Wondering what the best ways are to “get the message out” to your church members? Here are some of the most common methods…and how effective they typically are. I’m leaving off snail-mail, personal phone calls and robo-calls. When communicating with large groups, these are generally either not cost-effective, not time-efficient, annoying or increasingly not read/listened to by members.
Here are some of the other alternatives and their corresponding “open rates” (i.e. how many people “get the message” when you have something important to say via that particular medium):
The bulletin (1-25%)
The bulletin is great – that weekly or monthly print-out filled with tons of comprehensive information for your members. But over the past few years, I’ve asked literally thousands of leaders what percentage of their members they believe “get the message” from the bulletin, and their responses range very consistently between 1-25% (most around 5-10%). Bulletins can still serve an important purpose, but when it comes to getting the word out about something important, they generally aren’t very effective.
Your website (???)
Having a great website is absolutely essential to virtually every modern day organization. But it’s not a push mechanism and it’s usually not very good about getting convenient, timely and important information out to your members when you need to.
Many people go to a lot of trouble to get their members to “like” their Facebook page. But then they later find out that, on average, only about 7% of their “fans” will see a given update that they post to their page (unless they pay Facebook money to show it to them!). Facebook can be an amazingly effective tool at engaging certain groups of your members, finding new members and more. But when it comes to getting important information in front of your members when it counts, it simply wasn’t made for that.
Email has a wide range of results, as it very much depends on how well you are using it. I’ve had people tell me, “nobody reads email anymore!” What they really mean is that nobody reads *their* email anymore. People are reading way more email today than ever, but they’re getting more of it, too. The email inbox is a competitive place, but for those who do it right, it is often their most valuable line of communication to their members. A good average open rate is around 25-30% for your members. And while that may seem low, it’s actually the best of all the methods we’ve mentioned so far. At Flocknote, our well-engaged organizations easily see regular open rates of well over 50% (which is amazing).
Text messaging (98%)
Text messaging is by far the most effective (when executed well). After all, by the time somebody can decide not to read a text message from you, they’ve usually already read it! Clearly, it’s so effective because it forces you to keep your message short and to the point and because it is one of the most interruptive mediums. It literally pops up to the front of somebody’s mobile phone no matter where they are or what they are doing, usually causing them to read it immediately. The key is convincing people to let you interrupt them at any time like that in the first place. You have to earn this trust and then never abuse it (here are some tips for doing it!).
So as you can see, even though we have so many new and fancy options out there to communicate these days, in general, email and text messaging are still by far the most effective when it comes to getting your message directly to members who care about the work you’re doing.
That’s exactly why we at Flocknote decided years ago to put so much emphasis on these two technologies by:
- Helping you let your members easily opt in to get email and text messages from you.
- Giving you a simple way to send beautiful, powerful emails and texts to your members.
- Allowing your members to reply back to you in return, giving you valuable feedback and building your relationship with them.