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Churches communicate. Whether to our congregation, to the surrounding community, or to other churches in our network, we all are in a constant state of outreach. One of the most effective methods of communication we have at our disposal is church email marketing.

I’m Lexie, and, in this article, I’m going to show you why church email is important and how to leverage it into successful outreach campaigns. We’ll even go over how to use your current church management software to build out email lists.

I’ll cover:

What Is Church Email Marketing?

Church email marketing is the process of using email to market your church services and upcoming events. Traditional methods of door-knocking and word-of-mouth campaigns have grown less feasible in the modern world. Today, most church marketing is done through social media, but we can’t forget about the resources we have at our fingertips.

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What Is Church Marketing?

Church marketing is what churches have done since St. Peter prophesied in the street on the day of Pentecost. Witnessing, sign boards, mail-outs, and social media posts are all examples of church marketing. Simply, church marketing is the method by which you let the world know who you are and what you believe.

Recognizing that your church is a business is the first step in becoming better stewards of the resources God has given you. That is not to say that churches should be run like for-profit businesses, but to ask the question, “How can people use our services or volunteer their time if the message has not reached them?”

Benefits Of Church Email Marketing

The purpose of church email marketing is to quickly and efficiently inform people about your church’s message and events. Emails can include your weekly announcements or church newsletters along with links to sign-up for volunteering or changes to service times. Email also reaches a very specific group of people—those who have already given you their email address.

The primary benefits of using email to market your church are:

  • Directed messaging. Email addresses can be sorted to include specific groups, which can allow you to pre-plan events without informing all of Facebook.
  • Low cost. If you have ChMS, then you likely have support for mailing lists already. Plus you don’t have to pay for paper and ink to make copies.
  • Church member convenience. Not everyone has the ability to answer their phone immediately during the day, but most people can check their email on a break.
  • Instant feedback. Your congregation or community members will be in constant contact with your ministry.
  • Wide reach. Many people who may not attend church regularly might be willing to give out their email. Community leaders and organizers can forward your email to their constituents and so on.
  • Message control. Keeping your message inline with your church communications plan is much easier in email form where it is written as opposed to sending a number of individuals out.

These are not all the benefits of church email marketing. You will find your own as you start to reach people using email marketing campaigns.

Tips For Church Email Marketing

A good marketing email grabs attention from the moment it is opened. The first thing you should look at is your banner. If your church or your denomination has a logo, put it on the top left with your church’s name in large, bold letters next to it (see some examples of church logos here). Don’t go too large, though. It can look garish beyond a certain point. Try keeping your church’s name on one line, unless it is a very long name.

Second, use a professional, but pastoral, greeting. “Dearly Beloved,” is a favorite for some. Others use “Brothers and Sisters in Christ,” or “To the Faithful of [YOUR TOWN],”. However you decide, your greeting should be warm and inviting.

Third, the content of email should be organized and without fluff. Readers like things broken into smaller sections. The brain retains information better this way, so don’t get bogged down in long-winded paragraphs. Include a call to action. Good email marketing strategy uses your call to action in your subject line.

Finally, end with a friendly sign-off that makes people glad they took the time to read it. They will be more likely to read the next email even if they are not a frequent church-goer. As a pastor, it would not be bad to leave them with a couple lines of prayer just before your signature. Make it personal to you and your church leaders.

After crafting the email, make sure you are sending it only to the people who need to see it. Too many emails that are not relevant to someone will make them reluctant to open more.

How To Build A List Of Email Subscribers?

Building your email list can be done in three main ways. Which method works best is up to you and your church leadership team, but most churches will use a combination of all three methods.

First, church website contact forms can generate a number of leads. By having a “Contact Us” section with a form that includes email, name, and a field for questions or prayer requests, you can obtain emails from anyone who finds your church through internet searches or Google Maps.

Second, church business cards with the church’s email address can give people an opportunity to make contact in their own time. Business cards are great for developing contacts among local charities and businesses.

Third, visitor contact forms at your church building allow visitors to fill out their contact information for you to input into your communications software or app later. For my church, we only have to change one setting in their profile after they become a member. It only takes two clicks to invite them to membership classes as well.

If your church does door-to-door witnessing, you can fill out visitor contact forms, hand out business cards, or walk a person through your website all in one visit. If your outreach efforts are primarily on social media platforms, frequent links to your website will drive traffic to the contact form. Hand out business cards at local festivals or parades. Get creative with your outreach, and the email subscribers will come to you.

Email Marketing Software For Churches

This website has a number of articles dedicated to communication and the software used for it. We cover what church software is and how it helps in a general sense. In this section, I will focus on the best software for email marketing, but questions about communication software overall are answered in this article.

One of the most helpful functionalities of email marketing services is that most come with templates for various types of emails. You can introduce automation into your email newsletters using these email templates.

In the communication software article, I ranked Elexio as the best mass email marketing tool. I still believe that it is the best at pure database-driven mass emails. If you are looking for a more robust ChMS solution, you either need to pay extra for add-ons or try another software solution.

Servant Keeper works best for churches that have a large number of volunteers. It provides tools that allow you to sort your volunteers by skills and track attendance. Church member-only communication is very simple as well.

The last software I want to point out is Neon One. Directed at non-profits, in general, Neon One is not a dedicated ChMS. Instead, it is full-service marketing software with a number of integrations to existing donation and web-based communication portals. Just keep in mind that it may fall short for some of your ministry’s unique needs.

If you read the articles in those links, you will see that there is no shortage of church management software or church communication software, and they frequently overlap. Most software solutions have a demo so you can try it out before you commit money. Take advantage of that and find the church email marketing platform and pricing that is right for you.

Making Church Email Marketing Work For You

For some, making the leap into email marketing for churches can be difficult. Churches are not department stores, but we are called to advertise the Good News to all of the world. The farther you spread your message, the brighter your light shines.

One last word of advice. Your first email campaign will very likely not do well. Church email marketing, like everything else, has a learning curve. Just follow the tips in this article, and you will branch out into highly successful email campaigns in no time.

Read about more strategies for marketing your church here.

By Alexandria Schmidt

Lexie was born into a family of pastors and other church leaders. She was trained by her grandfather and worked as an assistant youth pastor in a megachurch in her twenties. Now she runs a peer support group and is the Technical Consultant for her current church, MCC Illiana. While she is no longer pastoring, she is staying active in other parts of the ministry.