Email marketing is a form of communication that many think is dead in churches. However if Mark Twain were alive today I think he would say ‘recent reports of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated.’

What we have to remember that different communication channels and tools serve different purposes. People interact with those channels differently. Whether it is the time of day, or the reason why they actually use email. Here are some tips that will help you improve how you communicate via email:

1. Focus on the right audience

Used well with a good up-to-date list from your church management system or database you can actually target the right people with the right messages. No more shotgun messages hoping some of it will hit the right audience.

We recently created some 6 week life group experiences that our community could step into if they weren’t currently in a group. We broadcast ads in different channels and on Sunday. But the single greatest return on our investment was to segment everyone on our database who weren’t currently in community in a group and connect with them through email. Over 50% of our sign-ups came through one personalised email in one day.

Why? Because we were focused on the right audience with the right message. 

2. You can follow-up

One cool feature about the email marketing software we use (BombBomb) is that you can see who has responded and who hasn’t. Imagine then just sending an email to those who didn’t respond to the first one. You can tailor the message as a follow-up reminder with a call to action about not missing out.

3. The right channel

There is something about email which lends itself to people signing up for events, causes and giving. People who are on their computer or device seem to have time and space to respond and make that kind of decision.

4. Timing matters

It may be the right channel, but when you send the email can be just as important as the content of the email. Think about your own habits and when you are checking your mail, but not only that, when you actually respond to emails. They can work. For example many young mums will check their email later at night after the kids are in bed. People who commute may clear and action emails while on transport. Some will open personal emails at lunch time.

5. The subject line has one job

And it’s not to summarise everything that’s going on at the event. Think about it as an advertising headline. What will help someone open your email? If you think about the emails you receive and the ones you delete automatically your church doesn’t want to be that email does it? If you wouldn’t open it, why would you expect others too?

It doesn’t mean you need to be all hyped up and overselling something. But you can create a sense of urgency or incentive to open an email.

(Thanks to Brady)

6. Be mobile friendly

More and more of your audience is going through their email on different devices (Some say it is as high between 65-80% for some audiences). If yours isn’t easy to read why would your audience read it and act?

7. Have one action step

If I had a dollar for every email I opened that had multiple things it wanted me to do I’d be a millionaire. Keep it simple stupid. Your audience only has time to do one thing. Create a simple action step and make it obvious. Saying ‘click here to _______’ isn’t passe.

8. Pace yourself

Depending on the size of your organisation or church you may have different departments sending emails throughout the week. Your audience doesn’t like being bombarded. They will delete emails just because of the noise it can create. Co-ordinate with a central point person like a communications Director to ensure that you don’t overload your audience.

Your Turn

What has worked for you with emailing your community? Do you have any questions? Drop a comment below.