Is Direct Mail a Part of Your Church’s Communication Strategy?

The number of potential ways that church leaders can communicate with their people can be staggering at times. Email blasts, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your own website, billboards, flyers, postcards, smoke signals … pony express … list this goes on and on!

In the midst of all those channels I’m still a big believer in well done direct mail being an effective part of the mix of tools used to communicate to your people. According to a recent study done by the USPS 98 percent of people bring in their mail the day it’s delivered, and 77 percent sort through it immediately.  When was the last time your people sorted through all their emails?   How many social media status updates go unread simply because people weren’t online the moment you posted it?

In an increasingly “digital” world … old fashion direct mail has an increased value as a tool churches should leverage.  People have moved their communication to online channels so often it’s only bills arriving in their mailboxes. This creates an “urgency” for people to sort through the mail … and you get to insert the “positive message” of your church adjacent to the “negative message” of all those bills!  Context is a powerful way to focusing people on what you are saying!  Here are some more benefits of well executed direct mail being a part of your strategy:

  • Tangible // Your mailing takes up space in the homes of the people you’re sending it to.  How can you design it in such a way that it will linger for a while rather than just end up in trash? What “space” can you design the piece to occupy once it arrives?  Are you sending them a few invite cards for your next series and asking them to keep them in their car as a tool to invite friends? Is it a fridge magnet reminding your parents about the important dates in the student ministry?
  • Targeted // Your database tells you a lot about the people in your church.  Rather than just “broadcasting” the same message to everyone you can leverage that data to send different people different direct mail pieces.  You can send a letter to people who you know were in a small group last semester asking them if they will be attending again this coming semester while at the same time mailing people who aren’t in a group information on how to get plugged into one. Leverage the fact that you are focus your pieces to wide variety of audiences in your church.
  • Cost Effective // Every church leader is looking for ways to stretch their communication dollars farther. Start by sending a series of postcards to your people which are pennies to print and deliver.  In comparison to other forms of “advertising” this is an inexpensive way to get the message out.  The economies of scale are nice with direct mail as well … generally the more you print the less expensive each piece is to print and send!

Where have you seen direct mail used effectively in a church communications strategy?  I’d love to hear about it!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Mr. Steven Finkill — 01/15/13 11:09 am

This is an interesting article. I do a lot of work on communication and this helped me think about direct mail from a different perspective. Good stuff!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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