The Invitation is in the Mail
Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan
In Chapter 36, “Invite Your Church to Invite Their Friends,” we discuss the importance of personal invitations in growing your church. We’ve found through surveys that the vast majority of people visited our services for the first time because they received a personal invitation from someone they knew.
At the same time, we’ve also succeeded in attracting guests by mail¬ing postcards promoting new weekend series. The scope of the mailings depends on the nature of the series. If the series is targeted to encourag¬ing or challenging people who are already attending, we mail the post¬cards only to people already on the church mailing list. But if the series is targeted to people who don’t yet attend church, we broaden the mailing list to include more of our community. Even though the response rate to direct mail is low, this serves to familiarize the community with our church. This familiarity makes people more receptive to a personal invita¬tion at a later time.
A second important reason for printing postcards is to have them on hand for people in the church to give to their friends and families. These postcards have captivating graphics on the front and carefully crafted promotional informa¬tion on the back to encourage people to check out our services for the first time. (For informa¬tion on writing captivating promotional copy, see Chapter 79, “Who Cares?”)
The postcards always include critical infor¬mation such as a map to the church, the telephone number, the Web address, service times, children’s ministry infor¬mation, a summary of the series, and a list of the message titles and the dates they’ll be offered. This makes inviting people to church convenient and increases the likelihood that people will accept the invitation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people driving into our church parking lot with that postcard in their hands. They’re obviously using it to find the church and make sure they arrive at the right place at the right time.
If you’re planning on using direct mail to promote your ministry, here are a few tips that our communications team has picked up along the way:
· Acquire address lists. In addition to using your own mailing list, you can purchase lists for your community. Either check the Yellow Pages for mailing-list companies or find fulfillment houses (companies that pro¬cess bulk mailings) that will sell you lists. Other places to check are your local newspaper or online companies. For example, we’ve used Mailing List Solutions (www.mailinglistsolutions.com).
· Target the mailings. One of the advantages of direct mail is that you can target your bulk mailings. You can narrow your target based on many variables, including such factors as distance from the church, ZIP codes, occupations, and children in the home. You can even target homes with pets if you’re planning a big canine outreach. I know…that idea is for the dogs.
· Use bulk mailings. Check with your local post office about the advantages of bulk mailings when you’re trying to reach 200 or more people within the same ZIP code. You’ll get a discount on post¬age, but delivery may be slower. Test it out. You may find that it makes sense to use bulk mailings for some ZIP codes but you need to use first-class postage when mailings are time-sensitive.
I hope these tips will increase your success in getting the word out about your ministry. Remember, the key is to increase the likelihood that people will say yes to a personal invitation. A simple postcard is one way to not only acquaint your community with your ministry but also equip your people to more effectively invite their friends. —Tony
The above article, “The Invitation is in the Mail” was written by Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan. The article was excerpted from chapter 45 in their book, Strategic Growth.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”