Pathmaker Exists to Help Your Company Grow Online

Randall MainsIt’s my distinct pleasure to have the opportunity to serve multiple clients as their internet marketing expert, non profit consultant or ephilanthropy guru.  My hope is that the content you find in this blog will give you the online marketing tools you need to succeed. If we can help you further don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling us in Phoenix, Arizona at 623-322-3334. We are always willing to provide internet marketing ideas, and hopefully we can win your trust to hire us as your marketing or efundraising professionals.  Our email fundraising expertise, premier blogging services, keyword marketing strategies, search engine optimization services, and creative church outreach ideas place us uniquely in the forefront of what the internet can do to help your ministry grow online.  Whether you need help in church marketing 101 or advanced internet business marketing promotion online, we’re here to assist you.  We use the very same small business marketing strategies we recommend to our clients.  Plus, we just surpassed $1 million dollars raised for our 501c3 accounts via email fundraising. You can also see our high end website development and translation capacities by visiting the Corrie ten Boom Museum online, which is now being distributed in high tech 3-D technology in 20 different languages. For more details on me or Pathmaker Marketing, visit my Google Profile or Company Places page.

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Floyder, Even People YOUR Age Are Using Social Media

 Jim’s comment raised a few eyebrows, and even got a few guffaws from the crowd. Good friends, Jim and I have an easy relationship, with each respecting the other. 

That’s why I was surprised that he had alluded to the double decade difference in our age with his opening comment. Sporting a wry grin, I ordered us each a cola and then we made our way to a booth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Define Your Online Objectives

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 toolchurch 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.

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Floyder – – Google Says I’m a Nudist!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes,” I assured him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Floyder, what am I going to do?”

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

“Can Pathmaker do that?” Jim asked.

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

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

“What’s that?”

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

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

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

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The Great “SWEEP STEAKS” Contest

“Floyder, I am ready!!!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Do You Mean They Weren’t Looking For Me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about Keyword Marketing visit, go here

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Strategic Web Communication Principle #3 of 5

Link relevant content to search-centric promotion.

The reality of communicating with people online, and particularly via email fundraising, is that you have to constantly collect new email addresses. The typical growth rate in 2008 for any ministry list was 25% per year, which was comprised of 5% new names, less 3% name loss to unsubscriptions and bounces (mostly bounces). Said differently, if you’re not prospecting for new names constantly you can expect to see a 3% per month attrition in your email lists. Since people will move on for one reason or another, you need to replace them with new friends.

How to do this? Populate your website with relevant content that’s consistent with search-centric promotions that you conduct online. Relevance is key. If someone is searching the Internet for a church in Dallas, and you are one, that’s relevant. But if you’re a homeless shelter in New York or Dallas, that is NOT relevant. You need to start by targeting keywords: determine the Internet search streams that are relevant to what you offer, and then optimize your site to those searches via your site content and code. That way, your website is more likely to pop up in a Google search and get you qualified traffic from people who are looking for what you have to offer. That also means you must regularly update your website to relate to changes in relevant search terms.  You might call this keyword marketing.

Practical Tip: Search engine optimize your site.
So let’s talk about optimizing your website so that you can be easily found when someone looks up terms relevant to you on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines.

If someone searches a topic such as “how to help a troubled teen,” your site can get listed in the results. But unless it’s in the top 10 results, or on the first page, it probably won’t get many visitors from those search results. There’s a whole science to getting your site listed at the top, which again is too detailed to go into here, but the basic process—known as keyword marketing via search engine optimization—is something you should know. It involves finding the search terms related to your ministry, including those search terms in relevant content on your site, optimizing your site copy and code for the search engines, and finally submitting your site to the search engines. In most cases, this core process will result in you getting ranked higher in the results, thereby driving more qualified search traffic to your website.

Here are some examples of what organic search term results look like:

Google: How to Help a Troubled Teen


Yahoo: How to Help a Troubled Teen


Bing: How to help a Troubled Teen


Google and Wordtracker offer free keyword online marketing tools for finding common search terms:


You can input your own keywords to see how many people are searching those terms. Don’t get tempted to expand your terms if you see people searching on a topic that doesn’t relate to your primary goal – instead, stick to what you know, and your outreach ideas will be the most effective. You won’t be sorry if you put your effort into thinking up and searching for the search terms people are looking for that relate most directly to your ministry.

What do you have within your organization relevant to what people are searching for that you can develop and put online? This is a new level of site content depth – deepening the relevance of what you’re saying overall. You may have a particular niche – maybe issues related to teens, or matters of the heart for women, or guy stuff. By deepening your content in these areas, you establish a deeper focus that is really relevant in a particular area, and then you develop it and make it search-centric.

For example, you might learn that a lot of people are searching for “war in Iraq.” If your ministry doesn’t have anything relevant on this subject, you wouldn’t want to develop it just because someone’s searching for it. On the other hand, when The Presidential Prayer Team learned that many people were searching for “soldier’s prayer” because of the war, PPT developed a printed version of a soldier’s prayer, entered into a pay-per-click advertising agreement with Yahoo and Google, and then, when people clicked to the site to get the soldier’s prayer, asked them to adopt a soldier to pray for. Visitors also could sign up for the Adopt Our Troops e-newsletter. The strategy did a great job of building their Adopt Our Troops email list.

If people find your site through a search, they will quickly leave if they don’t think the content applies to their needs. To have a better chance of helping them see your site’s relevance, avoid the common mistake of talking too much about your needs, such as ushers and gifts. Visitors want information that addresses their search needs, and that’s what you should give them.

Once you’ve learned how to get listed in the search results, your qualified site traffic will take off, giving you plenty of new friends to build relationships with. So, optimize your pages so people can find you through search engines, and then make sure your pages are relevant to those search terms. If you need assistance, Pathmaker Marketing provides search engine optimization services that will help your website rise in the search rankings.

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Keyword Marketing Using a Five-part Strategy

I want to share with you a specific strategy that we are using to help our Pathmaker clients in the area of Keyword Marketing. This is a five-part plan for effective internet marketing and prospecting by targeting keywords used in Google searches.

The goal of the plan is to isolate priority keywords that relate to the ministry niches of non profit organizations. This approach can also be used in any commercial business.

Step One is targeting keywords that will give you qualified website traffic that you can convert into marketing assets…namely lists, leads, gifts or sales.  I’ll talk more about Keyword Research in future posts.

Step Two is identifying strategies you can use to gain dominant real estate positions on your priority keywords.  Often this second step is begun by targeting searches around your company name, executive’s name, or ministry brands. These are your priority keywords and you should be looking to establish complete domination of the real estate around these keywords.

I usually break down the keyword results into the following categories:

  1. Your Websites
  2. Positive Reviews (but not your sites)
  3. Neutral Results
  4. Competitor Results
  5. Negative Results

If your ministry, top executive or ministry brands have any search results showing up in category #5, you need to go immediately into reputation management mode, whereby your top objective is to subordinate any negative or adverse search results onto page two, three or four, which most people never read.  These negative results are tarnishing your brand.  Why would someone consider making a gift to your ministry (or buy from your business) after reading a compelling piece of adverse publicity about you in the top 10 listings?

If you don’t have any #5 results about your company, (celebrate over lunch first) then you can proceed into targeting keywords using the five-part strategy below. Your goal is to move competitor listings, and potentially even neutral listings, off of page one top 10 results by replacing them with search results that you control.

The chart below shows how to do keyword marketing using five core methods:

  1. Search Engine Optimization of your website;
  2. Pay-per-click advertising via Google, Yahoo or MSN;
  3. Link building in multiple ways like local listings, volume, deep, and authority links;
  4. Targeting Keywords using our premier blogging service (Not just any blog will do, but our keyword targeting, com-pended blog services will);
  5. Entering the Social Media world strategically and effectively.

An illustration of this approach is vividly demonstrated in the image below.

Keyword Marketing Five-Part Strategy

More insights into how to accomplish this will come in future posts.

In the meantime, if you’d like to talk with Pathmaker about how our Keyword Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Services shown above can help your 501c3, simply call us today for a free consultation (623-322-3334).

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