I have always liked robots.

I was a huge Transformers fan back in the 80’s and loved the idea of robots defending us from space villains. I also loved the idea of having a robo-butler to make my life easier and honestly never thought I’d have robots working for me.

But today is a new day, my friends!

Mailchimp just made email automation available to all users, which basically means the automated robot army is now at your disposal!

If you are in the communications director/pastor seat at your church, then you are probably familiar with the old church newsletter. I’ve talked about it extensively on my podcast and on this blog before. However, this is different.

Email automations are a game-changer.

  1. Email automations will allow one person to handle the interaction of a large list with ease.
  2. Email automations will allow your church to properly connect the right message to the right people at the right time.
  3. Email automations are robots that make your life easier!

Ok, ok. This isn’t a commercial.

Cool, dude, but what are automations even for?

It is the ability to create a series of pre-written emails that will send to specific people when certain criteria are met (behavior triggers). Like if you click this button I’ll send you these three emails related to that button.

True, sounds creepier than it is. Here are several email automation ideas that any church can use…

Welcome Series

The easiest of automations, send a series of 2-4 emails to someone who just signed up for your list. These can introduce them to your mission statement, encourage them to watch a video about your church, or even join a small group. Or you could call them, but who wants that?

Next Step Class Follow-Up

Immediately following a next steps class or a Your Church 101 class, send a series of 3 or so emails that walks them through the material again, encourages them to take the membership class (if they did the 101 class), or encourages them to take a gifts test or find their place to serve in the church. Spiritual gifs are a valuable thing.

Baptism Education series

When someone signs up for baptism, send a series of 2-3 emails that walks them through your church’s beliefs on baptism, the process of how you baptize at your church, or even show a video of previous baptisms. You may want to include a sign up to film their story before the baptism event if you tend to show their testimony before the baptism.

Parenting series

Allow your children and youth parents to sign up for an email course of 10-15 emails on how to lead your student through depression, what to talk about when their friend commits suicide, or how to discuss homosexual issues with your student.

Celebrate birthdays/anniversaries

Mailchimp has a date-based automation that will send a birthday or anniversary email near or on those dates specified. This is a really nice touch but requires more info from your email database than the standard first and last name. This would be a time to integrate your Church Management Software (like Fellowship One or Church Community Builder) with Mailchimp.

Missions/Giving Initiatives

Segment out those who have given to missions before or select those who have never given, then run a 5 email campaign to encourage giving to missions. If you have a capital campaign, you can also run a series of emails with blog-style teachings on giving each week to your whole list to keep the vision for your church’s campaign in front of them.

List Health Campaign

Sometimes, you have those who are basically squatting on your list and never open the emails, never click, and never seem to know when things are going on. You don’t have to put up with that. Create a segment of those who haven’t opened in a while and send them a few “re-educating” emails about your church.

Basically ask “Hey, you haven’t cared in a while, do you still want to get these emails?” If they don’t open those, unsubscribe them. A healthy list is important, so don’t let them abuse you.

“But Seth, then they won’t get the email!”

They’re not getting it anyway, and if you’re list is large enough that you pay by the email sent, that’s wasted money. Be a good steward and unsubscribe them. They probably won’t notice anyway.

FACT: As your list grows in size, your engagement goes down. So keep your list healthy.

To Promote Something

Ahhhh finally. Email is a highly engaging tool in the communication pastor’s tool belt, so it would be a shame to spend 0 time asking them to come to things. It’s really all about how you ask, but a great automation might come afterward.

If you capture emails of guests at your events (you should), they should go into a “Thanks for coming to our Fall Festival! Here’s why we do that every year and why we would love to connect with you further as a church.”

I wouldn’t do a lot more than that, but it’s a nice touch.

So those are my ideas for using email automations from Mailchimp (or whatever mail client you like that isn’t Outlook please don’t use Outlook).

What are yours? See if you can drop an email automation bomb on us in the comments below!

My emails are fun, short, and helpful. You should sign up for those and get my blog along with other fun gifs in your inbox weekly! Do it….do it…DO IT…DOO ITT!!!

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