbiage!

            You see, I went on, Dorsey and his staff liked the SMS aspect of what they were developing. They felt it most beneficial that you could both update, and receive, your information from anywhere. As they continued their brainstorming they realized they would be crating quite a buzz - - and decided they wanted to capture that concept in the name they came up with. Someone suggested that you would be buzzing your friend’s pocket - - an actual physical sensation. As the name-storming continued they came up with “twitch,” but felt that was not a good product name because it doesn’t bring up the right imagery. A member of the team grabbed a dictionary and began looking at words that were around “twitch,” and came up with Twitter. The definition was “a short burst of inconsequential information,” and “chirps from birds.” And according to Dorsey, that’s exactly what the product was.

            I took a long pull from my glass of cola and stole a glass around. We had ‘em, no doubt about it. While the whole room may not have been hanging on my every word, everyone was listening for they realized this was a wealth of information that they could deposit in their memory bank for future withdrawal. I smiled, as I nodded and winked to my friend as I prepared to leave, knowing that my parting shot would garner more than one groan from those present.

“This has tremendous business ramifications,” I shared. “Give me a call and I’ll explain them to you!”

To learn how you can use Twitter to promote your business, perform keyword marketing, or use it in conjunction with targeting keywords, contact Pathmaker Marketing. After all, you may find the program so exciting that it will set your heart a twitter!

 


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.


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.


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.



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 timeframe 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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