Email Marketing is not Dead

I have been asked numerous times if "Email marketing is dead" and the answer is "absolutely not".  The best approach to email marketing now is to evolve it.  Take that e-blast and make it work on more levels now.  Integrate new media into the e-blast to make it more effective.  Repurpose that e-blast so that in addition to sending out a blast to people's email addresses, you also use that same content and send it out via social networks and other marketing methods to reach people that may not utilize their email.  Also, you want to make sure that your e-blasts incorporate text, images, video and links to make them much more engaging and interactive. Of course, keep in mind, e-blasts can not actually have video that plays in "all" email clients, but if you have a screen shot of the video inside the e-blast, then when people click the video screen shot, they will be taken to a landing page that should look identical to the e-blast, and they can play the video from there.

So, let's get specific, how should churches and ministries evolve their e-blast content? I'm glad you asked. First, as stated above, integrate optimized vivid images and videos into your e-blasts.  This form of content is very engaging and results in higher click thru's and response rate.  Next, in order to effectively evolve an e-blast you want to repurpose the e-blast content and send it out via other marketing channels such as social networks and blogs.  

So here is an example, ABC ministries has an e-blast for a monthly newsletter.  This newsletter is also located on their website at  Therefore, here is what they can do:

1. E-blast the newsletter out using a service such as constant contact to their email list
2. Put up a new post on their Facebook Fan page saying that the monthly newsletter is out and put a link to it.
3. Send out a tweet from their twitter account saying that the monthly newsletter is out and put a link to it
4. Take the top articles from the newsletter and put blurbs from them on the ministry blog and then have a link back to the actual article in the newsletter from the blog.
5. If there are any videos in the newsletter they can be put on and the facebook fan page with a link back to the newsletter put in the description or on the actual video.

There are numerous other things that can be done to enhance the e-blast and market it but I just wanted to give a few examples to show that email marketing is alive and well, it’s just no longer the lone focus of a marketing strategy, it now has friends that can help market the ministry.

Mobile - Take the ministry to the people

As I was reading Social Media Today’s article on “How Brands are using M-Commerce”, I started to wonder how ministries and churches could use M-Commerce.  M-Commerce, short for Mobile Commerce, is the process of doing business (financial or otherwise) via mobile devices.  Mobile devices are the future of technology and my humble opinion.  Since mobile devices are so important to technology and ministry, they play an important role in the iChurch Method.

The Ichurch Method’s task can be broken down into one simple statement, “take the ministry to the people”.  That statement can be fulfilled with the numerous technological solutions that are available today whether it be via traditional computer or mobile device (smart phone or tablet).  If ministries are to effectively take ministry to the people, then they need to embrace mobile devices and develop mobile strategies.  

According to the article at Social Media Today, the top three ways companies use M-commerce are (1) Ensuring a mobile-friendly website, (2) Engaging and building loyalty via mobile and (3) Online shopping. These three ways are a great strategy that ministries can utilize as well, let’s look at this a little more in depth.

Ensuring a mobile-friendly website - When the church creates a website, normally the purpose is to put information about the church up so that people can access it online.  Service times, location and a bio on the pastor are the usual parts of a small church website.  There’s no consideration whether the website is mobile friendly because most church leadership only surfs the web from their computer so they assume that all their online users will do the same.  That single minded perspective greatly inhibits how the ministry can advance online.  With over 4 billion (and growing) mobile devices worldwide and numerous people ranging from teenager to senior citizen carrying smart phones, it would only benefit the ministry to have a mobile enabled website that anyone can access from anywhere on any device, mobile or computer.  

Engaging and building loyalty - With the abundance of mobile devices, and so many people using them, they are a great way to stay engaged with your online users.  Whether it’s mobile social media websites such as facebook, twitter and foursquare, you can engage and interact with your online users via mobile devices.  In addition to mobile social media, text messages are a great way to engage mobile users.  When you develop your social media strategy or text messaging strategy, setup people within your ministry that are able to respond quickly from their mobile devices since people will be able to interact with you quickly via mobile devices.

Online shopping and donations - Quite a few churches offer online stores and products for their members.  Again, this is normally created based on someone accessing the online store from their laptop or desktop computer.  Additionally, online donations are an offering of churches and the process is also usually created for a laptop or desktop experience.  While this a good initial approach, if there is no mobile shopping and mobile donation strategy in place, the ministry is inhibiting how people can support the ministry financially.  Yes, there will be numerous people that will donate from their laptop or desktop, but there will also be people, usually techies, younger people, or supporters from countries that use mobile more that are comfortable using their mobile devices for commerce.  This audience should not be excluded because it will go from the exception to the norm.

Overall, any strategy for a ministry that wants to continue to reach the masses into the future will need to consider mobile because it is the future of technology.