More emails? It’s the digital age. We seem to be swamped with online communication. Yet for many of us, it’s our main source of information for work, event invitations, and upcoming sales at our favorite retailers. If your church wants to communicate consistently and effectively with your parishioners, email marketing could be a good fit for you.
Think Out(look)side the Box
“Marketing” may sound more corporate than you’re used to. But it’s simply getting the word out about the causes and needs that matter most to your parish. When we talk about email marketing in this blog, we mean email communication that’s sent to a large number of recipients at your parish. This communication is created through an email marketing platform (more on that below). It is not:
- A text-only email sent from Outlook, Gmail, or another platform
- A PDF attached to an email message
- A one sentence email with a link to the relevant section of your website
E-newsletters or fundraising appeals don’t translate well coming from traditional email platforms like Outlook or Gmail. Sending mass emails repeatedly from the same address can get you flagged for spam by your internet service provider. Your inbox will be the resting place of all bounce backs and out of the office auto-replies. The design options are limited, and you have no way of knowing how many people read the email or clicked on your “donate now!” link.
Store Relevant Data
Once you upload your contact list, your email marketing tool stores the information for you. You can further sort your contacts into relevant lists. Have you split up your campaign mailers into different giving levels? Put those same givers into email lists. Do you know who has their children enrolled in religious education? Add them to a list. If someone wants to unsubscribe from e-updates, they can do so within the email itself and the platform logs it automatically.
Know What Works
Nonprofits, bloggers, and marketers want to know who read an email and whether or not they clicked to “learn more” or “sign up today.” Why doesn’t your church? Email marketing tools track the analytics of your emails — open rates, failed addresses, and clickthroughs. It’s an easy way to track what’s engaging to your parishioners. From there, you can tailor your communications accordingly.
For certain important messages, there’s no replacing the gravitas of a paper letter. Capital campaigns or formal events deserve a formal invitation to give or to attend. However, follow-up reminders can just as easily be sent online. Imagine an email that goes out several days after the capital campaign mailer is set to arrive. Or imagine a smaller campaign or event, something you want every parishioner to see and seek more information about. These notifications can be sent in a catchy, compelling email. When you factor in printing and postage cost, an email marketing campaign costs pennies on the dollar.
Design Something Compelling
You don’t need to know computer coding or have a graphic design degree to send an attractive email! Most email marketing tools offer a variety of high-quality, pre-designed templates. You can easily adjust the colors, images, and text. Many offer the option to drag and drop new content blocks. This means being able to embed a video, create a new button, or add a new area of text.
Email marketing can be a great way to capture your parishioners’ attention and highlight the most important events in your parish. They’re a great supplement to the church bulletin for your more technologically minded parishioners. In the next Catholic Tech Talk, we’ll compare multiple email automation platforms to help you find the right fit for you.