Every year churches spend tons of money to get people to visit. This comes in the form of outreach events, marketing materials, websites, apps and more. While this is excellent, few churches do an incredible job of following up with visitors once they have attended. How can we do a better job of reaching them once they’ve walked through our doors?
The absolute most important way to encourage visitors to return is to get to know them once they show up. A strong welcome team is important, but it is also necessary to have them fill out some sort of visitor card. Keep this super simple, just basic information and maybe a line about how your staff can pray with them that week. Once they’ve filled out that card, make sure their information gets properly input into your church’s ChMS.
Within a few days of their visit, it’s a great idea to connect with them digitally. Sending them an email or a text just letting them know they were noticed will really give them a sense of belonging they were looking for. Invite them to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or even to catch up on the sermon series you are in the middle of by visiting your website.
This one really depends on your church’s culture, but the sky is the limit here. A written letter is an important piece, but a personal phone call following up on their prayer requests or offering to pray with them over the phone really means a lot to people. There are even churches out there who have baking teams that bake and deliver cookies to visitors. Talk about a great strategy!
Do Not Overdo It
Communication is important, but do not overwhelm visitors with too much information too quickly. Keep them in the loop about important events, but respect the fact that they trusted you with their personal information. If they request to be removed from your list, do it immediately. If they inform you that they have found somewhere else to worship, encourage them in that. Ministry is not a competition with the church down the street. We are all on the same team.
The key with all of this is to remember that visitors are not just numbers on an attendance sheet. Every single one of them has a name, and you might never know it if you do not ask. Getting to know their name is the first step in getting to know them, and it opens the door for you and your church to invest in their life even further.