Church communications is often a challenge. Your biggest weekly event may have a great draw, but should you try to share every event detail just because everybody is together? Probably not. Unless it’s high-priority and relevant to almost everyone, the age-old “Church Announcement” is not the right way to communicate.
You actually need to be able to communicate during the week and it doesn’t have to be hard. Text messaging is an incredible way to communicate during the week. You can simultaneously reach a new guest with the right message while reaching your community at large with a broader message. You can have 2-way messaging when needed. And there are even efficiencies you probably didn’t think you have access to, but are accessible by your team today. Let me share with you 3 ways you can successfully use text messaging for your church today:
1. Messaging your Guests
It is important to make your guests feel welcome and belong, and you cannot do that early enough. You are also in a unique place when it comes to engaging guests as they likely have greater trust in a local church than in other organizations, and they are likely very open to direct engagement. A personal text message to a new guest within a day or two after their visit is almost always welcome, and very often receives a reply from your guest. Because text messages have a greater-than 90% open rate, your guest is very likely to see the message. Here’s an example:
Personalized with the guest’s name, and sent within a day or two following the visit, this “thank you” message is a perfect way to make a great impression. Oftentimes, the guest will respond, and provide a way for you to have an early 2-way brief conversation. The goal should simply be “welcoming”. You can share all programs you have available later. For this earliest engagement, focus on the connection.
2. Messaging your Church or Community at Large
1 or 2 weekly text-messages is a great way to engage your entire community to make sure the word gets out on important events, programs, and last-minute announcements. You don’t want to abuse the texting “channel”, but in general, most people are open to hearing from their church via text message weekly. To make it effective, share the most important and urgent messages such as weather-impacts or event updates. Special program announcements at holiday time, or student activities are other examples. Keep the messages focused, have a clear purpose or call-to-action (like a signup form) and offer a little “personality” in your message. It’s even ok to include an emoji to make it human and fun. Little things like that can pull the cold “tech” off of engagement and help build a great culture that feels better to people.
Sending “the right message” to “the right audience” is very important as well. “Segmenting” is what we call it when we make sure that it’s the parents that hear about student events for the week, and when the young adults hear about the upcoming night of young-adult fellowship. Make sure you have specific ways to have lists, tags or segments to send the right message to the right audience.
3. Don’t Text at All
Should your church refrain from text messaging? Definitely not. You should definitely though join the modern age and let some of it be done on autopilot so that YOU don’t text at all. Instead, you can setup your texting service to manage certain text engagement automatically.
One of the bests ways to use texting is to allow people to engage with your church using keywords. For example a new guest can text WELCOME to receive a short welcome message and digital guest card. Or, anyone in your community can text INFO and receive a reply about upcoming events, or office hours in the message. The point is, you’re engaging people in real-time and it’s completely automated. Just so you know, you don’t have to remove the warmth and personality of your culture to use automation. You’re just adding a way to engage people that they are used to from companies they do business with every day. And, you’re not becoming “just another company”: but instead, you’re meeting them where they are… and for those that engage like this, they will appreciate it.
If you’re looking for a solution that can do all this, take a look at how Faith Teams has created an incredible way for you to engage your church via text messaging. Instant ability to reach everyone, a targeted group or even individuals is now SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE and Faith Teams can help your church. Signup today for a free trial and put your church on track for success when communicating.