Email marketing gets a bad reputation, and for good reason. Spam, spam filters, junk folders, and email trash bins are full of good reasons email marketing has received, and even maybe largely deserves, a bad reputation. But email marketing doesn’t have to hold that bad reputation, and churches shouldn’t fall into the line of thinking that just because email can be used improperly, that they have to use it improperly too or not at all.
Email marketing serves a vital function. Email is something people still check daily, we know this from available statistics. So knowing how to use it effectively and not being afraid to communicate with your congregation through email is important, and we are here to help.
Here’s how you can use email within your organization or church to communicate, to educate, and to provide community for your congregation.
Monthly Events Newsletter
If your church is hosting events, be sure to communicate the details of the events with your congregation through all the necessary means. Humans forget, so emails can be a great reminder of something you’ve already mentioned in church services, through an app or social media. A beginning and / or a final touch to remind your congregation of the month’s events is helpful to those who organize their months on their laptop or desktop or those who sit down and schedule out their events in advance, yes there are still people who (like myself) have to stay organized!
Your emails don’t always need to be to all your contacts. Churches can use email to keep leadership or volunteer teams informed and up-to-date. You can divide your lists and segment them to only go to the people who need the message, which will be talked about below. Thinking this through is important and appropriate to stay out of that junk and spam box. Your emails don’t always need to be to all your contacts. You can divide your lists and segment them to only go to the people who need the message. Thinking this through is important and appropriate to stay out of that junk and spam box.
Have a segment or list for each of your groups, whether its leaders, volunteer groups, and ministries. Keep the groups who need to know their individual information separate and together. There’s no reason every once in a while a message, like the monthly newsletter, can’t go to all your contacts in the church, however spam is sending out messages to people the message doesn’t apply to. Spam is essentially the right message to the wrong people. To avoid spamming people think through how you send your emails and who they go to. Not everyone needs every email. You may not know today how to accomplish this practically with the information you currently have on your contact list but over time you can build segments by organizing your email contacts making it possible to segment out leaders, volunteers, members, students, etc. This is possible, and we can help you think through tools and practices if you’re not sure where to begin, but it is worth doing as you grow.
Use email for those hurting. Nothing beats in-person meetings and sympathy, but a written email from leadership to acknowledge and encourage someone going through a difficult time with scripture and love can be a new way to show those in your congregation that you care. Email doesn’t have to be massive, general, and cold. Taking a few minutes to pray in email form for those who you are shepherding is a great way to show you care. Likewise, if you have a desire to occasionally offer the congregation a blog post or a word of encouragement or inspiration, a nice graphic and word is appropriate and helpful especially if you’re aware of a time of general crisis. Be sure to use these sparingly, or they become spam-like as well.
Updates and Instructions
The main way email is helpful and not spam, is through keeping information concise, who it’s for and timely. The best way to utilize email is to inform. This can be through any of the above means but most directly messages with new instructions such as parking in a new way, coming in through a different door, change of time or place for an event or service. Anytime known information changes an email can be appropriate and helpful. There are many examples of when an email would be extremely helpful to your congregation. If all the leadership has gotten sick at one time and you need to cancel sermon or you need to cancel a bible study meeting email the attendees to let them know, of course but likewise if you’re adding a service, have a training, or need the congregation to do something let them know what to do, when to do it, and where to do it. Keep it simple and keep it necessary.
Don’t be afraid to use email. Email should be an important communication path for every church. Large and small churches use email, and can continue to use email, just in different ways. As with all things, be cognizant of how to not overuse or underuse email because it becomes white noise in both cases. Finding the balance between never and too much can feel tricky but it doesn’t have to be. Also, it’s a journey, keep growing your list, keep it up to date, and keep gathering information so you can better segment your list of email contacts so you are able to segment them out as you grow. Large churches use great tools to accomplish this, small churches can take advantage of email platforms that are forever adding new functionality to make segmenting easier. We can help you navigate this challenge. Let us know what challenges you have with email, your contacts, we would be happy to offer some suggestions and point you toward easier, more automated, and more successful email practices.