With 70 percent of Americans regularly using email, it is highly likely that members of your congregation use digital communication as part of their daily routine. Email marketing is a simple, cost-effective way to build a relationship with your parishioners, which fits with their busy lives. A well-run email marketing campaign will enable you to increase your outreach and develop a more effective ministry.
1. Construct a Subscriber Database
Email marketing campaigns are most effective when recipients have chosen to subscribe. The development of a subscriber database is an excellent outreach opportunity. Along with signing up your existing members, encourage your congregation to share the opt-in request through social media or by forwarding the email newsletter. Include an email opt-in request on your website, on donation forms, and at the bottom of all correspondence.
2. Segment Your Membership
Collect demographic information from subscribers and segment them into groups. You can then ensure that you provide the right people with the right information at the right time. For example, you can send invitations to a youth mission to everyone on your database who is under 21 or send out topics for discussion to bible study group members.
3. Create Compelling Content
A survey by the Neilsen Norman Group reported that users spend 51 seconds reading the average online newsletter. Your email newsletter must grab the reader’s attention if it is to compete in a crowded inbox. Good news stories, feedback on how donations are being used, dates for the diary, and special celebrations make engaging copy.
4. Design Thoughtful Automated Responses
Automated responses may feel impersonal, but the internet is a 24 / 7 communication tool. Online users expect their donation or subscription to be acknowledged quickly, but you cannot be available to send out a personal message at all times of the day or night. A carefully crafted automated response will make them feel valued.
Welcome new members with a series of sequential emails explaining your core beliefs and inviting them to worship with you.
5. Mobilize your Membership
Use your email marketing campaign to motivate and mobilize your membership. Promote groups who are seeking new members, request donations of time and money, and encourage your congregation to share the content with others to spread the word. Transform your email marketing campaign into an interactive dialogue by asking for ideas for newsletter articles and seeking feedback on the content and format.