Moving your Facebook Page to 100,000 Fans

Moving your Facebook Page to 100,00 FansThere are a multitude of activities where it can be said, “it’s a numbers game.”  This is probably no truer that in the realm of Social Media, and, of course, one of the major aspects of that realm is Facebook.  While “Fans” and “Friends” are important when you are socializing, they are downright vital when you are using your Facebook for business.  As a result, it is important that if Facebook is to be a major part of your Internet Marketing that you know the ways to build your number of Fans to 100,000 plus!

In essence, there are three ways that this can be accomplished.  The one you opt to use, of course, depends on a number of things, including but not necessarily limited to your budget and your time frame.  With these thoughts in minds, there are basically three avenues of approach that you can pursue.

PURSUE “LINEAR GROWTH”

This is accomplished when you use your Facebook Page to disseminate helpful content to your Facebook Fans.  To do this, it is helpful to have a true, heartfelt desire to share information that others can use.  When this happens, your Fans, in turn, will have a desire to Like, Share and/or Comment on your posting. Once this transpires, you will become part of the “News Feed.”  The next obvious step is the fact that the Friends of your Fans will then Like, Share, and/or Comment on your content.  And THAT is the key to this approach!

What you should have, nay, what you must have is Interaction with your content!  If you do not have Interaction, the content is basically “isolated” and, for all intent and purposes, is doing you little or no good.  On the other hand, if there is enough Interaction your Facebook Post could actually go Virile, and that, of course, would be a very good thing!!!!

Linear Growth is considered “organic,” as it is a “natural” growth.  As a result, you shouldn’t be surprised if it takes twelve to eighteen months for you to reach the kind of numbers you are looking for.

BOOST CONTENT WITH ADVERTISING

In this case, your “Advertising” is supplemental to posting good content.  The Advertising you do should, of course, be in Facebook.  The Advertising can be directly  related to the content, but does not have to be.  In this realm you have two choices:  You can Advertise for your Facebook Page, or you can even make it “Post Specific.”

As can be imagined, Advertising will excel the growth of your Facebook Page. Fortunately, this can be accomplished relatively inexpensively, utilizing as little as a twenty-dollar budget.  Known as “Ad Boost,” this will, typically, get you more “Page Likes..”  As usual, you have an option or two here at your disposal.  You can either Ad Boost to the Friends of your Fans, OR you can choose a specific demographic and concentrate on that with your Ad Boosts.  As one would suspect, Ad Boosts will create a situation where your “Growth Curve” will be greater than if you are only building your Page in a Linear manner.

CONTESTS AND GIVEAWAYS

The inclusion of Contests and Giveaways in your Internet Marketing Program gives you the potential of having the growth that takes place be on an exponential level.  The intent of the Contest/Giveaway Program is to accomplish three things:

  • “Rev Up” your Fans.
  • “Hook Up” with Fans your Brand may have but are not yet on Facebook.
  • “Connect” with potential new Fans.

Ideally, of course, when you proceed with your Contest/Giveaway you will do all three!

An issue, or concern at least, deals with the question as to whether or not your Contest/Giveaway should deal directly with the product/service you offer.  While they don’t have to, it stands to reason that they probably should.  Let’s look at an example and then explore why a direct correlation is probably beneficial.

A while back we had a client who was introducing a new Bible into the marketplace.  They decided to run a Contest, and the Grand Prize was a trip to The Holy Land.  As you can see, people who would be most apt to be interested in a trip to The Holy Land would also be pretty apt to be interested in Bibles so the contestants that participated in their Contest were virtually qualified leads.

Now let’s look at a scenario where the Grand Prize is so grandiose that you will get lots of contestants, but that may or may not be interested in your product/service.  Let’s say you are offering a Grand Prize of $10,000,000.00.  You can rest assured that you are going to get a lot of traction for your Contest.  But, it is pretty safe to assume that the vast majority of the people who enter your Contest are only interested in your Grand Prize.  On the other hand, let’s suppose you operate a Sporting Goods Store and the Grand Prize you are offering is a new 16’ Bass Boat.  Now, the people who participate in your Contest are, at the very least, interested in fishing and probably interested in hunting as well.  Now, you have people who are as much interested in your product as they are in your Grand Prize!

As you can see, whichever way you choose to build your numbers the ensuing growth is never happenstance, but rather the result of a well thought out, coordinated plan.  If you are not sure which way you want to go, or feel that you need help in implementing any or all of these programs, feel free to contact me, Randall Mains, at 1-800-224-2735 Ext. 1 or randall@pathmakermarketing.net.  I am sure that regardless of the route you choose to use, if you are committed and stay dedicated to it you will achieve the goal you have set for yourself!

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Peeking Inside a Successful Kickstarter Campaign

Kickstarter - TalesWhile Zack Brown’s “potato salad” campaign got a lot of press and brought him enormous Kickstarter results (His initial goal was $10 and he raised over $55K, garnering 6900+ backers from around the world!),  his experience was more of an anomaly than the norm!

Rather than talking about crowd funding campaigns that are just a stroke of good luck, I would like to discuss the success of a campaign we recently conducted for one client in regard to their children’s books, The TALES OF THE KINGDOM Trilogy.  In an attempt to document our lessons learned to strengthen potential future campaigns, and to benefit others who might undertake a future Kickstarter Campaign of their own, we took a long, hard look at our successful efforts and are sharing our findings with you here.

LENGTH | Our Kickstarter Campaign  began on June 27, 2014 and ended on August 4, 2014, running a total of thirty eight (38) days.  We labored over the campaign length numerous times but eventually selected this number of days as a compromise between prevailing Kickstarter recommendations [ 1  2  3 ] that say shorter campaigns do better (under 30 days) and pundits and experts saying go longer if it’s your first rodeo [ 1 2 3 ]. In retrospect, I wish we had extended it even further out from a pledging perspective, because I think our pledges were probably curtailed by the 38 day length. Here is the chart showing how our funding process went. As you can see, we still had significant momentum running right up through the last day.

Kickstarter Graph

Another successful Children’s Book project, launched after ours ended, set a 60 day funding goal and has done exceptionally well, ending up 3rd all time in the Children’s Book category.

One major lesson learned after this campaign was how important a good pre-campaign marketing and promotional launch is. If we had done one, we would have come out of the blocks much faster and probably ended up higher overall.  We had a very slow start because we under-engineered the pre-promotion and didn’t gain real tracking until about 19 days in when direct mailings started landing and pulling in substantial backers.

FUNDING GOAL | Our Campaign Goal was $22,500 and, when the smoke cleared away, we ended up raising $38,316 from a total of 144 backers.  This equates to 170% funding, and was accomplished with an average “pledge” of $266.00.  Our campaign ended up #14 Most Funded all time of over 3,000 Children’s Book projects on Kickstarter. It has since moved to #15 and may trend lower, as other successful Children’s Book projects roll out, but we were thrilled with those results when they happened!

But it was agony trying to decide on the correct funding objective, and we wavered back and forth from lows of $14,400 to highs of $73,000. Our challenge was made more difficult in that we were asking for funding for a TRILOGY (3 books) rather than just one book, which made all the publishing costs higher. In the end, we decided to be more cautious, and migrated to a lower number overall of $22,500.  By day 19 of the project it seemed like we might have overreached on the goal, and I recall a few pros in various Facebook Kickstarter forums telling me my campaign was sunk. But most of our heavy marketing plans had just started landing and we really started getting momentum at the midway point.

I think I would still lean lower for first timers, feeling like it’s better to get a successful campaign under your belt, with all the learning lessons that come along with that, than overreach and end up with nothing. But having said that, we went through 4 substantive BUDGET revisions, and even now that it’s over, I wish we had worked the budget numbers even further.

TIP: Spend a lot of time hammering out your budget. It’s important NOT to be losing money every time you get a new backer. Besides, how ever much time you think it will take to run a successful campaign, in the end it will take MORE than you anticipate. Our campaign was over 300 man hours, and I’m sure we under counted. And there will likely be other charges you incur you hadn’t planned for — hopefully smaller oversights, not bigger ones!

   Tracking the results provides us with some most worthwhile information.  For example, on July 15th, nineteen days into and half way through, the Campaign, we only had 30% of our Campaign Goal. According to the experts, our chances for success at this point were minimal to say the least.  In most instances, the successful campaigns are those who hit deck running hard, and most of their support comes in early.

   The reason for our slow start?  We had virtually no pre-promotion launch!  In retrospect, this definitely needs to be changed.  At the very least, you should plan on running a thirty-day (30) promotion in this realm.

   What we did do was utilize a full range of Marketing and Promotional Tools. During the course of our KickStarter Campaign we did three Direct Mailers – one letter and two postcards. We also “worked” the various e-mail lists at our disposal, sending out in access of 25,000 e-mails.  We drafted and submitted a Press Release regarding our endeavor, and employed Facebook Postings and ads.  Once these all started “landing,” about day twenty, things really started to pick up and backers started coming on board.

   We immediately realized that, for future success, we were going to need to calculate the benefit of each of these endeavors.  The four most beneficial avenues resulted in the following numbers:

          SOURCE                    # OF PLEDGES               % OF PLEDGES

          Direct Traffic                         38                                              32%

          Web-Site                                32                                               20 %

          Facebook                                25                                              15%

          KickStarter                             16                                              10%

One of the most important aspects of a KickStarter Campaign is your KickStarter Page.  We agree that a video is vitally important, and learned some most interesting things in regard to that, too.  For example, we had over a thousand “hits” where people played the video, but of those only forty percent (40%) watched the video all the way through (the video was 4:14 long).  This taught us two important facts:  Shorter videos might be more conducive to a successful KickStarter Campaign, and, if you feel you must do a lengthy video, be sure you get your key points “right up front” in the filming

As we alluded to earlier, we discovered that a lot of our stats reflect a near total antithesis of what you will typically read on KickStarter.  For example, they advise you to go for “small donations” stating that most backers will pledge $100 or less.  However, we found that forty-five (45) of our backers (thirty-one percent [31%]), pledged $157.00 or more.  In fact, we had five backers who “went in” for $2500 or more, and thirty-three percent (33%) of our money came from the largest reward level, though we did get backers at every level.  Due to our “unorthodox” KickStarter Campaign, one of the “KickStarter Gurus” proclaimed that, though we reached and even surpassed our goal, the Campaign was not a success.  And, even though we were seeking backers for a three-book package instead of the standard (one book) Campaign, we ended up fourteenth all time for KickStarter Children’s Books Campaigns!!!

As we did not end up number one, there are areas where we can, and will, improve in the future.  For example, we “over-engineered” our stretch goals.  The key is, to present a “realistic” KickStarter Campaign you should not “post” a stretch goal until you reach your original goal!  For us, that was on day twenty-eight (28), and that is when we announced our stretch goals.  Now, you will want to have a stretch goal in mind, but don’t post it prematurely.

Before preparing to close, we would be doing the reader an injustice if we didn’t stress one most salient point:  Be sure you accurately research and prepare your Budget!  If you don’t calculate what it is going to cost to purchase, and send! your backers the “gift” you promise them, a KickStarter Campaign can, theoretically, cost you money instead of raising it!

Referring to finances, it will probably help you to know the process for receiving your funds.  First, AMAZON will “run” all of the credit cards the day your KickStarter Campaignends.  However, there is a fourteen (14) day delay before you have access to the funds.  While we know the following will vary, we ended up paying KickStarter nearly $2000.00.  We were able to raise $6000.00 through KickStarter and, therefore, feel the $2k to be a worthwhile investment, even though we never received an “endorsement” or recognition of any kind from them, though we finished up 14th in our category on their “all time” list.

In preparing to close, we have several thoughts we would like to share concerning our success:

  • Be sure to have a “Strong Project” concept.
  • Offering backers a valuable reward is a good idea.
  • Make sure you have “assets” to work with:  Legitimate Facebook Fans; a good Direct Mail List and good e-mail lists.
  • Get your Marketing Plan in place and work it like crazy!  Trust me, there is a great deal of “Behind the Scenes” effort that you never see.
  • We found that “add ons” may have value, but they did not add much financial support to the Campaign.
  • You must have good graphics and a good video.
  • Be aware that your “Backer Curve,” like ours, might be totally non-conventional compared to most KickStarter Campaigns.

As a summary, we would just like to re-emphasize the following points:

  • Have a Good Project – Explain your story succinctly – “flesh it out” but don’t make it obese!
  • Be sure to have Good Graphics and a Good Video.
  • Feature Good Backer Rewards.
  • Develop a Good Budget.

If you’re a novice regarding KickStarter Campaigns, you need to keep in mind that there is a lot more work involved than you might think.  You really need to spend time planning and promoting your campaign.  Remember, “He who fails to plan plans to fail!”

(If you would like to pursue a KickStarter Campaign but feel you don’t have the time or ability to conduct one properly and would like to commission PATHMAKER MARKETING LLC to assist you in the project, please contact Randall Mains at 623-322-3334 or randall@pathmakermarketing.net.)

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E-Newsletters

E-NewsletterThere is a truth that is so obvious that it is often overlooked—E-Newsletters are, first and foremost, NEWS letters. Their main intent should be to be a Communication Tool first, a Branding Tool second, and an Income Generator last, and then only occasionally!  Far too often this fact is over-looked, and E-Newsletters have a mishmash of goals, none of which seem to get accomplished.  This is something that an email marketing specialist is aware of and keeps in mind when dealing with their clients.

Email marketing experts know that the very best E-Newsletters tend to cover a lot of topics; that “Content is King” so you need lots ofquality content and that the “delivery schedule” is vital – you need to sent it out the same day each time (third Monday of the month, for example). The E-Newsletter should include several main Articles, numerous “Tips & Tidbits” and often a Monthly Schedule/ Calendar. When drafted properly, with engaging text, not only will the E-Newsletter not be deleted before it is opened, it will actually be looked forward to by all those who receive it!  To demonstrate this, let’s use a Sporting Goods Store for our example.

The main articles may, or may not, be about your company per se.  Rather, they might be about important issues in your field.  For example, you might include an article about projected new hunting or fishing laws in the state, or even information on a particular species.  The more information you make available the better.

In regard to “Tips & Tidbits,” you might tell recipients which ponds and lakes are scheduled to be stocked, or what flies work especially well during a particular time of the month.  We would suggest that you keep your tipsgermane to the topics associated with area of expertise.  However, “The Five Best Restaurants to have Breakfast in before 6 am” might be a tip that sportsman would find most useful!

The Monthly Schedule/Calendar probably should include special events you are planning, such as one-day salesor “How to” classes.  Again, it can also reflect things that would be of interest to your recipients and germane toyour business, including some of the things you might be including in your “Tips & Tidbits.”

When drafting your E-Newsletter it should be remembered that this tool allows you to let people know who you are, and what you are passionate about! It should, obviously, revolve around your business and area of expertise. It is also a wonderful way to highlight some of your Key Personnel and to honor some of your Major Clients!

As newspapers often have ads, it is acceptable for our Newsletters to have “Sidebar Ads” offering Discounts and other Special Offers. Another acceptable ploy is to include a “Click Here” button after an article that will take the reader to a Selling Page.  For example, if you feature an article about Fly Tying, you can have your readers click through to where they can sign up for a class on Tying Flies.

Again, in a nutshell, an E-Newsletter is a “Letter of News.” It allows you to share with others what’s new in your business or group, and, for the most part, allows the reader to absorb information rather than take action. That does not mean, however, that it can’t be a Marketing Tool. To make your E-Newsletters as effective as possible it would, no doubt, behoove you to contact an email marketing firm sooner rather than later!

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How to be Part of the e-Book Phenomenon

e-bookThe world is expanding technologically speaking, and that’s why we would like to discuss the “latest and greatest” trends of the day, of which one of those is the booming eBook Phenomenon.

It goes without saying that before you can “post” and market an eBook you must first have a book. If you have a completed manuscript, either fiction or non-fiction, you can relatively easily take the next step and convert it to an eBook.

Your first step is to get your book into a digital format. If you wrote your book on your computer as a Word.doc you have already accomplished this project. However, if your manuscript was completed a number of years ago and you have only a “hard” copy you have two choices: you can either scan your manuscript and convert it to digital that way, or you can simply have someone re-type your manuscript and save it as a Word.doc.

Once you have your manuscript in digital format (either Word.doc or PDF) you can proceed and convert it into an eBook format. To date, there are two of these that you can choose from: The iPad needs an ePub format, while Kindle needs Mobi. Now, you can upload it as a PDF, but this is typically problematic for both iPad and Kindle, as it mandates a lot of scrolling and the pages may not “fit.”

Once your book is in eBook format you next need to make it available to the public. To do this you should go to Kindle and set up what is known as a KDP, or Kindle Direct Publishing, Account. In doing so, this makes your book available on Amazon, as Amazon owns Kindle. (Currently, Amazon is selling more eBooks than hard copy books, and it is most likely that the trend is not going to reverse itself.)

Accomplishing this is a process, but you can do it! (AUTHORS NOTE: You can expect to receive about 70% of the sales price with eBooks sold on Amazon, though this can vary due to fulfillment arrangements and so on.)

You are not limited to selling only on Amazon, but that is yet another process to be discussed another day!

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Simple Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from Zero to 5,000

facebookFacebook is far more than the name “social media” implies. It has become one of the most effective marketing venues the world has even seen. So why is it that, although you’ve created a Facebook page for their business, it just sits there? Why don’t people notice it? With countless people with Facebook accounts, why do you have only two fans after an entire year of exposure? Well, it might depend on your concept of exposure. And it might amaze you that there is nothing new under the sun.

Imagine, if you will, a town square a century or more ago. People are coming and going, walking around, visiting friends and neighbors. Scattered around the square are merchants with carts filled with various and sundry goods for sale. There’s even a ‘snake oil salesman’ touting his latest cure for the gout. Amidst all the product there is a stand where a politician is making promises he won’t keep if elected. And there’s the charity, Mothers Against Chewing Tobacco Husbands (MATCH), handing out samples so the public can taste the nasty stuff themselves.

Now hold that thought. What you’ve got in that town square is an early form of Facebook. It’s a public place where the community comes together to visit, to gossip, to learn what’s going on, to get up on the soapbox to share their opinions, and to market their company or cause.

Now, let’s go back to the square. As you mingle, you begin to realize that this might just be the right place to sell your new idea for a flyswatter, so you arrange for your own space next week and you set up a table. Then you sit behind your table and wait for people to stop by. There you are, quietly waiting for something to happen – you, your chair, your table, and your flyswatter. A few people have stared in your direction, looking as if they are wondering what you are doing there. After awhile you starting thinking that this was a stupid idea, and you while away your time swatting flies.

Actually, it was the start of a great idea. Just showing up rarely works on its own. But showing up with a plan that gets people’s attention and ideas that draw them to your table will begin to garnish you some sales.

You see, the essence of marketing is the same, whether it’s down at the town square or whether it’s on Facebook. We’re about to share some ideas that will draw crowds to your Facebook page or you table on the town square.

Rule Number 1: Let People Know You Are There. – Tell people that you are “in the square and open for business.” Tell people you are on Facebook and tell them where to find you. Tell them everywhere you go. Advertise everywhere they go. It’s called cross-promotion. Put up banner ads on associate websites. Do you have a business card? Put your Facebook address on it – and do it prominently, not in teeny- tiny fine print. PROMOTE IT! Every email you send should have a link to your Facebook page. Every print ad should feature your Facebook page. Incorporate “Like” buttons for your page on other websites. And always – underline that – always talk about your Facebook page during every phone call, incoming or outgoing. Finally, create a sense of urgency. For example, “Don’t miss out on this one-time offer.” HERE’S A BONUS IDEA: Create a QR code and put in on all of your print collateral, even your business cards. They are cheap and easy to create and they can drive anyone with a smart phone to your page or website almost instantly.

Rule Number 2: Don’t Just Be There. Have A Purpose. – Not everyone needs a Facebook page. But everyone with a product or cause to promote does. Share your passion on your page. Let people know what you are all about. Let them know what supporting your cause can do for others. Let them know what your product can do for them. Then, go back to Rule Number 1. and cross-promote by driving them to your website(s).

Rule Number 3: Make Their Visit Worthwhile. – Post valuable content on your page. Interesting content is okay, but valuable content is better. Tell them something they don’t know. It might be something unique about yourself, your product, or your company. It might be something newsworthy. Or it might be an exclusive offer of some kind, a discount, or a coupon. Somewhere on that page, offer something that they cannot get anywhere else, whether it’s material, philosophical, information, or even humor. If a visitor to your page considers what you have to say or offer is valuable, they have a reason to visit again. Speaking of which . . .

Rule Number 4: Give Them a Reason to Return – Create contests and have giveaways. Post teasers about upcoming articles or freebies. Link these ideas to things such as visiting your website and finding a hidden item. Create a contest whereby the person who refers the most new fans to your page receives a prize and some special recognition. Run short contests and year-long contests at the same time. Always tie contests to building your fan base. And keep your content fresh. Even people who were interested on their first visits will not keep returning if there is nothing new and interesting on your page. Keep creating that sense of urgency that originally drove them to your site to get them to return.

Rule Number 5: Encourage Interaction –  This is the a la mode on the pie, the icing on the cake, the gold nugget in the stream. As you comply with the first four rules, do it so intensely that people will “Like” or “Share” or “Comment” on what you have posted. This is where the magic happens. “Liking”, “Sharing”, and “Commenting” are what make things go viral. When someone Likes, Shares, or Comments on Facebook, it’s like Gossip Gone Wild. And when that happens, the increase in readership could become astronomical. Don’t wait on them to Like, Share, or Comment. Encourage them to do it.

By now you should realize that it’s not having a Facebook page that is the secret to success, it’s how you promote it and use it. Tell folks it’s great. Then prove it to them when they visit. If you’ve followed the rules, not only will they return, they’ll bring Friends, and Friends of Friends, with them. And the Friends of their Friends’ Friends will follow.

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5 Proven Search Engine Marketing Ways to Bring Qualified Traffic to Your Website

search engine marketingGone are the days when all you need to do to run an online business is to build a website, send it to the major Search Engines and wait for visitors to come. Today, you need to proactively drive highly qualified traffic to it and convert visitors into clients.

Search Engine Marketing is not just presenting flashy website, people are no longer buying that. What you need today is to find a hungry niche and sell them your product or services. The question then is how to drive a great deal of hungry visitors into your website. Here is a five-tiered approach to accomplish that:

  1. Search Engine Optimization – It is a fact in online marketing that people will mostly see your website through the Search Engines. It is therefore imperative that the major ones at least (Google, Yahoo and Bing), will find it so that they can feed it to those who are searching. This means that your website should be Search Engine Optimized so their robots can crawl and index your pages. This will greatly influence your ranking in the search results.
  2. PPC advertising – Instead of waiting for months to see results from organic SEO strategies, pay-per-click or PPC will give you results within weeks. Through paid advertising, you can then identify which keywords are often search and thus, will be viable in your organic SEO. Although this means you have to spend a little bit of money, the returns are great and that is why you should not neglect this strategy as well.
  3. Social networking – The success of websites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube has taken Internet marketing to new territories. No longer do we bring clients to our websites, we bring our websites to where they are gathered and from there, hope that things will take off. It is therefore the job of the online marketer to seize the opportunities presented by captured and possibly hungry niche because these websites have the power to bring huge awareness to your brand.
  4. Link building – No website is an island and that is why you have to build bridges to yours. If you can build links to authority websites, this will make your more credible and authoritative. If a visitor finds a link to your site from Wikipedia for example, he will think that you are indeed genuine in your desire to help and will remove the stigma of selling in his mind.
  5. Blogging with targeted keywords – The purpose of blogging with targeted keywords is two-fold; to drive traffic and to pre-sell visitors to the helpfulness of your product or service. If you don’t target keywords with your blog, visitors will not find it even if they want to. On the other hand, even if you can drive traffic to your website, but you are not able to convince them of the usability of your product or service, they will also not buy from you. Blogging with targeted keywords then requires the mixture of naturally incorporating keywords into your blog and be as convincing as possible without being too pushy with your prospects.

This five-tiered approach to Search Engine Marketing will ensure that you are able to drive a highly qualified traffic to your website, convert visitors into clients and increase your revenue. Often times they overlap, nevertheless, they work hand in hand to drive that much needed traffic so that your online marketing success is guaranteed.

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Best Advice I can give You for E-mail Fundraising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eMe = rv(o+i ) – (f+a)

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

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

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

Ask Did my test e-mail:

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

visibility reportSo 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.

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The Best Summer Games Preaching Series

summer games go for goalThe Summer Games is fast approaching and are you still looking for a sermon series to preach on this occasion? Every preacher knows that there is a need to be relevant in his preaching and to make the message hit home, it must be abreast with the current events. You don’t need to be an expert in Christian marketing to know this and for this reason; we have made available the Go for the Goal: Becoming a Spiritual Champion Sermon Series CD. Here are some of the advantages of preaching this sermon series:

  1. Impeccable timing with the Summer Games – The Go for the Goal: Becoming a Spiritual Champion Sermon Series CD is can be preached in tandem with the Summer Games which will start on July 27 and end on August 12. You will be preaching the most relevant and most up to date sermon series and for sure, this will have a great impact to your church outreach and congregation because they can absolutely relate to what you are talking about.
  2. Leverage the media attention with your preaching – Preachers are always on the lookout for outreach ideas. The Sumer Games is expected to have great media coverage and to be able to ride on this wave will be a great advantage to your out reaches efforts. While your hearers watch the games on TV, they will remember your preaching on the topic. And do you know what this will amount to? Impact!
  3. Solid Scriptural base – This sermon series is based on Hebrews 12:1-13, which is a very solid springboard to preach a series of messages on becoming spiritual champions. From July 27 to August 12, you will have a ready message that will encourage your congregation like a huge athletic team.

If you will order this sermon series, you will have in your repertoire a toolset that will inspire your hearer to have that champion mind-set. They will have that enthusiasm that will mobilize them to win the world for the Kingdom. So what are you waiting for? Order your copy of the Go for the Goal: Becoming a Spiritual Champion Sermon Series CD or contact Pathmaker Marketing for more information.

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Golden Nuggets from Toronto’s mesh12 Conference

social marketingToronto played host to this year’s mesh 12 conference on May 23 – 24, 2012 and, as usual, offered a plethora of seminars and networking opportunities.  While a good deal of material was covered, two areas that were of particular interest are UNDERSTANDING YOUR WHOLE SOCIAL MEDIA AUDIENCE and INBOUND: THE FUTURE OF MARKETING.

In discussing “Your WHOLE Social Media Audience” a key term that was bantered around was “lurkers.”  In essence, these individuals are your “invisible online audience,” people who may visit your site but who are not tweeting, liking or sharing your content.  Lurkers may also use Facebook but don’t post, like, or share, even though they may log on to FB several times a week.

A comprehensive survey by Andrew Reid and Alexandra Samuel explains what is different about lurkers, and what you need to now about reaching them.  And, this information is important, because their study showed that 68% of Canadian Facebook users are lurkers, and that for Twitter 61% log but are not posting.

Interestingly enough, lurkers do not behave the same way, nor want the same things, as sharers.  As a result, most of the data available on social media audiences does not apply to the majority of the audience.  Insights into this group reveal that:

  • Lurkers tend to be less influential in terms of their workplace purchasing or hiring decisions.
  • Attitudes:  Lurkers care less about being fashionable; Lurkers are more reluctant to engage in shopping.

Information alone is not enough – it is imperative that we are able to draw some marketing implications from this data.  One of the main suggestions is that you might want to change the way you structure social media initiatives.  For example, if you are an office supply store you may want to create two different feeds:  one targeting workplace influencers (made for sharing) and another for the silent majority who might be focused on deals for home use.

Another thought is that you might also change your key metrics.  Rather than shares or likes, you might want to increase your emphasis on measuring clicks and actual online transactions that are driven by social media.

In summation, the silent social media audience is value-oriented rather than being driven by trends or being ahead of the technology and/or fashion curve.  They are more likely to quietly click and buy if the deal is right.

In regard to INBOUND MARKETING, Brian Halligan, founder of Hub Spot, shared that INBOUND MARKETING is just the opposite of traditional OUTBOUND MARKETING – advertising, cold calls, etc.  Since most of us recognize that INBOUND MARKETING is the wave of the future, it is most important that we understand how to master it as soon as possible.

            According to Halligan, the key to INBOUND MARKETING is remarkable content.  The reason?  GOOGLE has gotten smart enough to weed out the lousy stuff!  To be successful, you should:

  1. Create good quality that people want to engage with, publishing frequently.
  2. Have calls to action to get your readers to become leads
  3. Do lead nurturing to get those leads to become customers
  4. A/B Test everything to increase conversion rates.  By continuously improving, you can increase conversions by 200% to 300%
  5. Remember the Power Laws of Inbound Marketing:  Top 20% of your content will generate 80% of your traffic and leads

Halligan also said that your content needs to be relevant to your business, and it needs to not to oversell your product or service.  Focus on creating value for your readers, not on selling, and use targeted calls to action to move people through your marketing funnel.

Obviously, this is a lot to digest and, if your realm of expertise is not Internet Marketing, it might even be a little overwhelming.  A solution might be to contact an Internet Marketing Firm, such as PATHMAKER MARKETING LLC.  Headed by founder and CEO Randall Mains, they stand ready to help you with not only these two issues, but the whole of Internet Marketing.

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