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How to Build a Text Messaging Strategy for Your Church

How to Build a Text Messaging Strategy for Your Church

Did you know 85% of churchgoers are willing to receive text messages from their church? With the many benefits for your church from texting, having a large database of opt-ins is a powerful tool. You can collect opt-ins through a number of ways: 

  • Forms on the church website
  • Mentions in emails
  • Social posts
  • Promoting it during church announcements
  • Including it in visitor packets
  • Mentioning it in church bulletins

 

type of texts to send

Now that you have your list of opt-ins, what are you going to send them? We find that text message marketing tends to fall under six different categories. We’ll explore each of those.

Invitations: to church events, to special events, to fundraisers, etc.

Announcements: about new events, changes in service times, or cancellations, and for special events like holidays and guest speakers.

Encouragement: prayer, updates, inspiring scripture, etc.

Highlights: sermon teasers, relevant Bible verses, and devotionals.

Requests: prayer requests, asking for feedback like questions or polls, and encouraging donations.

Connection: volunteer requests, greetings, or simply to say “thank you.”

 

examples of texts

Here are some examples of text messages that we've found effective in church marketing.

text-example-6
text example 1
text example 2
text example 3
text example 5

Use links to point to featured web content, forms, meeting links, donation pages, and more. You can also add graphics to your text to create visual interest or include more details than you would in the body of the text itself.

 

texting best practices

Keep it relevant. Create separate lists for different audiences. Text relevant info to each list as it pertains to them. For example, congregation members with children may be interested in particular events that elderly members of your church may not be interested in. Be sure you're sending the right message to the right list of subscribers.

Be consistent. Stay in frequent contact with your subscribers and on a consistent cadence. A flurry of texts from your church and then not hearing about it again for six months is a little inconsistent and may lead people to believe that you're not serious. Once you choose to use text messaging, be sure to use it regularly.

Be responsive. Respond to inbound messages ASAP, especially prayer requests for questions. People like to feel like they're being heard and that they have a true relationship with their church. When people write back to you, let them know they've been heard and that you appreciate their response.

Encourage replies. You can drive engagement by asking questions, asking for responses, and starting conversations.

Use multiple lists. Breakdown your texting lists into smaller groups which will get texted far more frequently. For example: church members only, pastors, small groups, volunteers, etc..

Strategize your frequency. The larger the recipient group, the less frequent text should be sent, but focused lists are more intimate and should be texted more often.

Stay within the limits. A standard text message is limited to 160 characters. Stay within this limit as often as possible or your message can be split into two messages for recipients. That's not necessarily a bad thing but multiple messages all at once could be a little annoying.

Personalize your messages. Include your church name or a signature so people know who the message is from. This is especially important if messages might come from youth group leaders, different pastors, or administrators within your church. People want to know who they're speaking with.

Be visual, but don’t go overboard. While you should limit the use of emojis or special characters, graphics and images are encouraged.

 

texting tools, tips, & tricks 

The technology is out there to support interesting features and capabilities that greatly enhance your text marketing program. Things that you may want to explore include:

  • 2-way SMS/MMS texting
  • Mass texting
  • Designated number
  • Dedicated short codes
  • Opt-out automations
  • Link shortener and tracker
  • Keywords
  • Recurring texts
  • Text scheduling
  • Automations
  • Web signup forms
  • and more!

If this sounds like a lot, don't stress. There are many powerful programs to utilize with extensive features. Some options include:

  • EZ Texting
  • Sakari
  • Salesmsg
  • and many more.

Rates vary slightly but most church’s texting needs can be met for less than $100 per month.

 

Rethinking Evangelism®

Our team is passionate about helping churches grow. Our blog talks about ways to build and reinforce your community’s gut feelings about your church – so be sure to follow along for more tips, tricks, and advice. Subscribe so you don’t miss out!

If SMS is something you’re interested in, but you don’t have the capacity to take this on yourself, we’re happy to work directly with your church. Simply contact us to start the conversation.

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