Email is a popular way to promote upcoming events, share announcements and updates, build community, and encourage involvement in church life. However, email campaigns can be ineffective or even harmful if they are not well-crafted. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 email mistakes you might be making and how to fix them. By following these steps, you can ensure that your campaigns are effective and engaging.
1. You aren’t effectively capturing email addresses from congregants.
Your emails aren’t going to reach the right people if your email list is out of date. Remove email addresses that bounce back and make sure new email addresses are added as they are received. Grow your email list by setting up multiple opportunities for congregants to provide contact information. Ask new members for their contact info as they sign up for your mailing list and give people the opportunity to provide an email address on your website, in worship services, on forms they fill out, and at events. The more interested people you can send emails to, the better.
2. You’re sending too many emails.
Email is a very important communication tool but sending too many emails gives a spammy impression and will cause congregants to lose interest. In fact, a study by Campaign Monitor found that 43% of email subscribers say they unsubscribe from brands or announcements because they send too many emails. So, what’s the solution? First, only send emails to people who have opted in to receive them. Next, look at how many emails you send on a regular basis and think about whether you might be reaching out too often. Ask yourself, “Would I want to hear from my church this much or would fewer emails work just as effectively?” If your Open Rate (the amount of people who open your emails) is low, you might want to consider scaling back the frequency or changing the cadence of your campaigns. Finally, make sure each email you send has a specific purpose and is valuable to your recipients.
3. You aren’t emailing congregants enough or at all.
Alternatively, not reaching out to congregants enough can hurt your strategy just as much as emailing them too often. In today’s digital age, email is one of the most effective ways to stay in touch with members of your church. By regularly sending updates and announcements, you can ensure that everyone is always in the loop. And the best part is that you can do it for free! If your church isn’t already taking advantage of this powerful tool, now is the time to start. If you’re unsure of how to begin, you can always send a quarterly newsletter email letting your members know what the church has accomplished recently. You should be proud of what your church does for its congregants and community, and your church family wants to know about it so they can be proud, too!
4. Your email title doesn’t stand out or generate interest.
In a crowded inbox, recipients are quickly scrolling through and only stopping to read messages with headlines that grab their attention. Make every title count so that your campaigns don’t get lost in the clutter. Avoid using generic phrases like "Church Update" or "News from Our Ministry." Instead, be specific and concise, using language that will resonate with your readers. Additionally, try to include a sense of urgency or excitement in your headlines to encourage people to open the message right away.
5. Your graphics and animations are too big or not optimized.
It’s not worth adding visual interest to your email if it’s going to negatively impact the user experience. While visuals can be eye-catching, they can also cause problems for people who are viewing the email on certain devices or have a slow internet connection. Either use graphics and animations sparingly or test out your emails on different devices to make sure they look the way you want them to before sending them out. Lastly, remember that graphics and animations are not always necessary!
6. Your call to action isn’t clear.
Every email you send out should have a reason, especially if you are trying to get the reader to complete some sort of action. Do you want them to click on a link or donate to a cause? Be sure to spell that out clearly and give instructions that are easy to follow. For example, if you want readers to register for an event, make sure that registration link is included, labeled clearly, and easy to find.
7. You aren’t triple-checking and revising your emails.
Churches should always make sure that their emails are grammatically correct and concise. Emails that are repetitive and riddled with errors reflect poorly on the church and make it difficult for people to understand your message. Instead, take care to proofread emails and go over them more than once to fix errors and remove unnecessary phrases. This will ensure that every email is conveying the right message in as few words as possible.
8. Your tone does not reflect your church’s brand.
Make sure your messages are aligned with your church’s brand and personality, so that you don’t confuse your members. Can you be more playful and use jokes and slang or does your church leadership tend to use a more serious and reverent tone? Understanding the context of the individual email is equally important. Is your email referring to a joyous event or a current event that is negatively impacting your congregation? Your phrasing should reflect the given circumstance.
Regardless of your church’s voice, you can never go wrong with messages that come from an uplifting and grateful place. Do this by showing gratitude for your congregants and sharing the church’s impact related to the subject of the email.
9. You’re not tracking analytics.
We mentioned Open Rate earlier in this blog post, but there are several other ways you can measure the success of your email campaigns. It’s important to know who is opening your emails and clicking on your links. Use analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not and use this valuable information to improve your email strategy. Here are a few other important metrics to consider:
Bounce rate – how many email addresses ‘bounced’ or didn’t receive an email
Clickthrough rate – how many people clicked on a link in your email
Abuse reports/ spam complaints – how many people marked your email as spam
Unsubscribe rate – how many people unsubscribed from receiving future emails
10. You’re not making it easy for people to unsubscribe.
When a reader wants to unsubscribe from your emails, you should make the process easy to prevent aggravation and a negative impact on your church’s brand identity. Make sure the unsubscribe button is clearly visible and takes the reader to the correct link. Additionally, on the unsubscribe page, briefly ask why they are unsubscribing, as that information might help you change up your strategy down the line.
Email is still one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience but optimizing your email strategy can be a challenge. From designing beautiful emails to making sure they land in inboxes, there's a lot to think about. At The Church Online we are Email Marketing Experts, and we specialize in helping churches get the most out of email campaigns. If you're looking to take your strategy to the next level, reach out to us today. We'd be happy to help you achieve your goals.
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