Easter is just around the corner which means you'll have guests walk through the doors. This gives you a great opportunity to see them come back and become part of your church family. But seeing them move from guest to family won't happen without intentional follow-up.
There are 5 keys to effectively following up with Easter guests. Let's dive into them.
Key #1 - A great first experience. Follow up starts when guests first walk in your church doors. How they are treated and how you make them feel on their first visit will largely determine if they return or not. Without a great first experience, the rest of these keys will fall flat. Here are some ways to give guests a great first experience.
Key #2 - Make it personal. If you send a follow-up email, make sure it's not just a mass email addressed to "Dear Friend" or "Dear Guest." If you call them, don't use an automated phone call system. Use their name. The sweetest sound to any guests is their own name.
One easy way you can make it personal is by intentionally mentioned something personal that lets the guest know you were personally thinking about them. An example would be sending them a handwritten note that addresses them by name and says something that is unique about them.
Another great way to make it personal is by having a guest reception after the service. Invite guests to come to an area where staff and key volunteers are available to meet with them, talk with them, get to know them and answer any questions they may have. Have some light finger foods or desserts available. Food will cause guests to stick around and talk with you longer.
Key #3 - Make it timely. Stats 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, having held extra services, special events like Easter egg hunts, musicals, etc. It's important to get some rest after the big weekend, but make sure you leave margin for timely follow-up.
Key #4 - Keep it balanced. Have you ever been in a store, perhaps at a car dealership, where the salesman crowds you? You end up feeling smothered, don't you? As you follow-up with guests, don't do this. You want to be personal, but not pushy. You want to be caring, but not overbearing. You want to be interested in them, but not interfering to the point where you disrupt their family (like showing up at their house unannounced). You want to be welcoming, but not to the point where it makes them feel weird.
Key #5 - 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 is a great idea. I have also planned special family events or experiences a week or so after Easter. This gave us a great experience to invite families back to. And if you can get them back the second time, there is a great chance they will become regular attenders.
Another great way to invite guests back is offering them a special gift on their next visit. In this post, I share a creative way we did this that helped us see 18-20% of guests return. The national average is only 7%.
Your turn. The floor is yours. What are you doing to follow-up with Easter guests? What have you seen work? What are some new follow-up ideas? Share your thoughts with everyone in the comment section below.