In today’s increasingly digital world, you may wonder if church postcards still have a place in your outreach strategy. There’s no doubt that direct mail has a lot of competition for your ministry budget: options like social media, radio, and digital advertising all require a certain amount of your budget to be successful. So, why keep investing in direct mail options like church postcards? Because they work. In fact, direct mail might just be more important than ever. Here’s why:
Direct mail is personal. Your postcard connects with people in their homes, using unique messaging that welcomes them to your church.
Direct mail stands out. The size, weight, color, and texture of your postcard mailings catch the eye of recipients as they sort through standard envelopes and weekly sales flyers.
Direct mail is affordable and scaleable. The cost per household to send mailings to your community is very affordable. You can even choose the demographics or specific areas to send to, which makes it easy to adjust for your budget.
Direct mail creates awareness. Connecting with your community starts with introducing yourself. Postcards let you do this in an unobtrusive way.
Still not convinced? Consider this:
- 98% of people check their mail daily.
- 77% of recipients sort through their mail as soon as they receive it.
- 67% of recipients feel mail is more personal than the internet.
- 48% of people keep direct mail for future reference.
That means your church postcard has a great chance of being seen by people in your community!
So, how to make direct mail work for your church’s needs and budget?
1. Decide on the purpose of your mailing.
Are you reaching out to new movers who’ve recently arrived in your neighborhood? Do you want to promote a special event at your church? Are you hoping to draw in more people around big Sundays like Easter or Mother’s Day?
Once you know the goal of your campaign, you can design your church postcards around that theme.
2. Plan the design and content of your card.
Following the marketing acronym A.I.D.A. (attention, interest, desire, action) will help you here.
Attention: Statistics show you have about eight seconds to grab the attention of your reader, so be intentional about what goes on your card! The best way to do this is to have a clear, concise, and exciting headline. You want your reader to know the purpose of the card as soon as they read it.
Interest: Now that you have their attention, you have to keep it. Make sure the purpose of the postcard is obvious and that the content guides them from the headline all the way to the decision you want them to make (typically, to visit your church).
Desire: Help readers recognize what’s in it for them. People are busy and time is precious. Why should they pay attention to your request? What need will you meet for them if they respond?
Action: Tell your reader what you want them to do, and include all the information they need to do it.
That may seem like a lot for one postcard, but good design will help you convey all the necessary information in a clear, professional way. These design tips will help you get started:
- Used different sizes of headers to create visual hierarchy. This will guide your reader’s eye and help them understand the action you want them to take.
- Bullet points help break your information into small chunks that are easier to digest.
- Include your service times, church website, address, and phone number so readers know where to go and how to reach out.
- Use templates or a professional designer — they’ll make it look good so you can focus on your ministry.
Outreach can take the guesswork out of church postcards for you. Our team of professionals have years of experience designing successful church postcards. We can provide you with sample text, clean layouts, and creative graphics — we’ll customize them to fit your church and your event details.
3. Choose who you want to mail to
There are three types of mailing lists that are best suited for use by churches:
- Occupant List: Also known as a saturation list, an occupation list captures allows you to mail to people by proximity. You can choose how far you want your reach to extend in the neighborhoods surrounding your church, then send mailings to every home in your chosen radius. This is the most affordable option.
- Occupant Name List: An occupant name list uses the same method as an occupant list, but adds names from each household to your mailings, giving them a personalized feel. This is more costly than a basic occupant list.
- Demographic List: A demographic list reaches a specific type of recipient, such as singles, families with kids, or seniors. This is the most costly option.
Once you’ve determined the type of mailing list you’ll use, choose how many people you want to reach. Quantity is key in direct mail because you want to get your postcard’s message in front of as many people as possible. Here are some sample statistics to give you an idea of direct mail effectiveness:
- 5,000 piece campaign: 12-24 visitors
- 10,000 piece campaign: 25-50 visitors
- 50,000 piece campaign: 125-250 visitors
Those quantities of cards may seem daunting, but don’t worry! If your church is a registered nonprofit, direct mail averages between 17 cents and 60 cents per piece, including mailing service. You can use these questions to help you determine how many pieces to send:
- What is the purpose of the mailing?
- What is your budget?
- How many people can your venue hold?
- How many people would you like to see attend?
- Do you need more than one mailing?
4. Plan your mailing schedule
If you’re mailing cards about a specific event, it’s best to plan everything far in advance — you don’t want to get caught with rush fees right before your event! Here are some general rules of thumb to make sure your mailing is delivered at the most effective time:
- Have your postcard design ready 6-8 weeks before your event.
- Ship your cards to the post office 2 weeks before the event date.
- Cards will be mailed 5-10 days before your event.
Once they’re in the mail, all you have to do is prepare your church to welcome new visitors and make them feel at home!
We hope these tips help you understand the importance of direct mail as a church marketing tool and give you a jumpstart on creating your first postcard campaign.
Whether you’re sending church postcards during the holidays, for special events, or during moving season, you have the opportunity to make people feel valued and connected. Using direct mail as part of your church’s holistic outreach strategy will increases your opportunities to bless your neighbors reach your community for Christ!
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