by Brian Smith, Christ the King Parish
Constant Contact offered us an easy-to-use, affordable way to communicate with parishioners. The direct link between ParishSOFT’s Family Directory and Time & Talent with Constant Contact makes setting up multiple e-mail lists to target mailings to different groups a snap.
Sending from easy to recognize e-mail addresses and using subject lines that include the name of the parish and something about the content make recipients more likely to open communications from the parish. Using consistently formatted subjects helps recipients look for parish e-mails. We use subject lines like “CK Sunday Bulletin for (date)” or “News from Christ the King” so the recipient knows what to expect and watches for certain e-mails.
Photos and links to more information on our website or Facebook page help to drive traffic and interest. Photo galleries have been particularly popular, whether from a big event like First Communion or a small event like the pastor playing soccer with school kids during recess. YouTube offers a free way to upload videos to include a link in e-mails.
Event Marketing from Constant Contact makes registration for events a click away for e-mail recipients. The information is automatically compiled and can be easily downloaded thereby saving office staff time. Online Surveys can be used not only for taking opinions, but can be used to aid in scheduling people like liturgical ministers. Surveys can be customized to ask follow-up questions as appropriate but skipping questions when they don’t apply.
Using different e-mail lists makes it easy to send e-mails to those who want them. Parishioners can update their subscriptions and preferences by clicking a link in the message or on our website. Sending sample e-mails can generate interest and subscriptions. Since people request to get those targeted e-mails, open rates are higher and there is less frustration at getting too much e-mail. Sending an occasional “sample” of a specialty mailing can spark renewed interest and new subscriptions. We recently sent our weekly bulletin e-mail to the entire parish and doubled the number of recipients.
Constant Contact tracks open and “click” rates, which provide great automatic feedback of what interests readers… and what doesn’t. We are able to adjust our content accordingly to be sure to meet the expectations and wants of our members. This information can also be of great value when planning events and further targeting marketing.
As people subscribe to different lists and update their profiles, we use that information to update the master records in ParishSOFT. This helps us target the right people, increase participation, and reach out to even more people. Including a “did you know” block promoting Online Giving and My Own Church has increased awareness of and participation in those programs.
Submitted by ParishSOFT User:
Brian Smith, IT Manager
Christ the King Parish and School
4100 Harvest Lane
Toledo, OH 43623