Published on November 27th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
Text Messaging For Churches: Why Do Churches Need Good Mobile Communications
Businesses and organizations are utilizing different strategies to communicate with their target audience to make communication easier for everyone. One of the most popular ways to reach out to customers and members is through social media. Although social media networking is an excellent way to boost engagement among followers, some people do not use social media at all.
Email marketing is also a viable option for organizations to communicate with their audience. However, the downside to email communication is that many people fail to read the email message in a timely manner. People miss important messages and information sent through social media, email, and instant messaging due to a lack of Internet connectivity.
Text messaging, on the other hand, allows the recipient to read the message instantly.
The Benefits of Text Messaging
SMS or text messaging is an effective way of communicating with customers, prospective clients, and members. Here’s why:
A text message is simpler and more convenient than creating an email message or creating content to post on social media. Text messages are not intrusive, which makes customers more comfortable receiving them.
Text messages have a higher open rate compared to emails. Most people have their SMS- enabled mobile phones with them anytime and anywhere they go. Social media posts and notifications, however, require Internet connectivity to be seen.
No Download Required
To receive messages through email or instant messaging, an app must be installed on a smartphone. The thing is, not everyone owns a smartphone, and some people are hesitant to install too many apps on their mobile phones. Basic phones can receive text messages as well as text-enabled landline phones.
Wider Audience Reach
Text messaging allows your organization to reach a more significant demographic, given the number of mobile users across the globe. Tech adoption is lower in seniors, so your message through social media channels or email will not reach them as quickly as SMS does. By implementing text message marketing together and digital marketing strategies, your organization will reach out to more people.
Easy to Share
Text messages are easier to share since you don’t have to open your email client or social media account to forward an important notification. You can easily send a message to your contact with a few taps on your mobile phone. Businesses and organizations benefit from word of mouth marketing, and consumers usually trust the recommendations of family and friends.
Sending a text message is more cost-effective than advertising on Facebook or Google. Startup businesses and non-profit organizations can implement text message marketing even on a limited budget.
Good Mobile Communication: How Churches Benefit from Text Messaging
The benefits of text messaging do not only apply to businesses. Text messaging for churches is an excellent way for religious organizations to grow and nurture their followers.
Here are the reasons why churches need excellent mobile communication like text message marketing:
1. Sending Reminders and Announcements
Text messages come in very handy when the church has important announcements and reminders to send. Churches usually are very busy due to various activities and gatherings planned out every month. However, there are unforeseen events that call for the cancellation of assemblies such as bad weather or unavailability of venue.
The best and most efficient way to reach out to followers is through text messaging. Why? Because text messaging is instant and has an immense open-rate. So whether a member of the church is on the bus without any Internet connection or at home preparing dinner for their family, they will receive and read the text message from the church. Text messaging is vital to ensure that your followers will quickly be notified for the following:
- Changes in time or location of worship service
- Invites for new church activities
- Reminders for upcoming church gatherings
- Announcements and updates on issues concerning the church
- Keep members safe during emergencies and disasters
2. Request Feedback to Improve the Church Services
Followers should be able to provide their feedback on the services of the church. Text messaging allows churches to request feedback from members quickly. When church members understand that their opinion is valuable, they remain loyal to the organization.
Churches should create a feedback-friendly culture to encourage honesty among its members. Asking members about their observations and constructive criticism is an excellent display of humility and leadership.
3. Request Donations
Churches can easily reach more followers when the organization needs help to assist a fellow member or people from other communities. We know that churches are involved in various charities and fundraising activities to help the less fortunate.
With text messaging, the request for donations will be received by church members in an instant. Since SMS has a higher open rate than other communication channels, the church can look forward to more donations from their members.
4. Gather Information Efficiently
Not all members can drop by the church office to confirm their attendance to an activity or gathering. Churches can also utilize text messaging to receive members’ answers to a survey or poll. All replies via SMS will be generated into a report for the church’s perusal. Text messaging allows churches to gather relevant information in an uncomplicated and straightforward manner.
5. Generate More Followers
For churches and other organizations to thrive, they must encourage more people to join. Text messaging is an excellent way to send invites and provide more information to potential members.
Sending a short message containing the link to the website of the church is a practical way of inviting new members. Once the text message gets the attention of the recipient, the person can access the website where longer content is available.
6. Inspire Members
People, nowadays, are so busy that reading an email message becomes a dreadful task. Email marketing is a viable option for organizations like churches who want to impart valuable and inspirational messages. However, with the higher read rate of text messages, it is the more practical and efficient way to communicate with church members.
Text messages do not have to be about church updates or announcements. But they can also be simple quotes to liven the spirit of the recipient. An inspirational message may be just what a member needs to read when he or she is having difficulty going through the day. Churches can also send short prayers that members will find comforting and uplifting.
7. Boost Church Attendance
Text messages feel more personal than an email newsletter. It allows the church to gently remind members and non-members to attend a church meeting or service. When the church is reaching out to a target audience, a text message is less intrusive than a phone call or email message. Some people hesitant to join a church service will be motivated to attend when they receive text reminders and notifications.
8. Send Thank You Messages
SMS is excellent for sending a thank you message to members who volunteered for charitable activity. The church can also send a message of appreciation to people who donated to a fundraising event.
Another fantastic way to utilize text messaging is by sending a note of thanks to someone who recently joined the organization. Text messaging services allow churches to express gratitude to members (and non-members) for their help to the organization.
9. Encourage Follow-Up Action
Text messaging is a simple but powerful way to encourage follow-up action. Since text messages are generally short, church members will have no reason to ignore them. Churches who send digital newsletters should send text notifications to encourage members to open their email. If the organization requires volunteers for an event, a text message is an excellent way to motivate members.
10. Save Money
Utilizing text messaging services is a cost-effective solution for religious organizations. It is often more expensive to run a digital marketing campaign than using a text messaging service provider.
Churches save a lot of money, which may be used for other critical organizational expenses. On average, each text message costs three to five cents, but packages for more significant volumes are usually available.
11. Personalized Messaging
Churches are allowed to personalize SMS with the help of a text messaging service. Members will not receive generic text messages, which helps establish a personal connection to the organization.
Whether the church is sending a birthday greeting to a member or merely a reminder for an upcoming activity, text messages can be customized to include the name of every member. Email messages can also be personalized, too. However, due to the lower click-through rate, many emails get ignored and moved to trash.
12. Nurture Relationships with Members
Communicating with members is the best way to build rapport and trust. Lack of communication is one reason why members leave their congregation. Members who do not feel valued will eventually abandon or disaffiliate themselves. However, when followers feel involved and valued, they become more loyal to their church.
Text messaging services allow bi-directional communication so that members can receive messages from their church and vice versa. A member who can send a prayer request through text to his church will likely be more satisfied than one who has to go down to the church office to make a request. Good mobile communication benefits churches and members alike.
Simple Text Message Marketing Tips for Churches
Now that you have learned why churches need text messaging, it’s time to know how churches and other religious organizations can implement simple yet effective text messaging strategies.
Always ask to opt-in
It is unethical to implement text message marketing without obtaining permission first. Send church members a simple opt-in message and wait for a response to opt-in.
Include a call-to-action
Text messages are more effective if there is a call-to-action for members. Instead of merely saying, “Please come to our annual fundraising event on Wednesday, 9 PM”, the message should encourage follow-up actions such as “Please come to our annual fundraising event on Wednesday, 9 PM. The first 20 attendees will receive a special gift!”
Gather relevant information
It is essential to collect the personal data of church members but can be very complicated, especially if there are many members distributed in different locations. Text messaging allows churches to gather members’ information such as their email addresses and birthdays. With these details, you can personalize all your succeeding messages.
Send timely text messages
Text messages should not only be relevant but they must also be time-sensitive. A text message informing about the cancellation of a church service is useless if the recipient receives it several minutes away from the scheduled gathering. Churches should send a text request for donations or volunteers ahead of time so that members can act on it before the deadline.
Keep messages short and simple
The reason why SMS is useful is that church members do not have to read through long messages. Keeping the SMS short and sweet ensures that members will read it from beginning to end.
Add relevant links
Getting the attention of members and non-church members can be difficult. But text messaging allows churches to capture the attention of readers by including short, inspirational messages from time to time.
Churches should also inform members about the different advocacies that the organization is involved in. As soon as their attention is yours, make sure to include the church’s email address, website address, official blog link, and social media accounts. Doing so encourages members and potential followers to read more about the church.
Text messaging is not only an efficient method in sending timely updates and church announcements, but it also encourages members to participate more. Churches need to be connected to their members even after attending service to remind them how valued they are to the organization.
Maintaining a two-way communication is the best way to nurture relationships with church members. Digital marketing strategies should also be implemented by religious organizations to reach out to and engage followers. However, text messaging is still the simplest and most effective method of mobile communication for churches.