Cerkl Co-Founders, Tarek Kamil and Sara Jackson
Today, everyone is busier and receiving more communications than ever before. But, what if every e-mail or e-mail newsletter you ever received from every organization you cared about was personalized… just for you? That’s exactly what Cerkl (“Circle”) does.
Tarek Kamil, Founder of Cerkl, officially launched the business in January 2013 with Madeira City Schools and it has now grown to more than 250 organizations – from schools to fire stations – using Cerkl to effectively engage with their audience.
Cerkle is based on the basic premise that life is too short to not be doing what you’re passionate about. “I originally developed Cerkl to help schools meaningfully connect to parents, alumni and community members so those people could share their passions with students AND spark the passions of those students,” says Kamil.
Anyone can sign up for Cerkl, either to follow and organization or to revolutionize how their organization currently engages their supporters. “Best of all, it’s completely free to both organizations and recipients,” says Kamil.
Not only is it free, organizations can generate revenue through newsletter sponsorships, which come through their sister platform, Buzzglue.com. Through Buzzglue, you can create your message and target the newsletters of all of the elementary schools within five miles of your store. You never have to call a single school, and your advertising dollars go back to the school. “It’s truly a win-win,” says Kamil.
“With every business I’ve been involved with, we’ve had to constantly tweak and improve until we found the recipe that people love – Cerkl has been no exception,” says Kamil. “In the beginning, we didn’t have a laser-like focus on personalized newsletters. It was simply about capturing content from within an organization and sharing it online – much like what organizations use Facebook for. Once we uncovered personalization as the key to engagement, things have really taken off.”
Landing Sara Jackson as a co-founder was also a huge step for Cerkl. “Her background in communication, marketing and school-business partnerships has been instrumental in accelerating both our growth and learning,” says Kamil.
Currently, Cerkl is working on building their team to reach as many schools and organizations as possible. They’re also working on fine-tuning the sponsorship model to drive as much revenue as they can back to these organizations.
“My personal goal is to build a team of rockstars that are passionate about the vision and direction of Cerkl,” says Kamil. “I’d love to see Cerkl grow to become a national brand and have Cerkl become THE way organizations communicate. Oh, and of course building a national tech company based here in Cincinnati”.
What makes Cerkl unique is that there’s no other platform like it. Their overall goal is to cut through an organization’s noise and give people personalized, meaningful news. “And it’s succeeding,” says Kamil. “The national average open rate for e-mail newsletters is less than 19 percent – for organizations using Cerkl, open rates are just over 80 percent.” This is because people are receiving content they choose.
Today, 90 percent of the organizations on Cerkl are based in Cincinnati. Schools are able to post needs and have those needs met in hours. Parents are really in the know of not only what’s going on in their child’s classroom, but around their district as well.
“I’d love for readers to be as passionate about killing the old email newsletter as I am,” says Kamil. “If you’re not changing the world, what are you doing with all that time? I’d like readers to help us change the world – and lets put Cincinnati on the map while we’re at it.” For more information about Cerkl, visit www.Cerkl.com.