Visibility Report

So you’ve got a website for your business.  How is that working out for you?  Are people finding you on the internet?  Are you gaining customers from your website?  Or is it like one of those tools you have lying on the workbench in the garage – It’s there, but nobody is using it.

More than likely you have a beautiful, colorful and well-designed web page.  If it’s like most websites, it has a counter to show how many hits your site has been getting.  A 100 on that counter is like saying, “We’ve gone a hundred miles,” but it doesn’t tell you which direction you are going or how much farther you need to go.   And it doesn’t tell you how many of those hits, if any, have become new customers. 

Let’s illustrate it another way.  Say you’re going to have a garage sale.  You’re probably going to place a classified ad and put up some posters.  Simply putting an ad in a newspaper doesn’t mean that it’s going to get read.  You make sure that your ad is listed under “Garage Sales” because that is where people who are “garage sailing” will look.  You might even specify a bold border around your ad to make it stand out in the crowd.  Then there are the posters.  Where are you going to post them?  You are going to pick out highly-visible, strategic locations where they will catch people’s attention.  Now imagine that your garage sale is your website.  You not only set up your garage sale site, but common sense told you to utilize at least two powerful, but simple ways to DIRECT PEOPLE TO YOUR SITE.

The same methodology applies to having an effective website.  Except that there are many more ways to direct potential customers to your site.  These methods cost less than a newspaper ad, magic markers, and poster board.  In fact, they cost you NOTHING.

The only way to know if something is effective is to measure its potential and its results.  Having a cool website is good, but having a website that increases your business is GREAT!  And there is a way to KNOW how effective your site is.  Pathmaker Marketing LLC has developed a unique method for measuring the potential and effectiveness of your site.  It’s called a Visibility Report.  And here’s the best part:  It’s FREE – absolutely FREE.  And it’s accessible right here on the Pathmaker website.

With no obligation whatsoever on your part, Pathmaker will generate a custom, metrics-based report that will give you a precise assessment of how your website measures up against its potential to be DYNAMIC and to be a tool that drives customers to your business. 

The company’s proprietary software will scour the internet to provide you with an analysis of how your website scores relative to six key elements that are absolutely necessary for a successful internet presence.  Those elements include:

  1. Your local search engine ratings
  2. Your local directory citations
  3. Your competitors’ local directory citations
  4. Your social media presence
  5. Your keyword rankings
  6. Your customer reviews

Your site will receive a score for each element, measuring the visibility of your site as a percentage of its potential.  Finally, the report will give you a composite score, revealing the overall visibility of your site.   A clear explanation of the findings accompanies each score, so you know where the gaps are and you have a general idea of how to address those areas that could use some improvement.  You’ll even know how your visibility compares to your competitors’!

We want your website to be effective and your business to be successful.  The Pathmaker Visibility Report will give you an awareness of the reality of your site’s status that will be beyond your expectations.  With the insight you gain, you will know EXACTLY the steps to take to make your site exponentially more effective.  They are all steps that anyone can take.   If you have questions, need assistance, or would simply rather have an experienced professional do the job - Pathmaker Marketing has the resources to quickly and efficiently improve your online visibility and, ultimately, grow your business.

For your FREE Visibility Report, click here.

 


 

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 Marketing

There is no question that the Internet has become a major source of acquiring information, about topics and about people.  As a result, many pastors are discovering that it behooves them to have a sub-stantial presence on the Internet, a Five Star Footprint, if you would, that helps to further the church they serve and the ministry that it offers.  With that thought in mind, I have put pen to paper to help those individuals who do, in fact, want to accomplish this particular goal.

The first thing a pastor needs to do is decide is whether they want to be “covert” or “overt” when it comes to the Internet.  If, as you are reading this, you decide that your decision is to be “covert” you need not bother reading any further, as this article is being drafted for those individuals who want a higher profile when it comes to the Internet.  If you have not yet made this decision, a major determining factor is this:  If you believe that many people choose a church because of how they feel about the Senior Pastor, you will definitely want to develop an overt persona, to ensure that you are not a “mystery” to potential new members.

It must also be understood that, like it or not, the Internet will contain information about you. Understanding this basic fact is pastor and Church Marketing 101. The question is, if people check you out online what do you want them to find?  Do you want them discover a random jumbalaya that Google assembles, or a concentrated effort that you have orchestrated and put together?  If you opt for the latter, what you will be doing is developing your own online profile rather than relying on what Google might come up with.  The thing to remember is, if you leave it up to Google , what viewers see might be positive, benign, or adverse.  Google doesn’t filter the material, they just display it. But effective internet marketing doesn't leave these important matters to chance.

My contention is that if you are going to be “overt” you might as well be ubiquitous as well!  So, to create a Five Star Footprint you will want to begin with the Search Engines, of which there are three main ones: Google, Bing and Yahoo.  Google is the dominant engine, and in that channel there are several “Google Searches,” and you will want to make sure that you show up in all of them. 

1. Tackle the Search Engines, Google First - Your first step is to show up in a “general” Google Search, which displays everything on the Internet.  There is also an Image Search, a Video Search, a Local Search (known as “Maps”), a News Search and lesser searches such as Books, Blogs and so on.  As a result, your number one priority in establishing your Five Star Footprint is to “tackle” Google.  Once you have done that, you can then concentrate on Yahoo, Bing, and other places.

To begin the process, “Google” yourself and see what shows up.  In doing this, use every variation of your name as possible:  Rev. Bob Smith; Rev. Robert Smith; Rev. Robert E. Smith; Pastor Bob Smith; Pastor Robert Smith; Pastor Robert E. Smith and so forth.  Once you determine what shows up for you in these searches you need to identify the items you feel positive about.  For example, if GOOGLE displays your FACEBOOK page and you like your FACEBOOK page, this is a web property you need to concentrate on developing further.  You do this by adding content to that web property first, then finding ways to build backlinks to it. Make this your pattern: Concentrate on developing web properties that already show up in a Google, Yahoo or Bing search that you have control over. They are low-hanging fruit that you can more easily influence.

2. Take on the Social Networks - Other channels where you will want to make sure you position yourself by developing a presence include: creating a FACEBOOK Page and possibly a FACEBOOK Profile; make sure you have an account on LINKEDIN, that you have a personal website, a Twitter Account, are on YouTube and possibly Vimeo.  Once you have opened all of these Accounts and continue to add content to them they will most liekly show up as well on a GOOGLE search of your name.  If you don’t currently have any videos you need to start doing them - - on your sermons, or a “Scriptural Seconds” series.  Videos can get you listed in a both a general set of search results as well as Video Search resuls. 

3. Populate the Web with Your Photos - Displaying photos of yourself is another good way to develop a Five Star Footprint.  If you don’t have a Flicker Account get one as soon as possible.  Upload your photos so that they are “optimized” to your name.  You accomplish this by entitling the files “PastorRyanSmith_DesMoinesIowa” rather than “img9356.jpg".  You can also get into FLICKER and write a Title and a short paragraph about each photo.  Remember, GOOGLE “interprets” text, not images, so once you upload your images, give it a proper file name, proper title (Pastor Smith Preaching in Pedusky), and description. Then, if someone searches “Pastor Smith,” GOOGLE will potentially bring up the photo in the display results.  You can also put photos on your Blog (make sure they are titled properly too!) and on your FACEBOOK Page.  Be sure to back link from Flicker, FACEBOOK, and your Blog to your website.  By posting and optimizing your videos and photos onto the web in these various places, like Facebook Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, etc, you are providing the internet with images that you want people see, rather than leaving matters to chance.

4. Move into Advanced Footprinting - Once you've begun to get your web properties, social networks, videos and images populating the web on searches for your name, you can move into advanced areas of branding and footprinting. These would include things like regular blogging using a ministry blog or  premier blogging service, Facebook posting, tweeting, article submissions, link buidling, social bookmarking, local listings, and so on. You might even graduate to targeting keywords beyond the variations of your name, or using online marketing tools like SEOMoz, aHREFs, SheerSEO and others. In many of these cases, you may even want to retain the professional services of a non profit consultant, like Pathmaker Marketing.

You may want to take a few moments and Google the following individuals to see how they have established their Five Star Footprint. Evaluate each person to see what is showing up. In some cases,  you might be able to replicate their paths to success. The first, Dr Michael D Evans, totally dominates “page one” rankings on Google Search, Google Images, and Google Video, which, obviously, is a very good position to be in! But others do too, and you can as well, with some time and effort taken to get yourself there.

Dr Michael D Evans

T D Jakes

Billy Graham

Bill Hybels

Luis Palau

The importance of establishing a Five Star Footprint, as we previously mentioned, is that it allows you to control what people find when they Google your name, rather than leaving what they discover to chance.  As people rely on the Internet more and more to help them make decisions of where to go and what to see, ensuring that you have a positive presence online is not only a good idea, it is a veritable must!

Disclaimer: The process above can go quickly and smoothly for some pastors who have uncommon or unusual names. For those with common names - ones that many other high profile people share - the process will be more protracted and results deferred. Don't get discouraged by this. Most of these results take time to developed, meaning 6-12 months or longer to get establish a pervasive, ubiquitous Five Start Footprint developed. If you want my personal assistance in this regard, call me at my office at 623-322-3334 or Skype me at Pathmaker.Marketing


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. 


5 STEPS TO FACEBOOK MARKETING SUCCESS

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

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

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

1)    Obtain a Facebook Page for Your Company

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

2)    Develop Your Facebook Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

3)    Talk to People About Your Exciting Things

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

4)    Build Your Fan Base to Larger Levels

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

Some ways you can do this:

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

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

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

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

…And a Bonus Thought Regarding Facebook

5)    Provide Your Fans With Opportunities to Become Customers

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

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

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


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

6 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING

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

1)    Conduct Comprehensive Keyword Research

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

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

2)    Search Engine Optimize Your Website

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

3)    Launch Google Pay Per Click

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

4)    Begin Keyword Blogging

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

5)    Start Social Media Marketing in Facebook, then Twitter

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

6)    Perform Ongoing Link Building

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

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

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

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


5 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL BLOGGING

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

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

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

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

 2)      Be Genuine—Not Promotional!

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

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

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

4)      Choose the Right Blogging Tool

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

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

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

5)      Pick the Right Terms to Blog About.

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

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

 
 6)  Protect Your Content

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

            In the first installment I mentioned that it would be wise to launch a blogging process. In that, I alluded to the fact that you need to Target Keywords that are winnable, and explained how to do so. The next thing I think you need to concentrate on is doing keyword research.

            Knowing that comprehensive keyword research is the foundation of an effective search engine marketing program will allow you to understand that, basically, you need to “chase down” the people who need the services and programs that your church offers and lead them to your website. The whole idea is to ensure that your church comes up when people type in their search terms.

            You may think that there aren’t all that many words and/or terms, but actually quite the opposite is true. The typical comprehensive keyword search will yield a minimum of 1500 or more keyword variations! Through a variety of filters, you can narrow the number down that you will want to concentrate on regarding your website and your blog posts. The key, of course, is to find “winnable” words, and then prioritize them for your benefit.

            While I certainly can’t list 1500 words/terms here, I will give you an quick example of what I mean, using the top 20 terms found when using Chicago churches as our local example:

churches
bible study
catholic churches
orthodox church
youth ministry
church chicago
church in chicago
willow creek church
willowcreek church
chicago maps
churches chicago
churches in chicago
bill hybels
catholic churches in chicago
catholic churches chicago
baptist churches in chicago
catholic church in chicago
churches chicago il
churches in chicago il
church chicago il

Once you have your list composed, you will want to chose the terms that best describe your ministry, whether it be to teens, seniors, street people or other. These are the terms you want to concentrate on as your church Staff compose their blog posts, and as you “tweak” the copy and contents of your website!

That brings me to my next point - - once you complete your keyword research and acquire your final winnable keyword list the real task has just begun! It will take months - probably six or more - to get you to a point that when an individual types in a term/phrase on your list that your church will come up. Remember I said that this list is the “foundation” of an effective search engine marketing program? While the list is the foundation, the “structure” you will build on it will be all the blog posts that you and your staff write! It is those Church Blogs that will help you acquire page rankings from Google, Yahoo and Bing, and that is what will drive people to your website and eventually your church, making the internet an effective church outreach tool for you! 
                While it may rankle us to have to admit it, “Church Marketing 101” is one of those paradigm shifts that we just need to learn to live with, and Targeting Keywords is one of those internet marketing ideas that will, in fact, allow this to be a viable church outreach idea.

            In closing, I would suggest that you read Part III, as we will deal with SEO - search engine optimization - and how to ensure that your website will, in fact, get Google, Yahoo and Bing page rankings!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            “Now what do I do?”

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

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

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

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

            “What’s wrong, Jim?”

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

            Jim is, without a doubt, precious!


THAT’S MORE WORDS THAN IN A SMALL DICTIONARY!

            Jim was dumbfounded to the point of being speechless. He just sat there looking at me, trying to determine if I was telling him the truth or not. We were sharing a cola and some small talk, when he asked if I knew anything about keyword marketing. He knew I did, but used the question to get us on the topic. Jim often sought my advice because of my relationship with Randall Mains of PATHMAKER MARKETING. One of the services that Pathmaker offers as part of their small business marketing strategies is Keyword Marketing. He offers it as an online marketing tool, and helps clients accomplish that which they seek by using Pathmaker as their search engine optimization agency. SEO is, of course, a sound search engine marketing idea, and one that Jim, apparently, was hoping to incorporate in the marketing plan for his independent Sporting Goods Store.

            Anyway, we had jawed about it for a while when he asked me how many keywords might be associated with his business, and nearly dropped his teeth when I told him it could be upwards of a 10,000 or more. That’s where we were now - - him trying to fathom what I had just told him.

            “Floyder,” he finally began slowly, “you can’t possibly be serious, “ he was finally able to manage.

            “Actually, Jim, I am. If you do this the right way you have to be totally comprehensive.    Let me share a specific example with you, and then we will apply the principle to your business. PATHMAKER recently had a client in Canada that runs a large car dealership. The process started with over 50,000 keywords. From there we narrowed it down to 1500 - - and then to 300 terms which we used for targeting keywords. This allowed them to shoot to the top of the list when people did an internet search.”

            “You mean,” Jim began, again slowly!, “that I should have more than just my name and the store’s name as keywords.”

            And therein lies the problem, I thought. So many people are unaware of the fact that search engine optimization is a science, and not just a crapshoot. 

            “You really think you could come up with that many words?” Jim asked, the gleam that was starting to form in his eye making the question almost a challenge.

            “Jim,” how many types of fishing lures do you either have, or have access to - - this is to include every color of every type and any other variations on the theme.”

            “Good Lord, Floyder, there’s thousands and thousands of them - - you know that!”

            It began right at his hairline, and slowly worked its way down his entire countenance - - realization was starting to settle in on Jim! I knew I had better intervene before he became so over-whelmed by this concept that he suffered from apoplexy!

            “It’s okay, Jim, you don’t have to actually include all of those in your list. What I would suggest is that you feature a few of the better ones for each type of fish - - trout, bass, and so on. And that brings up another point,” I added, hoping this new concept wouldn’t create a brain overload. “You may want to revamp your Keyword List for each Sporting Season as it occurs. I would do this,” I quickly added, keeping him as calm as I could, “by starting with the next upcoming season and then concentrating on each season as it comes along. That way, you won’t incur the cost for the total program all at one time.”

            “How do I now what words to consider,” Jim asked, handling all of this better than I thought. 

            “Well, you hire Pathmaker and we do the research and legwork. You will have constant input, of course, but we would take care of the list building.”

            For the first time in quite a while Jim’s face looked almost placid. Then, as I watched quietly, that gleam started to creep back in his eye.

            “Let’s try,” he exclaimed excitedly. 

            “Try what?” I asked warily.

            “Listing 10,000 words. Come on, Floyder, we can do it!!”

            I knew I was in for a long night - - either making the list or talking Jim out of trying!


          Floyder - - I don't even know what a bloghead is!

          Jim looked pretty pathetic, to say the very least. Somewhat loud, though never obnoxious!, Jim is truly a sensitive soul and that is why the comment that had been leveled at him had been so devastating. It seems that last Sunday, in front of a whole group of people, his pastor slapped him on the back and exclaimed, “Well, Jim, why don’t you head up the committee for Internet presence. After all, you’re the biggest Bloghead in the congregation.”

            “Floyder, will you call Pastor and ask him why he would say something like that about me?”

            His puppy-dog brown eyes made it impossible to say “no,” so I gave Pastor a call. I surmised, and verified, that all Pastor meant was that Jim used Blogging as an Internet Marketing Tool for his business more than anyone else. The fact that “Bloghead” sounds suspiciously like “Blockhead” had made Jim feel like he was being ridiculed, which, of course, was not the case. Finishing up with the call, I explained it to Jim.

            A visual sigh of relief crept across Jim’s face, making it as placid as a crystal clear lake. As I watched, however, the metamorphosis continued, and the placidity was replaced with a look of total confusion. I waited, as I knew another question/ request would be forthcoming.

            “Floyder, is there such a thing as a Church Blog?” indicating by the question that he was accepting Pastor’s offer to head the committee.

            “Certainly, Jim,” I assured him.

            “Well, what does a church Blog about?”

            “Oh,” I explained easily, “there are several ways a church can use a Blog as an outreach tool. They might want to simply employ Christian Blogging to post content that is relevant to members of their congregation. Or they might want to develop their blog into an outreach tool, so that in that case it actually becomes a Ministry Blog.”

            “How would that work?”

            “Well, it could actually take several forms. For example, they might use the Blog as a discussion forum to facilitate small groups discussions on the pastor's weekend sermons.

            “They might also use the blog to feature and highlight the special ministries a church offers their community, such as children's activities, helping the homeless or their outreach to military families.”

            "Or they could use the blog as a vehicle for outreach, discussing subjects that matter the public at large, with a biblical point of view.

            Jim cogitated on what I had said for a while, and then asked,

            “Floyder, should I seek Pathmaker’s help?

            Jim was referring to Pathmaker Marketing, which promotes a Premier Blogging Service for churches (LEARN MORE >>). Jim and I have discussed numerous aspects of Internet Marketing, and, on several occasions, he retained Randall to help him with suggestions.

            “Well, it wouldn’t hurt.”

            Jim smiled and went to a world of his own where he was contemplating his course of action. Me, I was just glad he no longer looked pathetic!



THAT’S MORE WORDS THAN IN A SMALL DICTIONARY!

            Jim was dumbfounded to the point of being speechless. He just sat there looking at me, trying to determine if I was telling him the truth or not. We were sharing a cola and some small talk, when he asked if I knew anything about Keyword Searches. He knew I did, but used the question to get us on the topic. Jim often sought my advice because of my relationship with Randall Mains, owner/director of PATHMAKER MARKETING. One of the services that PATHMAKER offers as part of their Small Business Marketing Strategies is Keyword Marketing. He offers it as an Online Marketing Tool, and helps clients accomplish that which they seek by using Pathmaker as their Search Engine Optimization Agency. SEO is, of course, a sound Internet Marketing Idea, and one that Jim, apparently, was hoping to incorporate in the Marketing Plan for his independent Sporting Goods Store.
 

            Anyway, we had jawed about it for a while when he asked me how many keywords might be associated with his business, and nearly dropped his teeth when I told him it could be upwards of a 100,000 or more. That’s where we were now - - him trying to fathom what I had just told him.
 

            “Floyder,” he finally began slowly, “you can’t possibly be serious, “ he was finally able to manage.


            “Actually, Jim, I am. If you do this the right way you have to be totally comprehensive.    Let me share a specific example with you, and then we will apply the principle to your business. PATHMAKER recently had a client in Canada that runs a large car dealership. The process started with over 50,000 keywords. From there we narrowed it down to 1500 - - and then to 300 words. This allowed them to shoot to the top of the list when people did an Internet search.”
 

            “You mean,” Jim began, again slowly, “that I should have more than just my name and the store’s name as keywords.”
 

            And therein lies the problem, I thought. So many people are unaware of the fact that Search Engine Optimization is a science, and not just a crapshoot.
 

            “You really think you could come up with that many words?” Jim asked, the gleam that was starting to form in his eye making the question almost a challenge.
 

            “Jim,” how many types of fishing lures do you either have, or have access to - - this is to include every color of every type and any other variations on the theme.”
 

            “Good Lord, Floyder, there’s thousands and thousands of them - - you know that!”
 

            It began right at his hairline, and slowly worked its way down his entire countenance - - realization was starting to settle in on Jim! I knew I had better intervene before he became so over-whelmed by this concept that he suffered from apoplexy!
 

            “It’s okay, Jim, you don’t have to actually include all of those in your list. What I would suggest is that you feature a few of the better ones for each type of fish - - trout, bass, and so on. And that brings up another point,” I added, hoping this new concept wouldn’t create a brain overload. “You may want to revamp your Keyword List for each Sporting Season as it occurs. I would do this,” I quickly added, keeping him as calm as I could, “by starting with the next upcoming season and then concentrating on each season as it comes along. That way, you won’t incur the cost for the total program all at one time.”
 

            “How do I know what words to consider,” Jim asked, handling all of this better than I thought. 
 

            “Well, you hire Pathmaker and we do the research and legwork. You will have constant input, of course, but we would take care of the list building.”
 

            For the first time in quite a while Jim’s face looked almost placid. Then, as I watched quietly, that gleam started to creep back in his eye.
 

            “Let’s try,” he exclaimed excitedly.
 

            “Try what?” I asked warily.
 

            “Listing 100,000 words. Come on, Floyder, we can do it!”
 

            I knew I was in for a long night - - either making the list or talking Jim out of trying!

 


IT ISN’T CAUSED BY POISON IVY!!

 

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

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

            “Wood or plastic what?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            “No,” I assured him.

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

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

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

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

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

            “Sure, we can help.”

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

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

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

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

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

            “Floyder, what’s your biggest itch?”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      I 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.


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

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

            “Why, the watches!”

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

            “Watches? What Watches?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


            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.
 


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

 

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

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

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

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

            Nodding my affirmation, I listened as he continued. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 



The New Living Translation Study Bible Sweepstakes

 

            If you aren’t already participating in The New Living Translation Study Bible Sweepstakes you need to correct that situation immediately! Designed by Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing, the Sweepstakes is an excellent example of one of their Small Business Marketing Strategies for utilizing Online Marketing Tools. Benefiting both the participants and the sponsor, the Sweepstakes was designed to help allow the sponsor to achieve certain milestones, and reward the participants as those milestones are met.

            The Sweepstakes started on March 16, 2010 with multiple milestones in place:

                        First Milestone: 1,700 Fans on the NLT Fan Page

                                    The prize for this level was a 32G iPod Touch and a Life Application   
                        Study Bible, with a retail value of $300.00. The rapidity with which this  
                        milestone was reached is nearly unbelievable, as within twenty-four hours, 
                        on March 17th, the 1,700 Fans goal was reached.

                        Second Milestone: 3,500 Fans on the NLT Fan Page

                                    A Kindle DX and a Life Application Study Bible was the prize when 
                        this level was attained, and it didn’t take long to realize the goal! On March 
                        27th, a mere ten days later, this prize, worth $489.00, was awarded.

                        Third Milestone: 5,500 Fans on the NLT Fan Page

                                    It only took a week to add the additional 2000 Fans needed to    
                        reach the Third Milestone. The prize awarded on April 3rd was an Apple iPad 
                        16G and a Life Application Study Bible, valued at $499.00.

                        Fourth Milestone: 9,000 Fans on the NLT Fan Page

                                    To date, the prize for reaching this level, an Apple iPad 32G and a 
                        Life Application Study Bible worth $599.00, has not been awarded, as the 
                        needed number of Fans has still not been reached. 
As well as the four gifts/prizes listed, there is also a Grand Prize - - an Apple iPad 64G and a Life Application Study Bible, which has a value of $829.00.

            The fact that neither of the last two prizes has been awarded is why you need to, with great dispatch!, enter the Sweepstakes and the Contest associated with. Just click through on the following address and follow directions: http://www.facebook.com/NewLivingTranslation. You will also want to enter their Contest and Daily Bible Giveaway by visiting the following site and, again, follow directions: http://biblecontest.newlivingtranslation.com/contestrulesandconditionss2.php. The Grand Prize for the Contest is a trip for two to the Crystal Clear waters of Oahu’s North Shore!   Good luck in both, and enjoy the New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible.

           

 

 

 

 

 


            It’s a good thing that my friend Jim is my friend, or we would probably come to fisticuffs every time we talk about the Internet. I have been working with Randall Mains and Pathmaker Marketing for some time now, and as a result Jim seems to have taken it upon himself to stay abreast of my new industry. Since we discussed his endeavors with his Blog on fishing, he has begun to use it as an Online Marketing Tool, and he has actually had some success with it. He has another friend, apparently, who is also sharing Small Business Marketing Strategies with him, and either Jim isn’t listening closely enough to what is being said, or the other person doesn’t really understand what they are talking about, as Jim frequently comes to me with his facts slightly askew. Let me give you another example.

            Jim called me on the phone the other night and asked if we could get together and talk about this great Internet Marketing idea he had regarding the Search Engine Optimization Services that Pathmaker offers. The excitement was so evident in his voice that I agreed to meet with him the very next morning. I had no more than sat down and ordered a glass of OJ than he fairly flew into the restaurant and proclaimed,

“I am going to get 4200 leads this time, Floyder!”

            Everyone in the place was enjoying his enthusiasm, so rather than trying to thwart it I steered him over to a booth that was at least somewhat isolated so we wouldn’t interrupt too many people, and listened to what he had to say. He repeated, even more excitedly than the night before, that he was going to be getting 4200 leads with his next venture excursion into Online Marketing. When I asked him how he knew he would be getting 4200 he simply said, “Well, that’s how many were in a Roman Legion.”

            It stopped me, I’ll have to admit. Even knowing Jim the way I do, I couldn’t quite bridge the gap between Small Business Marketing on the Internet and the Roman Army. Sensing my perplexity, Jim quickly said,

“Floyder, I’m setting up a Legion program, and since there were 4200 soldiers in a legion I figured I will get 4200 leads.” 
            I couldn’t help it - - I was still baffled. Heaving a big sigh, I confessed my ignorance of his latest endeavor and asked him what a “Legion Program’ is.  Now it was his turn to heave a big sigh. He shared with me that this is where you proceed by Targeting Keywords to send people to your Landing Page, and then those people can contact you about your product. See, he finished up, it’s a legion program.  I shook my head slowly back and forth, as it dawned on me that he was referring to a “lead gen,” or lead generating, program. Now, this is an excellent way to use Internet Marketing, and many of Pathmaker Marketing’s clients use such a program to glean leads as often as they try to actually make a sale. Nodding that I now understand what he meant, I corrected Jim’s conception of what he was embarking on.

            He wasn’t devastated, but he did become a little glum. It was apparent that he had his heart set on those 4200 leads, and the fact that it wasn’t as guaranteed as he thought it was took a lot of the air out of his sails! H perked up, though, when I assured him that it was possible he would still get the 4200 leads, and maybe even more. Almost back to his earlier jovial self, Jim headed to his shop and I decided to tell you all about his “Legion Program!”

 

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