Effective, Easy and Personal Guest Follow-Up

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You have a guest family visit your church.

You give them a great experience.

And you feel really good about them coming back.

But they don’t…at least not 7 or 8 times out of 10.

The average church retains 15-20% of guests.

If  guests return for a second visit, the retention rate jumps to 50% and at 3 visits it moves even higher to 70-80%.

So figuring out how to get a 2nd and 3rd visit is the key to guest retention.

And in retention there’s 2 parts that are equally important: 1) The experience you give 1st-time families on Sunday and 2) how you follow-up with 1st-time families during the following week.

(I’ve written a post on giving 1st-time families an awesome experience on Sunday, which you can check out here: 3 Ways to Move 1st-Time Guests to Regular Attenders)

This post is all about the follow-up side.

Our philosophy for follow-up, just like in-person, is all about personal touch.

The question we asked was: How can we let families know that we noticed they were there and thank them (for many just showing up at a church building is a huge deal) in a personal way?

We didn’t want to do phone calls because (at least in our area) people don’t like phone calls from people they don’t know.

We didn’t want to show up at their door because it’s time-consuming and most people don’t like strangers showing up at their doors unannounced.

We didn’t want to send a card in the mail because our goal is to follow-up within 24 hours, it’s too impersonal if we don’t hand write it, and it’s too time-consuming if we do hand write it.

So that left us with 2 mediums: email and text.

Email Guest Follow-Up

We send out an email to parents every Sunday afternoon that recaps what we talked about in Kid’s Church and has a helpful parenting article (Here’s a link to an email we’ve sent: Parent Email).

So on Monday, I take a copy of that parenting email and forward it from my personal church email account to each new family.

I include 3 things: the parents’ names, the kids’ names, and my name.

Here’s an example of what I say: “Hi [parent’s names], I’m Pastor Brandon, and I work with families at Centerpointe Church. I just wanted to let you know we loved having [kid’s names] in Kid’s Church yesterday. I hope they had a great experience! I also wanted to give you a copy of this week’s parent email, so you can connect with your kids about what they learned in Kid’s Church.”

And then the rest of the email is the same as we send to every other family in the church.

It’s that simple, and it’s really effective.

More times than not, the parents will email back and thank me for forwarding the email to them.

Text Guest Follow-Up

If and only if we didn’t receive a response to the forwarded email, we send a text Saturday morning around 10.

It includes the same 3 things as the email: parents’ names, kids’ names, and my name.

Here’s an example: “Hey [parent’s name], this is Pastor Brandon from Centerpointe. Just wanted to let you know it was awesome having [kids’ names] in church last Sunday. All month we’re talking about [current month’s theme], and I wanted to personally invite you guys back.”

Again, simple, but also really effective.

Again more times than not parents respond by thanking me for the invitation.

With this simple strategy of a personal email and personal text (if they don’t respond to the email), we’ve seen a huge increase in 1st-time guest retention.

Your follow-up process doesn’t have to be the same as outlined here, but if you don’t have 1 in place, I challenge you to start thinking about it.

If you do have a follow-up process in place, what does it look like? Would you recommend any additions or changes to what we do? I’d love to hear you feedback!

And as always, if this was helpful to you, you can help me by hitting the share button below or on Facebook.

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Brandon Horst

I am passionate about family, especially my amazing wife, Hannah, my daughter, Emery, and my son Tristan. I am also passionate about helping Family Ministry Leaders lead better. I love new ideas, innovation, and collaborating with other leaders to make those ideas and innovations better. I currently serve as the Next Gen Pastor at Centerpointe Church in Fairfax, VA.

Comments

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Brandon Horst

I am passionate about family, especially my amazing wife, Hannah, my daughter, Emery, and my son Tristan. I am also passionate about helping Family Ministry Leaders lead better. I love new ideas, innovation, and collaborating with other leaders to make those ideas and innovations better. I currently serve as the Next Gen Pastor at Centerpointe Church in Fairfax, VA.

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3 Responses

  1. Jeremy says:

    Great thoughts! What texting service do you use for the new families? Do you include that on their registration card (i.e. Can we text you?) or do you just do it? Thanks!

    • Brandon Horst says:

      We use something called Mighty Text. It’s $5/month and allows you to schedule messages ahead of time, so you can take care of weekend texts during the work week. On the registration sheet underneath their number we explain that they will receive 1 text/week and have a check box that says “no thanks” if they don’t want to receive anything.

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