The Covid 19 crisis has forced churches to rethink and sharpen their skills in using today's amazing technology tools. Over the last couple of Sundays we've especially seen an increased use of texting as a primary tool for communication.
As we've interacted with clients and reviewed usage stats, we've discovered a need to hone church texting skills. To optimize the speed and effectiveness of this powerful communication technology, ask yourself these six questions every time you prepare and a send a text.
- Is this text worth their time? Will they see the content of this text as important? Or as intrusive? Don't bombard people with texts. Send only those things that are really a value add for people. Use social media or email for other stuff. Respect their attention.
- Who really needs to get it? You should NEVER send a text to everyone in your database. If you do, that means your message is not concise enough to meet the needs of the people who are getting them. Target your texts.
- Where is it pointing to? Your website is your ministry hub not their texting app. If you rely on texting to give people all the information they need, you are devaluing your website. You want people to get into the habit of going there for latest updates and information. Texts should be a sign post, not a destination.
- Is it under 159 characters? If you are sending texts that are longer, you are sending an email by text. Not a good plan. A short sentence with a link to more information or a call to action should do it. Keep it short and sweet. (Hint: carriers don't like shortened links like bit.ly. Don't use them or they will block your text as spam.)
- Can I send it any other time than Sunday Morning? A short text with a link to your online worship service during this Covid 19 crisis is okay. But don't text announcements! See #3. Add a link on your online worship page, or use Text-to-ChurchTM to direct them to your website announcements page.
- Has this text already been sent? If it has, DO NOT RESEND it. If you do it will slow down the system's ability to get your text out. If you don't receive the text right away, be patient. It will come.
Because the underlying email system sends your text, you can go to Communicate > Email Settings > Email History to see the timeline of when your texts were sent. This gives you confidence that the texts were sent. If you're not seeing them come through yet, give it a little time.