You spend a lot of energy attempting to get people to attend your church. You craft great experiences with fantastic music and engaging teaching. You advertise your church through a number of ways so people in your community know you exist.
You’ve trained your volunteer teams to do a great job to serve guests as they arrive. But what do you do when guests actually arrive to follow up with them after they visit? Here are some simple ways to start following up with your guests:
1. Acknowledge their presence. Make sure to take time during the service to publicly acknowledge that there are guests in the service! Pointing out to your guests that you know that they are with you is the start of effective follow up.
2. Invite them to action. Beyond just acknowledging that guests are with you, make sure you have a clear “call to action” during the service for people new to your church. Have something specific that you ask them to do … that doesn’t embarrass them. For us, we ask them to fill out a “New Here” card that’s in our program and drop it off at the “New Here Kiosk” in the foyer where they can get a free t-shirt. Do this call to action during every service, don’t miss it.
3. Give them a free gift. Give your guests a free gift as a thank-you for coming to visit your church. Choose your gift wisely. Pick something that your guests would actually like. For us, we switched from a “chocolate bar and some flyers” to a t-shirt and saw a 400 percent increase in the number of guests willing to self-identify themselves.
4. Have postcards ready to go. Have some postcards with stamps already to send to new people. If a new kid checks into your program, have a small group leader write out a quick note on that postcard, get the address off the “new here” information card, and then drop it in the mail on the way home. Have your guest services people working the “New Here” area write notes to the people they talked with, and then drop them in the mail right away!
5. Send an email. After you enter the data from the “New Here” information card into your database, set up an email (or two) to send out to your guests to invite them to come back. You can do this with systems like Boomerang for Gmail, Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. The goal of these emails is to welcome them to your church, invite them to come back the next weekend and get to know your church a little more.