Here are six steps to effectively follow up with Easter guests.
*Acknowledge your guest’s presence. Be sure to take time during the service to publicly acknowledge that there are guests in the service. Pointing out to your guests (in a non-threatening way) that you know they are with you is the start of effective follow up.
*Invite them to participate. Beyond just acknowledging that guests are with you, make sure you have a clear “call to action” during the service for them to respond to. Have something specific that you ask them to do … that doesn’t embarrass them! You may ask them to fill out a “Welcome” card that’s in your program and drop it off at the Information Center in the lobby where they can receive a gift. Choose your gift wisely. Be sure to pick something that your guests would really like. (don’t be chintzy when it comes to a gift. When we started putting a logoed t-shirt in a gift bag, many more guests stopped to pick one up.
*Follow up communication. On Monday when you send a follow-up email and a handwritten note (which will take a day or two to be delivered) make sure it’s not mass addressed to “Dear Friend” or “Dear Guest.
One way you can make it personal is by intentionally mentioning something that lets the guest know you were remember them. An example would be sending them a handwritten note that addresses them by name and says something that is unique about them like, “It was great meeting you at the door last Sunday”, or, “I hope your kids enjoyed children’s church)
If a new kid checks into your Children’s program, have your Children’s Director write out a special note or postcard for them. Nothing says welcome to a new family like having their kids honored with a kid friendly note in the mail.
*Don’t dawdle. Statistics show if you follow up with guests within 48 hours of their visit, the chance they will return goes up significantly. I know you’ll probably be exhausted after Easter, but make sure you have enough energy for timely follow-up.
*Give them a reason to come back. Many churches strategically plan special series or events the first few weeks after Easter. Starting a relevant teaching topic for adults or an exciting new series for kids the week following Easter. Another great way to invite guests back is offering them a gift on their next visit. In my follow up e-mails I would tell newcomers that I had a small gift awaiting them at the Welcome Center. I would buy in bulk paperback booklets on Christian living (usually under $1) and put a sticky note on the front of it with the newcomer’s name on it.
*Invite your newcomers to an upcoming reception. This gives you something to be talking to them about in all your other communications and provides a great next step for guests. I used to call mine “Pizza with the Pastor”
More follow up communication. In the middle of the week make a quick phone call to the newcomer thanking them for coming, seeing if they have any questions and inviting them to return. Its OK if you leave a voice mail if they are not available. At the end of the week send another e-mail inviting the newcomer to services that weekend. Be sure to include your message theme and an invitation to your upcoming newcomers gathering.
By making a habit out of these six steps you will create a system of follow up that will let your newcomers know that they are special and that you are eager (without being pushy)for them to return.