Email FundraisingOne of the most frustrating, and on-going challenges for churches, para church ministries and non-profit organizations is fundraising.  There are of course, some “tried and true” methods, but everyone is always looking for new ways to accomplish this goal. Technology is opening some new doors, and one of those is email fundraising.

Pathmaker Marketing, LLC, an E-mail Marketing Firm, has been most successful in assisting their clients with e-mail fundraising. Truly E-Mail Marketing Specialists, they know that there are several things to keep in mind when you begin your email fundraising campaign.

First, you need to use your common sense.  You are, after all, raising money for a cause.  As a result, you are going to be most successful when you contact individuals who are already supporters of that cause.  Here, you do want to “preach to the choir.”  Your goal is not to solicit new supporters.  As a result, you will want to use your current database of supporters.  Again, this is not a “prospecting tool”!

You also need to consider that this program works best when it is part of an over-all communications strategy.  This includes utilizing the mail, phone, and “in person” contacts.  These all have their own individual strengths and, when combined with your e-mail campaign, will result in you being most effective.

As any Professional E-Mail Marketing Service will tell you, email has its own set of metrics.  First of all, you need to keep in mind that e-mail is always lower than direct mail.  It is, however, still profitable as there are no printing or postage charges.  Too, seldom will an email campaign yield “monster” gifts, as the largest we have seen were between $1000 - $2000 each.  Keeping this all in mind should allow you to ensure that your expectations are within the parameters of not only possibility but probability, allowing you to view the results with realistic insight.

Just as in any mode of fundraising, you must remember that “people give to people” more than organizations.  As a result, you want your e-mail to come from your chief fundraiser, such as your CEO or pastor.  Have the email look like a letter and be personalized.  “Dear Fred” goes a lot farther than “Dear Friend.” 

To “enhance the chance” of filling your coffers via an email campaign, you need a substantial e-mail list.  As a result, you may need to go an E-Mail Marketing Company and spend some money to help bolster your list.  Do know that a really small list can be cost prohibitive for using HTML, and you may want to employ TEXT as a result.


email fundraising

It is obvious that any successful endeavor is the result of someone developing and implementing a specific, successful strategy.  Email Fundraising is no exception.  Any e-mail marketing professional worth their salt knows this to be true.  And, a real e-mail marketing specialist will tell you that there are actually five strategies that you can employ to ensure that your email marketing program is, in fact, a successful one. 

      I.        E-MAILS TIED TO CURRENT EVENTS - This is pretty self-explanatory.  What you need to do is keep abreast with the news and develops an email campaign that revolves around what is transpiring.  This, of course, is dependent on the fact that your cause is one that is news worthy.  A good example of this might be if you are part of a Tornado Relief Fund.  During Tornado Season there are ample news stories for you to mount a most effective e-mail program around. 

     II.        MONTHLY “THEMED” E-MAIL CAMPAIGNS - Virtually every month has a holiday or event that you can “build” an e-mail fundraising campaign around.  For example, May lends itself to two causes:  Unwed Mothers and Veterans.  Mother’s Day allows you to touch people’s heartstrings regarding those moms who have no one to help care for them and their needs, and Memorial Day is a “natural” for seeking aid for our War Veterans. 

    III.        DIRECT MAIL/E-MAIL COMBO - E-Mail Marketing Firms will tell you that the advent of an email marketing campaign should not be the demise of other fundraisers that have worked for you in the past.  In this instance, you should come up with a Direct Mail offer and send it out.  Then, some seven to ten days later you follow up with an e-mail version of the same offer.  Together these allow you to really enhance the chance of success of your fundraising efforts. 

    IV.        MEDIA/E-MAIL COMBO - Again, you are utilizing more than one method to supplement your fundraising efforts.  In this situation, you make your offer on either the Radio or TV.  Then, you follow up later that same day with an e-mail that re-enforces your initial offer.  This should not be a “Current Event” driven email but, rather, be centered on a pre-conceived offer that you present. 

     V.        “STAND ALONE” E-MAIL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN - Here, you want to make an offer that is totally exclusive to the e-mail you send.  To make these most effective, it is wise to have a time limit in which recipients must respond to benefit from your offer. Remember, all such offers should revolve around and be related to the cause you are trying to raise funds for. 

If you find all of this a little overwhelming, you may want to contact a Professional E-Mail Marketing Service like PATHMAKER MARKETING, LLC to assist you with your email marketing undertakings.  An e-mail marketing company of long standing, we not only knows how to implement these five strategies; we also have a track record of success that you will find most impressive!


email fundraisingIt is obvious that the 21st Century is making each and every one of us re-evaluate the way we do things.  This is as true for Churches and Non-Profits as it is for Businesses.  One of the most prominent undertakings of a 501 (c) (3) is Fundraising, and there are many e-mail marketing companies who are offering their services to assist with this challenge.  In fact, Randall Mains, CEO of Pathmaker Marketing, LLC, a true email marketing specialist, has had immense success with his clients in doing just that, having raised well over a million dollars for them in the past four-plus years!
 
When conferring with Pathmaker Marketing, or any professional email marketing service, they will advise you that there are several important email fundraising concepts, which deals predominantly with “testing”  to ensuring that your e-mail fundraising endeavor is, in fact, a successful one.  Following is brief descriptions of each of these, to help you better understand the email marketing expert’s approach to e-mail fundraising.
 
DEVELOP YOUR E-MAIL STRATEGIES - Basically there are five strategies that you can employ, which include:
  1. E-Mail Tied to Current Events
  2. Monthly “Themed” E-Mail Campaigns
  3. Direct Mail/E-Mail Combo
  4. Media/E-Mail Combo
  5. “Stand Alone” E-Mail Fundraising Campaign
"SUBJECT LINE” TESTING - This process finds you mailing the exact same email, but changing what you write in the subject line.  As you experiment with these, you will find that one subject line may get more attention, and a better reaction, than another one that you use.
 
“SPLIT” TESTING - In this instance you try different “creative angles” to see which works best. This might include varying the copy that you use, or the photos.  Obviously, you will send out several simultaneously to determine what the results are.
 
“CLICK THROUGH RATE” TESTING - Typically, in each e-mail the recipient will have several ways to “click through” to support your cause.  This can either take place via a “Banner, “Learn More,” or an “Action Button.”  What you will eventually do, of course, is concentrate on “Click through Optimization.”
 
LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATION - This may be, perhaps, the greatest “bug-a-boo” for email fundraisers.  Often, people have an excellent “click through” rate, but no one bothers to donate!  As a result, the conclusion drawn, albeit an erroneous one is that e-mail fundraising doesn’t work.  The reality is, it is the landing page that is “broken” and needs repairing, and that is where landing page optimization comes in!
 
It is, of course, possible that all of this may seem a little overwhelming, especially the landing page optimization concept.  That is why that you may find it most beneficial to contact an email marketing professional like Randall Mains and his e-mail marketing firm, Pathmaker Marketing.  They can assist you by explaining the process in greater detail, and implementing the programs as well!

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. 


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.


If you attended the pre-mixer workshop at the CBN mixer in Phoenix this April, you heard me present "The Bottom Line for Success Online."  If you weren't at the workshop, feel free to download that helpful 10-page White Paper from my website

Since the internet is my area of expertise, I'll affirm this fact: You must start planting seeds on the web today if you want to enjoy success for your company online tomorrow. Professional fundraisers know this fundamentally, but many small business owners have yet to grasp its significance.

I consider this so important for local businesses, churches, and charities, that I want to offer your company two very practical steps to jumpstart your efforts in this regard.

First, at no charge to you (meaning for free), Pathmaker Marketing will set up your personal and company profiles in Google -- a great initial step for local search engine marketing strategies -- and establish Google Analytics on your company website, so you'll get valuable weekly traffic stats for targeting keywords.

Second, I'm offering you a 50% discount off our Top 100 Local Directory Placements, designed to get your company listed in the Top 100 local, business, blog, video and map directories. That normally costs $995 ($10 a listing) but it's yours now at 50% off for just $495 ($5 per listing)! This effective internet marketing step is a fundamental building block  to establishing a proper Internet foundation.

Or you can get our Top 40 Local Directory Placements on sale for just $195 ($5 a listing).  At this low price, you can jump start your local business or church marketing 101 for cheap.

Either way, I'm going to extend these two special offers to you until 6pm, Friday, May 6th.  (If the deadline has passed when you read this post, call me up, and ask if I'll honor the deal anyway over the phone).  

I'm willing to help you plant your seeds today for effective internet marketing, so you'll reap the rewards tomorrow.

Call me today to get started: 623.322.3334
Or Skype me at pathmaker.marketing
Randall Mains, Co-Owner


     For those whose intentions are to use their blogging efforts in a productive manner to gain themselves significant page rankings in Google, Yahoo or Bing, and thereby make their blogging a viable marketing tool, serious consideration needs to be given to Compendium.  While it is not the only blogging system available today, it is, by far and away, in my opinion, the best blogging system available for “bloggers” who want to be serious marketers.

     To make such a bold statement one needs to be able to support it, and there are three major benefits that give credulity to my claim.  First, and perhaps foremost, Compendium helps me target winnable keywords. 

     To explain this, let me use the illustration of the lemon tree in my backyard.  Typically, my large lemon tree has three “levels” of fruit:  Those which are on the low hanging branches and are easily picked; those on the middle branches, which I might be able to attain but it will take some more effort; and those on the very top branches which are, for all intent and purposes, unattainable.  Applying this to winnable keywords, we find that some terms are going to be easy to win; some are, perhaps, winnable with more effort, and some you probably will never be able to win.  Compendium helps you to determine which keywords are easy picking, so your blog postings revolve around terms that will get you page one rankings and top 50 rankings, both on your target terms and long-tail variations of those terms.

     To punctuate this point, recognize that Google is preferential to ranking terms based on depth of content, so you need to choose those keyword phrases that have not already had an “encyclopedia” written about them.  A good example of this might be “email fundraising” vs. “ephilanthropy.”  While you might prefer to use the more common of the terms, so does everyone else.  Therefore, the former might be unattainable where the latter is readily within your reach and grasp.  Whe you are targeting keywords. pursue the winnable terms first.

     From the blog posting side of this coin, since depth of content is a paramount concern to the search engines, you should be prepared in the long run to write 50 – 200 posts on the terms for which you are targeting keywords. 

      Secondly, Compendium gets me page rankings on my search terms.  A major goal of any business is to have a prospective client go on the internet, run a keyword search (on something other than your company name), and have the name of your business pop up, preferably in the number one slot, but at least somewhere on the first page.  Getting these page one rankings is what will drive those prospective clients to you, and allow you to convert them from “prospective” to “first time” client. 

    
The Compendium system excels at this by automatically search engine optimizing each blog post domain and page construction, and guiding you in real time to optimize your post content too. You won’t get that advantage from any free blogging service out there. This auto SEO step equips your blog to be truly optimal before Google, Yahoo and Bing, so that you get you the page rankings you so eagerly want to achieve. To do this in another blogging service, you would have to manually SEO each post, or hire an SEO specialist to do that for you.

     In our current economic environment, you want a system that will save you both time and money in your quest for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  These are additional advantages that Compendium offers.  Compendium has a tool that will help you optimize every blog post before it goes live.

     When looking for competitive blog services to Compendium, the one most often mentioned is WordPress, a system that can be accessed and utilized at no expense to the user.  The fact that WordPress is free can be a little misleading.  If your intent is to use your blog for internet marketing purposes, WordPress can cost you far more to Search Engine Optimize your posts to get the page rankings, than the expense of using Compendium. All things considered, Compendium saves me time and money over other options.

     The best way to compare Compendium and WordPress is, perhaps, in the form of a chart.  Below I have constructed a table that will allow us to do just that:

COMPARISON ITEMS

Compendium

WordPress

Optimizes Your Blog Post Domains.

Yes

Yes

Optimizes Your Blog Page Construction

Yes

Yes

Automatically Optimizes Your Blog Post Content

Yes

No

Automatically Compends Your Blog Post Content into Keyword Blogs

 

Yes

 

No

Organizes Your Post Content by Keyword

Yes

No

Allows for Unlimited User Blogs

Yes

No

Allows for Dynamic Calls to Action Headers, Ads

Yes

No

Provides Weekly Metrics

Yes

Yes

RSS Feeds into Your Social Networks

Yes

Yes

Provides Strategic Research to Identify Winnable Keywords

Yes

No

      As you can see, Compendium is superior to WordPress in a plethora of ways - - all of which are important to the dedicated internet marketer.  Compendium is, after all, a premier blogging service that is guided, directed, blogging for the purpose of winning page rankings on your keywords! For more intel, call Randall Mains at Pathmaker Marketing.

 


      Blogging is a wonderful way to impart pertinent information to the rest of the world.  And, as a result, many people are taking advantage of this avenue of expression.  If you are in business, however, and you want to let your blog “work” for you, you probably need to adhere to a different set of “rules” than the individual who is simply blogging as a hobby, to vent frustration,  or to seek an audience to pontificate to.  For the sake of this article, let’s refer to the business blogger as a “Professional Blogger,” and the casual blogger as a “Social Blogger.”

    The Social Blogger, typically, is mostly blogging for fun.  As a result, they blog when they have a few extra minutes or when they get around to it, and they blog about a myriad of topics.  One day they may write about the wonderful new restaurant they ate at the night before, and three days later they might vent about how poorly their favorite baseball team is doing.  They will discuss the high price of gas, or how they have begun their Christmas shopping earlier this year.  While their thoughts and approach might be very focused, even profound,  in each individual blog, they tend to take a “shotgun” approach where their choice of topics is concerned - - spreading a wide range of thoughts to their reading public.

    The Professional Blogger, on the other hand, can’t pursue such a haphazard approach to their blogging - - or at least they shouldn’t.  Rather, the Professional Blogger needs to be blogging with a specific purpose in mind, always mindful of the fact that their blog site should strive for a depth of content in what they write.  Their blogging has to be intentionally focused on areas of expertise - - they must also purpose to provide a steady flow of content posts per week.  They must continually be adding quality content to their blog site, always bringing readers back for more.  They must not be lackadaisical about this - - they are using this as a major part of their marketing plan and therefore must attend to it religiously!

     The Professional Blogger needs to be targeting keywords that they want to win a Page One ranking on in Google, Yahoo or Bing.  Once these target terms are determined, they pursue these top page rankings by creating best in class content surrounding those keywords, and, as a result, they also establish themselves as an expert in their field.

     While it may seem easy to identify keywords you want to write about, the real trick is to isolate the “winnable” words or phrases, since what's most important is picking terms to blog about that both relate to your expertise, and have some capacity to win you a Page One Ranking. Page One rankings will get your blog qualified visitors, who may convert into names to your email list, qualified leads, product or service buyers, donors, etc.

     The subtlety of finding Internet success though, can find you, like the old TV character Maxwell Smart, “missing it by just that much.”  Let me give you an example.  

     Suppose you want to win a page one ranking for “e-mail fund raising,” You already have a wealth of knowledge on the subject, and have been most successful in helping clients with the endeavor.  You now, however, want to use the Internet to “recruit” new clients, and decide that blogging is the route to go.  So, you diligently begin adding appropriate keyword content to your blog and, lo and behold, nobody is beating down your door to have you help them.  The reason?   People are not searching on line for “e-mail fundraising,” they are searching for “ephilanthropy” - - by the millions!  

     Obviously, this scenario could be frustrating to the point of devastation!  To determine the keyword marketing terms to pursue, you can either hire a Premier Blogging Service firm such as Randall Mains company Pathmaker Marketing, or you need to invest hours, days, or possibly weeks to research them yourself, using Google’s Keyword Tool or something similar (To learn more about this, read my upcoming blog, How to do Strategic Keyword Marketing Research for Your Blog).  

    Determining your area of expertise should, at least theoretically, be a little easier.  However, you may want to take a broad term and “narrow down” your area of expertise.  Let’s use our example of “e-mail fundraising.”  Fundraising, obviously, is a term used by non-profit organizations.  Now, you may want to concentrate on e-mail fundraising for churches.  To be more specific, you may want to be an expert on e-mail fundraising for churches with under 500 members.  Once you make the determination of what you want your “niche” to be and you have accurately identified the marketing keywords you want to win pages for, you can begin to employ your blogs as a valuable sales tool! (Don’t miss my next blog, 5 Critical Steps to a Successful Blogging Initiative!)

     The bottom line is this: when blogging, be targeting keywords that you've thoroughly researched so that you know you can win page one rankings that will get you readers.  That process is called Keyword Marketing, and it can pay off in spades for you.

            If you have ever seen anyone “fume” you know that it is not a pretty sight. Now, there are several things that might make a person fume: For a truck driver it is a freeway that has turned into a parking lot and for a vacuum cleaner salesman it is finding out the house they are in has no electricity after they have dumped their grit and grime on the new carpet. For most business people, the match that will torch their psyche to the point that they fume is investing dollars in a marketing program and getting little or no return. 

            That latter description describes a good friend of mine. I recently met him for coffee, and as soon as he came in I could tell he was fuming! I waited until he placed his order, and then got him to talk about what was wrong. He told me he had recently spent nearly three thousand dollars on a Google Paper Clip Program and reaped no profit from his investment. 

            I interrupted him with the quizzical look on my face. When he asked me what was wrong I shared that I wasn’t sure what a Paper Clip Program was. He explained that it was where you only have to pay when someone clicks on the Ad and goes to your website. Me pointing out to him that the proper term was “Pay Per Click” and not “Paper Clip” did not endear me to him. In fact, I think if anything he was fuming even more!

As he continued to talk he began to look at me with a jaundiced eye, knowing of my involvement with Pathmaker Marketing. By the time he finished, it had become somewhat apparent that he was blaming me for his plight, though he had gone to a different fundraising company and I had had nothing to do with his current circumstances, directly nor indirectly. I forgave him the fallacy of his misplaced blame, and instead of getting upset with him decided to try to help   him - - at least to calm down.

            As we continued to talk he explained that his biggest complaint was he didn’t get the results he had desired - - sales! In fact, on the item he was selling he made a six-dollar profit per sale, and he had only sold twenty-four. A hundred and forty four dollars, he pointed out, was a long ways from three thousand. And, he added, twenty-four was a long way from one percent of 119,000. That set off a bell or two, so I asked him to explain what he meant.

            He had been told, he shared, that he should expect a one to two percent success rate on the number of hits he got. The program had been running for nearly three months, and in that time he had received just south of 119,000 hits. Even at one percent, he said, obviously having done the math at least several times, that would be almost twelve hundred sales! He assured me that seventy two hundred dollars would have been a great return on his investment, but he didn’t get the twelve hundred sales!

            Knowing that I might be taking my life in my own hands (remember, he was fuming!) I boldly pointed out to him that the Pay Per Click Program had been immensely successful! Preparing to duck, I watched as he just stared at me, incredulity heavy on his face. What I said was computing, but very slowly. I waited until I figured he had at least a reasonable grasp on what I had said, and then I explained what was, to him, my outrageous statement.

            I shared with him that the task of a effective internet marketing campaign like Pay Per Click is to drive qualified potential buyers to his website. The program had, apparently, done just that. His problem, I pointed out, was not with the Pay Per Click program, but rather that his website was the culprit. If that many people went to view what he had to offer, and only twenty-four made the decision to buy, his site was not converting the site traffic effectively, and might be in desperate need of repair.  He needed some new internet marketing ideas for his site, so I pointed out, like a restaurant blaming a cab driver because none of the passengers that he brought them got out and dined there when the reality was the eating place looked like a dive. 

            He pondered it for a while, and as he did so I saw his jaw muscles relax and a placid look rest gently on his countenance. As we sat there, however, I saw a reverse metamorphosis take place, as his jaw again tightened and a brooding look supplanted the peaceful demeanor that had so recently been there. Shaking his head in disgust, he answered my unasked question when he asked, “So I guess I wasted the eighteen hundred dollars I paid my web designer?”

            I just nodded and grinned, fully understanding his plight. Internet Marketing Ideas, with all of their intricacies and ramifications, can be a challenge. That’s why I would suggest that you visit Pathmaker Marketing and see how we can help you wisely invest your marketing dollars. After all, I would hate to see you fume!


In this fifth of five blog posts, I'm providing you with 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are numbers nine and ten, plus a bonus eleventh key to effective internet marketing:

9.    TIMING CAN BE EVERYTHING - To effectively Market certain products we need to have a real grasp of our Target Market.  You will, for example, be able to sell Christmas Program Packages to Pastors - but not in January!!  Typically, they begin their search for Christmas materials shortly after the Fourth of July.  Proper “timing” may also help determine what gives you the greatest sales success at any given time may be.  If you are not familiar with the seasonality factors in your products or business, then determine them.  Proper timing for your offers can bring in substantial results!

10.    TALK WITH YOUR AD VENDOR - Your vendor may not know your line of business as well as you do, but they are seeing advertising results across many clients and industries that you do not have access to, and they will be able to identify trends that are working and universal strategies or tactics that are being effective for other clients of theirs.  Talk with them. Pick their brains. Get the input and feedback on your campaign.  Ask questions.  They may be able to give you those extra tidbits of helpful advice that gets your campaign over the top.

11.    DON'T BE A JOHNNY COME LATELY - Avoid last minute stuff. Many mistakes get made because you are rushing to meet a deadline and everything is coming together at the very last possible moment.  Avoid that pattern.  It leads to errors and oversights.  You need to get your strategies ironed out in advance, and then develop your designs, then budget time for reflection.  Give yourself a day or two in the schedule to reflect on what you've done and how it could be improved. Sometimes we're so caught up in the details we can't keep a perspective on the big picture. You prevent this tunnel vision by ensuring you have that one extra day or two to reflect on your work and make sure it really hits the mark, and has all the components it needs to be a successful online advertising campaign for your company.

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


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

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

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

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


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.



Nothing can inspire donors to give like the power of a good story, told well, whether you are raising funds with a Saturday morning car wash or you are one of a handful of powerful fundraising companies helping clients raise millions. 

In last week’s blog post I talked about the importance of connecting the donor to the end recipient of their generosity using Internet--just like Heart For the City does on this page of their website.  You can see touching photos of families benefitting from the Thanksgiving “Adopt A Family” effort. 

We also encouraged you to create interactive areas on your site that allow donors to tell the success stories of the effort themselves, like this page from the National Prayer Campaign for the Jerusalem Prayer Team.  You can read last week’s entry on fundraising company Pathmaker Marketing’s blog page HERE. 

In this posting, I offer two more ideas, drawn from the experience of fundraising companies and the professionals who run them.   

3.  Don’t overlook traditional forms of storytelling like newsletters and snail mail appeals.  Stories collected on your website—or via letters and emails—can be used (anonymously, if needed) to keep the ministry’s efforts fresh in the minds of those who read them.  PathMaker Marketing can help you develop an eNewsletter that will build your email list—and keep the powerful stories of your ministry in the forefront of your efforts as a professional fundraiser. 

4.  Create an event.  Use awards, presentations, speeches or other “special moments” to connect givers to those they help and share them in your communication efforts.  RISE, International is a ministry that builds schools in Angola.  When an American couple raised and extraordinary amount of money to build one school in a rural village—$50,000—Lynn Cole, the ministry head (who is the professional fundraiser for the group--they do not use a fundraising company) took a photo of the family, enlarged and laminated it and hand carried it to the dedication of that school months later.  She told the boys and girls in the Angolan village, who were overjoyed about the opportunity to now receive an education, about the family as she showed them the enlarged photo.  She photographed the eager learners with the image of the Americans in a powerful ceremony that will remain unforgettable for both sides. 

Sharing the fruits of your ministry with those who donate to make it possible will bring your fundraising efforts “full circle” and will further strengthen your professional fundraising initiatives.  Pathmaker Marketing is a professional fundraising company that will listen to your needs and help you tell your story.  We'd like to give you a free website analysis--get in touch with us today.   

If you’re a non profit or church who raises funds, then you need to include online fundraising in your marketing tool kit. And when you start doing that, you’ll want to consider the advantages of working with various fundraising companies. Just because you work with someone who has been managing your direct mail for the last several years doesn’t mean they’re the right choice for your email fundraising or search engine marketing efforts. You’ll want to look for Internet savvy fundraising companies for that.

When interviewing fundraising companies, here are some helpful questions you’ll want to ask.

What is your experience raising funds online? You’ll want to make sure they have several years of experience, but also be sure that they deliver good return on investment for their clients. Ask them for specific examples, and look for at least a 4:1 ROI for their current or past clients (not just a promise that they can do that for you).

What is your strategy for raising funds online? While strategies for individual tactics may vary, there is a general philosophy for fundraising that need to understand before choosing from your list of fundraising companies. How do they come up with each eAppeal strategy? How will you be involved? What is their eAppeal blasting schedule and strategy? How will they avoid colliding with direct mail strategies? How they make sure you’ll be able to see results from all online strategies? Make sure their strategies agree with your philosophies.

What is your experience in my industry? People surely can learn your industry, but it helps if they already offer experience specific to your industry. If you’re a Christian organization, it helps a lot for them to understand Christianity and the way Christians communicate.

What is your billing schedule and terms? Be sure you can afford their services and thoroughly understand the services you’ll get.

How do you resolve conflicts and disagreements? You don’t plan it, but disagreements occur. Go into it knowing how you’ll deal with them.

These basic questions may launch you into other discussions, but these will help you springboard into a thorough understanding of how various fundraising companies stack up against one another.

Pathmaker Marketing LLC is ready to help you raise funds online and would love to talk to you about how our strategies and experience fit with your organization. Visit our website or call us at 623-322-3334.


If your website isn’t getting the traffic you hope for, maybe you’ve not properly optimized it to be found by search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important step for getting your website listed in the top 10 search engine listings when someone is searching for a keyword that applies to your business. That makes SEO a key small business marketing strategy for you to consider.

Here are some tips I picked up from SEOMoz, specialists in this field.

The first step is to know the keywords that will get your website listed. Pathmaker Marketing LLC is a solid online fundraising company and non profit consultant that does extensive research for our clients. We first identify the keywords that could apply (the list is always quite long), then we get the client’s input, then we run them through a difficulty ranker. The difficulty ranker helps us determine which keywords will be the easiest for us to get a higher listing for on our client’s behalf. We can help you with this step. Give us a call at 623-322-3334 to see if there’s a fit.

Once you know your keywords, then you can begin the process of optimizing your site. Here are some important elements.

HTML Tags – the most important one to use is the <TITLE> tag. Optimize every page of your site for a different keyword. Be sure to use the keywords near the front of the <TITLE> tag for the page you are optimizing. Also, while using the Meta Description won’t get you a higher ranking, it will show under the title of the page in search results, so be sure to write a good description.

URL – if you can, get your keyword in the URL of the page. Shorter URLs work best, so don’t hide your page behind lots of directories (example: www.yourbusiness.com/page is better than www.yourbusiness.com/directory1/directory2/page.

Body Copy – be sure to use your keywords two to three times on shorter pages and four to six times on longer pages, and get at least one of those occurrences in the first 50-100 words. Use the keywords in a context that makes sense. You can also use variations of the phrase throughout the copy. Use the <H1> tag for your headline rather than an image or just making the size of the text bigger. Use <ALT> tags (using your keyword) for images, and try to name images using the keyword. It wouldn’t hurt to put the keyword in bold/italics at least once, but this only helps a little.

Linking – link to pages within your site (and make the click-through depth shallow), and do your best to get other sites to link to you. When you do, ask if you can provide the appropriate text. This small business marketing strategy will often mean you’ll need to do reciprocal links. Don’t be afraid of that – just open the link up in a new window so people won’t lose your website, but don’t make the link any more prominent than necessary.

Social Networking – have social and professional networking accounts, and link to your site from them. Work to get followers/friends in your accounts.

According to SEOMoz, here is the weight of the various factors considered in search engine optimization. Take them into consideration and make them part of your small business marketing strategies.
  • Trust/authority of your domain – 23.87%
  • Link popularity of specific pages – 22.33%
  • Anchor text of external links to specific pages – 20.26%
  • On-Page keyword usage – 15.04%
  • Registration and hosting data – 6.91%
  • Traffic and Click Through Ratio (CTR) data – 6.29%
  • Social graph metrics (the popularity of your site in social networks) – 5.30%
     
A good graphic and blog post from SEOMoz that illustrates this topic further can be seen and read here:


As professional fundraisers, we seek to connect donors with ministries that satisfy their need to give to people, causes and organizations.

Nine years ago, I stumbled in to the arena of Christian marketing and fundraising for nonprofits when I took a job with a Christian marketing and fundraising agency.  Active in ministry my entire adult life, I was looking to supplement our income as my firstborn launched to private Christian college.  This new job presented me with a steep learning curve, new vocabulary and challenging tasks.  I quickly found, however, that the things we were doing for our clients as a fundraising company were not that different from what I’d been doing for years throughout church and para-church involvement. 
 
 I began my career as a professional fundraiser decades ago when I joined the staff of Youth for Christ and was immediately responsible for raising 100% of my salary, expenses and benefits.  The need for a regular paycheck will make a willing professional fundraiser out of the most reluctant letter writer!  

I quickly learned what any good fundraising company will teach—that folks love to give to people, causes and organizations that are important to them.  In my case, the person, Meagan Gillan, was the appeal for one segment of donors.  These people would probably have supported me if I was hand-raising panda bear cubs in the Chinese rainforest.  They were behind me and wanted to let me know as much with their gifts and support.  

For another group, the gifts and donations were targeted at a cause—ministry to a cottage of juvenile delinquent girls in a locked state institution.  For a variety of reasons, their heartstrings were pulled when they learned of the plight of these girls who, though guilty of bad choices, were victims of bad family situations, bad economics and other circumstances beyond their control.  These donors wanted to help girls know Jesus and gain skills that would help them when they were released from the institution.  

A third group gave because they believed in and wanted to be associated with the organization.  Youth for Christ had already piled up decades of relevant, Gospel-focused ministry to millions of youth.  These givers were glad that I was serving a particular group of girls in a specific institution, but they were particularly pleased (and willing to give) because they knew and loved the organization with which I served.  Trust was a given.  

That innocuous beginning has led to a lifetime of helping people live in to their God-ordained need to give.  I’ve had up-close experience with several fundraising companies, and remain in awe, with many fundraising professionals, of the extraordinary faithfulness of the family of God as they pump billions of dollars of charitable giving into the human efforts that advance God’s Kingdom on earth.  It never ceases to amaze me.  


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I still find non profit organizations that are apprehensive about email fundraising.
It seems like their concerns sometimes hover around issues like: "Will email cannibalize their snail mail results?" or maybe even more fundamentally, "Will people react negatively to solicitations?" from their non profit through email.

To address this issue I want to share a recent client Case Study from Pathmaker Marketing. Before April 2008, this client had not been doing any email fundraising. They agreed to let Pathmaker start a monthly email fundraising effort on their behalf that was tied to their monthly snail mail fundraising efforts.

After doing an initial Verify My Email campaign, their email list netted out to 20,000 deliverable names.

Here are the results from our last 13 eAppeals for them:

Thirteen-month Summary:
1,816 gifts = $190,887 gross income generated
(Averages: 140 gifts for $14,683)


Month-by-month eAppeal Income Summary:
13. April eAppeal: 118 gifts = $10,305
12. March eAppeal: 91 gifts = $11,813
11. February eAppeal: 69 gifts = $13,184
10. January 09 eAppeal; 88 gifts = $9,521
  9. December eAppeal: 122 gifts = $23,833
  8. November eAppeal: 161 gifts = $16,950
  7. October eAppeal: 106 gifts = $6,853
  6. September eAppeal: 231 gifts = $17,828
  5. August eAppeal: 199 gifts = $28,550
  4. July eAppeal:  112 gifts = $18,500
  3. June eAppeal: 139 gifts = $10,450
  2. May eAppeal: 138 gifts = $12,528
  1. April 08 eAppeal:  242 gifts = $10,572


During this period we saw no dilution in their snail mail results. In fact the opposite could be aid: email was giving LIFT to their snail mail efforts while also standing strong on its own two feet in the metrics analysis.

Said differently for this client, staying on the sidelines prior to April 2008, meant they were effectively foregoing almost $15,000 in additional revenue PER MONTH.

I would say that's a significant amount of income for any not profit organization to overlook.

If you are looking for a professional fundraiser or non profit consultant for your charity, non profit organizaton, or church, please give me a call at 623-322-3334 to consider whether Pathmaker Marketing can assist your enterprise in generating significant sources of email fundraising income.

Don't be shy if your email lists are small to begin with. Pathmaker can help you implement a Traffic Conversion Plan and list growth strategies that will build your email file into a company asset that can deliver significant results for you. We're confident that we are one of the fundraising companies that can move your non profit marketing to the next level.
 


Principle #2: Develop your email fundraising and communication tools.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Before you send your first email though, you need to determine what metrics to use to measure your success. For example, if your objective is to get people to your site to take a specific action, how will you know how many visited your site as a result of a specific email? There are tools that help you measure how many of your emails went to bad addresses or were rejected, how many recipients opened them, how many clicked through to your site, and how many took the desired action. You can go even further and learn what parts of your email people are clicking on, to isolate what’s working and what’s not. Nifty ephilanthropy tools even exist to do economical multivariate testing of graphics with different calls to action -- example: 8Seconds

Here's two good examples of email fundraising tools we use for clients at Pathmaker:

iContact

Exacttarget

ExactTarget being a good example of a sophisticated high end blasting tool, with iContact being an affordable smaller company tool. 

 

The Business Blogging Platform Powered by Compendium  |  Sitemap