This is Part 2 of a 3-part article, “Optimize Your Church Outreach Using Direct Mail.” Read part 1
How to Use Direct Mail Postcards Effectively in Your Church Outreach
Done well, a direct mail postcard should be the centerpiece of your invite strategy. In this article you’ll find:
- 3 Steps for Developing an Effective Church Outreach Strategy
- 4 More Tools to Use in Your Invitational Strategy
- 5 Things You Must Know When Designing or Choosing a Great Postcard
3 Steps for Developing an Effective Church Outreach Strategy
So what’s the most effective invitational strategy for reaching the people who live near your church? You really have two goals for your outreach strategy. The first is to raise awareness and get people to know you exist. The second is to get them to check out your church—you cannot have the second without the first. Fortunately, there are many excellent opportunities to do both! Here are three simple steps for developing your church outreach strategy.
- Create an Exciting Event
Invite guests to an event at your church that would interest them, such as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, a special Easter sermon series, or a unique screening of films about faith. Outreach offers great, affordable kits to help you create your events and make planning easy and stress-free.
- Make Your Postcard the Centerpiece of Your Invitational Tools
When it comes to an outreach campaign strategy, postcards are your easiest, largest reach for the dollar. Your postcard should include information on your event or events, along with benefits the recipient will get from visiting. Think of what would motivate you to attend and then talk about it. Outreach postcards have suggested messages that you can use or modify.
- Utilize Several Complementary Methods for Inviting Your Neighbors
The Law of Invitation says that, on average, people need to receive six invitations before attending your church, party or event. Using multiple forms of mass marketing will accelerate the response by providing multiple invitations in a short period of time.
Four More Tools to Use in Your Invitational Strategy
As I said before, it takes around six invitations to encourage someone to attend your event. Spreading those invites out among several different channels will keep recipients from feeling overwhelmed and ensure that you reach them in at least one area of their daily activities. For most churches, the best combination of invitation tools is:
- Personal invitation cards
- Door Hangers
- Social Media
- Signs and Banners
Each has a different approach and will touch your neighbors in a different way. Let’s examine them more closely below.
- Personal Invitations — Your members want to invite their friends to attend church, and it’s easier to invite them if you provide them with personal invitations they can carry in their wallets or purses. Because these cards are so inexpensive, you might consider printing up a new invitation not just for big events, but for every sermon series.
- DoorHangers — DoorHangers should be designed at the same time as your direct mail postcard to keep a cohesive message and look. Pay to have them hung or assemble volunteers within the church to canvas nearby neighborhoods.
- Social Media — Over 80% of your neighbors are on Facebook. If you can have a graphic designer develop a suite of 3 or 4 ads, videos, and memes that invite people to your event for very few dollars, you can gain exposure to a big number of your neighbors. Web graphics and videos come in most Church Campaign Kits such as The God Questions and The Gifts of Christmas.
- Signs and Banners — Well-placed banners outside your church building attract attention and add to the effectiveness of your strategy!
Remember to maintain the same look and feel across your different materials and keep them clean and professional. Next, let’s take a look at some best practices for designing a direct mail postcard.
5 Things You Must Know When Designing a Direct Mail Postcard
Your postcard will likely be the first contact you have with a potential attendee. Over the years, I’ve learned what works—and what doesn’t. Here are a few tips for maximizing your direct mail reach and success:
- Invite people to a specific event. Welcome guests to an intriguing or popular event such as a Christmas Eve sermon or a month-long Easter series.
- Remember to invite people within your natural footprint. Notice where your current attendees are coming from and mail into those neighborhoods.
- Design for women. Most of the time, it’s the female who persuades the family to go to church. Design your card to attract women.
- Invite people more than once. The virtue of postcards is the name recognition and credibility they will bring you over time. A series of postcards over time will bring you both.
- Make everything look consistent. Use the same designs and the same language on your other forms of communication.
Once you’ve chosen your event, designed your cards and contacted your Outreach specialist to set up your mailing, it’s time to prepare for the guests you will soon be meeting!