Few things are more complicated than encouraging people to hand over their personal information. The person must be compelled to fill out the connect card, digital or otherwise. It is a fine mixture of gently asking for and kindly sharing information while, most importantly, showing the church cares for them. Leveraging a texting platform can make the barrier to connection easier for guests and regular attendees alike.
Opting-in still relies on the individual to decide to share their information with your church. This isn’t any different than encouraging them to fill out a connect card, except we’re only asking them to text in to the church’s number. They only need to be willing to share their phone number- not even their name.
Ways to encourage Opt-Ins:
Take time to verbally announce the opportunity to text in during your church service announcements, sermons, at conferences, in videos, etc.
Use SMS QR Codes that make texting into the account number easy- they don’t even have to type a number, because the QR code does it all for them.
Invite prayer request submissions and follow-up.
A single line in the bulletin - “We’d love to welcome you! Text in [KEYWORD] to 888-XXX-XXXX.” Or “We’d love to pray for you. Text in your prayer request to 888-XXX-XXXX.”
Flyer/posters with the phone number and SMS QR codes placed near doors Encourage your church congregants to create new relationships and invite them to text in.
Use your social media accounts to encourage text-ins.
Add a call to action in your email newsletter- “We’d love to pray for you. Text in your prayer request to 888-XXX-XXXX.”
Encourage sign-ups at events but be transparent about how you use their information. We highly recommend using SMS QR codes. Their success was seen in the 2022 Super Bowl.
Other Tips for Opt-Ins
Cross promote - the best strategy is a multi-faceted one
Don’t just use one mode of communication to encourage opt-ins. Hit people from all sides in order to make your opportunities known to them.
Make your call to action clear
Keep it simple. Ask people to text your keyword to your phone number and let them know what they will get.
Motivate people by adding value
Because you are asking people to give you something (their effort, their time, and their phone number) motivate them to act by giving them something that’s valuable. A couple of ideas are something that either enriches their life (e.g., a helpful resource) or makes their life easier (e.g., simplifying sign up for an event).
Like at the start of any relationship, it’s important to remember to help them grow in their interaction by being respectful. When they choose to text in, they trust you with their phone number and likely their name. Take your time to build trust and a connection. Your goal is to guide them into relationships beyond text messages at your church.
Helpful guidelines for curating messages:
Pray for them!
Be relational, not transactional. Be kind and friendly with the intent of a long-term relationship.
Don’t ask for too much, and don’t send too many messages.
Encourage ways for them to connect with others at the church.
Be transparent by telling what they can expect, like how many messages they will receive over weeks.
Be patient & respectful - space messages days apart, and send them at reasonable times.
Think about how you would feel receiving these messages for the first time.
Making This Simple with the Gloo App
In the Gloo App, we have a First-Time Guest Follow-Up Kit to help you set up an automated response and ease your administrative burden. After the welcome message response from the pastor, it automatically sends a message a few days later asking how your church can pray for them. Then over several weeks, it provides information about your church, service times, and how they can create relationships with real people through your church’s activities. It simple, fast and best of all free!