Email evangelism is one of the best ways to connect and grow your ministry both off and online.
Building your initial church email list is easy, however, growing it beyond your church members is hard and expensive.
Luckily we have some great email evangelism hacks that will help you build and grow your email list and influence around your community and in cyberspace.
What is Email Evangelism?
Email evangelism is an essential part of digital evangelism. It is the act of sending evangelism messages to a group of people via email.
If the goal of your church is to spread the gospel to corners of the world then you need to implement email evangelism in your outreach strategies.
Here are fifteen simple hacks you can start using today.
Table of contents
- Implement the del method
- Collect emails everywhere
- Create shareable content
- Utilize Testimonials
- Use appeals or call-to-action
- Email Evangelism Automation
- Make emails personal
- Encourage feedback
- Design beautiful emails
- Implement great user experience techniques
- Allow people to unsubscribe
- Share other people's content
- Don't give up easily
- Use videos in your emails
- Avoid lengthy email content
1. Implement The Del Method
The Del Method is a simple digital evangelism and outreach hack used by churches and faith-based nonprofits to reach, connect, and grow their membership.
The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that everyone comes to church for the same reason as you do.
You see, a church is like a bus. People come into the bus with different needs and destinations. Some people come in only for a short while, and others stay on till the end.
Some people need to eat while traveling, others want to read quietly, and others love to talk and put their business out there for everyone to listen.
Imagine what would happen if the bus driver assumed that everyone on the bus is going to the same destination, or everyone needs to read quietly on the bus?
Whatever the reason, it is essential to note that every passenger is on a journey and that they need different things to help them get to their destination.
When it comes to the church, it is easy to feed everyone the same message. In fact, most churches will group people according to their age and not based on their needs or stage of their journey.
By implementing the del method, you will be able to know what your members need and help them to move towards their goals and destination.
2. Collect emails everywhere
I am sure your church has a visitor log where you record visitor's names and hopefully, their emails. If that's the case, then great! You're doing ahead in the game but, do not stop there!
There are so many other ways you could be collecting emails. I highlighted several ways in the article " how to build your email list" please check it out if you haven't already.
Some of the most common ways to collect emails are using forms or popups on your website. You may also use social media, event registration, offer free downloadable resources, and many other ways.
3. Create shareable content for your email evangelism
When creating emails for your email evangelism campaigns, you have to make sure that the content you send out is shareable.
People will only share information they feel is relevant and valuable to their family or friends.
A few weeks ago, after church, I was talking to a friend of mine in the parking lot. Soon there were about six of us talking about life and church.
It didn’t take long before we all realized that all six of us were bold. Soon we started laughing and making fun of each other.
After a few laughs, we started talking about shaving techniques, creams, and razors. Even though some of the men had been shaving bold for a lot of time, it was clear to me that there were still looking for a perfect solution.
A couple of days later, I saw an ad of a razor called SkinGaurd by Gillette for sensitive skin. I decided to try it and it worked for me. I was so excited that for the first time I had used a razor without getting the bumps.
I had to tell my friends about the razor and so I sent a group text to all five men. To cut the long story short, by the end of that day, everyone in the group had purchased the razor from Amazon.
A few days later, everyone was telling me how well the razor worked and that they had shared the product with other bold men.
The example above has two lessons.
Lesson # one
Church members experience real issues that need real solutions. If you only send then spiritual messages then you are missing out on an opportunity to connect and engage with your members.
The church thrives on trust, and members trust each other.
My recommendation was more powerful than a paid ad. In fact, I didn’t even have to sell the men anything. I told them my testimony and they went with it.
Not only did they believe me and buy what I was recommending, but they also shared the information with others. That’s what we call evangelism.
Lesson # two
Segmentation is critical when it comes to email evangelism. It is important to create groups of people with the same interests or pain points.
Let’s breakdown the process of segmentation as outlined in the DelMethod.
Identify the problem
I then sent them information that was valuable and relevant. The result was amazing. I had a 100% open rate, and above all, everyone shared the link.
The lesson here is that when you create information that is valuable and relevant to your audience, they are more likely than not to share with others.
When sending content to your audience, it is vital to make sure that it is easily shareable.
You don't want people to copy, paste, or take screenshots to share.
The easier it is to share, the more shares you will have.
4. Utilize Testimonials in your email evangelism campaigns
The church is where you hear some of the best testimonials. I love to hear what other believers are going through and how God has helped them overcome issues.
There is something so powerful about Testimonials, especially when they come from someone you know.
For example, A few years ago, I visited a church, and for the first time, I heard a testimony from a man who had been caring for a depressed wife.
The story was so inspirational because I knew a lot of places, groups, and resources for people going through depression but never heard from a caregiver.
The man talked about the everyday struggles he experienced and how God helped him through it all. The sad thing is that even though the sermon that day was right, I hardly remember it. Yet I remember the testimony.
They say a great testimony is more powerful than a sermon. People relate to what others are going through, and you must utilize testimonials in your email evangelism campaigns.
5. Email evangelism appeal or call to action
They say that a good sermon must end with a call to action.
An appeal does not require people to stand and walk to the front as most preachers do.
After preaching a sermon, it is important to tell people what to do next. Do you want them to go and read further? or practice something?
Whatever your goal and the ultimate message is, you must tell people what to do next.
When done right, an appeal should be an essential part of the sermon. It should be the biggest takeaway.
A practical appeal should do the following;
- lets people know what to do next
- allows people to give their lives to Jesus
- Validates the message
- refreshes one's commitment
Just like an appeal, you must make sure that your audience knows what to do next.
Do you want them to subscribe, signup to an event, fill out a survey or form, share your content? And so on.
Without a definite appeal or call to action, you miss an opportunity to engage and grow.
What an appeal looks like in an email
There are several ways to include a call to action in your email body, but the best is using a button. It's ok to add links in your email that take people to various places, but when it comes to a call to action, a button is the best.
What should the appeal button say?
Some of the common button text include: read more, click here, buy, donate, register, and so on.
However, when it comes to email evangelism, it is vital to direct people.
Imagine the preacher saying stand up for more information without explaining why. I bet a lot of people would be confused.
A great technique when writing a call to action is to make your button copy complete the sentence: 'I want to ...................'
6. Email Evangelism Automation
One of the greatest innovations in email marketing is the power of automation. You no longer have to type an email every time someone signs up to your email list.
Automation will allow you to set up the emails once and the software will do the rest.
If you want to engage and grow your email evangelism ministry and influence online, then you need to find a way to show receipts.
Let's say that your church is organizing a digital evangelism summit.
You send out emails to your church members who then share with one thousand other people.
Imagine one thousand people signing up to your summit but never receive any confirmation from you in days.
Best believe that half of them will forget about you and most likely will not attend the summit.
Email Automation will allow you to create personalized responses to people that signup to your summit without you doing it manually.
Think of how much time it will take you to respond to one thousand emails.
Here are some tools we use for email automation
7. Make your emails personal
There is something powerful about receiving a private email.
Imagine receiving the following two emails,
Which of these two emails would you read?
You are most likely to open the email with your name on it because it's personal, and it feels like it was written for you.
When sending emails, do not hesitate to add your recipient's name throughout the email body.
Remember that even though your message is different from marketers, your members receive so many emails every day and if you don't stand out, you will not reach your target.
The tools we use will allow you to insert someone's name in the email title as well as throughout the body of an email.
Some software will also allow you to insert an even more personalized variable in the body of an email.
See the two examples below.
The two examples above show precisely what email personalization is.
You will be amazed to find out that this email was written once and sent to different people.
8. Encourage feedback
Assuming that you've followed and implemented the steps above, you will most likely than not receive feedback from your audience.
You may receive feedback through email or web forms. Whatever method people use to interact with you, it is crucial that you provide an easy way to communicate.
For example, You have just sent a testimonial email to your members. The natural thing is to expect people to comment.
Therefore, you must find a way to incorporate a comment box within the email body or send your email from a real email address and not the "no-reply email."
Another great way to get feedback is to direct your readers to a web form where they're able to give feedback.
The key here is to make the process easy and fast.
9. Design beautiful emails
There are so many studies that show that simple and clean emails have a higher open rate.
Simple and clean emails don't have to be boring.
The emails you send must be valuable and enjoyable to read. However, we do discourage adding too many images to emails because some pictures take too long to load.
To make your emails enjoyable and readable, you must utilize hierarchy, bullet points, short paragraphs, and a lot of white spaces.
10. Email evangelism user experience techniques
User experience is a broad subject, and my intention is not to give you a crash course but help you create a system that is simple and clean for your audience.
For example, if someone receives an email from you with an appeal for donation, you want to make sure that the process is simple and pain-free.
Here are two examples
The example above has too many steps and not very useful ( poor user experience).
The second scenario is the most effective and pain-free. It is a two-step process, and most people will find this easy to donate.
11. Allow people to unsubscribe
How useful is an email list if people are not opening your emails?
If you've implemented the del method, then you're halfway in the game. That means that you are sending the right emails to the right people.
If you're sending relevant and valuable information, people are most likely to read them.
Why you need people to open your emails
I am sure you've heard of the term spam. If your open rate is low, google and other email engines will treat your emails as spam. That means very few people will see your emails.
Giving people a way to unsubscribe from your email list helps your overall email list health and deliverability.
12. Share other people's content
It is prevalent to only share information that comes from your church, but the problem with that is that you miss out on some of the most relevant information your audience needs.
The truth is that people search on google for answers every day, and there is a huge chance that they are consuming content created by people outside of your church.
Sharing content that is relevant and aligns with your mission, goals, and belief is not only great for nurturing your email evangelism ministry but also great for providing value to your audience.
Another reason to send your email list to other people's content is that creating great content is hard, time-consuming, and expensive at times.
If your goal to provide great valuable content, then sending other people's content will help you do just that.
13. Don't give up too early
One thing that is discouraging to church leaders is when people don't show up to the event.
You put in a lot of time planning and running around, and when that day comes, very few people show up.
This is also true when sending an email to your list.
Most email software will show you how many people opened and read your email and how many clicked the appeal button.
They say numbers don't lie, but they sure do hurt when they are low.
It is very easy to get discouraged and give up after your first or second attempt, but I am here to tell you not to give up.
Trust takes time to build, and so consistency will be your friend.
However, this does not mean that you consistently send irrelevant content hoping the result would change.
Remember to send relevant content to the right group.
If the first or second email evangelism campaign fails, it time to revisit the strategies. Make sure that you're using the AIDA method when creating your email content.
A - Attention - A title that attracts people's attention
I - Interest - Build interest ( relevancy and relation )
D -Desire - create a desire for what you're offering
A - Action - what next? This is the appeal or call to action we talked about.
14. Use Videos in your email evangelism campaigns
It is no secret that a lot of people are consuming more video than written content.
Studies also show that emails with the word "video" in the title are more likely to be opened than the ones without.
But, just like images, we do discourage uploading a video straight into the email.
The following are the steps to take when sending a video email
- Create a graphic or take a screenshot of the video
- Add a play video icon to the image
- Upload the image to your email automation software
- Link the image to the video hosted on your website, Youtube, Vimeo or other video hosting platforms.
15. Avoid lengthy emails
No one wants to read very long emails.
Remember that an effective email is one that attracts attention, builds interest, creates desire and demands a call to action. ( AIDA)
In order to be effective at email evangelism, the main content must live on your website.
For example, let's say you are running a couple's email evangelism event. You create both video and written content for distribution.
The best way to go about it is to create blogs on your website and then create short and sweet emails to get people to read the blogs.
Not only is this method good for your SEO but also great for sharing. The articles on your website are easier for people to share than email.
Although social media is the shiniest thing right now, it is not as effective as email evangelism.
Over the past ten years, we've seen some social media platforms come and go, and yet we still have the same old email.
Even though email is as old as the internet, email evangelism is pretty new to the church.
We've used email to engage with our members but not as an evangelism tool.
If your church has something important to say, then you must utilize the power of email evangelism. It will not only nurture your members but grow your reach and influence both offline and online.
But remember that it takes time to build an email evangelism ministry. Therefore, you must make sure not to abuse your email list by sending information your recipients don't care about.
If you haven't already, please get more information about how to implement the del method to help you discover what your members need, how to provide for them.
Do you have a church email list?
If your answer is yes, have you used some of the hacks outlined in this article?
If your answer is no, please let us know what is stopping you from jumping on the email evangelism bandwagon.
Thank you for reading this article, I sure hope that it helps to push you a little further into effective digital evangelism and outreach.
Please reach out and let us know if we left out any important hack you've used before.