Mar 26, 2018

10 Effective Ways to Follow Up With Easter Guests

Easter is this weekend and your attendance will most likely spike as the CEO's (Christmas and Easter only) attendees show up.  You'll probably have some guests as well.

Easter provides a great opportunity to help CEO's and guests get more connected to your church and become regular attenders.

But for this to happen, you need a clear follow up strategy.  Here are 10 effective ways to follow up with your Easter guests.  You can use one or more of these to create your follow up strategy.

Follow Up Idea #1 -  Give guests a great first experience.  Follow up starts with the first visit.  When you give guests a great first experience, you are laying the foundation for a second visit.  The truth is, if a guest has a bad first experience, they are probably not going to come back - no matter how much follow up with them.

Stat your follow up by first focusing on the experience you provide families while they are at your church.  This includes things like great parking, friendly and helpful greeters, quick check-in, solid safety and security and a relevant, engaging service.  Here are more helpful tips for this.

4 Keys to Keeping Your Ministry Safe for Kids and Families

10 Steps to Improve Your Guest Services

10 Ways to Get Better at Talking with First-Time Guests

10 Ways to Make First-Time Guests Happy

Follow Up Idea #2 - Send guests a handwritten note.  You'll see that some of the ideas on this list are connected to technology.  And that's a good thing.  But also don't forget the power of a handwritten note.  In the days of digital communication, a handwritten note stands out.  You can have your guest services volunteers help with this.  Provide them with note cards and ask them to write the notes after they get all the guests checked in.

Here are some more tips on how to do this.

Follow Up Idea #3 - Send them a coupon they can redeem for a gift on their next visit.  In the link I just shared, if you look closely at the picture of the postcard, you'll see a coupon on it.  When they bring back the postcard, they can turn it in for a free t-shirt.

The average return rate for first-time guests is around 6-7%.  When we started using the coupon strategy, our return rate jumped up to 20-25%.  An added bonus was the t-shirt had our ministry logo on it, so it helped spread the word about our ministry when kids wore it to school, shopping, in their neighborhood, etc.

If you can't or don't want to do a t-shirt, consider options like candy, a bracelet, movie ticket, etc. 

Follow Up Idea #4 - Host a guest reception right after the service.  When guests check their kids in, invite the family to a reception that will be held in their honor right after the service.  Make the reception a casual, come and go experience.  Have snacks available.  Have some staff and key volunteers present to greet families and spend time getting to know them. 

Follow Up Idea #5 - Call them.  Within 24 hours, give guests a quick call.  Make it simple with no pressure.  Thank them for coming.  Ask if they have any questions.  Ask how you can pray for their family.  Invite them to come back. 

Follow Up Idea #6 - Find out one of their favorite items and send it to them.  A big key in follow up is making sure the family knows you are taking a personal interest in them.  You want to make sure they feel like more than just another family on a list.

Train your volunteers to do this - when new families are checking in, casually ask questions to find out more about them.  How long have you been in the area?  What do you do for a living?  What kind of candy do the kids like?  What sports or other activities are the kids involved in?  What's your favorite thing to do as a family.

Use what you learn to create a special gift for the family.  Perhaps it's a basketball for the kids or a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant or one of their favorite candy bars.  You may not be able to do this for all guests.  Select a few key guests you want to focus on for this step.  Do for the few what you wish you could do for the many.  The return on the investment can be huge.

Follow Up #7 - Start an exciting new series.  Start a new, relevant teaching series the next week for parents.  Begin a new, fun kids' series the next week.  When you plan this, think about the needs of today's kids and families and base your series on this.

Follow Up Idea #8 - Drop off a gift at their house.  On Sunday afternoon, have someone stop by their house and drop off a batch of chocolate chip cookies or a cake or brownies, etc.  Include a personal note with it.  Don't try to "get inside" their home like you're Jehovah Witness.  Just a quick thanks for coming, do you have any questions and we'd love to have you come back for a second visit. 

Follow Up Idea #9 - Send them a text message.  Did you know 98% of text messages get read?  If you want to get a short message to guests, you can't beat that percentage! 

Follow Up Idea #10 - Leverage social media.  The vast majority of parents are on social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  This is another great way to connect with them.  Send them a message through these avenues.
                                                                                           
Bonus follow up idea - Set up a picture spot.  Have a professional photographer take families' pictures and email it to them afterwards along with your follow up info.  You can also have picture props the families can hold with your ministry logo on it.  Families will take the picture and many times post it to their social media outlets. 

I would encourage you to think over this list as you leverage Easter to reach new families for Christ.  Keep in mind that today's kids and families have hundreds of messages coming at them every day.  To get break through the noise and capture their attention, you'll have to be strategic in your follow up.

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are some other ideas for Easter follow up?  Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.

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