Archive for the ‘Invitations’ Category

Are You Ready to Have Your Own LinkedIn Group?

LinkedIn groups are one of the most powerful features of LinkedIn and almost totally unique in the social media world, so it’s certainly something you will want to learn more about!

What are LinkedIn Groups?

LinkedIn allows anyone with a LinkedIn profile to create a private or public group that members can join to share discussions, articles, questions, events, etc. in a semi-contained environment.  If the group is private, only members can see, start, and contribute to the discussions.  If the group is public, it’s visible on the web for anyone to see.  For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on private groups.

LinkedIn groups allow members to find and network with others with the same interest.  LinkedIn groups allow members to establish trust and credibility with others in the same field, and can build strong connections and partnerships.  LinkedIn groups allow members to learn from others and ask questions and seek advice from experts in any given field.  LinkedIn groups allow members to tell others in the group about events and products they have produced.

What LinkedIn Groups are Not

LinkedIn groups are not a good place to post self serving messages, spam with many messages that don’t offer other members anything, or overtly push products and solicit donations.

My philosophy is to “pay ahead”.  If you post interesting articles, links, and discussions, others will appreciate you and follow you.  If you offer something of ‘value’ for free, and include a link to a website with additional information as well as products to sell, others are more likely to purchase from you.

How to Create a LinkedIn Group

Like any project, it’s best to start with a plan and goals in mind.  Here are some questions you might want to answer before creating a group:

  • What will the group’s focus be?
  • What value will the group provide its members?
  • Who are the target members?
  • Do you need to restrict membership, or leave it open to anyone?
  • How will you get your first members to join?
  • Do you have enough contacts that you can invite to get the group started?
  • Do similar groups already exist?  If so, what works and what doesn’t?
  • Are you a member of other groups (LinkedIn and outside groups) that you might draw members from?

If you can answer those questions with some amount of certainty, you are ready to start a LinkedIn group.

Before You Create a LinkedIn Group:

  • Choose an inviting or interesting name.  A name describes something about the group will help folks find you in a search.
  • Choose a logo.  A unique logo will help members quickly recognize you if they are already members of lots of groups.
  • Prepare your Group Profile or Summary – a paragraph that describes the group, the group’s goals, who might be interested, and what members will gain by joining.  Group Rules are found under “More” in the group menu bar.
  • Prepare your Group Rules – a paragraph that states what you will allow and not allow in the group.  Group Rules are found in the upper right corner of the group page.

Steps to Creating your LinkedIn Group:

  1. Let your mouse hover over “Groups” in the LinkedIn top menu bar.
  2. Click on “Create a Group”
  3. Enter your Logo file in the top Logo box, or click on the “Browse” button to locate your logo file on your computer for entry.  You will also need to check the box to acknowledge that your logo is owned by you or does not infringe on other copyrights, trademarks, etc.
  4. Click in the “Group Name” box to enter your group’s name
  5. Click on the “Group Type” drop down box to select your group’s type
  6. Click in the “Summary” box to enter a ‘brief description’ of your group
  7. Click in the “Description” box to enter your group profile
  8. Click in the “Website” box if your group has its own website
  9. If you are the group owner, your primary LinkedIn email address will already be in the “Group Owner Email” box, if you are not the owner, enter the owner’s email address.
  10. Click the “Auto-Join” if you want anyone to be able to join, or the “Request to Join” button if you want to review the requests and either allow or deny membership.
  11. Click the boxes that allow members to display group names and logos, and allow members to invite others to join.  You probably want to allow all these.  You can also enter pre-approved members with specific email domains (like from a company or ministry).
  12. Choose the Language for the group.
  13. Select the “Location” box if the group is based on a single location
  14. Select the “Twitter Announcement” box if you desire
  15. Select the “Agreement” box to confirm you agree to LinkedIn’s Terms of Service.
  16. Click on the “Create an Open Group” or “Create a Members-Only Group” button to complete the group’s creation.

A Word of Caution – LinkedIn only allows several changes of the group name and logo after the initial entry, so plan your changes carefully.

Inviting your first members

You can invite anyone that you think will be interested, but be sure the core group members are social folks that will contribute and interact well to set a good example.

Inviting Your Current Connections:

  1. When you are in a group, you can invite members by clicking on “Manage” in the group’s menu bar, then “Send Invitations” on the right side.
  2. Click the blue “in” logo at the right of the “Connections” box to select people to invite from your current list of connections.

LinkedIn used to allow a personal note, but it’s currently a canned message so you might want to let your connections know “ahead of time” you are creating a group, what the group is about, and that you will invite them.

Inviting Non-LinkedIn Connections:

Follow the  #1 & #2 steps under inviting current connections above but type or upload your email addresses in.

Asking Other People to Join Your LinkedIn Group

If you send an “invitation” the receiver only has to click on the invitation to join.  You can also “request” others join your group by sending the LinkedIn Group’s URL (web address) to them and ask them to join.  You can find the LinkedIn groups URL by entering the group and looking in the web address bar at the top.

The LinkedIn Group’s address will be something like the following URL for Linked4Ministry: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2820303&trk=hb_side_g

You can shorten it by eliminating everything after the long number so it looks like this:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2820303

You can also shorten it by using URL a shortener like:  https://bitly.com   http://tinyurl.com   or http://3.ly

Note, sending an invitation works best, as this method requires the person you invite to take a few extra steps, and thus reduces the chance they will actually join.  However, this method does allow you to post the LinkedIn group’s address on a website, a blog, or even on your LinkedIn profile under ‘websites’ to let others know about the group.

Next – Stay Tuned, in the next post we’ll discuss how to run your LinkedIn group. 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners, or those that it might benefit. 

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

 

Advertisements

Are You Missing Out on LinkedIn Recommendations?

LinkedIn recommendations should be from someone that actually knows you personally, or that you’ve worked with or ministered to.  The goal of a LinkedIn recommendation is to give those that don’t know you an idea of your expertise, your character, your empathy, etc., and the kind of work or ministry they might expect to receive if they contact you.  The more credible the source, the more value the recommendation will have, and the more informative the recommendation, the better the response will be so it’s important that your recommendations portray exactly what you believe will be helpful in meeting your LinkedIn (and ministry) goals.

The best way to receive LinkedIn recommendations is to send 2-3 recommendations a week to your current connections.  When they receive them, they will be asked if they would like to send you one.  Even if they don’t respond on their own, they will be more likely to send you a recommendation when you ask them at a later date.

How Many and How Often?

How many recommendations you receive doesn’t matter because you can post just the ones that will benefit your current needs, and change them as often as needed.  You should have enough recommendations to tell others what you want them to know about you (so they will be encouraged to call you, use your services, engage your ministry, etc.).

It’s important to have enough recommendations that it doesn’t look like they only came from a few close friends, but not so many that they will be ignored.  A good guideline is 10% of your connections.  Remember, you can select the ones you want to show on your profile, and save others for later use.

What if I Don’t Have Enough Recommendations?

If you are not receiving enough recommendations, it’s time to ask for them.  Remember, requests should be sent to those that actually know you and have worked with you. 

Don’t send out bulk requests, it’s best to have your recommendations spread out over a long period of time, and continually coming in.  This keeps your profile alive, allows your contacts to see you are continually being recommended, and a continuous stream of recommendations is more realistic of a thriving ministry.  That’s why I say to send only 2-3 recommendations a week, and the same goes for the requests for recommendations that you send.

Getting the Recommendations You Need

If you receive a recommendation that doesn’t fit what you are trying to present, don’t hesitate to ask the sender to modify their recommendation.  Perhaps they knew you in a past assignment that doesn’t represent what you are involved in now.  Most people that recommend you want to help you, and will be willing to reword their recommendation, especially if you suggest the wording you would prefer.

Sending Recommendation Requests

When you send a recommendation request, make it easy for them to fulfill your request by suggesting some things they might include.

Begin your request with something like:  “I’m sending this request to ask you for a short recommendation of my work for my LinkedIn profile.  I’d especially appreciate your including some examples of my work (ministry) with you.  To make this as easy as possible, I’ve included a draft that you can use or edit to make it your own.  You might also want to view other’s recommendations that I’ve posted on my profile at http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/billbneder

(Include a short draft of the kind of recommendation you’d like to receive).

Bottom Line

Make sure the recommendations you send, and the suggestions you request others to include in their recommendations of you are honest.

Never send a “Canned” LinkedIn request.  If you just click on “Request Recommendations” tab (under Profile / Recommendations on the menu bar) your message will read:

“I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know.
Thanks in advance for helping me out.”

It’s not that the canned request is wrong, but I’m sure you will agree that it’s impersonal.  If you personalize your request, you can expect a more personal (and helpful) recommendation.  If you give them suggestions, you have a better chance of getting a quick response that includes the details that you want to show.  (The same goes for LinkedIn invitations!)

Conclusion

Any recommendation is NOT necessarily better than NO recommendations!  Good recommendations are a key factor in getting your LinkedIn profile to help you accomplish your goals and they deserve some of your time to achieve great results.  Be proactive in sending great recommendations to your connections, and make sure your connections know when you need recommendations and what kind of recommendations will help you!

 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  

If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

Who Are You Connected To, and Does It Matter?

Did You View My LinkedIn Profile?

How often do you research who you invite as LinkedIn connections, or accept invitations from?

How often do you research the LinkedIn groups you join, or who you let join your LinkedIn groups?

On-line is all about Credibility, Trust, and Your Brand, and that includes your LinkedIn profile, your photo, your headline, your current and past employment, your status changes, the number of connections you have and who you are connected to, your education, the number of recommendations you have what they say and who made them, your websites, your summary, your specialties, the applications (SlideShare, Reading List, Blogs, Box.net files, Google presentations, etc.), your skills, your publications, your certifications, your interests, your achievements and awards, the groups you have joined, the groups you started, the members of your groups, and your LinkedIn public profile (you should customize it).

The last post was about building your credibility and trust through your facebook page and your LinkedIn profile.  If you have worked (or trying to work) to build your online credibility and trust,  then you need to guard it by being sure “Who” you are connected to, and what Groups you join do not detract from what you’ve built.

Your Brand can be compared to what people remember you by.  When you think of Crest, do you immediately think of toothpaste?  Are your immediate thoughts about Crest good or bad?  How about Tylenol?  Is your immediate thought about a “safe pain reliever”, or about the product recalls they had many years ago.  Tylenol’s parent company immediately reacted to the product tampering years ago, and after recalling their product from store shelves, they proceeded to lead the pharmaceutical and food industry in tamper resistant product packaging.  Their quick actions guarded their brand from what could have been devastating to the brand name.  Now Tylenol is one of the most trusted pain relievers on the market.  Think about the ministries and denominations that have suffered image setbacks, how have they reacted and how did it affect their brand, credibility, and trust.  How about those closely connected to them, have they also lost credibility?  Could who we are connected to hurt our brand?  I think the answer for most of us is, it depends on who we are, what our brand is, how much credibility and trust our reputation has gained, and who we are talking about being connected to.  For most of us, the wrong connections have the potential to influence our brand, our credibility, and our trust.

The bottom line is we should be more concerned with what God has called us to do in the kingdom and what He thinks about us, than what others think about us.  If he has called us to witness to drug addicts, then we will probably be connected to them.  If he has called us to spread the Gospel to the unsaved, then we will be connected to them.  But if He has called us to be Light and Salt, then we must avoid those with the opposite mission, or those that will detract from our calling.

I personally want to be able to talk about and teach spiritual warfare principals without worrying who I might offend, so when I am invited to connect to someone I check out their profile.  I check to see that our theology is compatible.  If the Holy Spirit prompts me to “consider” connecting to someone who I think might have a different theology, I ask their permission to accept their invitation “knowing that I have some views that they might find offensive”.  Most have been unaware they have ‘portrayed’ a different image or brand than they want to have.  Several have used words like “holistic, spiritual wisdom, spiritualism, unity, etc., that raise a red flag.  I first ask for clarification of their beliefs, and then make a decision on connecting based on what the Holy Spirit directs.  I also look at what groups potential connections are members of.  I don’t worry much about the industry or networking groups, but look for Christian groups to give me an idea of their theology and involvement.  I also look for obvious cult focused groups like masonic or freemasons groups, mormon’s, latter day saints (LDS), or any obvious occult names.  I rarely receive invitations from potential connections with those group memberships, but I do look before accepting invitations.

I also believe the groups I am members of tell a lot about me, so I am careful to join groups that represent my brand, and that I have a personal interest in.  I not only read the group profile and rules, but I think the group owner and managers have a strong influence on the group, so I check them out before joining.

I also check out every group request to join “Linked4Ministry” and the “Anothen Life Deliverance and Inner Healing Network” LinkedIn groups that I started.  I look to see who the person is, and whether they are appropriate members for the group.  It’s really my choice, but I try to follow what I’ve put in the group rules.  Both are Christian only groups and I don’t tolerate offensive or opposing views to protect the other members.  By filtering who joins, I feel I can allow members to participate without my having to approve their postings and discussions before they show up.  I have also chosen to allow “promotions” of products and events (under the promotions tab) that fit the group’s focus.  I do not allow discussions or promotions that promote multi-level marketing or get-rich-quick schemes, and do not hesitate to change the status of a member to require moderation or block them from participating, or even delete any member that detracts from the group or doesn’t follow the rules.

After doing all those things to safeguard my brand, my credibility, and my trust, I also try to participate in group discussions that I can add value to, and that will help build my brand.  If the discussions get too far out of bounds or end up being just an argument, I stop following them.

Here’s a LinkedIn punch list for things to remember:

  • For Invitations you receive – look at their profile, including groups and websites.
  • For invitations you send – look at their profile, including groups and websites.
  • For groups you join – look at the group profile, rules, and owner & manager’s profiles.
  • For the groups you start – clarify the group profile and the group rules, and look at the profile of those requesting to join.

Here’s a list of helpful LinkedIn instructions:

  • How to View Your Profile – let your mouse hover over “Profile” on the LinkedIn menu bar, and click on “View Profile”
  • How to Edit Your Profile – let your mouse hover over “Profile” on the LinkedIn menu bar, and click on “Edit Profile”.
  • How to View the Profile of a LinkedIn Invitation – Click on “Inbox”, click on “Invitations”, and click on the person’s name.
  • How to Ask a Question before Accepting an Invitation – Let your mouse hover over the blue “Accept” button and Click on the “Send a Message” drop down to the right of the Accept button.
  • How to View a Group Profile before you Join – Click on “More..” in the group menu bar, click on “Group Profile”.
  • How to View the Group Owner or Manager’s Profile – Click on “More..” in the group menu bar, click on “Group Profile”, Click on the Owner or Manager’s blue name on the right side.
  • How to View the Profile of a Request to Join a Group You Started – Let your mouse hover over “Groups” in the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “Your Groups”, click on any “Green Circles with a number inside”, Click on the request’s name.
  • How to “Un-Connect” from a LinkedIn Connection – Let your mouse hover over “Connections” on the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “My Connections”, Click on the “Remove Connection” tab at the top right, select the connections you wish to remove, and click on “Remove Connections”,
  • How to see who’s viewed your profile – Let your mouse hover over “Home” on the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “LinkedIn Home”, on the right side of the screen, under “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”, Click on the “Your profile has been viewed by x people in the past x days”, then Click on the names in blue.  Note, what you see is based on what those viewing your profile have chosen to tell you; only the “number” of people you see is based on whether you have a paid or free LinkedIn account.

In Summary

What our LinkedIn profile represents, who we are connected to, what we say, and almost everything we do is being watched and can represent a brand or image that we didn’t want to portray.  Well intended messages, connections, and group connections might not be received or interpreted the way we intended.  An extra measure of caution and always seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance will keep us on the path that God intends so we can accomplish His will in our lives.

 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

Are Photos and Personal Information Important on LinkedIn and Facebook?

The simple answer is, there isn’t one.  While we must be cautious about what kind of personal information we share, we cannot let fear dictate our actions.  What kind of personal information you share depends on the social media and your strategy.

If your strategy is to “extend your reach into the kingdom” (beyond your current friends and acquaintances), then it’s going to be tough to “hide” your identity and all personal information.  If your strategy is just to connect to your friends, then you can be more open, but you must still be cautious as your connections might make the information you share with them, available to others.

Let’s start with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a “professional” social network, and therefore should have a different strategy.  The largest users of LinkedIn consist of Industry (and Ministry) Leaders, Professionals, Recruiters, and Job Seekers, and most utilize Basic (free) Accounts.  The features and benefits of LinkedIn are diverse.  LinkedIn is a great tool for building, managing, and maintaining your network of contacts.  LinkedIn gives you visibility from other influential users in your field (and ministry), allowing you to make contacts that otherwise would probably be out of your reach.  LinkedIn makes it easy for your contacts to share your postings with their network.  LinkedIn groups allow you to learn and share in discussions with people with like interests and ministries worldwide.  If you put the time and effort into LinkedIn, it allows you to build trust and credibility. LinkedIn gives you the ability to restrict your personal information, they way you can be contacted, and your location.

Adding a Photo to your LinkedIn profile is “generally” the right thing to do, unless your photo might be detraction, and leaving it blank can cause doubt that you might not want.  LinkedIn photos aren’t generally about seeing what your high school friends look like after 10-20 years; they are about who you are now, and who you want others to see!  If you are looking for a new position, try to select a photo that complements your age and decreases any issues that might cause a decision based on a prejudice.  If you are trying to build a network with other professionals in your field, unless you are already well-known, most connections will feel better about connecting with someone they don’t know if they believe they can truly tell who you are, and what your motives are for connecting.  Lastly, a LinkedIn photo should be a professional looking head shot of just you.  Don’t include your car unless you sell cars or a pet unless you are a veterinarian, and LinkedIn doesn’t allow logos.

For Personal Information, if you want new contacts to reach you, you should make it easy, be sure your e-mail address is obvious, and you might even want to include who you want to be connected to.  Check out the end of my profile summary for one option.  If you are looking for a new position, an e-mail address isn’t enough; you should always include a phone number.  I usually recommend using a dedicated ‘social media’ e-mail address as your primary address, and be sure to include all your other ‘commonly used’ e-mail addresses as alternates in your LinkedIn settings.  Including all your e-mail addresses allows everyone to easily connect with you, as well as keeping you from inadvertently setting up two LinkedIn profiles, (which is not recommended).  With many of today’s e-mail programs and systems, you can forward multiple e-mail addresses so you only have to regularly check one place to see them all.  LinkedIn only shows geographic areas in lieu of specific cities, so including yours allows people to more easily know they’ve found the right person.  Having a Private or un-detailed profile with a somewhere in the United States address provides little benefit for anyone.  Including your website is a great idea, but including your street address is probably never recommended; unless it’s a business or ministry address that is open to the public.

Another decision you might make is to allow your network to view your connections.  While this is a personal decision, and should be based on your strategy, understand that many of your connections might benefit from seeing your connections and recognize others they also know, allowing them to more easily build their network.  Since anyone can search LinkedIn for people to invite, unless your connections use your list inappropriately, allowing them to see your connections is a courtesy that you might want to extend to your network.

In short, the internet makes deception much easier to accomplish, and your profile should provide enough information to show your professionalism, your seriousness, your true identity, and your reality.

Now let’s look at facebook.

Once again, you must consider your strategy, and not just for facebook.  If you want your web appearance to be professional, or you are looking for a job, understand that many employers and internet savvy (or skeptical) connections will also look at your facebook profiles.  If anything on your facebook profile doesn’t portray the person you want others to see, you should avoid it, and remove anything that detracts.  If your facebook profile is for family and friends, then obviously the content is less restricted.  Your photo should always be tasteful as you never know who might see it.  Your security settings dictate who can see what, but be aware that your posts can be seen in your connections profiles that might not carry the same restrictions. 

Casual activity on facebook, like games, should be limited to non working hours as your connections can see when you are playing games by the update times.  If you want to make your profile more professional, you can choose to not show games, polls, etc. that your connections are playing from displaying on your profile.

In summary, make sure you have thought out your social media strategy, weighed the options and alternatives, and your participation and profile fit that strategy.

More details about what you might want to include in your LinkedIn profile can be found in my “LinkedIn Quick Start Guide for Ministries” in the box files on my LinkedIn profile at http://LinkedIn.com/in/billbender .

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Anothen Life Ministries

Hitting the Target with Persuasive Copy!

My last posting was about getting your e-mails read.  Now it’s time to talk about getting the content to deliver the results you want.  This post focuses on the first key factor from last week, “The Message”.  Whether you recognize it or not, even though most of us are in ministry, we’re always selling ourself, our products, and our services. 

Writing a persuasive message is the key to achieving the results you want.  Whether its for e-mails, letters, newsletters, blogs, website content, web directories, book introductions, facebook fan pages, twitter, conventional advertising, or even your LinkedIn invitations, you are selling, and your message must be persuasive to get results!

Here are five easy steps that will help you get the results you desire:

  1. What do you have to offer?
  2. What will it do for your readers?
  3. What does it contain?
  4. Who are you?
  5. What are the next steps?

 

  1. What do you have to offer?  The most important thing to getting results, and for that matter, getting the reader to keep reading is to capture their attention.  Tell the reader what your message is about in the first or second sentence.  What is your product or service?  What does it do?  Who is it for?
  2. What will it do for your readers?  The second step should tell the readers what the benefits will be if they take action on your offer.  Put simply, what it will do for the reader?  How will it make their life better?  Examples might be; “you will have less stress”, “you can eliminate bad habits”, or “you can overcome fear”.
  3. What does it contain?  This is about the features of your product or service.  What’s in the box?  The benefits in #2 are the most important, but telling the reader what’s involved builds trust, and helps the reader justify the expense.
    a.  Some examples of features might be:
         i.   3 hours of teaching and 2 hours of personal ministry
         ii.  10 hours of MP3 or DVD teaching
         iii.  275 pages of information packed pages and 10 action plans for bringing blessings and favor
    b.  Compelling “teasers” can create a curiosity to encourage action, some examples might be:
         i.   The three most damaging actions and how to overcome their results
    c.  If possible, attach a benefit to each feature, some examples might be:
         i.   Each lesson comes with prayers (or action plans) to break curses and achieve life changing results
  4. Who are you?  This step is for those without an established following or those trying to reach a new target market where establishing your trustworthiness and credibility are key to your success.  A great LinkedIn profile with a photo gives you an element of trust to new contacts.  Including your training and education is important to show your expertise.  Recommendations tell new clients what they can expect from their involvement with you.  Including your payment options, return policies, cancellation charges, shipping and handling charges, and other policies “up front” can eliminate any reluctance to proceed by cautious readers.
  5. What are the next steps?  Call this a “call to action”.  What do you want your target contacts to do next?  It might be order your product, contract your services, or fill out an interview form.  Tell your reader (don’t just suggest) the exact steps you want your contact to take.  Most people like to get a bargain, offering a limited time discount or suggesting scarcity can encourage quick action.  If you are offering a “free” product or service, don’t overlook the fact that you will have to “sell” those as well.
     

Bullet points work well because they allow you to highlight information in a powerful skimmable format that focuses the reader’s eyes on exactly what you want them to see. 

Don’t forget to use the suggestions from “Get Your Emails Read: from my October 22nd posting.

 As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Anothen Life Ministries

Get Your Emails Read

Your e-mail receivers decide in the first three seconds to either read or delete your email. Obviously you want them to read your e-mail, but you also want them to respond to whatever you’ve asked them to do.  That means you need to find a way to get past their delete button, and capture their attention.

There are two keys factors:

  • The message
  • Your approach

Even if you’re emailing a list of people who have never heard of you or your ministry, it’s possible to responses to your e-mail.

Here are Seven Things that will help your e-mails get results:

  1. Keep your e-mails short. Keep your initial email as short as possible to encourage them to at least glance over it.  The reality is most of us won’t take time to read a long e-mail so be sure it’s a quick read.  Limit your message to a maximum of four sentences per paragraph, and limit your email to three paragraphs, plus a closing sentence.  Hint, “white space” is visually pleasing to the reader.  Try inserting a one line paragraph in the middle; it will make your e-mail appear shorter.
  2. Personalize the subject line.  A personal subject line will significantly increase your response rates.  This is especially import if the receivers won’t recognize your name or your ministry name.  Your subject line can capture their attention and encourage them to open it.  Questions are usually good, you might try something like; “Can we talk next Wednesday at 3:00pm?”, or “Should we talk about ____?”
  3. Use a salutation. To get a response your message should be informal and inviting.  Begin your emails with a warm greeting using the contact’s first name, such as “Hi Fred.”  If you absolutely can’t get their name, you could begin with “Hi, Bill Bender here,” but understand that will lessen the effectiveness.
  4. Don’t focus totally on your ministry or service.  E-mails need a personal touch to get noticed.
  5. Limit the number of e-mails you send at a time.  If people do respond, they expect a reply to their email in 24 hours or less.  Limit your list of receivers to whatever you can respond quickly to, this tells the receivers that you are a real person, not an automated marketing blast.
  6. Customize your message. A small e-mail list also allows you to be personal in your message.  Try to include things you believe they are concerned about, or struggling with.
  7. Forget what your English teacher taught you.  Emails are more personal than a business letter and should be written conversationally.  The more relaxed your email is, the better the chances of receiving the response you desire.

Email is one of the most cost effective ways to reach people today.  If we master the technique, our e-mails will be noticed and remembered.

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one 🙂 !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Anothen Life Ministries

Don’t Lose Your Important Social Media Work!

Social Media Maintenance

Social Media like facebook and LinkedIn are on secure servers, and some even have several backups, but “stuff” can still happen.  It takes hours, if not weeks & months, to get your LinkedIn profile, your facebook page, and even your website just the way you want it.  I just read a story today about how a malicious hacker changed an entire website with their own propaganda.  Perhaps you will never be hacked, but you might want to change your website host, or have your contact lists and references for use in another application.

Here are a couple of simple guidelines that will save your data if you ever need to recover losses or duplicate information:

First:

Protect Your Contact Lists – Regularly export your e-mail address books, facebook friends, and LinkedIn Contacts to a CSV file.

Use the previous two Linked4Ministry posts (invite facebook friends as LinkedIn connections) and (How to add facebook friends to GMail addresses) for methods to export facebook, Gmail, & Yahoo! Mail files.

For LinkedIn, under Contacts, “My Connections” at the bottom right, click on “Export connections”, select Microsoft Outlook (.CSV file) or another selection, enter the security text, and Click Export.  The instructions for importing the file are on the same LinkedIn page.

Second:

Protect your Profiles & Web Pages – Regularly export your Profiles, facebook pages, website pages, etc. as a .pdf file.  This captures all the text you’ve taken so much time to get right, and saves the valuable LinkedIn recommendations.  The easy way to capture a webpage is to go to http://pdfmyurl.com and enter the address of the page you want to capture.  Remember to save all your website pages.  If you want to capture the full LinkedIn profile with recommendations I like a program called PDF995.  You can download the basic PDF995 program for free, or pay $30 for the complete program.

The basic PDF995 program saves anything you can print as a pdf file.  To save a file in pdf format, print it as you normally would, but select the “PDF995” printer.  You can save the file anywhere you would like and name it as you choose.

PDF files are easy for anyone to read, they keep the formatting they way you intended no matter what type computer they are viewed on, and tougher for others to modify.

Third:

Protect Your Network – No matter who you are connected to, you should treat your contacts as a valuable resource.  Nurture the relationships as you would with a close friend.  Communicate Often, i.e., when you see something change in their profile congratulate them or let them know you saw the change, send links you think they would enjoy, send anniversary and birthday wishes, etc.

 

Abbreviations:
CSV – Comma Separated Values
PDF – Portable Document Format

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one 🙂 !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Anothen Life Ministries

%d bloggers like this: