Most churches are using some sort of email marketing platform today. It might be MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, or MailerLite.
Perhaps you are using it for your weekly newsletter. Or special event notices. Or emails from the senior pastor periodically. If you want to onboard new volunteers or staff.
But one of the most powerful features that you are already paying for is email automation: Email autoresponders and pre-programmed email sequences are powerful tools for church communications today.
If you are not taking advantage of this side of your email marketing platform, you are missing out on huge opportunities to help your ministry flourish.
Here are the Top 5 Easy Email Automation Sequences Your Church Should Install This Month:
1. Happy birthday sequences.
Everybody likes being recognized on their birthday. It is obligatory behavior to say happy birthday when Facebook prompts you regarding your friends’ birthday. It’s so ubiquitous that it has lost its real social value in the relationship.
But sending a personalized email on or even the day before is something that will stand out. This is an easy process where anybody who gets put into the database with their email address and birthday gets an email sent to them each year.
But how do you make it feel personalized? One tip is to simply come up with a dozen different unique and creative Happy Birthday messages.
Remember you can use the function to insert variables like first name or town name into your email text. (And don’t forget the subject line!)
By pre-writing a bunch of different messages, you will avoid sending the same message multiple years in a row to any person on the list! Easy-peasy.
I have seen examples where people include fun happy birthday videos embedded in the email. Or offering to take the birthday person out for coffee and include a link to an appointment scheduling widget like Calendly, TimeTrade, etc.
2. First-time visitor email series.
If you have a connection card or a first-time visitor form, etc. you are collecting contact information on a regular basis.
Also, by pre-writing a series of emails such as introducing them further to the pastor, developing the relationship, educating them about the church, inviting them to future opportunities, you can use technology to scale the personal relationship.
For some churches we work with, we have produced a full year’s worth of follow-up emails to send a first-time visitor to the church.
3. First-time giver email automation sequence.
The first time someone gives to your ministry is a big deal. They have made a choice that is not frivolous. You need to appreciate and recognize that both immediately and long-term.
Writing a series of emails that helps reinforce the decision they made will help cultivate confident, reoccurring givers.
This is the chance to help set the culture of generosity with the people who choose to give to your church. It’s a chance to put on display the work of the church outside the walls of your building. Use emails to tell the stories of transformation that are happening because of their giving. It’s a chance to recognize that your church and ministry would not be able to happen without their partnership and support.
4. Topical devotional automation series.
If you had the time and energy to personally disciple every person that comes through the doors of the church I’m sure that you would jump at that opportunity. However, that just isn’t practical.
A very small step can be to curate a series of life-serving inspirational spiritual messages such as a mini devotional sent around a topic.
Think about the felt needs in your community.
Reflect on the common issues and topics that come up.
Consider the sub-segments of your community population.
Once you set up a devotional sequence, you have the ability to refer to it on an ongoing basis in the future. Whenever the need/relevance arises, you can send people that way so that they get immersed in the devotional series.
5. Staff DNA email sequence.
Whether you use it as you bring in new hires to your staff now and in the future, or use this for all the current members on your team, the staff DNA email sequence can be critical in helping to set vision, shape culture, and get everyone on the same page.
Consistency of training and communication of vision is always a challenge when you’re managing teams.
With an email sequence, you’re able to parse out the different pillars of the DNA of your church. Sharing and explaining each pillar in a separate email will free you up in your interpersonal interactions on an ongoing basis. You’ll be able to focus more on relational one-on-one type things vs being pressured to ensure you share the same fundamentals over and over again.
There you go! Five must-have email sequences.
I hope this shortlist of ideas helps kickstart your brainstorming for how to use the email automation function that you already have with your email marketing service.
Almost always, more communication and more transparency will help support a healthy team culture and atmosphere.
Employing the consistency that automation provides will ensure that everyone is on the same page, no one gets left out, and there are no gaps in the dissemination of core information.
What other email automation topics and uses have you seen work well?
P.S. Have you thought about FIRST TIME VISITOR EMAIL SEQUENCES ever before?