If your church wants to turn more visitors into members, consider using some online strategies. You know that a visitor-friendly church should encourage a welcoming atmosphere. But does your church extend its welcome online? Learn how you can use online forms to make collecting visitor information easier.
Start with Your Website
Many first-time church visitors evaluate a church well before Sunday rolls around. Your website needs to be informative, welcoming, and helpful. If you want to create a visitor-friendly feel, include a
New to our church? or
Welcome to our church! banner on your website.
Provide guests with all of the information they might need to feel comfortable: service times, parking, and childcare services. Include an online form so that they can ask your staff questions. Train staff to respond to visitor inquiries quickly and with a personal touch.
Respect Guests' Anonymity
Most visitors want to check out a church and remain anonymous. 63% of guests prefer to wait until at least the second visit to let anyone know they are visiting. Use non-threatening welcome strategies to respect their boundaries but still provide a way to connect with your church. For example, when pastors welcome first-time church visitors, they can offer to mail a simple church welcome letter to those who wish to connect. Assure guests that you aren’t going to use their information to bother them.Some churches give a gift bag at their welcome center that includes helpful information about your church and small gift items. You can also welcome church visitors with an online form. Simply set up a few tablets or laptops and ask visitors to share their contact info right there. Because Formstack creates mobile responsive forms, guests can use them on any device. Just invite visitors to fill out the form when they request their gift bag. You could even include a QR code that links directly to your visitor registration form.
Have Some Fun with Data Collection
Church hospitality isn’t just about getting a visitor’s email address. Use fun strategies to collect more information about your guests and members. Build online forms to survey visitors and members to let them vote on sermon topics. Has your church ever run a contest? Offer a fun prize to beef up your social media engagement. Data collection doesn’t have to be boring!
Make It Easy for Members to Invite Their Friends
They say word-of-mouth is the best advertising, and that goes for churches, too. Personal invitations are one of the top ways to encourage visitors to come to your church. Encourage your regular attenders to invite their friends, neighbors, and family. 41% of formerly-churched people would respond to an invitation from a friend or acquaintance to attend church.
Throw a special outreach event or sermon series to encourage members to extend an invitation. Create an online form in which your members can enter their own contact information as well as their friend’s name and email. Then, set up your form to send a confirmation email to the friend. Formstack lets you include information from the form, so it can automatically fill in their name and their friend’s name. You’ve created a customized church invitation letter!
In the email, you can also invite guests to subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on social media. Remember not to spam them; they need to opt in to communications from your church. Track your success by integrating your CRM with your Formstack account.
Always Follow Up
After a visitor provides their contact information, you have an opportunity to touch base with them. Recent research shows that 44% of religious organizations use confirmation emails. Church visitor follow up should be friendly, welcoming, and informative. A confirmation email is a great way to show guests how they can get involved.
Build an online form that allows visitors to select areas they would like to know more about. For example, a guest might select that they would like to be contacted by a pastor. Using email routing, you can send a notification email to the pastor with the pertinent details.
Create a survey to see how recent visitors perceive your church. You might be surprised to discover that no one greeted them or your restroom was out of paper towels. Follow up with a personal touch and evaluate the areas that might need to be adjusted.