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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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.”


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.


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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How to Use Email and Facebook to Promote a Local Fundraising Event

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

How to use Facebook

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

  1. Create and event – Create an event in Facebook ideally on the Fundraiser’s own account. Make sure that after you filled in the necessary details, that you click “anyone can view and RSVP” so that it is made public. You should also click “show guest list on event page” so that people can see who are invited and can invite new people. Once the event goes live and you have invited your friends and they have RSVP, their friends can now see it on their wall too. This will make your invitation viral.
  2. Post the event on your wall – On your personal Facebook account, you can also post the event on your wall and invite your friends too. If this is a ticket event, make sure to post a link to where they can buy the tickets.
  3. Post regular updates – Make sure to post regular updates so that those who are coming will be informed. Soon the event will be on your friend’s, friends and friends wall too.

How to Use Email

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

  1. Design the flow of mails – You don’t just send the mails blindly, it has to follow a design flow. For example, you can start with a request, then you follow it up with supporting quotes and related client’s story. You can then send a third mail encouraging people to donate and a fourth, thanking them.
  2. Build an subscriber list – We have put together an article detailing the importance of a quality subscriber list. If the list is not qualified, you cannot expect a good performance.
  3. Create an effective email – When writing an email for fundraising, make sure that you fill in the necessary details but don’t make it too verbose that the recipient will be tempted to delete it.
  4. Choose the best broadcast tool – This is the caveat of email; without a good broadcast tool, you will be sending it one by one or you can cc it to everybody in the list. A broadcast tool will make the job a lot easier because it can send thousands of emails at once.

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

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Email Fundraising: General

Email FundraisingOne of the most frustrating, and on-going challenges for churches, para church ministries and non-profit organizations is fundraising.  There are of course, some “tried and true” methods, but everyone is always looking for new ways to accomplish this goal. Technology is opening some new doors, and one of those is email fundraising.

Pathmaker Marketing LLC, an E-mail Marketing Firm, has been most successful in assisting their clients with e-mail fundraising. Truly E-Mail Marketing Specialists, they know that there are several things to keep in mind when you begin your email fundraising campaign.

First, you need to use your common sense.  You are, after all, raising money for a cause.  As a result, you are going to be most successful when you contact individuals who are already supporters of that cause.  Here, you do want to “preach to the choir.”  Your goal is not to solicit new supporters.  As a result, you will want to use your current database of supporters.  Again, this is not a “prospecting tool”!

You also need to consider that this program works best when it is part of an over-all communications strategy.  This includes utilizing the mail, phone, and “in person” contacts.  These all have their own individual strengths and, when combined with your e-mail campaign, will result in you being most effective.

As any Professional E-Mail Marketing Service will tell you, email has its own set of metrics.  First of all, you need to keep in mind that e-mail is always lower than direct mail.  It is, however, still profitable as there are no printing or postage charges.  Too, seldom will an email campaign yield “monster” gifts, as the largest we have seen were between $1000 – $2000 each.  Keeping this all in mind should allow you to ensure that your expectations are within the parameters of not only possibility but probability, allowing you to view the results with realistic insight.

Just as in any mode of fundraising, you must remember that “people give to people” more than organizations.  As a result, you want your e-mail to come from your chief fundraiser, such as your CEO or pastor.  Have the email look like a letter and be personalized.  “Dear Fred” goes a lot farther than “Dear Friend.”

To “enhance the chance” of filling your coffers via an email campaign, you need a substantial e-mail list.  As a result, you may need to go an E-Mail Marketing Company and spend some money to help bolster your list.  Do know that a really small list can be cost prohibitive for using HTML, and you may want to employ TEXT as a result.

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E-mail Fundraising Strategies

E-mail Fundraising StrategiesIt is obvious that any successful endeavor is the result of someone developing and implementing a specific, successful strategy.  Email Fundraising is no exception.  Any e-mail marketing professional worth their salt knows this to be true.  And, a real e-mail marketing specialist will tell you that there are actually five strategies that you can employ to ensure that your email marketing program is, in fact, a successful one.

  1. E-MAILS TIED TO CURRENT EVENTS - This is pretty self-explanatory.  What you need to do is keep abreast with the news and develops an email campaign that revolves around what is transpiring.  This, of course, is dependent on the fact that your cause is one that is news worthy.  A good example of this might be if you are part of a Tornado Relief Fund.  During Tornado Season there are ample news stories for you to mount a most effective e-mail program around.
  2. MONTHLY “THEMED” E-MAIL CAMPAIGNS - Virtually every month has a holiday or event that you can “build” an e-mail fundraising campaign around.  For example, May lends itself to two causes:  Unwed Mothers and Veterans.  Mother’s Day allows you to touch people’s heartstrings regarding those moms who have no one to help care for them and their needs, and Memorial Day is a “natural” for seeking aid for our War Veterans.
  3. DIRECT MAIL/E-MAIL COMBO - E-Mail Marketing Firms will tell you that the advent of an email marketing campaign should not be the demise of other fundraisers that have worked for you in the past.  In this instance, you should come up with a Direct Mail offer and send it out.  Then, some seven to ten days later you follow up with an e-mail version of the same offer.  Together these allow you to really enhance the chance of success of your fundraising efforts.
  4. MEDIA/E-MAIL COMBO - Again, you are utilizing more than one method to supplement your fundraising efforts.  In this situation, you make your offer on either the Radio or TV.  Then, you follow up later that same day with an e-mail that re-enforces your initial offer.  This should not be a “Current Event” driven email but, rather, be centered on a pre-conceived offer that you present.
  5. “STAND ALONE” E-MAIL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN - Here, you want to make an offer that is totally exclusive to the e-mail you send.  To make these most effective, it is wise to have a time limit in which recipients must respond to benefit from your offer. Remember, all such offers should revolve around and be related to the cause you are trying to raise funds for.

If you find all of this a little overwhelming, you may want to contact a Professional E-Mail Marketing Service like PATHMAKER MARKETING LLC to assist you with your email marketing undertakings.  An e-mail marketing company of long standing, we not only knows how to implement these five strategies; we also have a track record of success that you will find most impressive!

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Animated Emails

Animated EmailMake no mistake about it, we do live in an entertaining world!  And, whatever entertains us the most is going to get our attention.  That is why the talented e-mail marketing experts at Pathmaker Marketing LLC stand ready to help you design and employ a major technological breakthrough – – Animated E-Mails!

One of the main things that you need to know, and keep in mind, regarding Animated E-mails is the fact that the methods used to generate Animation on a Web page are restricted for an E-Mail.  For example, websites can use FLASH, JAVA and a variety of other technologies.  With E-Mails, however, the major technology is Animated Gifs.

Most professional email marketing services will tell you that Animated Gifs is “old school,” and has been around for quite some time.  Like most forms of technology, there are a number of people around who dabble in this particular medium without being really proficient in it.  That’s where Pathmaker Marketing LLC , an email marketing firm, comes in— as they are  qualified, experienced, and immensely prolific!

While Animated Gifs is “the way to go,” it is not without its restrictions.  For example, a Gif with a lot of frames creates a large file, which causes the E-Mail to load slowly.  In a day when two seconds seems like an eternity, a slow opening E-Mail runs the risk of immediate deletion.  Too, while most E-Mail Boxes will display Animated Gifsjust fine, Outlook 7 is an exception.

Still, within these parameters creativity can abound.  Check out the addresses below to see some of the better Animated Gifs currently on the Internet:



Pathmaker Marketing LLC recently accepted the challenge of something totally spectacular – – including a countdown within a client’s E-Mails!  The process began by creating a countdown for their Website (for an example of a countdown on a Website go to http://www.flashxml.net/countdown.html).  With a visual style to work with we were able to develop animation for their E-Mails, and were able to dovetail it with their Website countdown (http://jerusalemprayerteam.org/email/archive/0818.asp). While it appears that the countdown is actually taking place in the E-Mail, this is an illusion that we created, giving only the impression of a countdown.  This was accomplished by using only fifty-three (53) frames, thus making it a manageable size.

To learn how, exactly, you and your Company can benefit from an Animated E-Mail Program prepared by an email marketing specialist you need to contact Pathmaker Marketing LLC to schedule a private phone conversation as quickly as possible.  After all, you want to entertain everyone you send E-Mails to!

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Email Fundraising Concepts

e-mail fundraisingIt is obvious that the 21st Century is making each and every one of us re-evaluate the way we do things.  This is as true for Churches and Non-Profits as it is for Businesses.  One of the most prominent undertakings of a 501 (c) (3) is Fundraising, and there are many e-mail marketing companies who are offering their services to assist with this challenge.  In fact, Randall Mains, CEO of Pathmaker Marketing, LLC, a true email marketing specialist, has had immense success with his clients in doing just that, having raised well over a million dollars for them in the past four-plus years!

When conferring with Pathmaker Marketing, or any professional email marketing service, they will advise you that there are several important email fundraising concepts, which deals predominantly with “testing”  to ensuring that your e-mail fundraising endeavor is, in fact, a successful one.  Following is brief descriptions of each of these, to help you better understand the email marketing expert’s approach to e-mail fundraising.

DEVELOP YOUR E-MAIL STRATEGIES – Basically there are five strategies that you can employ, which include:

  1. E-Mail Tied to Current Events
  2. Monthly “Themed” E-Mail Campaigns
  3. Direct Mail/E-Mail Combo
  4. Media/E-Mail Combo
  5. “Stand Alone” E-Mail Fundraising Campaign

“SUBJECT LINE” TESTING – This process finds you mailing the exact same email, but changing what you write in the subject line.  As you experiment with these, you will find that one subject line may get more attention, and a better reaction, than another one that you use.

“SPLIT” TESTING – In this instance you try different “creative angles” to see which works best. This might include varying the copy that you use, or the photos.  Obviously, you will send out several simultaneously to determine what the results are.

“CLICK THROUGH RATE” TESTING – Typically, in each e-mail the recipient will have several ways to “click through” to support your cause.  This can either take place via a “Banner, “Learn More,” or an “Action Button.”  What you will eventually do, of course, is concentrate on “Click through Optimization.”

LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATION – This may be, perhaps, the greatest “bug-a-boo” for email fundraisers.  Often, people have an excellent “click through” rate, but no one bothers to donate!  As a result, the conclusion drawn, albeit an erroneous one is that e-mail fundraising doesn’t work.  The reality is, it is the landing page that is “broken” and needs repairing, and that is where landing page optimization comes in!

It is, of course, possible that all of this may seem a little overwhelming, especially the landing page optimization concept.  That is why that you may find it most beneficial to contact an email marketing professional like Randall Mains and his e-mail marketing firm, Pathmaker Marketing.  They can assist you by explaining the process in greater detail, and implementing the programs as well!

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