As a church leader, you know how important it is to follow-up with new guests. Without these touchpoints, someone could easily slip through the cracks before truly getting to know if your church is the right place for them.
To borrow insight from the business world, it is widely accepted that closing a sale takes a minimum of about 6-8 interactions. And a study by The University of Kansas quantified how many hours it takes to move from a mere acquaintance to a casual friend. The result was an astounding 50 hours spent together.
It should come as no surprise, then, that when it comes to creating effective guest follow-up systems, you need to have several interactions planned to connect with people in a thoughtful way. We can’t expect deep connection to form if we aren’t prioritizing multiple interactions with guests.
But what should that look like?
To help you get started, we are providing examples of what a good guest follow-up workflow looks like using One Church Software. After guest information is collected by your physical or digital visitor card, we encourage you to use these examples and templates to set up your own guest follow-up in your church management system or by trying our free trial!
The first thing you will want to do is input the data (if you have collected the information on a physical form) and check to be sure everything has been formatted correctly. This means double-checking to be sure their name is capitalized and you have a complete email or physical address. You don’t want to miss out on a potential relationship because there was a typo in their email of “gmail.co” instead of “gmail.com”.
Your first interaction should often be in the form of a welcome or thank you email. A good welcome email thanks visitors for attending and provides helpful links as well as ways to get connected further.
(Pro tip: You can also let guests determine how they’d like to be contacted through options in your first-time guest form. For example, if someone were to select “texting” as their preference, you could have an automated workflow that sends a welcome text instead.)
Here’s an example of what your welcome email might look like:
Hello [FIRST NAME],
Thank you for visiting one of our services! We hope you enjoyed your time worshiping with us and that it nourished your soul.
We know finding a church to call home can be a difficult task, so we’ve provided some helpful links to help you get connected easier and to help you know more about us:
- LINK TO EVENTS PAGE
- CONNECT WITH A PASTOR
- HOW TO JOIN A SMALL GROUP
As you go through your week, we hope it is encouraging to know that I and the rest of our staff are praying for you! If there are any questions we can help answer or ways we can serve you, please let us know.
Feel free to use this template as you create your own guest follow-up workflow, but don’t forget to add any relevant links and make it sound like your own.
Schedule Pauses Between Communication
No one likes to get blasted with one communication after another. That’s why we’ve made it possible in One Church Software to plan pauses in communication so your workflow will have a more natural cadence to it.
We recommend you add at least 2-3 days between most communication. This allows for appropriately paced follow-up that doesn’t feel overbearing.
Send a Text
For some people, email is harder to respond to or might seem more formal. That is why it can be valuable to use several different methods of communication in your workflow. Texts are typically a bit more on the personal and informal side so it might sound something like this:
Hey NAME! This is YOURNAME from CHURCH. I wanted to personally reach out to see what you thought about your visit last Sunday. Here if you have any questions or feedback!
You might even add a call-to-action or a link to a form they can fill out to sign-up for a group or a class, somewhere they can find more information, etc. Just like this:
You may recall hearing about some of the new groups starting-up soon. You can learn more about those here: [LINK]
Assign Additional Follow-Up to a Key Leader
If you have a Guest Experience Coordinator, Discipleship Pastor, or if you know some of the guest’s interests or stage of life, it can be a good idea to have an associated leader reach out personally after some time has passed.
Let’s say that you know this guest has young children because they were in your children’s ministry. You could take this opportunity to assign a task to your Children’s Coordinator to reach out to them and tell them about the different children’s events going on.
(Pro tip: Task assignments like this can be automated in One Church Software as well!)
By having a key leader reach out to a guest, you are helping them make genuine connections with additional people within your church.
A Few More Guest Follow-Up Tips to Keep in Mind
- Be ready to respond! The goal of automating an effective guest follow-up system is to sustainably engage new visitors in a meaningful and consistent way. There will be people who don’t engage with the follow-up, but be prepared for people to respond! We want to be quick to return emails or texts as people engage back with us.
- Don’t go overboard. A great guest follow-up system is clear and is intentionally crafted to not be overwhelming. Too many messages will start to get annoying, which is why it’s crucial to have clarity about what you’re trying to accomplish and respect when people are choosing not to engage further.
- Know what next steps you want people to take. What next step are you trying to lead new people towards? Signing-up for a group? Taking a class? Grabbing coffee with a staff member? Keep that purpose and goal top-of-mind as you’re crafting follow-up material so it’s clear to the people being contacted as well.
And there you go! Just incorporating some of the suggestions here will give you 3-4 interactions with a guest that you can already have planned out in addition to their experience in-person. While we can’t automate a full 50 hours of interactions to help form deep relationships, automating the first few steps will allow follow-up with guests to happen in a timely manner, save you the time of having to repeat regular tasks, and help lead towards that genuine connection between new people and your church.
If you don’t have a church management system or are considering switching, you can try One Church Software FREE for 14 days to see all the ways it can help you care for your members, empower your volunteers, and serve your community.