There are a lot of ways to follow up with new visitors, and you really just need to try a few methods and see what works for your church. Just make sure you’re measuring your results so you can clearly see what’s working and what’s not. Here’s a good starting point to adopt or at least get you thinking about an approach that will work for you.
After the 1st visit
- The pastor should send a brief letter. It does not have to be long or complicated, just a simple note thanking the guest for their visit and inviting them back.
- Within 24-48 hours, a member of your church should also call the visitor to thank them for coming. You want this to be very low pressure and informal. If possible, assign this task to a member who might naturally become friends with the visitor were they to meet in some other context. This makes it more likely that the visitor will feel comfortable and will have someone to talk to if they return. Since you don’t have much information about the visitor at this stage, try matching based on general criteria such as age and gender.
During the 2nd and 3rd visits
- The member who followed up with the guest should greet them by name. Now that they know the visitor better, they should be prepared to introduce them to some other members of the church who have some of the same interests. The key to visitor retention is building friendships. It’s that simple. Something as easy as finding a member whose children go to the same school as the visitors’ will do wonders for making your guest feel they belong.
- Excellerate helps you connect visitors to members with the same interests by allowing you to quickly search your entire database for certain criteria. Few if any of your members will know everything that everyone else likes to do. With Excellerate, you can store all that information in one place and quickly search for whatever you need. If the visitor attends a local university, you can find everyone in your church currently enrolled there. If the visitors are newlyweds, you can pull up a list of all your newlyweds.
After the 4th or 5th visit
- At this point, the term “visitor” is beginning to be inaccurate. Now it’s time to invite the visitor to explore the church further. You can help them do this by inviting them to a class where you share your church’s vision and values, or one of their new friends can invite them to a small group meeting, or you might want to have a pastor contact the guest to see if they have any questions or any needs you can help with.
It can be a lot of work administering and tracking the success of your visitor follow-up process, if you’re doing it all manually. Excellerate can help! Excellerate handles all aspects of managing your visitor follow-up process, and shows you what’s working and what’s not. Don’t trust your memory for visitor follow-up, have a system in place to make sure no one falls through the cracks!