Using Church Email Marketing to Grow Your Membership
For churches that want to increase their impact in the lives of those they serve, choosing the right tactics to attract more people can be a challenge.
From legacy methods like direct mail and door-to-door visits to newer methods such as social media presence and paid digital advertising, the range of options for boosting attendance is hard to sort through—especially if you're unsure how each works in detail. So let's dive into a proven, modern approach to growing your membership—email marketing.
Why Use Email Marketing For Your Church?
Good marketing is about bringing the right message to the right people at the right time. For your church, this means aligning value to the lives of your people in a way that builds deeper relationships, and the growth of your ministry. Here are some reasons to consider email marketing for your church.
First and foremost, it's inexpensive. While many of the tools and strategies to get your message out might be cost-prohibitive, basic email marketing is one of the least expensive ways to grow your levels of attendance and connect with your people. Entry-level platforms can cost as little as ten dollars a month and can have the highest returns.
2. It can save you time.
Beyond just cost, email (especially when automated) saves church marketers huge amounts of their day-to-day time that would be otherwise spent managing outreach through slower, individualized channels like direct mail.
3. It can help you measure impact.
Using email marketing as an outreach channel also allows churches to measure their impact. Unlike the results from flyers, direct mail, and other advertising formats, email performance can be tracked based on the rates at which your audience opens, reads and clicks links (or converts) within your emails. This way, church marketers have the power to make smarter decisions when it comes to messaging, audience, and other outreach factors based on past email performance.
More important than the cost and measurability of email marketing is simply how personal you can make it. Even when you send automated emails to a large audience, your message and voice can still resonate when you're smart about segmentation.
A Note About Segmentation
Segmentation is pretty straightforward—organize your recipient list into individual audiences or segments based on shared traits and create messaging tailored to each. Some traits you may organize by could be demographics, location, previous attendance, and lifestyle factors. When you know your audience well and write with their goals and challenges in mind, your emails make deeper connections in less time and can have a real impact on church growth.
Going about It the Right Way
Even if you're bringing email marketing to your church for the first time, there are some basic practices to follow that will help your efforts be more impactful and worthwhile.
Write with Personas in Mind
Not sure where to start when it comes to writing your outreach emails? Think about the different types of people you serve. Are there a few types that come to mind that make up a significant portion of your congregants or prospects? Chances are, you have more than enough knowledge about them to build a handful of personas. These church personas help you paint a clear, informed picture of the different audiences you speak to, meaning you can build messages that resonate with them and offer relevant value.
- some of your email contacts might be young, single, and student-age and live in a particular neighborhood. Others might be older, family-focused prospects from a different demographic background. These two groups will connect uniquely to different email content and messaging. Personas help you know who they really are so you can make stronger connections with every email you send.
While using persons is effective, knowing your audience well enough to craft persona-driven emails can be an uphill climb. Whether you get insights into your people from internal analytics tools or a data-powered platform, a deeper understanding of the personas that make up your audience will maximize the impact of your church's email marketing efforts.
Automate Your Outreach
Keeping track of email performance can feel like a full-time job—using automation tools takes a huge burden off of church marketers' shoulders, allowing them to focus less on hitting 'send' at the right time—and more on growing their congregation. Knowing what to send next based on a contact's assigned persona, their interaction with previous emails, and a variety of other factors is a key advantage of automating your email marketing—and doing so can be simple.
Church marketers can plan out email campaigns in advance and automate the sending of certain emails based on some simple criteria such as:
the send date, time since an email was last opened, and actions taken by the recipients. And to make it even better, there are a handful of tools to help churches achieve this.
Good for Growth
Regardless of your level of experience, email marketing is a worthwhile approach to growing your church and its people. Bringing the right message to the right people at the right time is not only foundational to a good marketing strategy, but for effectiveness and growth in your ministry as well. Using these church email practices can help you make deeper connections that ultimately serve your congregation and community.