So yesterday was Easter…a huge day for many churches. Hope yours was one of them.
Like most churches, you likely met a few new folks on Easter Sunday. Alongside Christmas, Easter is a prime day for people to visit church. And if you were able to obtain a few guest names, well not there’s some critical work to be done–work we should be doing every week.
How soon should you make contact with a guest after their first visit?
Because churches operate on a seven-day calendar (i.e. there’ll be another Sunday come along in seven days), we have a tendency to think in seven-day increments. So many churches believe that making contact before next Sunday is sufficient. After all, next week we’ll have another group of guests to send letters to.
Guests aren’t thinking in seven-day increments. They’re minds operate on a weekend-weekday cycle. So once Monday comes, the weekend and all of its activities are behind us and we shift back into school and work-week mode. If you want to follow up on a weekend event, like visiting your church, you better do it early in the week so any positive feelings from the experience can carry over into the new week.
Ideally, first contact should be 24-36 hours after their visit. Simply put, MONDAY!
Now, whatever plan you use in initiating contact, make sure it’s received by Monday night. So if you send emails, make phone calls, send text messages, or stop by with a gift, don’t wait until midweek for a first contact.
Some churches mail form letters or cards to their guests on Monday. Can you see a flaw in that plan? Unless your postal service can produce same-day delivery, those letters aren’t a good first contact strategy. They simply don’t get there in time.
Perhaps the best approach is a brief email or telephone contact on Monday, thanking the guest for visiting and expressing your hope that they enjoyed the experience. Just give them reason to think about their Sunday moment on Monday and you’ll significantly increase the likelihood that they will remember you again as they begin thinking about next weekend.
Of course, first contact is just that–a first contact. The follow-up work has another critical step–a midweek contact–that we’ll look at next time…