Creating a successful visitor follow-up plan is a critical strategy in growing your church. As a church, you're trying to get new people in the doors.
- You're doing community outreach.
- You're sending out invitations.
- Your people are being evangelistic and sharing their faith and inviting their neighborhood and their neighbors into church.
So, there's a lot going on to reach people for Jesus, right?
But what you don't want to have all that hard work undone by having visitors slip through the crack
Sometimes churches can be so busy that it’s easy to justify not following up with every visitor. The staff is busy. People's lives are busy. Peoples’ kids are in sports and school. They’re married. They have jobs. You have a job. The church staff is busy running the church. But even in the midst of all this business, it's really important as a church that you implement a visitor follow-up plan.
You can use tech to augment the personal side of this because follow-ups are really about people. But technology can help that.
So let's dive into seven strategies that will help you to implement a successful visitor follow-up plan in your church using the latest technology.
1. Optimize Your Connection Card
Hopefully your website has helped to drive people to your church, told them how to get there, where to go, when to meet, etc. Then they come to church, and the connection card is a thing that we've used in church for a number of years.
At Tithe.ly, we think you should turn the physical connection card into a digital form. It would be even better if you could host that form within your church app so that you can follow up through a push notification.
A great way to get visitors to use this is to have the pastor say during church announcements: "Hey, if you're new with us, we'd love to follow up with you. Download our church app here and fill out the connection card." Even better: "We'd love to give you something. Stop by the booth.”
2. Architect a follow-up sequence
You could also digitize your connection card through a text marketing service and say from stage: "Text 'New' to our number." Then, the visitor can text the word “New” to the church number and be entered into a communication funnel that sets up a new meeting with a member of the pastoral staff. Right afterwards, they would receive a response such as: "Hey, thanks for coming today. We'd love for you to fill out our connect card [Insert link]."
3. Implement visitors into your church management system
Now all their information is automatically in your church management system. That's a crucial step because now you're removed the element of human error from your follow-up strategy and you’ve also automatically inserted their data into your member management system, such as Tithe.ly ChMS. Moreover, you can see exactly how many visitors you had on Sunday.
After this, all that is left is for you to do is to architect the follow-up sequence that your staff follows. Maybe you've got somebody on your staff that their responsibility is new guest follow-up. So, the system notifies the staff member, the pastor: "Hey, Frank and Andrea Barry’s family was here on Sunday and they're our brand new guests. We'll make sure to reach out to them."
4. Automate follow-up reminders
It’s now in the system. It automatically notifies that pastor on a selected day (let’s say the following Tuesday) to call Frank. When the pastor clicks on it, Frank’s phone number shows up, they call Frank, and begin the connection process. It's just like a personal follow up, right? But the pastor didn't need to remember that. The tech notified him that that's something they should do on Tuesday morning, right? The technology they used for visitor follow-up automated every step of the way and maximized the amount of information every participant had.
5. Personalize your follow-up
Then, let's say on Wednesday, you've got the person's mobile phone number. They're going to get a text message that just says, "Hey, want to say thanks for coming to church. Did you know we've got this event coming up?" Alternatively: "We've got a big kid's event coming up on Saturday. We would love for you to join us," with a link to find out more details.
The visitor can then click on it and they can see that it's a big children’s sports day at the park and see the exact location of the park. It's $10 to register. They can kind of take care of it all right in the church app. Then, visitor receives a message from your church inviting them to the next activity. They know it's for kids. They know the pastor has a family. It's a sports day at the park, right around the corner. They’d love to go to that. Now you've done another thing to engage that person, but it was all done in an automated fashion. Nobody had to send that text message.
6. Connect the follow-up with church specifically
Then, the visitor would receive another text message. They visited on Saturday. You've had personal engagement and you're talking. Somebody probably hopefully said, "Hey, we'd love to see you at church on Sunday." But Saturday night they could get another text message that says, "Hey, don't forget church is this Sunday, same time, same place. We'd love to see you there." You're getting them back to that second service.
7. Elongate your follow-up strategy
At this point, people in the church are meeting them and they're getting engaged. But two weeks later, they get another message that says, "Hey, did you know there's a small group that meets in your community? They meet every Tuesday night at 6:00 PM for dinner." They might think: "Oh, that's pretty cool. They're just right around the block. I'd love to attend." They show up Tuesday night, 6:00 PM, and now they’re active participants in the church community. They’re connected right in the community in a small group because your follow-up series led them down that path. And now the visitor is engaged in the life of the church.
Read the full blog of this episode here: https://get.tithe.ly/blog/grow-church-membership-follow-up
Today on Modern Church Leader, Tithe.ly COO Frank Barry how to optimize your church’s visitor follow-up protocol to boost church membership growth.
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