1. Make sure guests have a good experience at the event. If people are rude to them, if their kids don’t get much candy or if the festival doesn’t match what was advertised, it doesn’t matter how much you follow up—they won’t come back to your church.
2. Get contact information. Just ask for basic info. Keep it simple and quick.
3. Have a box they can check to receive more info. It’s polite to ask people’s permission—if you don’t, it will feel like a bait and switch.
4. Have a table or booth set up with church information, brochures, etc. Staff it with friendly volunteers who can answer questions.
5. Have a drawing for some large prizes like a bike, family meal certificate to a local restaurant, movie tickets, etc. Ask people to register for the drawing. Pick the winners the day after the festival and then notify them. Have them pick up their prize after a church service. Be sure to tell people when they sign up when the winners will be notified and where they will pick up their prizes.
6. Have a free photo spot with a professional photographer. Offer to email the picture.
7. Have people register for a free gift that they receive right on the spot. It might be something as simple as a full-size candy bar for the kids.
8. Follow up as quickly as possible. If you follow up within 48 hours, the likelihood of them returning to your church goes up.
9. Send them an email thanking them for coming. Include information about weekend services and other upcoming events. Keep it short and simple. If they had their picture taken per above, attach it to the email.
10. Send them a handwritten note on church stationary. Include a coupon that they can redeem for a free gift the next time they attend the church. It might be a drink for the parents or a small toy for the kids.
11. Put them on a mailing list of people you invite to special church events, programs, etc. (with their permission).
BONUS: Let them know up front that you are not going to show up on their doorstep the next week. People will be hesitant to give you their information if they think you are going to show up at their house unannounced.
How do you know if your follow-up was effective? A good measuring stick is to find out how many of those families are part of your church a year later. Can you write any names down? The ultimate purpose is to see families reached and discipled.