Email Fundraising

It probably is pretty safe to assume that E-Mail Fundraising is not a flash in the pan, but, rather, will be a major weapon in the arsenal of every email marketing firm in the nation for ad infinitum.  Scattered across the world wide web is tidbits of information and suggestions posted by various e-mail marketing experts meant to help give a better understanding of email marketing.  While each and everyone may be valuable, it could be painstakingly difficult to fetter them out and paint a picture with a broad enough scope to actually let you know how to attain success in this realm.  That’s why, as successful email marketing professional, I thought it would be prudent to take time to share a plethora of suggestions that have helped Pathmaker Marketing, LLC in their quest of becoming a successful professional e-mail marketing firm in the realm of e-fundraising.  So, below is a comprehensive “what to do” guide for enjoying E-mail Fundraising success.

1.    TEST - TEST - TEST - Constantly.  In email fundraising there are some variables that you can control and some that you can’t.  What you can control is when you send and how you design your emails and how you design your Landing Pages.  What you can’t control is what’s happening in the news and how people feel about the economy.  As a result, you want to make sure that you are using your very best efforts in the areas you do control in your quest for funds.

            One thing you will want to do is run “split tests” - double, triple, or quadruple splits.  You should run these on your creatives, as different versions can have different texts and/or graphics.  You test to see what is working this month or week, and by testing you mitigate against ineffective efforts.  Multiple versions of your email will enhance your chance for success, and serves as a bit of insurance.

WHEN YOU SPLIT TEST BE SURE YOU CAN TRACK RESULTS SEPERATELY. You must be able to tell how much money each email raised separately.

2.    BUILD YOUR INTERNAL FILES - Understandably, your donor file will always give you the most return on any given e-mail.  Next would be your internal prospecting file and finally any external prospecting file.  As a point of clarification, the internal prospecting file are those people who have shown an interest in your organization but have not donated and, as one would expect, are more apt to give than any external list.  In other words, the “priority order” is to solicit those who have given before, those who have shown an interest in you, and lastly strangers.

3.    GET A DECENT ESP - To conduct an E-mail Fundraising campaign you must have an Email Service Provider (ESP).  Basically, there are three types - Entry Level, Intermediate, and Advanced.  There are a variety of things that will differentiate ESPs.  One is the size of your list.  Another consideration is the “billing” process.  Typically, for Intermediate and Advanced ESPs billing is “volume based,” while for the Entry Level ESPs it is “file size” based.  Functionality is another determining factor:  The more advanced the greater the number of functions - especially in the realms of integration and reports.  As can be expected, the more advanced your ESP the more expensive it will be. 

            An example of an entry level ESP is iContact, and will usually be used when your mailing list is 10,000 or less.  Bronto would be a middle level ESP, and is for the organization whose list is 10,000 - 100,000.  An advanced ESP is for lists of 100,000+, and a good example of this would be Exec Target.

4.    NO CSS WHEN CODING E-MAIL IN HTML - What is often overlooked is the fact that that if you use CSS it will be stripped by many email clients.  For example, G-mail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and MacMail all tend to strip out CSS.  If your email is driven by your custom style sheet and it gets deleted by the email client you will have a problem.  Your email might show up looking fine, or it might look like garbage.  As a result, you would be better off using “old school” HTML 101 table formats.

5.    DESIGN AND CODE TO 600 PIXELS WIDE - At that width your e-mail will render okay in a number of environments, such as PC, iPad and mobile phones.  If you code to wider you will force people to sideward scroll, which some may consider too much work!

6.    PUT MORE EFFORT INTO YOUR LANDING PAGES THAN YOUR E-MAIL ‘CAUSE YOU CAN'T’ TRANSACT ANY BUSINESS IN AN E-MAIL - Remember, no matter how good your email is you can’t take a credit card with it!  If your landing page is “broken,” the whole process is broken.  The e-mail is what “hooks” people, but the landing page is what will “seal the deal.”  Like a good salesman, your landing page is your “closer.”

7.    UTULIZE E-MAIL FUNDRAISING STRATEGIES - Any successful endeavor is the result of developing and implementing specific strategies, and e-mail fundraising is no exception.  Below is a list of strategies that you should plan on employing:

  • E-mails tied to current events
  • Monthly “themed” Email Campaigns
  • Direct Mail/E-mail Combo
  • Media/E-mail Combo
  • “Stand Alone” E-mail Fundraising Campaign

 8.    E-MAIL CAN WORK WITH DIRECT MAILSend your Direct Mail offer first.  Then, send an email with the same offer seven to ten days later.  This over-all combination will give you lift, as the email will remind people of the mailer they received.

9.    ADD “READ MORE” LINKS INTO YOUR COPY - Writing an e-mail fundraiser piece is a little different than writing a direct mailer piece.  In the former you might stop a thought in mid-paragraph and put in a “read more,” having your email serve as somewhat of a “teaser.”

10.  STUDY THIS HEURISTIC TO LEARN A SIGNIFICANT LESSON FROM E-MAIL EXPERT FLINT McGOUGHLIN

eMe = rv(o+i ) - (f+a)

The effectiveness of your Message = relevance of your offer (offer + incentive) less (friction + anxiety)

In essence, this is saying that the advantages of your offer and incentive needs to outweigh the recipient’s reluctance to reply positively to your offer, plus the anxiety he might feel in doing so.   “Friction” deals with the ease of your check out procedure.  Asking for as little information as is necessary, and keeping the checkout process as short as possible can minimize it.  Said simply, “Anxiety” is the general reluctance someone might have in doing business on the Internet. 

11.  USE THIS FINAL CHECKLIST BEFORE YOU HIT “SEND”

Ask Did my test e-mail:

  • Allow me to go through checkout
  • Have a subject line with no issues
  • Have working links
  • Display Properly
  • Have contact’s name, address and telephone number

Social Media Marketing

If you are having a local fundraising event, why not exploit Facebook and email to get the word out? I mean let’s face it, who do you think doesn’t have Facebook or an email account? If you can get the word out through these media, you can expect more results and lesser expenses compared to having to rely mainly on flyers and tarpaulins.

How to use Facebook

Facebook is not only a good way to connect with relatives and friends, it also an excellent tool to announce a fundraising event. Think about it, what you’ve got in there is already a captured audience, compared to flyers and tarpaulins wherein people can choose not to read or even look at them. People on Facebook can choose to ignore you as well but, it is less likely because what you’ve got there are people who know and trust you. Here’s how you can use Facebook to promote a fundraising event:

1. Create and event - Create an event in Facebook ideally on the Fundraiser’s own account. Make sure that after you filled in the necessary details, that you click “anyone can view and RSVP” so that it is made public. You should also click “show guest list on event page” so that people can see who are invited and can invite new people.

Once the event goes live and you have invited your friends and they have RSVP, their friends can now see it on their wall too. This will make your invitation viral.

2. Post the event on your wall - On your personal Facebook account, you can also post the event on your wall and invite your friends too. If this is a ticket event, make sure to post a link to where they can buy the tickets.

3. Post regular updates - Make sure to post regular updates so that those who are coming will be informed. Soon the event will be on your friend’s, friends and friends wall too.

How to Use Email

Before there was Facebook, email is the way to send our words for fundraising and it still a very effective tool to inform. A lot of infomercials are still using emails and the trend will like to continue in the years to come. Here’s how you can use email to send the word out:

1.  Design the flow of mails - You don’t just send the mails blindly, it has to follow a design flow. For example, you can start with a request, then you follow it up with supporting quotes and related client’s story. You can then send a third mail encouraging people to donate and a fourth, thanking them.

2.  Build an subscriber list - We have put together an article detailing the importance of a quality subscriber list. If the list is not qualified, you cannot expect a good performance.

3.  Create an effective email - When writing an email for fundraising, make sure that you fill in the necessary details but don’t make it too verbose that the recipient will be tempted to delete it.

4.  Choose the best broadcast tool - This is the caveat of email; without a good broadcast tool, you will be sending it one by one or you can cc it to everybody in the list. A broadcast tool will make the job a lot easier because it can send thousands of emails at once.

When creating a charity event, your goal should be to minimize the overall expenses so that all the proceeds raised will go directly to the charity. Using Facebook and email accomplished just this so if you haven’t done it yet, you better start now.


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!

eFundraising

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. He upgraded their website with an eNewsletter sign-up form and dedicated, benefits-oriented landing page to secure new email addresses. Together, these have gotten them thousands of new emails addresses - both to add to their mailing list and to replace those that inevitably fall off of mailings lists when people change email addresses or simply move on.

2. He installed an eight-week series of welcome emails. Not only do these emails run on autopilot for ease of use, but they also introduce new acquaintances to the various aspects of their ministry.

3. He went to work raising funds from the people on their email list. He writes, designs, codes, installs, and blasts a regular eAppeal for them that raises over $10,000 each month. 

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

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

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

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

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


 

The bottom line to successful email fundraising & email marketing consists of the following four simple steps to help you stay on track:

4 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL EMAIL FUNDRAISING OR EMAIL MARKETING

Email FundraisingAn excellent way to communicate, email has become so efficient that it has the U.S. Postal Service trembling in its boots!  But seriously, if you're still doing direct mail only, you need to add email marketing to your mix of online fund raising tools. And to get the most out of your email fundraising or email marketing program you need to implement the following four strategic steps to success:

1)    Build Your Email House File - The most successful professional fundraisers are using email marketing programs to solicit their house files.  I know this may be a long process to develop these lists, but once you have a robust house file acquisition process in place, your email lists will grow and your efundraising or emarketing communications to those lists will deliver for you maximum results, way above any external list file rentals.

Typically, your house file consists of various sub lists like your customer file (first or two time buyers); your best customer file (regular, large or monthly donors, for example); and your prospecting file of requestors who have asked for call backs, downloaded white papers,  signed up for your newsletters, etc. 

In as much as your email success will mostly be measured in dollars raised, or as a conversion rate percent of the overall send, it stands to reason that a larger size internal file will deliver you a greater number of positive replies, once you've found ways to convert the list into sales or gifts.  In other words, make a commitment to building your house file, and then ensure that's an on-going part of your marketing efforts.

2)    Test, Test, Test - There are several ways to proceed in this realm.  First, you will want to conduct a basic Email Split Test.  This is where you send out two or three different versions of the same email to determine which one(s) give you the best results.  You can test different subject lines, different email creative or different landing pages. By determining which ones perform best, you can fix the underperforming ones and/or concentrate instead on the ones that were productive and successful.

A basic protocol we use as a basis for testing fundraising for non-profits is the following:
1. Short cause-centric email to longer cause-based landing page
2. Long cause-centric email to shorter cause-based landing page
3. Premium-centric version email to basic premium (i.e. product Offer) landing page

3)    Evaluate Your “Core Metrics” - Your "Core Metrics" are your central pieces of data that help you make primary decisions regarding your email sending.  There are three major ones, and numerous secondary ones. The majors we use are the following:

a.    Opens (How Many Emails Delivered Were Opened)—this metric is not completely accurate but as a guide it's good to help you determine the effectiveness of your Email Subject Lines. When your open rates are low concentrate on improving your subject lines.

b.    Clicks (How Many Opened Emails Clicked Through to Landing Pages) —this metric reflects the effectiveness of the email creative itself. If your click through rates is low concentrate on improving your email content (i.e. creative). Usually a good ESP will also provide data on which elements of your creative were clicked on, giving you insights into those things that drive click through for you.

c.    Conversions (How Many Clicks Became Sales or Gifts) —this metric reflects the effectiveness of your landing pages at converting the visitor into a buyer. If your conversion rates are low concentrate on improving your landing pages.

A sub-item to consider regarding conversions is the average amount of each sale or gift, which, will also affect your overall results and thus can help you determine the over-all value of your various Split Test groups and online fundraising efforts.

…And a Bonus Step to a Successful Email Fundraising program:

4)   Fuss Around to Optimize - I can't emphasize enough how important it is to continue tweaking your programs, looking for pockets of opportunity in the data, and searching for ways to optimize your efforts and their results.  Figure out what people are clicking on and accentuate the positives, then eliminate the negatives! Keep a document of lessons learned as well, so you can refer back to things you have gained over the years that you can build on in the future.

Email marketing is a proven and effective way to enhance your ephilanthropy, so use these four principles to accelerate your email marketing efforts, and call Pathmaker Marketing in Phoenix at 623-322-3334 if we can be of any assistance to you. Or read further about this topic on our blog about email fundraising.

 


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.


Email Fundraising

No matter how much you avoid it, it happens. An email fundraising mishap makes you want to recall all the emails that you have just sent to your donors!. The efficiency of modern technology can be a double edge sword to wound its wielder if you are not careful. The moment you press the send button, all those mails will be in the inbox of all your recipients and if they contain things that are broken, problematic, or included stuff you are not supposed to say, there is no way to bring them back. Hopefully for you that doesn't mean "Hasta la Vista, Baby!"

Well if you get a next time to send, you can take some simple steps to avoid the worst issues, and that is why I would like to share with you the things that you should avoid in your email fundraising campaigns. Here they are:

1. Failure to personalize - An email with a “Dear Friend” in the opening is a good candidate for deletion. I mean, try to put yourself in the shoes of your donor -- why do you think he should support your cause AGAIN if you don’t even know his name? With all the digital information available online, it’s just a sign of sloppy email fundraising not to be able to use the FIRST name. Usually, I ALWAYS have the First name personlization utilized in the BODY of my email. In addition, I use Subject line personalization on resends to non-opens to create something different at first glance.

2.  UNDER soliciting your donors - Yes. I said UNDER! Most fundraisers might be scared about running too many campaigns at the same time and asking too much from the same donors. They typically worry about people unsubscribing because they find your email in their inbox too often. Well,  I know that can occur, but in my experience most clients err on the side of too much caution. So I'm proposing the reverse is true. The main problem is undersolicitation. My typical rule of thumb is to send out fundraising emails at the same time every month - I prefer the 15th through the 30th. I also Split Test at least 3 email variations and send every 3-4 days during that period of time. That means you could be emailing up to 5-6 times in two weeks. Then we stop any soliciations for two weeks. I've found this system works well, and have used it for over 4 years to help one client raise over $725,000.

3.  Failure to test through checkout - The #1 thing that can go wrong with any email campaign is that your checkout process doesn't work. That's why you MUST send yourself test emails in advance and open, click through them, and complete the checkout process to be sure it works.  The meltdown scenario is you don't test through checkout and you send 150,000 emails out to see Page Not Found error messages on your forms two days later!  Ouch.  There are mistakes and then there are mistakes. Overlooking a typo in the Subject Line is a major blunder, but a broken or busted checkout process is the #1 ALL TIME Biggest Show Stopper Mistake ever. That problem stops everything dead in its tracks, so test your checkout process religiously to make sure you capture the gift or donation.

4.  Failure to keep up with the times - Are you still relying solely on email that only renders on the PC? You can multiply the power of your campaign if you include with it full social sharing on Facebook, Twitter. Use Addthis. Harness the power of social media for your emails. ALSO, don't overalook mobile either. This is rapidly becoming a required component of any email fundraising campaign. This will make your life much easier because it will complement what you cannot include in a garden variety email. Ease of communication, ease of donating, seeing videos and pictures all add to the overall power that you cannot accomplish with email alone.

5. Only use the shotgun approach - Trying to cover all campaigns in one single mail is what you call the shotgun approach. By definition a shotgun is best used in SELF-DEFENSE cause it sprays "shot" in all directions. Instead, try to be surgical in your approach and by that, I mean try to limit the scope of your campaign. Use rifles or pistols that can hit specific targets. The way to accomplish this is by getting better DATA from your donors. Make sure your Profile Management pages are functional -- use them and/or surveys to harvest more information. As your database grows, you can better segment and focus email sends on specific interests, groups, demographics, or behavior patterns of your donors.

6. Failure to TEST - At the end of the day, all the email marketers in the world can tell you what they think will work, but even the "experts" are only speculating unless their guesses are backed up by real time results. Get around the guessing by testing. Try this and that. Test this and that. Testing helps you find out what really works. Constantly test. Because even when something works one month, it may not work the next, because our results are a combination of two things: those things we control, and the outside forces we do not control. As you test, develop a Lessons Learned document which will give you guidance going forward in regard to things that have been proven to work at one point in time.

Although there are still plenty of “oopps” in email fundraising that are in my list, these six are the most frequent and sadly, the least avoided. Taking these to heart will prevent you from committing them again. Just remember that the moment you press that “send” button, there is no way to get those mails back.


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      I marvel at how often clients come to us at Pathmaker Marketing and do not have a firm grasp of exactly what they want us to accomplish for them.  This seems to be as true for those companies who are seeking a small business marketing strategy as those charities who are interested in non-profit fund raising. 
     For whether they are looking for an online marketing tool, church outreach ideas or search engine optimization services, their goals are often murky and poorly defined.  An example would be those who put together an internet ad without having defined how to evaluate the results of the advertisement, or measure its success.
     First, as you develop your online ad you need to know what, exactly, you are expecting it to accomplish for you. 
     There are basically a few strategic things that you can hope to receive from your internet marketing endeavor - - a list addition, a lead or a sale.  Typically, your product or service will determine which you should expect.  For example, if you are selling your services as an Architect for Church Expansion, you will undoubtedly pursue leads, not sales. 
     On the other hand, if you are selling a $49.95 product titled “6 Steps to 1,000 Perfect Sermons,” the end result is more apt to be a sale than a lead. 
     Once you fully understand your objective you can better measure the results. Making this determination will allow you to decide whether or not your advertising program was a success.
     Second, as you determine your objectives you will find that they may be different depending on whether you are prospecting for new customers or selling to your current ones.  Example: is the list email you are using an “internal” or “external” list.  For an internal list, one where you are contacting current/past customers, you may decide that for a thousand dollar investment you will want to realize $10,000 worth of sales.  It might be more, it might be less - - you should be able to determine this because you will already have a track record with those individuals. 
     However, with an “external” list, a list of potentially new clients, you may be pleased even if you don’t break even!  For the same thousand dollar investment, a return of only $750.00 might be acceptable because you are acquiring new names/clients for future upselling to your internal list.  These individuals will have ongoing upsell potential and a “life time value,” which may be very significant.
     It is vitally imperative that you define your objectives, for without doing so you cannot determine if your campaign was successful or not!  Too, you may want to set up a “scale” of probably/possible success.  If your “goal” is to glean $10,000 on a $1,000 investment, and you only glean $8,500, you might decide that the program was, albeit short of your expectations, still a success.  As with any goal, not reaching the ultimate goal does not mean you failed.
     It is possible that you may need help in defining and refining your objective, and we at Pathmaker would be more than happy to assist you in this.  However, before you invest in an internet advertising be sure you know what you expect it to do for you!
     Give us a call if you need more help to find ways to win on the web.


           As usual, Jim’s loud proclamation got everyone’s attention. I had just raised my glass of cola to my lips when Jim burst through the door - - literally!, and laid his statement on me. I was mighty parched, but knew that Jim’s need was obviously greater than mine, so I put my glass down and swiveled to face him. 

            He looked awful. He was perspiring profusely, though it wasn’t all that warm out. The rivulets of perspiration that had flowed from his forehead to his chin had left little trails of grime, and his eyes were as large as saucers. I noticed it had become as quiet as an abandoned mortuary, as everyone in the room strained their ears to see what Jim was going to say next. 

            “Jim, let’s go over to a booth and discuss this.”

            He started moving with me, but he didn’t wait until we got there to continue. And, he didn’t tone it down any, either.

            “Floyder, I swear to God I've never removed my clothes in public. I mean, I’m considered one of the pillars of the community! Good Lord, what is Martha going to think if she reads this.”

            “Jim . . . JIM!!, “ I fairly shouted, until I got a look that reassured me he was finally back with me. “Jim,” I began more calmly, “what the smash are you talking about?”

            “You gotta help me, Floyder. There must be something you and Randall can do."

            Jim was alluding to Randall Mains, co-owner of PATHMAKER MARKETING, a firm that specializes in Internet Marketing and Premier Blogging Services, as well as other Internet projects ranging from Online Fund Raising for Non-Profit Marketers to Search Engine Optimization Services. For the life of me, though, I couldn’t connect Jim’s nudity proclamation with Pathmaker Marketing!

            Jim’s facial expression could now only be described as pleading, so I knew I was going to have to get down to the bottom of what was going on.

            “Jim,” I began succinctly, “tell me exactly what happened.”

            “Well, “ he began, “remember last night when you told me the importance of Search Engine Optimization, and how that both me and my Sporting Goods store should have a presence on the Internet?’

            “Yes,” I assured him.

            “Well, I had a few minutes this morning so I typed my own name into a Google search and it popped up right there on my computer screen that I am a Nudist. And, Floyder, it even had pictures!”

            “You saw a nude picture of yourself?” I asked, my voice almost as excited as his.

            “Of course not! Floyder, I already told you, I ain’t no nudist!”

            More than a little confused, I whipped out my laptop and set it up. By the time I had logged in and started my search, we had quite a crowd forming a half circle around the table. Everyone was so interested I didn’t have the heart to ask them to leave, and, apparently, Jim didn’t have the inclination to. Finally the link popped up, and when I clicked on it sure enough, there was a photo. Only it wasn’t Jim, and he wasn’t nude.

            “See, see what I mean. That’s not me,” Jim proclaimed.

            I took a moment and read the brief bio. The gentleman pictured had the same name as Jim, of course, but was nearly forty years his senior and lived in Pensacola, Florida. Everyone drifted away, apparently disappointed the man was adorned in a bathing suit and beach robe rather than being au natural, and Jim and I were again alone.

            “Floyder, what am I going to do?”

            “Well, Jim, you have discovered what a number of other people are learning. It is important that you protect your personal branding online - - both of your personal name and your business. What you need to do is spend either the time, or money, to make sure that when your name, and your company’s name, is typed in for a Google Search, the Jim they find is the one they are looking for.”

            “Can Pathmaker do that?” Jim asked.

            “Yes, we can, and very effectively I might add.”

            “Good! I’m going to call Randall right now and set up an appointment. But before I do, will you do me a favor?’

            “What’s that?”

            “Will you call Martha and tell her I ain’t never been a nudist?’

            The plea in his eyes was greater than the one in his voice, and there was no way I could say “no” to either!

Get Pathmaker Marketing to evaluate your personal brand on Google, Yahoo, Bing and AOL, and determine what you can do to displace any adverse listings that might appear.  Contact us at 1-623-322-3334 for a free consultation.


            Jim looked like a little lost pup when he walked into the place. To define him as looking “pathetic” would have been a little too extreme, but the man sure looked like he could use a friend. As you probably already know, I am his friend, so I steered him towards a booth and got him seated.

            “Floyder,” he began without any prompting, “are you sure sending out e-mails is a good Internet Marketing idea?”

            The question kind of caught me off guard - - not because he thought I would know the answer, but that he would even voice it. My association with Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing has allowed me to become familiar with a number of Online Marketing Tools, including the use of Social Internet Marketing, and especially email fundraising. Jim has been using his e-mail list what I thought was quite effectively, and I was therefore surprised that he was questioning its validity now.

            “Yes, Jim,” I assured him, “using your e-mail list is the most viable Small Business Marketing Strategy. Why do you ask?”

            “Floyder, I just had three people unsubscribe from my list because they said they were getting too many ‘junk’ e-mails from me. I don’t want to offend anyone because of my mailings.”

            Pulling out my calculator, I asked Jim a question I already knew the answer to, “How large is your list?”

            “About 10,000. Why?”

            “Well, if three people unsubscribed, that means you lost .03%, or .0003 of your list. Jim, if you don’t send out any e-mails at all you would lose 250 names through natural attrition rate (aka bounces), because the typical email list will lose 30% of its names per year to bounces, not unsubscriptions. You see,” I went on, “an e-mail list is like a muscle - - if you don’t use it, it will suffer from atrophy. In other words,” I added, “you either use it while you got it or lose it altogether over time.”

            “You mean people don’t get upset when they get a lot of e-mails?” he asked, true curiosity heavy in his voice.

            “Well, they could of course, but it depends on a couple of things. First of all, how often are you contacting them, and what, exactly, are you sending them?”

            “I have been sending out an e-mail about twice a month, and, usually, I am sending out notifications about items I’m running a sale on.”

            “Both of those sound reasonable,” I mused. Then, hit with an epiphany, I asked Jim another question.

            “Jim, when did you send out your last mailing?

            “Day before yesterday. Why?

            “Other than the three unsubscribers, have you had any other responses?

            “Yeah - - I had twenty three people buy the sale item on line, and another nine have come in so far and bought the product in person.”

            “So,” I said, picking up my handy dandy calculator, “in only two days you have already realized a sales closure rate of .32%. That means, Jim, that your success rate is 107,000 times greater than your unsubscribe rate - - and that’s after only two days!!”

            A big smile began to creep across his face. It started in his eyes, and then snuck down to grab the corners of his mouth to stretch that into the unmistakable evidence of the pleasure he was now feeling.

            “So losing those three people wasn’t that big of a deal?” he asked, even though it was obvious he knew it wasn’t.

            “Not at all. Jim, how many new names are you adding to your list a week?”

            “Probably forty or fifty”

            “Even if you lose three subscribers every two weeks, and 250 bounces per month, you’re still staying steady.”

            The smile got even bigger, and I noticed that “pathetic” was now a long way from the way he looked!

For more help with your email fundraising or email marketing efforts, go here or call 1-623-322-3334.
 


            I couldn’t tell if Jim was perplexed, confused or both. He had a somewhat dour look on his face, and was, obviously, not his typical jovial self. He was just sitting at the counter, heaving gigantic sighs, and I decided I had better get over to him and see how I could help. He had called earlier and requested that I meet him as soon as possible, but hadn’t indicated why.  He greeted me with what was as close to a smile as he could muster when I approached, and waited until we had situated ourselves in a booth before he explained what was wrong.

            “Floyder,” he began, heaving another one of those large sighs, “I think I have been hornswaggled, and by my own church!”

            I studied the man before me for just a minute. Jim is a good man, and usually when he wants to speak to me it is about Small Business Marketing Strategies, especially in the realm of Internet Marketing Ideas. Because of my affiliation with Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing,

he often visits with me about ideas he has for his Sporting Goods Store, but it was apparent that today’s meeting wasn’t business related. I know many of the people who attend Jim’s church, including his pastor, and was more than a little surprised that they would do anything to harm him.

            “What happened?” I asked, real concern in my voice.

            “Well, we were at a meeting last night to discuss fund raising for the church. We were kicking a few things around, and before I knew it I had been chosen to chair the committee. Floyder, I don’t know anything about fund raising.”

            I smiled to myself, realizing that things really weren’t all that bad. 

            “Well, maybe I can help you a little.”

            “Really, you think you can talk them into giving the chairmanship to someone else?

            “No, but Pathmaker Marketing does serve as a Non-Profit Consultant. We have experience with Non Profit Fundraisers, and even Non Profit Marketing. Are you trying to raise funds for anything in particular?”

            He took a few minutes and gave me a thumbnail sketch of what they were hoping to accomplish. Some of the projects had definite timelines, while others were more on-going in nature. When he finished, he asked me what I thought he could do. I mentioned a few programs that we had used, and told him that he would probably be better off contacting Randall in regard to this, as he has far more experience than I.

            “I don’t know if we can afford Pathmaker Marketing or not,” he shared.

            “Well, give him a call or e-mail him at randall@pathmakermarketing.net. I have always found that it is better to verify that I can’t afford something than to assume I can’t. After all, the worst thing that will happen is he won’t be able to help you.”

            Nodding his agreement, Jim began to smile. He now had the possibility of a “high tech” battle plan, at least, and would be able to look good the next time the committee met. We visited a while longer, brainstorming the typical fundraisers churches use, but knowing that the real money for Non Profit Fundraising is found by utilizing the Internet!


            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!

 

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