If you're new to email marketing, then you will probably have discovered that it can be a super overwhelming area. You might have heard whispers of how important having an email list can be for your church, but you’re not really sure how to implement this, or even if you can with a church of your size and budget.
Let me do some major myth-busting for you today: No matter the size or budget for your church, you can and should have an email list. It is the simplest way for you to quickly communicate with your church members, knowing that they will definitely receive your communications. It’s also super helpful for giving church visitors the information they’re looking for (without you needing to spend thousands on fancy welcome packs). It’ll also save you a bunch of time and energy in the long run.
There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands!) of email service providers out there who will help you get your email list up and running, but sometimes too much choice can be crippling. That’s why today I’ve highlighted four email service providers that I believe have the perfect combination of functionality, user-friendliness, and bang-for-your-buck.
Feel like listening instead of reading?
1 | MailChimp
You might have heard of MailChimp before, because its been around for what feels like forever, and is used by thousands upon thousands of organisations around the world. The main reason for this is probably because it is absolutely free for up to 2000 subscribers, so if you have less than 2000 email addresses in your pocket, you won’t need to cough up a cent.
The other perk of MailChimp is that it makes it really simple for you to make eye-catching emails. You can integrate images, logos, buttons, links and headings into your email, and there are templates that make this whole process a breeze.
MailChimp also integrates with a bunch of other online services to make life a whole lot easier for you, and help you avoid using HTML coding or anything like that. So, for instance, if you have a website hosted on Squarespace, you can easily integrate Squarespace and MailChimp so that anyone who signs up for your emails on your website will automatically be added to your email list on MailChimp. Because MailChimp has been prominent for so long, there are a lot of these integrations available.
Of course, you also get what you pay for, and I’ve noticed that while MailChimp has awesome features, they also haven’t really updated those features in a really long time. This suggests to me that MailChimp is not an email service that grows with you, it’s really just a good starting point.
If you’re wanting to automate your emailing (which I totally suggest and have written more about here) then MailChimp does charge you $10/month for that service, but isn’t necessarily the best service for automation at that price point. Bottom line: if you’re looking at automations, perhaps take a look at the next provider I’ve listed.
2 | MailerLite*
MailerLite is a new service that I’m really getting into at the moment! It has soooooo much functionality for free. It has a lot of the same features as MailChimp, however the best thing about MailerLite is that you get their automation features for free! So if you wanted to send an email sequence like the below automatically after someone signs up to receive your emails, you totally can!
- Immediately after sign up send a Welcome email.
- 1 day after sign up send info on what we believe.
- 3 days after sign up send through the mission and values of the church.
- 5 days after sign up send them information onhow they can be involved in the church.
- 6 days after sign up send an email inviting them to your Sunday service.
MailerLite also gives you the ability to create landing pages. You can create a simple, focused web page that asks the visitor to do one thing. For instance, if you wanted people to register their interest for an upcoming men’s retreat, you can create a page for that on MailerLite.
The actual emails aren’t quite as simple to customise and it’s a little harder to make them beautiful than in MailChimp, where there are tons of templates provided.
3 | Active Campaign
Active Campaign is yet another step up from MailerLite, and as such you will have to pay for the service. Your monthly fee will depend on how many subscribers you have, but I believe it starts off at $9/month and then you can go from there. For such a powerful software, it’s a pretty great price.
Automation-wise, Active Campaign takes things to the next level with something called ‘tagging’. For instance, you could send out an email to your church with a link in it to the ‘Ladies Brunch’. If anyone clicks that link, you can make it so that they’ll be secretly tagged as ‘Interested in Women’s Events’. From then on, you can choose to send emails about women’s events just to people who have been tagged as interested, saving you time and energy, while also sending people the information that they want to know.
This is a really useful feature if you’re feeling up to a challenge, and being really savvy with your emailing. You probably won’t use tagging too much unless you’re planning on sending a lot of emails.
4 | Convertkit*
Convertkit is quite similar to Active Campaign, however comes much more highly recommended. I’ve just started using Convertkit at my 9-5 and I’ve found that its best feature is that it is so simple to use behind the scenes. It has all of the functionality of Active Campaign (with tagging and automations), includes landing pages, and forms that you can add to your website, but is so intuitive.
The other great thing about Convertkit is that it does a lot of the hard work for you, without you needing to think about it. For instance, a lot of people will end up with spam subscribers on their list, which can really damage your email list, and make you pay more dollars for people who don’t exist. Convertkit weeds the spammers out by recognising a spammy-looking email address, and asking the subscriber to confirm that they’re not spam by either ticking a box or selecting ‘all the photos with a shopfront’ or something similar. This is an awesome feature, and something you don’t even need to think about - Convertkit will just take care of it all for you.
It really just depends on what stage you’re at, and how much you’re willing to spend.
It’s a whole new world, but email service providers will really help you to communicate more effectively with your church members and church visitors, without too much time or hassle on your end.
Choose an email service provider from the list and set it up for your church! You definitely won’t regret it.
*My number 1 priority is to give you my honest opinions and recommendations, however I may make a small commission from actions you take on the links in this post. I love all of the services I have recommended and hope you find the pros and cons I've listed to be useful!