These steps will help your church connect with new people and bring them back.
There are a few things first-time guests expect when they visit your church. They expect to be greeted warmly; they expect to fill out a card with their contact information; and they expect someone from your church will follow up with them. Fail to meet any of these expectations, and they aren’t likely to return for a second visit.
The guest follow-up is a huge opportunity to build a memorable connection and requires attention. It is crucial to develop a process and execute the process each week. Remember, the guest follow-up is a significant role in the guest experience. Maximize the follow-up with creativity and authenticity.
Here are six effective ways to follow up with first-time guests:
1. Personal Phone Call
This is one of the single most effective ways to insure your guests return for another visit. A simple phone call says the pastor of this church genuinely cares. And that matters, a lot, to your guests because this pastor might someday be their pastor.
If the senior pastor is not available, then a gender-specific or stage-of-life pastor from your staff should place this call. If they have lots of kids, perhaps the children’s pastor could call. If it’s a single mom, then the women’s pastor would be a good choice. But a personal call is your first and best follow-up method.
2. Sincere Thank You Card
Nothing says “Come again” like a sincere thank you. A handwritten thank you card is a genuine and unexpected way to say thank you to your first-time guests. The thank you card is now a special way of communicating, as all other communications are technology driven. This personal investment says you care they visited, and more importantly, that they visit again.
3. Face-to-Face Meeting
Imagine that your guest is a family, brand new to the area, and someone from your men’s ministry calls and says, “Hey, I’d love to grab coffee with you this week.” During the meeting, spend time learning about the guest and providing information about your church and ways to get involved. Think that family will visit a second time? You can count on it.
4. Door Deliveries
While this method might seem outdated, you’d be surprised at how far a great door delivery will go. There’s a church near us that delivers quality chips and salsa to their first-time guests. Nothing says, “Welcome to our church” like a well-thought-out gift. They keep their door visit short. It’s not a witnessing opportunity. It’s a welcoming one. And it works.
5. Welcome Video
Use the email address identified on the guest information card and send a welcome video the day of the visit. By sending the email with video the day of the visit, you will surprise the guest and make him or her feel valued. Personalize the text of the email and provide an easy way for them to contact your church. The email and video should include why the church exists, the impact your church is making in the lives of people and how the guest can get involved.
6. Social Media Messages
Be sure to ask for Twitter and Facebook user names on your guest information card and then “follow” or “friend” them. This is an easy way to keep your guests informed in a casual and friendly way. Be intentional and express your gratitude for visiting your church via Facebook and Twitter.
Why does it matter if you follow up with your first-time guests? Because your genuine and well-thought-out follow-up may very well seal the deal for them in returning for a second visit.