If you had to rate your Assimilation process on a scale of 1 to 10 what would it be?
Are you connecting 50% of your visitors? Are you adding new members every year?
If so, maybe your assimilation process is an 8 or 9.
Or, are you struggling to connect visitors? Maybe you don’t have enough volunteers to help follow up with guests? Or your next steps aren’t clear? Or maybe your guests attend a service or two but never join your church? Your follow up is most likely a 1 or 2.
If you rated your assimilation process below 7 don’t worry you’re not alone.
In a recent poll I conducted, the average rating for assimilation was a 5. So out of 10 churches, at least 6 would rate their follow-up a 5 or below.
7 years ago I would have rated our assimilation a 0. Or a -10.
The Worst Assimilation Process Ever
When I took over the discipleship department we had a terrible follow up process. If you could call it that. Every Thursday we had a team who would call new commitments to Christ.
We never called first time visitors. It was as if they did not exist. Horrible right!
So we started sending out a welcome email. One lonely little email. No wonder it would take so long to connect a visitor.
But then we started to try things – in our effort to strengthen our assimilation.
Stop struggling with your Assimilation!
Most churches I know struggle with their Assimilation process. The reason is that they do one of two things with their follow-up process.
- Send one email, send one snail mail letter, make one phone call and then are done. The problem is that it takes more than one email or one letter to build a connection with your visitors. In fact, marketers say that it takes at least 7 touches to build trust. One touch is simply not sufficient.
- The second strategy churches typically implement is they attempt to call every first time guest or manually email every first time guest. Most churches don’t have the staff or volunteer base to keep this up. So as the amount of first time guests increase, their ability to follow up decreases. The reason – not enough staff or volunteer teams to keep up with the growth.
Perhaps there is a better way. I want to show you how to connect more guests in less time.
But first let me share with you the goal of follow-up.
The Goal of Follow Up
The goal of effective follow-up is building trust. Yes – trust.
- Visitors who trust your church become attendees.
- Attendees who trust your church become members.
- Members who trust your church become disciples.
So how do you build trust? As I mentioned earlier, it takes 7 touches to build trust.
That could be a combination of 7 emails, text messages, video greetings, and phone calls.
Ain’t No Body Got Time For Follow-Up
In a recent coaching call I shared the idea of 7 touches with a pastor and the response was,
“I don’t have staff and have limited volunteers – I don’t know how to manage 7 touches when I’m struggling with just one touch.”
What that Pastor needs, what you need, is an effective follow-up strategy.
The Secret to Effective Follow-up
Depending on the size of your church, your needs may vary.
- If you’re a church of 50 members, you need a process that can help you follow-up even if you don’t have enough staff or volunteers.
- If you’re a church of 500 members, most likely you are on the cusp of growing but lack the resources to get to the next level. You need to start creating processes that can help you do more in less time without costing you an arm and a leg.
- If you’re a church of 5,000 members, you need a tool that will help you get through the volume of first time visitors.
I know the secret that can help any pastor overseeing a church of any size.
So what’s the better way? What is the secret to effective follow-up?!
Pause for effect…
The secret to effective follow-up is – AUTOMATION.
Automation is simply operating a process by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.
To quote Scrooge McDuck, automation is “working smarter, not working harder.”
The benefits of automating your assimilation includes:
- Minimum effort to get maximum results.
- Reduces your work efforts from nearly 3-4 hours to only 30 minutes a week.
- Cost effectiveness! The tools for automation are not going to break the bank.
My favorite tool is…
Allow me to introduce you to Convertkit
Convertkit is an email marketing program. It’s the main tool I use to follow-up.
Its features are perfect for creating an email follow-up system.
Before I show you how to use Convertkit, let me just highlight some of the features.
- Email Sequence – An email sequence is a list of emails that have been previously written and repeated for every new visitor. Convertkit calls this a course. If you have 6 emails in a sequence, think of it as 6 chapters to a book.
- Automation – You can set up Convertkit to handle tasks without you. It’s one of my favorite features because it means stuff gets done without me. Here is an example of automation:
You send your First Time Visitor 4 follow-up emails.
The fourth email is an invitation to your membership class.
The invitation includes a link – that when clicked automatically registers the guest into the membership class.
The visitor clicks the link – immediately receives a registration confirmation.
The day before the first class the guest receives an email reminder.
After each class the guest receives an email reminding them of any next steps.
These reminder emails get sent for the duration of the class.
The best part – this all happens without you lifting a finger.
- Subscribers – People who have signed up to your email list. For our purposes, just think of subscribers as the First Time Visitors you’ll be following up on.
- Broadcast – This is an email that is sent alone. A broadcast is not a part of a sequence of emails. Convertkit uses a pretty easy email editor.
How I use Convertkit
Convertkit has saved me time and energy by making follow-up easier. If you’d like to see how I utilize CovertKit, plus learn the 6 steps of Automating your Assimilation then join me on Thursday, Feb. 4th @ 3pm for my next Webinar:
“How To Automate Your Assimilation Even
If Your Allergic to Technology”.
Click the image to below to register.
I can personally attest to how Convertkit has transformed the way I make contact with first time guests. And it doesn’t just stop there. Convertkit helps me manage the way I stay in touch with people from the moment they fill out a visitor’s card and continually throughout their journey as attendees and members.
I don’t want to just share about Convertkit, I want you to experience the way that it will help you work smart and work less! So don’t forget to register for the free webinar.