If you are Rabbi or Jewish educator using the Web to reach out to your community, you have probably heard of all the many social networks that you could or should use.
Facebook always seems to be first on the “To Join” list. Then there’s Twitter and LinkedIn. And have you tried Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus?
And how’s your YouTube channel doing?
All of these social networks are potentially effective way to reach out to your audience and build relationships – and all it will cost you is way too much of your precious time.
But if you are super short on time but serious about impact and results, there is only one Social Network that you absolutely have to be on.
This Social Network is many times larger than all the other big players combined. In fact, it has been said that it transmits more than 100 times as many daily messages as Facebook.
What is this massive yet overlooked social network of which I speak?
It’s email, of course.
If you look at it, email is basically an old-fashioned Facebook with better privacy. The kind of content that is shared via email is very similar, but more personal and higher quality.
As a marketer helping Jewish businesses and organizations spread their messages, I’ve noticed that email is also one of the most powerful marketing platforms around.
This is very important for Rabbis and Jewish educators to know and understand.
If you are not yet using email in your outreach and community building efforts (or if you haven’t seen great results from your email efforts) I recommend that you put email marketing at the top of your priority list.
Here are 10 tips to help you do email marketing right and get maximum results with minimum effort:
- Never mass email from your personal email address. This is illegal and can get your email address blackballed as spam. Instead, use email marketing software. I recommend Mailchimp, which allows you to send 12,000 emails a month for free. Don’t worry about graphics and other fancy features. Just create simple emails and send them.
- Send emails weekly. It’s better that they are short and regular, than long and erratic. Don’t worry if you don’t have exciting events to announce or mind-blowing Divrei Torah to share every time. A friendly hello and mini insight you had while crossing the street this morning are also great. We all know how we feel about people who only get in touch when they “want something from you.”
- Grow your list slowly and organically. First of all, anyone who attends any event you host, whether live or online, should be added to your email list. Anyone who contacts you with relevant questions can be added. Previous contacts and participant lists can also be added. Use discretion and try not to add anyone who will resent it. DON’T add people who you have never had any direct contact with. In general, the unsubscribe button that comes with all good email software should protect you from annoying those people who don’t want your emails.
- Always invite response at the end of each email. Tell your readers they can hit reply and tell you their thoughts at any time. They will take up your offer when they’re ready. A private email conversation with someone is a great opportunity to start a meaningful relationship.
- Notify your list about events, fundraising appeals, and holiday programs. This is obvious but still critical, so I’m mentioning it. As a rule of thumb, these “asking” emails should comprise about 20% of the emails you send. The majority should be purely “giving” emails.
- Be personal, funny, off-the-cuff and honest in your emails. Email is a very personal medium. They are a good