After studying various articles on CRM and E-mail Marketing, it seemed there was one over-arching principle that each author was trying to express. That principle was that CRM and E-mail Marketing are about people, not processes. They are mediums of communication; a way to express your message to the public and simultaneously determine the needs of the people you serve.
In class we've been debating about which CRM and E-mail marketing packages to use to launch the 6-week member missionary program. It seems we have come up with some good options. However, the writers of the articles made sure to emphasize that the software is not so important as a clear plan, direction, and vision.
Basically, we want to inspire people to do missionary work. We want to be a source of simple ideas that they can apply in their lives and use to make a difference in the lives of others. To best serve that dream, what does our message need to look like?
The reason we are sending these e-mails out in the first place is to build relationships, and to build an online missionary community. They have to get people excited, and can't feel like spam. Each one needs to be an enjoyable experience, and the recipient should be excited to open it, not like "okay, this is getting annoying. Where's the unsubscribe button?" I know I have definitely received e-mails like that in the past.
But I have received and continue to receive others that I feel make a positive difference in my life. One of these is a simple "quote of the day" e-mail. I always open these e-mails, because I feel they enrich my life. What can we do to help enrich the lives of the people we're serving in this e-mail campaign?
Hi, this is Josh again. I was digging through some old mission photos/vids and I thought I'd post a few that brought back memories:
Above: This was just after an encounter with a charming Rotweiler named Buster :) Okay, I didn't say they were all pleasant memories . . .
Above: Elder Frost. With a "Frosty". Can you say "Photo Op"?
Above: Elder Lestarge and his ooidal doppleganger. The family we were staying with was nice enough to put together a genuine Easter for us- complete with egg decorating and easter baskets. They really made us feel like part of the family :)
Supra: Elder Davies about to be devoured by the Mittened Monstrosity from Planet-X. I hear Michael Bay is doing the sequel.
I'm currently in a class called "Sharing the Gospel on the Internet", which is a complete blast, but I have a lot of catch up to do :)
This week (well, not this week. But it is for me, since I'm behind) our assignment was to check out the LDS Church Wikipedia page, and read the discussions of the people who edited it. Hoo-boy. I was not expecting what I found.
Wikipedia is a great resource. Anything and everything you are interested in learning about, you can get your start on Wikipedia. However, beneath its benevolent exterior crust lies a mantle of debate, nitpicking, clashing agendas, cloaks, daggers, and plastic smiles that conceal editors that hate each other's guts. Which is great, because that's how good, neutral, articles happen: argument/debate and compromise.
But as much as academia values neutrality, the truth is not always neutral. Honestly, it was tough to read some of the stuff in the discussion. The longest running thread was a debate about whether to classify Mormons as Christian. It was pretty hairy.
Wikipedia is definitely a unique format of expression. It is able to reach millions of people throughout the world, and influence their thoughts on thousands of subjects. The thing is, it's all run by volunteer users, who may or may not have any expertise on their subjects. Worse, they may have expertise and an agenda.
On our second day of class this semester, Dr. David Wiley (our teacher) gave us a challenge. He challenged us to try to find any way to connect with the Church from its Wiki page. The LDS.org link was there, but it's more of a study resource than a way to connect. Mormon.org is where you want to go to connect with missionaries, but the link was no where to be found. We decided to try to add a link to the footnotes of the page. It seemed to work in the short run. The link showed up on the page, and everything was hunky-dory. . . but then it started.
Within a few minutes our link disappeared. We went to the discussions page to find some kind of an explanation. The removal edit was explained simply by (and I quote) "No, no, and no."
We double checked the rules of wikipedia, everything seemed kosher. So we posted it again. Same guy deleted it. Now curious, we clicked the link to his profile page. From the nature of the pictures, it became immediately obvious we were dealing with an "Anti-Mormon".
We read through the discussion history, and found that through its entire existence, the page has been a Mexican standoff between advocates and opponents of the Church. The proponents of the church would not allow slander to be posted, and the opposing side did their darndest to prevent anything useful from being posted. Case in point, the link to Mormon.org. We read that at one point the link had been there, but one user had decided to remove it along with all the other Church links, and no one had been allowed to post it again since.
So, I lost a little faith in Wikipedia. Still, it's neat to know that sharing of the kind Wikipedia offers can exist in this world. When I want basic knowledge of a subject, I still punch it in to the wiki searchbar. However, I think I'm much more likely now to read a little deeper before taking anything at face value.
I've decided to start a web comic based on the life of Captain Moroni from the Book of Mormon! And uh, yeah. That's about all for that one :) I thought it would be fun, and a neat way to explore the world of the Book of Mormon in a way it hasn't been as yet. I'll keep ya posted :)
Next, a couple of wiki page updates. For those of you who don't know, Wikipedia has articles for nearly all the Book of Mormon people and places but illustrations for very few of them. So, I've set a goal to start filling it up. If you're an artist, feel free to join in :)
Lastly, I've been doing a bit of tweaking on the trailer, I should have a new and improved version out in a couple weeks. Here's a still of the Savior over Bountiful with some new color correction. Again, kudos to my buddy Andrew for the awesome model of the Savior. If it weren't for Andrew, no way would the movie have been done in time. Many thanks
Just a quick update, on the trailer, I just finished the background element for the opening shot (where the Savior is descending over the City Bountiful in 3 Nephi). A good friend is working on a model of the Savior for the foreground, and I am way excited to see how that turns out. It looks like the trailer is going to get done by Monday!
Hi folks, just a quick update. This week I've been scrambling putting the final touches on the Book of Mormon trailer, but fortunately a friend offered to help me finish it. Plus, I just got some awesome new software that's making everything go a lot faster. Here's a shot I did yesterday:
Hi folks, Josh again. I noticed that a lot of the Wikipedia articles on Book of Mormon characters have no illustrations as yet, so I've just started putting some in. Here's the first one. Rough, but enjoy!
Okay, this post is technically for a class (Sharing the Gospel on the Internet), but I'm going to try my best to write like it's old times and I don't have to do it for a grade :)
So here goes.
I've always loved technology, but haven't always been the type to jump on every single social media bandwagon that solicits my inbox. E-mail? Okay. Facebook? I guess I can deal with that. Texting? Okay, if you insist. Myspace? I already have a facebook. Twitter? I don't get it.
I tend to join sites that either help me meaningfully connect with my friends, that help me with my current interests/hobbies, or because of necessity in daily life. But I can't keep up with more than a few at one time, so I like to use sites that allow me freedom to multitask. Redundancy in sites gets just plain annoying. Typically on a social media site I am either there to coordinate activities, connect with friends, or learn new skills related to my interests.
Still, social media can be a powerful tool. As suggested by Elder Ballard, there is great potential to spread the gospel through social media. Sharing the gospel online has advantages and disadvantages with sharing the gospel through direct interpersonal interaction. Online, you can provide all kinds of information to people who are interested. You can even chat and answer people's questions directly. In the initial stages, sharing the gospel through the internet is a lot easier than face to face. Even later on in the investigation, and even in membership, it's a great supplement; but it can't last forever as the sole means of contact. At some point there is a need to have real, physical friends close by who can support you as you continue to grow in the gospel. In class, we skyped with some Missionaries at the MTC who share the gospel through digital media 24/7. The had some great stories and wonderful successes, but almost always social media worked alone only in the very beginning. They would teach the first one, maybe two lessons online and then invite the investgators to meet with missionaries in person. Afterward they would continue to work with the people online, but it was in combination with "ground zero" physical interaction.