3 Steps To Better Church Emailing
It’s no secret that doing church communication well is tough. It’s not that we don’t want to keep in touch with our congregations. We do. We really do. It’s just there’s so many things getting in the way.
Either there’s no up-to-date contact list, not enough time, or it’s too complicated. And even if you could jump these hurdles, is it even worth it? Do people even read emails?
Well, let me hit you up with a few stats. First, depending on your source, between 40-60% of all American check their smartphone before getting out of bed in the morning. It’s not a healthy thing to do, but most people do it, and most of the time, it’s to check either email or social media.
Also, according to Mailchimp, the average non-profit email open rate is 24%. This means out of 100 people who received an email, only 24 actually opened it before deleting it. We don’t have great stats on churches but of the dozens of churches I’ve worked with, that open rate is closer to 50%. That means 50% of the people on your contact list are interacting with your email on some level.
That’s no small thing.
So what about the other 50%? Well, we hit them up with other platforms such as the church bulletin, social media, and even SMS texting marketing.
But at the end of the day, email is still the most reliable.
So here it is, my three simple steps to creating a church emailing strategy that is doable, meaningful, and effective.
STEP ONE: GET ORGANIZED WITH PLANNING CENTER PEOPLE
There’s an insane amount of churches out there who either don’t have a contact list for their congregation OR they have many contacts lists, none of which are reliable.
So your first step is to stop relying on spreadsheets and start utilizing a Church Management System (ChMS) where you keep and update ALL of your congregation’s profiles.
While these systems can be expensive, if all you want is a database of your congregation’s profiles, then you can do no better than Planning Center People. Planning Center People is a free and super intuitive ChMS that can import your profiles from a CSV file (a specially formatted spreadsheet), is accessible from your computer or their free mobile app, and it integrates with Mailchimp.
STEP 2: GET INTEGRATED WITH MAILCHIMP
Mailchimp is the largest free email marketing platform available, and it also easily integrates with Planning Center People so when you update your ChMS, all you have to do is click one button and your Mailchimp accounts are updated as well.
That’s right, one click.
So why don’t more people do this? Because email marketing platforms are more complicated than regular email. But it’s not impossible and once you get your email templates set how you like them, sending polished, professional, and scheduled emails is super easy.
STEP 3: GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR EMAIL TEMPLATES
Once you have your ChMS set-up and you’ve integrated it with your brand new Mailchimp account, it’s time to create some templates that will allow you to quickly and professionally connect with your congregation.
And your email campaigns don’t have to be just “announcement” emails. Announcements are fine but connecting with your congregation can be so much more meaningful that just sending information. Here’s a few ideas:
A short devotional email sent on the same day/time each week
A prayer email with a button people can click when they pray
A monthly newsletter
A preview or debrief of the Sunday sermon
An invitation to register for small groups, an event, or listen to a sermon
A bulletin email that’s scheduled to send 1-hour before the service
I would recommend choosing 2-3 types of communication, creating them all at once each week, and then scheduling them to be sent at strategic days and times. This way, you can batch your work and not write emails all week long, people will begin to count on your communications, you’re able to do less announcements on Sunday morning, and you’re able to connect people with strategic calls to actions via buttons/links.
So Go Ahead, Take A Step Today.
Founder and Lead Catalyst for Clearpath.Church. Josh is ordained in the Reformed Church in America and is passionate about helping small churches find their voice. Josh lives with his family in San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast of California.