Factors to Consider in Your Christian Marketing Efforts

Why Use an Outside Marketing Firm for your Christian Marketing?–Part Two
As a small business owner or ministry leader, you may have considered how best to handle your Christian marketing efforts.  Should you hire a person in house?  Contract with an agency?  Or try to find time to spearhead your Christian marketing efforts on your own?

As you consider how best to address your Christian marketing concerns, you can ask yourself if you have the ability to create strategy, collaborating with a variety of players in your plan?  Are you able to move swiftly with your marketing efforts, sometimes setting aside all the other issues of your business in order to develop strategy and pull it off?

If you answered “No” to any of those questions, you may want to check out a Christian Marketing team like Pathmaker Marketing LLC to help you reach the valued customers and donors you seek to attract.

Collaboration—In House and Out
Collaboration and innovative partnership are among the freshest buzzwords in the business world today.  Our team of seasoned veterans brings a strong background of collaboration and willingness to partner in any way that will benefit our client.  We’ll listen to your concerns, research the issues that are impacting your online presence and we’ll work with you to devise strategies that are fresh and effective.

Speed of Delivery—We Can Get It Done

We understand the difficulty in trying to launch a project or campaign using your own in-house creative and I.T. teams—if you have them!  They can be overloaded with the daily concerns of the company and getting in the queue to be serviced by them could mean a wait of several months to a year or more.  Or, if you are a start-up or a new ministry, you are probably scrambling just to design stationery and build a website.

Pathmaker Marketing has an internal team that is poised and ready to move quickly to provide you with research, web presence, email marketing, social networking, back links, Search Engine Optimization and much more.  Your needs are our team’s highest concern, so we are able to produce exactly what you need when you need it.  We’ll do our best not to make you wait!

Cost Effectiveness—Our Specialty Brings Relief!
Companies that seek to do their own Christian marketing in highly specialized areas like social networking risk losing valuable productivity as employees struggle to understand all the ins and outs of the new world of social media.

Pathmaker Marketing has social networking specialists on the team.  We employ them at reasonable rates and keep them focused in this key area.  Using our specialists will relieve your staff and save you time and money.

The New Marketing—Our Specialty
The Internet has changed virtually every aspect of Christian marketing.  Compended blogging, social media, back linking, search engine optimization and text messaging have all been used to market successfully.  When we found that Christian publishing giant Tyndale House Publishers did not have a significant footprint on the Internet, Pathmaker Marketing used state-of-the-art online tools to find a solution to the problem, creating a compended blog and filling it with content that will help strengthen Tyndale products’ search engine rankings.  Our approach is holistic and comprehensive and we view the concerns with an outsider’s objectivity.

Our staff can “work” social networking accounts, inviting people to be followers, friends, etc., and following up.  We also invite them to your online events and auto-flow your blog content to your social networking accounts, further broadening the reach of your social networking efforts.

We will research your online presence and give you the good news and the bad regarding your search engine rankings.  We are experts in being able to help you build your Internet assets. Our compended blogs will help drive up your rankings with Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.

Pathmaker Marketing LLC is grateful for the opportunity to help so many ministries and small businesses with their Christian Marketing, applying our expertise to the needs of our clients.  If you are uncertain about your ability to tackle Christian Marketing on your own, give us a call at 623-322-3334 or visit our website to learn more.  You can sign up for our free Christian Marketing eNewsletter HERE.

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Why Use An Outside Marketing Firm for Your Christian Marketing

Christian Marketing Help–Can You Hit the Target on Your Own?
Part One–Breadth of Experience

Whether you run a small business or lead a Christian ministry, you may wonder if there is value in using an outside firm for your Christian Marketing.   This is not only a personal decision—it’s an important one-–for no matter what the nature of your work is, you have a responsibility to let others know about it so they can take advantage of your services or goods. Your business or ministry can provide tremendous help to your potential customers–but what is the best way to let people know about you?

As you lead your organization the demands on your time and energy may cause you to feel that Christian marketing is not be among your highest priorities.  You may wonder if you will lose control over the image or appearance of your business or organization if you utilize an outside agency. But you must ask yourself if you are able to hit your marketing target on your own.  If not, you may want to consider Christian marketing as a way to get help for your organization.

Breadth—Diverse Clients, Multiple Industries in Christian Marketing 
When you choose to employ an agency to help you with your Christian marketing, you benefit greatly from the breadth of the agency’s client list.  In serving a broad clientele from many industries, it’s likely that your agency has already faced and solved a number of key problems that will need to be tackled in any given campaign or strategy.   Your company can take advantage of the agency’s extensive experience in solving these problems.

The people at Pathmaker Marketing LLC are experts in their fields.  We’ve worked with a wide range of small business, ministries and Internet-based efforts.  The diversity of our client list has pushed us squarely into the areas of Social Networking and Search Engine Optimization.  We’ve learned how to effectively use several essential tools to help our clients achieve optimal results from our efforts on their behalf.  Simply put, we can help you hit the bullseye with targeted marketing and messaging that will bring potential clients or donors to your door. If you aren’t absolutely convinced that your Christian marketing efforts will be as successful, we encourage you to consider using an outside agency like Pathmaker Marketing.

Marketing is an intensely diverse field.  As a small business owner or ministry leader, you undoubtedly have exceptional skills in many fields–one of which may or may not be the field of marketing.  Choosing to use professionals for your Christian marketing efforts may be the the best choice you make–and the one that helps you hit your target dead center.

Can You Hit the Target on Your Own?
Coming in Part Two:  Collaboration and Speed

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Social Networking Among Best Internet Marketing Ideas

In his groundbreaking book, Socialnomics, author Eric Qualman offers great advice for those seeking Internet marketing ideas.  He provides insightful analysis of the current state of social media, suggesting that there’s a revolution taking place in our world—a revolution that anyone seeking new and fresh Internet Marketing ideas should heed.

Qualman contends that social media are not a fad, but rather a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.  People are now driving much of the economy via user-contributed content they post on social media sites ranging from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Wikipedia.  Social media provide companies and ministries with a unique opportunity to “hear” their customers and constituents that has heretofore been unavailable, short of the expenditure of great amounts of money.

Consider these key points that drive home the value of social media as one of the essential Internet marketing ideas in today’s climate and economy:

  • As newspapers and magazines become more costly and less efficient, social media provide low-cost ways to reach more people.
  • Social media reduce expensive advertising campaigns and middle-men.
  • People no longer need to seek the news; the news finds them, via mobile devices and email.
  • People no longer seek information on products—product information finds them, via social media.
  • Information can “go viral” on social media at an exponential rate, making it more effective and quicker than email.
  • Companies and ministries can gain a stronger “touch” on those they seek to reach via social media, and the best will take advantage of this trend to listen and respond wisely.
  • 34% of bloggers post information on products and brands.
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations.

It’s easy to see, from these crucial points, that social media can be used for all kinds of creative and cost-effective approaches and Internet Marketing Ideas.  The professionals at Pathmaker Marketing would love to help you creatively develop a plan to effectively harness the value of the social networking revolution to advance your business or ministry.

Through our search engine marketing strategy we can help raise your search engine rankings.  Our targeted website analysis will enable you to strengthen your branding and our know-how of social networking will help you reach many more potential clients with your distinct message.  Visit us on the web today for your free website analysis and take advantage of Social Networking—among the best Internet marketing ideas out there today.

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Good Fundraising Professionals Connect Donor to Recipient

Fundraising professionals, no matter what their cause or kind, understand that they must, at some point in the fundraising stream, connect donors to the end-recipient of their giving.  Stories, testimonies and images all can work together to bring that powerful sense of gratification to donors who want their dollars to truly make a difference in the world. 

Whether you are raising funds for your local church, a street ministry or the building of hospitals overseas, those who give to you want to see how their gifts are helping.  If, as a fundraising professional, you’ve lost sight of this meaningful principle, here are some ideas to help get you back on track with the important discipline of “telling the stories.”  

1.  Use the Internet.  It’s relatively inexpensive, and you pay the same, no matter how many individuals read the testimonies you share.  Bring the faces and stories of those who are impacted right onto the pages of your website.  Make sure your storytelling is rich with images and effective words, using first person accounts whenever possible.  Let the fundraising professionals at Pathmaker Marketing help you build a website (or re-design your current one) to motivate and encourage your donors.  

2.  Provide interactive opportunities that will tell the story for you.  Are you giving your supporters interactive ways to be involved with the ministry other than giving?  Prayer is an energizing way to draw constituents in and create community.  And, it will truly strengthen your efforts!  Let us help you create a prayer area on your website using our interactive prayer walls, prayer requests function and more.  Just seeing the many heartfelt prayers that build up on the prayer wall will serve as a form of testimony that will go a long way for you, as a professional fundraiser, to encourage your stakeholders.  

We can also help you create an area on your website where both the friends of your ministry as well as those you serve can post their stories and testimonies, much like this one of Gregory Dickow Ministries and this one from Jewish Voice.  These accounts will help strengthen the link between donor and recipient as readers see the impact of their giving.

Check back for my next blog post to read two more great ways you can strengthen your efforts as a professional fundraiser by telling the powerful stories of your ministry or group. 

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Choosing the Right Words Crucial to Good Email Fundraising

The professionals at Pathmaker Marketing live to assist our clients with their email fundraising.   We understand the delicate relationship between ministries and their donors, and we’ve learned the importance of selecting just the right words in every part of an email fundraising strategy.  We recommend that your words align not only with the brand identity of your organization, they must also communicate clearly to your constituents that you understand them.  Words and messaging can go a long way to show donors that you and they are on the same page.

In his newest book, Axiom, Bill Hybels’ opening parry focuses on the importance of words.  He describes the angst he experiences as he seeks just the right word, phrase or tagline for a point in a sermon, conversation or campaign.  He goes into great detail to explain that when it comes to words, you have to get it right!

The truth is, leaders rise and fall by the language they use.  Sometimes whole visions live or die on the basis of the words the leader chooses for articulating that vision.
–Bill Hybels, Founding Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church in Axiom:  Powerful Leadership Proverbs

Good email fundraising will show understanding and sensitivity to the values, priorities and lifestyle of donors–and you demonstrate this by the choice of words you use.  If you fail in this, you let down the very people whose support you are seeking to engender.  Answering the following questions will help you choose well in your messages to donors.

Reflect Your Donors’ Values in Your Email Fundraising:  What are the key values of your constituents?  Do you know which things they hold dearest?  And why they are drawn to your organization?  Is there a values niche that you serve that is unique?  Do your messages communicate these values clearly?  Most Christian ministries work hard to show they are morally clean and untainted.  What other dearly-held values do your constituents have?  Patriotism? Social activism?  When it comes to your email fundraising, don’t waste words on things that are not valued by your donors.

Reflect Your Donors’ Priorities in Your Email Fundraising:  What are the highest priorities of your constituents?  Are they family-oriented?  Prayer warriors?  Ardent for missions?  Whatever their priorities, your words must communicate that you understand the priorities that guide their lives.

Show You Understand Your Donors’ Lifestyles in Your Email Fundraising:  Do your donors tend to have active lifestyles?  Are they Internet savvy?  Tuned in to contemporary Christian music?  Are they pinching every penny, or do they have a little financial breathing room?  As you consider ways to use email for your fundraising efforts, you can reflect the lifestyle choices of your backers as you communicate with them, choosing words wisely.

The extra effort you put into choosing just the right words for every part of your email fundraising strategy will go a long way to show them that you understand them and their concerns.  This connection will strengthen their willingness to give.

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Understanding Why Donors Give

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

Nine years ago, I stumbled in to the arena of Christian marketing and fundraising for nonprofits when I took a job with a Christian marketing and fundraising agency.  Active in ministry my entire adult life, I was looking to supplement our income as my firstborn launched to private Christian college.  This new job presented me with a steep learning curve, new vocabulary and challenging tasks.  I quickly found, however, that the things we were doing for our clients as a fundraising company were not that different from what I’d been doing for years throughout church and para-church involvement.

I began my career as a professional fundraiser decades ago when I joined the staff of Youth for Christ and was immediately responsible for raising 100% of my salary, expenses and benefits.  The need for a regular paycheck will make a willing professional fundraiser out of the most reluctant letter writer!

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

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

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

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

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