Do’s & Don’ts of First Time Guest Cards

You talk about it every week, yet are not sure if anyone hears you.
They are scattered practically everywhere, but used practically nowhere.
Every seat, every pew and every circa-2000’s cool bar-top table has at least one.
It is the guest response card.
Here are five quick “Do’s and Don’ts” of First Time Guest cards:
Do Give Them Something.
Don’t Give Them Something Irrelevant.
Everybody likes free stuff. It goes without saying that you will get a higher yield on response cards when your First Time Guest gets something for giving something. But be careful. Giving someone visiting your church, for the first time ever, something like a church-branded T-shirt or coffee mug, is like giving a promise ring at the end of a first date. Sporting a logo is a big, visible commitment to a product or organization. So cool your swag-jets and let your Guests get to know your church a little before tagging them with your brand. For First Timers, maybe start smaller and more meaningful. A book or Bible. A $5 coffee gift card. A teaching or worship resource from your church. But more than anything, give them something for giving you today’s most protected resource: contact information.
Do Ask For Contact Information.
Don’t Ask for Everything Up Front.
Speaking of asking for contact information, do you really need everything on that card? Much of what the church considers “standard” information is sought after by every marketer in today’s big-data culture. And therefore protected by every owner of said data. Ask yourself or your team: “What do we really need to follow-up and begin a real-life relationship with our First Time Guests?” The answer will likely not be every piece of contact information possible. Therefore, keep it simple by asking these next two questions: 1. What information is critical to how are we actually (not could, or should, or might… but actually) going to follow up? 2. What information is critical to tracking trends and church health? Play the long game and get more personal information in a more personal setting like a membership class or small group.
Do Follow-Up.
Don’t Follow Them Everywhere.
Following someone’s social media account does not a meaningful contact make. Taking this thought one step further, liking posts or pictures from anything more than their last post really feels like you are stalking a First Time Guest. The overriding principle is to follow-up in some way, but don’t get socially creepy about it. How can your follow-up stand out? A pastor at my church never fails to send a hand-written note for birthdays and anniversaries – that makes an impact. In today’s mass-email society, don’t let your follow-up become another victim of “swipe-left” syndrome. Make your response to their visit meaningful, prompt, and always geared toward them becoming a second-time guest.
Do Require Some Effort.
Don’t Expect It To Happen Immediately.
If you haven’t noticed already, engaging a First Time Guest feels much like courting someone in whom you have a growing romantic interest. The goal is for them to like you as much as you like them. But if they only like you because it was easy or they had no choice, you know deep down it really doesn’t mean much, and it will not last long. So do not be afraid to make your Guests work a bit to turn in their card or to get a free giveaway. By making the process require an appropriate amount of effort, it might take more time, but you will actually build value in the Guest Card rather than diminish response. Your casual and no-pressure approach actually communicates a lack of value, rather than building cool points. Besides, when they finally do take the time and effort to visit your lobby kiosk or stop by a next step lunch, you will know they mean it. Remember, real relationships take time to build.
Do Tell Them Why.
Don’t Scare Them Off.
If you are asking for contact information, do not be afraid to tell them why you want it. Tell them it is important to know if we are reaching the community. Let them know you plan to send them a note thanking them for investing some time this morning. if you are giving something away. let them know that too. Illustrate the right amount of follow-up. However, be careful before telling them that complete strangers are coming over randomly to create an awkward “do-we-or-don’t-we let them in” situation at their front door. Think through why you want their information in the first place. If you feel weird about sharing why you want it, it is likely weird that you are asking for it. Just remember, they already know most of the why, creating transparency is great way to build trust.
Do you want to learn more about getting maximum results from every First Time Guest interaction?
Do you sense that your church’s welcoming system needs to get better?
Do you even have a welcoming system?
You are invited to an exclusive gathering: Auxano’s Guest Experience Bootcamp. Hosted in Charlotte, NC on August 29-30, this two-day workshop centers around practical, hands-on learning. Each participating church team will leave with an actionable plan to make the most of every First Time Guest Experience. Find out more here and register today!



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