The more I speak with churches one-on-one, the more I hear about the struggles of church follow-up strategies. Attracting new visitors is very difficult for most churches. And the struggle of seeing a new family attend your church, only to leave after service never to be heard from again, is real.
So how do we engage a new visitor of family beyond their first visit to our church? Simply put: a follow-up sequence.
Now, before we jump into the follow-up sequence for new visitors, we’ll of course need their information. So if you’re having trouble capturing new visitor information, make sure you check out this post.
When it comes to follow up strategy, there are three primary options:
Phone call follow-up
Direct mail follow-up
All three options can play a role in a successful follow-up sequence, but I would argue that the best tool available in your follow-up arsenal is email. Here are three reasons why:
Email can be automated: Create an email sequence once and allow it to auto-send for every new visitor
Visitors are more willing to give you their email than anything else: 33% of Millennial new visitors are willing to give their emails to churches; only 19% are willing to give their physical address; just 12% are willing to give their phone number
Email is non-intrusive: I don’t know about you, but I groan every time my phone rings; I can check email on my own time, unlike a phone call that will interrupt whatever it is I’m doing at the time
3 pre-written follow-up emails for churches
Below you’ll find three pre-written follow-up emails that you can use in your church’s email sequence for new visitors.
A free tool like MailChimp will allow you to do this.
Keep in mind the day in which I recommend sending each email, along with the placeholders that you need to swap out with your church’s own info and personality.
Email #1 (Send on Monday)
Ideally, this email would go out automatically as soon as a connection card is filled out by a new visitor. Of course, if you’re using a digital connection card, this is possible; if you’re using a physical connection card, it becomes more difficult.
Bottom-line: do your best to trigger the email follow up sequence for new visitors on the day after a new individual/family attends your church for the first time.
Note that this email should be sent directly from your lead pastor’s email address – this is something you can configure within your email marketing platform. This email is meant to serve as a personal follow-up from your pastor to a new visitor.
Email #2 (Send on Wednesday/Thursday)
While the first email in your follow-up sequence is a personal message from your lead pastor, the second email in your follow-up sequence is meant to change gears a bit. You’ll want to send this email from the general church email address instead of the lead pastor’s email address (again, this is something you can configure within many email marketing platforms).
The goal of this email is begin planting the seeds of a second visit in the mind of your new visitor, as well as get them connected to your church on social media.
The more places you can get a new visitor connected to your church, the greater chance they have of becoming a part of the family.
Email #3 (Send on Saturday)
Finally, the third email in your follow up sequence is a last minute reminder to your new visitor that church is happening again tomorrow!
Similar to the first email, this email should be sent from your lead pastor’s email address. The point of this email is to make one last call-to-action to your new visitor and invite them to church.
In my mind, an automatic email sequence (sometimes called an autoresponder or email automation) is essential to any great follow-up system.
Feel free to copy-and-paste these email scripts directly into a follow-up sequence of your own. But just keep in mind that you’ll want to inject a little bit of your own flare and personality to make it yours.