Guest Article from Shawn Reece
Church Email Funnels
One church's key to help people take their next steps.
Professional marketing and churches never seemed to get along. After years of being a youth pastor, worship pastor, and then executive pastor, Shawn took some time away from ministry to find ways to reach more people outside of the typical church ways he had b... read more
Church Email Funnels
You’re invited to a special. Shawn will be sharing all his next step funnels during the interview. If you’d like all 8 pdfs just leave a comment on the LIVE interview.
Church Funnels Overview
As church leaders, we’re always looking for ways to connect people with the message of the Gospel. We put out advertisements to get them to come. We put on events and community outreaches to get churches out there and helping the community. All of us are continually looking for ways to get people to connect to our church and, ultimately, to the love of Jesus.
We’ve got people in the door. We’ve shared the hope of Jesus. They’ve even accepted God’s free gift. What next?
Jesus told us to make disciples, not merely converts. So, what can we do that will help people take that next step from belief to action? That’s where we can make marketing work for us.
So, you’re telling me that marketing makes disciples? Nope. But it can be used as a tool to help. Specifically, email marketing is the tool I’m talking about.
The goal is to make it as easy as possible for someone to take their next step. Why not make it as easy as the click of a button? I mean, don’t you get frustrated when you make the call from the stage for people to take their next step and don’t seem to get much of a response? Whether it’s a call to serve, give, get into a small group, or any other step you can think of, a verbal call to action will almost never have the results you’re looking for.
So, email, huh? Yup. I know what you’re thinking, “Email is so old now.” You’re right, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. It still works, if you know how to use it.
Over the past few years, the not so new form of marketing that is email marketing has shifted directions. Much like the ancient art of direct mail (aka EDDM – “Every Door Direct Mail”), email marketing used what I like to refer to as “the shotgun approach,” or for churches, “the spray and pray.”
The shotgun approach is basically shooting your message out as much as possible with a far enough spread that, hopefully, you hit some kind of target. You send out thousands of emails or snail mail pieces and hope you get at least a few responses. That might work for duck hunting, but not for marketing.
So how do we cut through the noise without inundating people with massive amounts of emails? So glad you asked! We create targeted email funnels.
Have you ever tried to put oil in your car without a funnel? It usually ends up being a huge mess. With a funnel, however, your oil gets exactly where it needs to go without all of the cleanup afterward. The goal of email funnels is essentially the same. We want to use them to get people to their next step while minimizing the mess along the way.
The targeting part of email is the key to this whole thing. We only ever want to give people what they want. You don’t want to give someone who’s interested in serving a series of emails about baptism. Maybe they do need to be baptized, but if they didn’t ask for the information sending them a series of emails is unlikely to get them there. More likely, they will begin to ignore the emails that are relevant to them because they don’t trust you to give them what they asked for.
That doesn’t mean we don’t try to get them to want other information. For instance, there is a person who wants to start serving. You know that person has not yet been baptized, so you want to make sure they also take that next step. You should begin sending them the emails about serving that they asked for. In those emails, you could work in something like, “We can’t wait to serve with you! By the way, we’re having a baptism weekend coming up, and we’d love for you to be a part of it. If you haven’t already been baptized and want more information click the button below, and we’ll send you something…”
That’s just an example, but that’s one of the functions of the funnel. You give people the information they want, try to convince them on how it benefits them to act on that information, and, sparingly, offer them other things that would interest and benefit them. In this case, it was baptism.
Email funnels are a commitment, but well worth your time and effort. The best part about it is that it’s easy enough to get started. You can get in as deep as you want or take it as slow as you want. The key is consistency. Once you promise something, make sure you follow through.
Here is a simplified checklist of how to get started:
- Write a set of emails. (As many or as little as you want as long as they are for a consistent purpose.)
- Sign up for email software. (MailChimp, Constant Contact, Drip, Click Funnels…The list is endless)
- Set up all of your emails by following the instructions of the software.
- Put a form on your website and social media where people can sign up for your lists. (There are usually instructions for this in the email software as well.)
- Put a system in place, such as information cards, where people can physically or digitally sign up in person.
- Keep adding to your email funnels. (It’s a never-ending thing…I did say it was a commitment!)
Some great examples of funnels you need are:
- first-time guests
- small groups
If you are consistent, you will see a greater connection rate of your guests and members. A better connection rate means more consistency from your people.
When it comes to emails, you can cut through the noise by giving people what they ask for, giving them things that bring value to their lives, and not asking more of them than they’ve expressed interest in. Emails are not going to grow you in an exponential way single-handedly, but they will help facilitate that kind of growth.
Oh, by the way, here are a few bonus tips:
- Consider adding in texting to your funnels. There is a 95% open rate on text messages. If you couple that with your emails, you’re much more likely to see a return.
- Make contact with your guests on the same day. That will show them you knew they were there and genuinely cared.
- Try not to use “churchy” language. Your guests may not understand what you’re talking about, which can be off-putting.
- Don’t forget the personal touch. Emails are great, but there’s gotta be more. Call, text, or send a handwritten note to make your guests/members feel that you really do value them.
- Don’t be afraid of marketing. Even God uses marketing. Romans 10:14 – “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
Bonus Plan A Visit Funnel Example
Here are links to two of the resources mentioned during the Facebook Live interview with Shawn.