The New Visitor Freebie Follow-Up
Want to improve your church welcome follow-up sequence for new visitors?
Then you’re in the right place.
Because today I’m going to show you my church welcome new visitor follow-up system.
The best part?
This new visitor follow-up sequence contains exact word-for-word email copy that you can swipe and use at your church.
Here’s the deal:
Attracting new visitors to your church is not an easy process – and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
When a new family visits your church, you likely only have one shot at a church welcome and capturing their information.
Here’s the kicker: if you don’t capture a visitor’s information, it’s very possible that they leave your church – never to be heard from again.
This is why almost every church has a church visitor card of some kind – to capture new visitor information.
What’s more, churches will often provide a gift to visitors upon filling out their church welcome cards.
Think of it as an incentive.
But that’s just part of the story…
Because it leaves us with an unanswered question:
What is the best gift your church can give to new visitors?
The Best Church Welcome Gift
For several years, I’ve been disenchanted with the majority of gifts churches offer to new visitors.
Common examples include:
- Church merchandise like a branded hat or mug
- Downloadable music from your church worship band
- Gift cards or coffee beans
Now, don’t get me wrong, none of the examples listed above are poor church welcome options. I just think there is a superior option churches need to consider.
Here’s the bottom line:
Aside from collecting as many church visitor cards as you possibly can, there are three specific goals your church welcome follow-up sequence should aim to achieve with new visitors:
- Goal #1: Make a great first impression
- Goal #2: Initiate follow-up as soon as possible
- Goal #3: Put your new visitor in touch – personally – with your church’s pastor or another leader on your staff
So, how can we accomplish this?
Here’s my recommendation…
The $5 Donation
Rather than offering your new visitor a mug with your church’s logo on it, instead, I recommend pledging a $5 donation to a charity on behalf of your new visitor.
What’s more, allow your new visitor to choose the charity from a list of pre-approved options.
The secret is this:
By pledging a $5 donation to a charity on your new visitor’s behalf, it demonstrates that you are a generous church that is outwardly focused on the world and community – not just inwardly focused on your own self-interests.
Here’s the bottom line:
When you demonstrate to a new visitor that you are a generous church in your first interaction, not only does it make a great first impression (see goal #1), but it also establishes your church’s brand – a brand of generosity and care for others.
Branding ≠ Your church's logo on a mug Branding = What others think and say about your church
It gets better though…
Another reason I love the $5 donation pledge is that it invites your new visitor into the act of giving and allows them to choose which charity they wish to support.
This is key.
Don’t pre-select a charity ahead of time. Instead, choose a number of registered charities that your church is proud to support, and then allow your visitor to choose from that pre-selected list.
This sets a precedent with your new visitor that you are partners from day one.
You invite them into the act of giving to be an active participant.
Because this is what we want in our churches, right? Active participants who are involved – not passive spectators that just sit in pews.
This is the foundation for a memorable church welcome.
The Digital Connect Card
And we don’t stop there…
Now that we’ve determined the free gift we’ll be offering to new visitors in our church welcome, we need to talk about the connect card we’re going to be receiving from our new visitors.
Most importantly, we recommend prioritizing a digital connect card at your church.
This doesn’t mean you need to eliminate your physical church connection card. I wouldn’t recommend that. Instead, prioritize and highlight your digital connection card first and foremost.
Now, you’re probably wondering…how can I create a digital connect card?
Simply put, the best way I know is by using a tool called Nucleus.
Nucleus is a new kind of church website builder we built, and the big idea behind Nucleus is – next steps.
And the first next step most people will ever take at your church is filling out a connect card.
That’s the first point of contact.
To make this as easy as possible, Nucleus has a single-click template for church connection cards that will allow you to create a digital connection card with literally one click.
You don’t need any web experience or expertise to use Nucleus – in fact, it was designed with church staff and volunteers in mind. It’s that easy to use.
The 3-Step Digital Connect Card Strategy
Here’s how the digital connect card strategy works in three simple steps…
- Step #1: Use an in-service announcement to acknowledge new visitors and invite them to fill out your church welcome card online [Example: hopechurch.xyz].
Step #2: Hook up your digital church welcome card form to an email automation system like MailChimp. MailChimp is free and it directly integrates with Nucleus making this process incredibly easy – even for those who aren’t technologically inclined.
Step #3: Send a follow-up email within seconds after a new visitor fills out your digital church welcome card prompting them to choose their charity from your list of pre-approved options within the email.
By following this simple three-step process, you can speed up your new visitor gift and follow-up sequence faster than you ever could with a physical connect card.
Why is this important?
Because for most churches, the visitor follow-up process begins on Monday at the earliest – but often later in the week. And usually at that point, church is the farthest thing from a new visitor’s mind.
The daily stresses of life and the weekly grind have kicked in, and they’re that much less likely to respond to any follow-up your church is trying to initiate.
Remeber goal #2? Initiate follow-up as soon as possible.
Your church’s goal with follow-up should be to capitalize on the attention you have with this new visitor – on Sunday – preferably while they’re still in service.
SIDE NOTE: This follow-up sequence can still work with physical church welcome cards - it just requires extra administrative work and data entry from a volunteer or staff member. And again, this is why we prioritize and prefer the digital church welcome card. Not only is your follow-up with new visitors faster this way, but it's also less work for you and your staff. With that being said, if a new visitor does fill out the physical church welcome card and returns it to the lobby, that's fine too. Just make sure that the volunteer or staff person that collects all of these cards manually adds them to the new visitor email automation list before they leave on a Sunday. By doing this, the email follow-up is still triggered and you can reap all of the benefits of the The New Visitor Freebie Follow-Up even if a new person uses the physical connect card rather than the digital one.
Pre-Written Stage Announcement Script
To make this even easier, I want to give you pre-written email copy to use in the first follow-up email you send to new visitors – along with a pre-written announcement script that you can share from stage asking new visitors to fill out your connect card.
Let’s start with the in-service announcement:
Here’s what I recommend that you say – feel free to copy this script word-for-word and use it:
"If you're new with us at church today, I especially want to welcome you to Hope Church. We're so glad you're here. To celebrate, we'd love to pledge a $5 donation on your behalf to a charity of your choice. This is something we do every week here at Hope Church and it's a really simple process. Simply head to hopechurch.xyz and click on the I'm New card. From there, fill out the form and we'll send you an email asking which charity you wish us to donate to. And that's it. So again, take out your phone - you can do this right now - head to hopechurch.xyz, fill out the I'm New form, and we'll pledge that $5 donation before you leave church today."
And there you have it! That’s the announcement script I like to use.
Here are several things to note about this announcement script:
- I repeat our website URL twice to make it more memorable
- It helps to display a slide on your screen with the URL on it while you present this announcement from stage
- I set precise expectations for what I’m asking new visitors to do and what will happen if and when they do it. By fully explaining the process, I’m removing any uncertainty, thus, making it easier for a new visitor to take their next step.
- I explicitly ask visitors to take out their phones in service, because again, speed is our friend in this process. I don’t want new visitors to feel they need to wait to begin this process. Every word in this script intimates that this is a process to complete before you leave church.
Pre-Written Email Script
After a new visitor fills out your digital connect card, a follow-up email should trigger immediately.
Here is an exact word-for-word script for that as well:
"Hey *|FNAME|*!, This is Brady from Hope Church. Thanks for filling out our "I'm New" form! Here's what you need to know about Hope Church...We LOVE generosity. And we think one of the best ways to live like Jesus is to give. Knowing this, we'd love to make a $5 donation on your behalf to a charity of your choice. Simply reply to this email with your choice from the list of registered charities below - and we'll make a donation on your behalf! - Charity:water - Prevent Child Abuse America - American Foundation For Suicide Prevention - Boys & Girls Clubs Of America Talk soon! Brady Shearer Hope Church P.S. If you have ANY questions at all for me, *|FNAME|*, don't hesitate to ask. When you reply to this email it will be sent directly to me and I'll make sure to respond as soon as I can!"
Here are several things to note about this email script:
- It’s in this first email that we present our list of pre-approved charity options.
- This email should be sent from the church’s pastor (or leader) – not the church. By doing this, you’ll initiate a personal relationship with a real person on your staff. Now, your new visitor isn’t just a silent spectator sitting in a pew – but they’re being personally welcomed by your pastor.
- Pay careful attention to the P.S. segment at the end of the email. P.S. segments in emails are commonly the most read portions of the entire email, and so I dedicate this portion to inviting questions from a new visitor. Again, this is just another personal touch and a way to fast-track a real relationship between your church and a new visitor.
- By inviting your new visitor into the act of giving – where they actually need to select which charity they wish to give to – your new visitor is required to reply to your welcome email. When this takes place, your church’s sending email will be marked as a safe sender in this new visitor’s email inbox. Now, the next time you send an email to this new visitor because they responded to your first email, your future emails won’t land in the spam folder. This will also help contribute to a better overall email deliverability profile for your church.
The 3-Step Church Welcome Summary
Here’s a quick summary of The New Visitor Freebie Follow-Up…
Create an online connect card to use as your church’s primary connection card. By using Nucleus to do this, you can create a digital connect card with just a single-click using the pre-made Nucleus single-click template.
To see if Nucleus might be a good fit for you, head to www.nucleus.church and you can sign up for free.
Using a free tool like MailChimp, draft a follow-up email that will automatically be sent to new visitors that fill out your digital connect card. Nucleus has a direct integration with MailChimp to make this even easier.
Looking for a pre-written template?
Use the done-for-you email copy listed above.
When a new visitor replies to this email with their choice of charity, pledge a $5 donation to that charity on behalf of your new visitor.
Use the pre-written announcement script also shared above to promote your digital connection card each week.
Count The Benefits
When executed properly, the benefits of The New Visitor Freebie Follow-Up system are significant.
To recap, here are just a few of them:
- You’ll demonstrate to new visitors that you are a generous church that is outwardly focused on the world and community – not simply inwardly focused on your own self-interests
- You’ll be marked as a safe sender in a new visitor’s email inbox after they reply to the initial email you send. This will help contribute to a better overall email deliverability profile for your church and ensure that all future emails sent to this new visitor won’t end up in the spam folder.
- You’ll make a great first impression on new visitors and foster a church brand built upon generosity
- You’ll be able to follow-up with new visitors immediately – capitalizing on the attention your church has with them, rather than waiting later into the week when that attention has likely been lost
- You’ll minimize the data entry and administrative requirements of your staff each week thanks to the automation of your digital connect card sequence
- You’ll connect your new visitors to your church’s pastor in a real way while creating a space where they can ask any questions they may have