Text Messaging vs Email Marketing Which Strategy is Best For Your Church in 2021

Friday, November 5, 2021
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November 5, 2021

This post on text messaging vs email is written by Laura Pechenik, Demand Generation Marketing Manager at Gloo. 

Today, people are increasingly connected while “on the go” via smartphones and other mobile devices. But even as the world becomes more and more connected, people are growing more disconnected from church at an alarming rate.

The onset of the pandemic brought many challenges, such as the inability to greet congregants and shake their hands on Sunday mornings, leaving pastors unsure of how to take the pulse of their congregation’s real, felt needs.

As a result, church leaders continue to seek the best digital technologies to engage congregants and first-time guests in more personal and friendly ways.
And, despite many church leader’s best efforts, they’re still struggling to create a dialogue with their people online.

To achieve maximum online engagement, it’s important to identify the right communications channel—or channels—for your church. Sometimes, text messaging is best. Other times, email is best. Sometimes a powerful duo of both texting and email marketing can achieve the desired result.

For creating online dialogue, both text messaging and email marketing have proved valuable channels for churches.

For decades, email has been the most reliable and steadily performing channel. But with the rise of mobile phones, text messaging is gaining popularity (a recent Pew study says 85% of adults own smartphones, up from 81% in 2019).

We’ll discuss these two communication channels in greater detail below so you can determine which of the two—or perhaps a combination of both—is most appropriate for your church’s strategy.


Text Messaging For Churches

More and more, churches today are using text messaging to communicate with their congregations and first-time guests. But, if you’re unfamiliar with text messaging as an outreach and marketing tool—you aren’t alone.
 

What is Text Message Marketing (SMS marketing)? By definition, SMS marketing means short message service marketing. This is a marketing technique which uses text messages to communicate offers, updates, and reminders to customers.


Without question—mobile phones have taken over. With a 98% open rate, texting nearly guarantees that your message will reach your people right where they are—on their phone. It’s no wonder why text messaging works so well for church communications strategies.
 

Without question—mobile phones have taken over. With a 98% open rate, texting nearly guarantees that your message will reach your people right where they are—on their phone. It’s no wonder why text messaging works so well for church communications strategies.

  • According to Gigaom, 98% of all text messages are opened. In contrast, only 22% of emails are opened. If your church’s  message wants to be heard by nearly all of your people immediately, texting is the most logical way to communicate.
  • On average, it takes 90 minutes to get a response to an email, but only 90 seconds to respond to a text message. For two-way communication, text messaging is the quickest way to answer congregant questions and provide helpful next steps.
  • 90% of all SMS messages are opened and read within 3 minutes of receipt. To contextualize this data, by the time 90% of your people have seen your text message, less than 1% of your people have seen your email.


Email Marketing For Churches

One goal for email marketing is to move your people from spectators to active participants. This leads us to one of the key benefits of email.

Pro Tip: Encourage your people to subscribe to your email list. After all, no algorithm controls your email subscriber list (unlike other cases). This means email marketing is one of the most terrific channels to create connections, build strong relationships, and measure progress (did we mention email has the largest reach compared to all other channels?)

As Carey has said before: “Church leaders: your email list is not controlled by an algorithm. Almost everything else is. As a result, it’s a fantastic way to connect with people.”

Other Advantages Of Email Include:
More control: email allows for churches to have greater control over campaigns based on your people’s interests and demographics, allowing you to personalize marketing messages, leading to increased engagement

Cost-Effective: Email marketing is typically more cost-effective (although cost varies based on the type of campaign) than text messaging. Texting service varies by provider, plan, the cost per message and often, your average weekly attendance. (You can get a quote for your church here.) 

Customization: Email (versus texting, which only allows for 160 characters) allows for greater customization. send hyperlinks, attachments, images, videos, and more, while highlighting your brand tone and voice clearly through colors, design, and logo.

Back To You
As a church leader, identifying and selecting the right communications channel for your church—and your people—is a key factor in creating effective online dialogue while maximizing engagement. 

Texting may be the most efficient method of communication for some churches, whereas, for others, email may be the best option. However, using texting and email marketing in tandem may give your church the best results when it comes to online dialogue and long-term engagement.

Has your church considered utilizing both texting and email to boost your 2021 strategy?
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