Creating an Impressive First Impressions Plan

Since Christmas is coming and guests are going to flood into churches like crazy, it would be a good idea to make sure your first impressions plan is up to date. I mean, you don’t want to have to wait until the middle of the night with only two hours left to decide on a plan before you finally read it. You’d probably have a lot of handwritten notes on it that would be hard to decipher too.

Jarvis, the First Impressions Planning Pug wants to help you. So, let’s make sure you’ve thought through all of the touch points of your plan well in advance for the good of your visitors’ experience and your follow up. We don’t want anyone left out in the cold.

Cast Vision for Your First Impression Team

Gather your volunteers up and remind them of what won’t happen if they don’t do what God has called them to do. Sound harsh? It’s not. In fact, negative consequences motivate us to do a lot of things better.

We want to be healthy so we can avoid being fat. We want to avoid a speeding ticket, so we stay under the limit. We want our kids to get good grades, so we threaten to take away their internet pads.

When your team knows that this could be the only time some of these guests come to church every year, it raises the stakes. People will focus when there’s a lot to play for.

Create a Funnel of Touch Points

Jarvis, the First Impressions Plan Pug says you should decide how a guest is going to interact with your church during their entire experience. Let’s call it a path that includes several “touch points.”

Here’s a typical touch point funnel:

Finds us on social media

Visits website

Curb appeal/impression (can I see it from the road?)

Parking Lot/signage

Greeters at entrance

Lobby impression/signage

Ushers (helpful?)

Seats and people around (will anyone talk to us?)

Then on the way out:

People

Greeters

Parking Lot/Traffic

From start to finish, what is that experience going to be like for a guest? Is there signage? Are there people waiting to greet them? Is your website a mess?

Once you have this funnel of touch points, you can start to see what volunteers and signage you need at each station.

Recruit Volunteers who are Great at First Impressions

Don’t start recruiting warm bodies to fill positions. This stuff is too important to put the wrong types of people at these stations. I suggest you create a quick persona for each station. 

Greeters should be friendly people that have great hygiene. Info center volunteers should be those who are very knowledgeable about the church. Ushers should be those who can handle basic social interactions without freaking people out.

As you think through volunteers, think about who you will personally train to be the leader of the group. I suggest electing a Christmas season czar. Maybe don’t call them a czar. Nobody knows what that means so I don’t know why you’d even suggest it. But make sure they know that they are expected to make sure their area of czaring is taken czar of.

Don’t forget the Follow Up

Once you have collected data, what next? It shocks me how many churches will simply take that data, enter it into a database, and forget about it. These people just came to your church!

One of the easiest ways to continue connecting with guests after a visit is an automated email campaign. If that sounds impersonal to you, maybe it’s because you don’t know how to do it right.

Next week, I’m going to give you a sample email funnel to invite guests back to your church after a visit, just in time for Christmas!

Thanks for reading! See you next week!

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