In Part 2 of this article, we discussed Creating a Ministry Marketing Plan. Part 3 explores the best way to make a lasting first impression.
Secret Three: Make a Lasting First Impression and Adding Members from New Visitors
You’ve built an amazing church marketing team and followed your strategic outreach plan. But effective church marketing doesn’t end there! It’s time to make a great first impression on the new visitors who will be coming to your events and services. Did you know that 91% of visitors will not return if you don’t have a strategy in place for turning guests into members? Assimilation is a critical component of church growth once you’ve gotten them to visit. How you treat guests in their initial visit will have a significant impact on their future decisions regarding membership in your church.
The Day They Visit
Greet every new visitor!
Attending a new church can be intimidating. But not if you make people feel right at home the moment they walk in the door. Create a team of welcome ambassadors that are friendly, but not overly so. Pick volunteers who have a knack for reading people and knowing which visitors are hoping to stay low profile and get a feel for the church and those which are ready to jump right in with enthusiasm. Remember, this is a great opportunity to add the human element to your effective church marketing strategy.
Hand out new visitor cards.
Ask your new visitors to fill out cards with their name, address, phone number, email and other pertinent information such as what they are seeking from a church. You can use this information to invite them to future events and to check in with them post-visit.
Give them a gift.
Give each new visitor a gift book to show your appreciation for their time. Depending on the time of year, you can select books that align with the season: a Christmas devotional in the winter, an Easter scripture book in the spring, etc. Consider creating a welcome packet with brochures, or items such as worship CDs, coffee mugs, coupons for coffee or even small gift cards to local restaurants for second-time visitors. Gifts create warm feelings in your visitors and offer a physical reminder in their home of your church.
Coffee and snacks may seem like a simple offering, but they allow guests to linger and chat before and after the service and get to know your members. In addition to making guests feel at home, they’ll create connections that can’t be beat when it comes to building relationships because they are developed naturally through fellowship.
The days following the first visit are critical to connecting with your visitors. Because the key is to make every contact personal, don’t use form letters or rely solely on electronic communication. Follow these steps for reaching out to your recent visitors after they have attended an event or service.
- Have the pastor send a personal thank you email the next day.
- Make a welcome call the following evening after the event or service.
- Mail out a thank you card with a personal message the first week.
- Send out an email at the end of the week inviting them to the next service or event.
- Text your visitor after two weeks to check in.
Other Tips for Creating a Great First Impression
- Host a monthly new visitor welcome brunch or tea
- Offer a new visitor booth where you can share important information and hand out gifts
- Make sure your church is always clean and inviting
- Always ensure your sermons are relevant and meaningful
- Put visitors on your email and mailing lists
- Offer another thank you gift for repeat visitors: books, ornaments, gift cards, etc.
Final Thoughts on Effective Church Marketing
In conclusion, effective church marketing is a powerful way to help you increase your outreach and minister to your community. Marketing helps you let people know that your church is there waiting to help them with questions they may have about God and faith. Through a dynamic team, a strategic plan, and a great first impression, you can help connect unchurched people with the hope and truth of Christ’s love.