When I started my first job in church communications, one of my many job responsibilities was handling all of the email marketing. This included the weekly digital newsletter, sending out weekly sermon notes, and other miscellaneous emails.
The biggest issue was the email platform the church was using. I won’t tell you which platform it was, only that it was clunky and not very user-friendly. Building content was a chore and members often didn’t receive the emails we sent out.
I quickly knew it was time for a change, so I went hunting for a new email marketing platform. And that’s when I met MailChimp for the first time. Not only was the user-interface much cleaner and the delivery more reliable, I also loved MailChimp’s quirky sense of humor and their helpful customer service.
Since then, MailChimp is the only email platform I’ve ever recommended to other marketers. I’ve helped switch three other businesses over to their service. And because MailChimp is located in my hometown of Atlanta, I’ve gotten to visit their headquarters, attend some of their customer events, and meet some of their employees.
Why am I such a fan? And how can MailChimp help your church with marketing? Here are five ways.
1. Automated Emails
Like many other email platforms, MailChimp allows you to create up automated messages. Send out an email to all church members on their birthday. Or follow up with new members as soon as you add their email to your database. Let your email platform work for you.
One of the best uses of this automation tool is keeping church members updated using your website. If you have a blog that you post to regularly, you can format a campaign that automatically pulls content from the blog and sends it out to your list.
2. Email Series
Another way to use automated campaigns is by stringing together a series of emails to be sent at regular intervals. Members can sign up and receive periodic updates from an email series you wrote and formatted in advance.
This is great for churches who want to do an email devotional around Lent or Advent. This content can all be created well ahead of time. Then all you need to do is convince people to sign up for the campaign. Talk about a time saver.
3. Landing Pages
Speaking of getting people to sign up for emails, MailChimp recently rolled out a new feature. In November 2017, MailChimp began allowing users to create landing pages for a number of uses. Landing pages is one of the main features that sets them apart from most other email marketing companies.
It’s now significantly easier to collect email addresses, as well as marketing those awesome email series you’ve been creating. Your church can develop and promote other lead generators, like free ebooks or resources that your members can sign up to download.
4. Social Media Ads
Another nifty marketing feature that’s unique to MailChimp is the ability to create Facebook and Instagram ads directly within their platform. This shows their desire to be more than just an email company—they want to help you with every angle of marketing.
Social media ads are one of the best ways your church can reach out to new people in your area. You can create ads targeted to specific demographics. And you can reach these people on a very limited marketing budget—which is no doubt all your church can afford.
5. List Management
Hopefully your church has an official church member management system—like ACS, Planning Center Online, or Church Community Builder. MailChimp integrates with many of those platforms making it easy to manage your email database.
It’s easy to segment your list to send out targeted emails only to the people who need to hear them. You can break your audience down by practically any information you want to add into the database, including groups or how they’ve engaged with previous emails.
This is not to say that MailChimp is the only email marketing service out there. There are plenty of other companies that offer similar features. I’m certainly biased toward MailChimp, in part because of my past experience. Here are some other reasons I love MailChimp:
- The cost is reasonable; if you have less than 2,000 emails on your list, it’s 100% free
- They have a very thorough Voice and Tone Guide that we could all learn from
- MailChimp is known for their cool company culture, which they’re happy to share about
- As part of that culture, they do a lot to give back to local charities and nonprofits
- They offer extensive guides on how to use their tools
- Their Knowledge Base is just as helpful as their customer service