Church postcards have to deliver warmth, welcome and a sense of inclusiveness in order to attract interest and, ultimately, fill your pews with new members. They must portray your church’s mission, but they also have to accurately reflect the personality of your congregation and service style. Is your liturgy highly traditional? Contemporary informal? Is there lots of spontaneous “audience participation”?
When you use postcards effectively, they set your church apart and build a comfortable rapport with prospects, so they can say “this one’s for me!”.Targeting your mailings properly enables your church postcards to do their best work for you. And targeting depends on your marketing goals.
Fill your pews for weekly worship on an ongoing basis, to grow your congregation.
For most organizations and businesses that use postcard marketing, the process of identifying targeting criteria to build their mailing list is relatively straight-forward – a pool service needs homeowners and apartment managers with pools, a dog boutique and grooming shop needs pet owners and a toy store needs households with kids.
For a church, though, the considerations are different. You cannot easily discern who is ready to receive your message and respond. They could live in any type of housing, be any age or ethnic background, or have any income. What you do know is that, statistically, people will travel only so far to attend church. So targeting your postcards geographically makes the most sense.
To attract new visitors year round, Every Door Direct Mail may be a good choice. As the name indicates, this USPS program allows you to inexpensively mail to every address within a specified area.
You also know individual motivations differ, and they are highly personal when it comes to choosing a church. Why does your postcard’s welcoming outreach “click” now with a particular postcard recipient?
- It could be they just moved here and are looking to join a new congregation. A “new resident” mailing list is perfect to reach these prospects. New people are moving in all the time, providing you with continuous, fresh opportunities to say “welcome to the neighborhood, we’d love to meet you in person.”
- It could be they want to change churches, or they’re searching for something to add meaning or a sense of belonging to their life. This could be anyone, at any time.
The common thread to reach each of these prospect types is continuous monthly mailings. Regular mailings build awareness over time, creating a sense of stability and trust. When your prospect is finally ready to “hear” your message, it is there for them.
Fill pews for special events or high Holy days such as Christmas and Easter.
In some ways, this is an easier “sell” for church postcards because more people are apt to attend services at these times even if you never see them in between. Successfully encouraging them to worship now gives you a chance to encourage them in person to return on a more regular basis. It also gives you a chance to interest them in one of your other church activities that particularly resonates with them, establishing an ongoing connection.
Short-term campaigns are ideal to promote special occasions. You’ll want to mail 3 or 4 specially-designed church postcards, about a week apart, to give recipients plenty of advance notice plus reminders.
Churches need to fill more than pews.
You may not have “pews” in your Sunday school, choir, Bible study classes, church mission volunteer group or youth summer programs, but you want to fill all those as well. Again, short-term campaigns are ideal to build interest and participation. You can use specially-targeted mailing lists to zero in on the most appropriate audience for each type of promotion (for instance, households with children to promote your youth programs).
When you combine ongoing mailings that invite prospects to worship with you with short-term targeted mailings, you’re using church postcards most effectively to fill your pews.