By John Panico
So, you put a marketing plan together, even got a budget that didn't have "shoestring" associated with it, ran your campaign and guess what? It all came together. People have started to flow into your church. And if you have read my past articles, you are saying that you are done and have done the warm hand off to others as these folks are on their way to becoming regular visitors and perhaps even members. You job is done.....almost!
Let's face it, marketing's job is never done, but there is one thing that you should give some thought to before the marketing team's job is considered done. And that is a good welcome packet.
Why have welcome packets?
A welcome packet can be a marketing tool to provide new visitors information about your church, its' doctrine or belief's and some of the ministries or activities that go on there. It gives the guest something to review when they have left the church and have some time to reflect.
There are several objectives of insuring your guests are given a welcome packet when they visit:
* Makes them feel welcome! You want to express your gratitude for allowing you to share and to also indicate that they are welcome to return
* Understand your structure. One of the reasons visitors come is to learn something about your church. How it is organized. What sets you apart from the other churches in the area. Welcome packets can accomplish that.
* Become familiar with your worship style (is it more singing then they would like?) and church beliefs.
* Review activities calendar. Visitors want to know the upcoming schedule of events and ministry meeting times.
What should go into the packet?
While there is no absolute must have list, here are some ideas that will help to make a great impression and give guests a reason for returning:
1. Video or DVD of your organization
- It could be a video tour of the entire grounds or maybe just a 30 second clip that tells about each ministry in the church. Perhaps it is the vision for where you want to get to.
2. Refrigerator magnets
Are you looking for an inexpensive marketing tool that has long term staying power? This may be better than you think! According to a study at Purdue University, the average American visits their refrigerator 22 times a day. What else could you get that is going to get that much exposure? And strange as it sounds, even if people don't like them, they tend to put them on their refrigerators.
3. Letter of Greeting from the Minister
Perhaps a personalized message with an invitation to return the following week. Studies have found that a personal interaction with the Minister can have a dramatically positive effect on whether someone returns or makes a church home. (So, don't forget about the Minister making a personal phone call to follow up the next week either!)
4. Information on the membership process of your church.
Some visitors are ready to become members from day one. They may have just moved and want to keep their denominational affiliation intact. Others just feel good and know when they have found their new church home. It takes the awkwardness out of them having to ask.
5. Invitation for on-line survey.
A quick survey of a visitor's church experience is good. But they may feel uneasy filling out one in church especially if they are the only guest that day. Online surveys provide an easy way for you to determine how things really are since they are truly anonymous.
6. Audio recording -
Could be a recent Sunday Message or perhaps something more of an invitation. Keep in mind that at the least we are a CD world. Cassettes are dead. Podcasts or downloads are a great way to get them to your website.
7. Informational brochure
- General info about the church and its' ministries (if you can't do a video or want to cover your bases). It could also include a brief history of the church, or the denomination if that is deemed important.
8. Calendar of events -
Announcement flyers of public events such as fall festivals, Christmas programs, etc.
A coupon to turn in at the church book store or on the website for a free token of appreciation or a discount. I love the coupon that entitles the user for a free cup of coffee with the minister!
10 Tote bags or bookmarks -
Both of these have become very inexpensive and help to keep your church in the guests mind. Be sure to include your website address on these!
While these are not all-inclusive, they do make a favorable impression on any church guest. A good welcome packet can make the difference if a visitor comes back for a second look. It can provide the answers to some of the questions that arise after they have left the church. Of course, nothing beats a personal note or phone call from the minister
How do they get distributed?
Don't leave it up to chance whether a visitor gets a welcome packet or not. While my experience has gone from having to look for them myself or being told to pick one up on the way out, anything short of personally handing one to me loses some of the welcome packet's purpose... to make me feel welcome. Make sure your church doesn't make that mistake!
Do you have other ideas for a church welcome packet? We want to know about them!
Want to learn more about church marketing? Or did you read something here that you want to discuss more? Perhaps you have a project that you need help on or at least want to bounce ideas off. We are there for you!