Although Twitter is still a buzz word in short message communication, SMS texting is still a pretty big deal. Worldwide, over 6 trillion text messages were sent in 2010, and estimates for 2011 are 8 trillion. Even better news is that nearly all cell phones, including older flip phones, receive text messages. With this amount of proliferation, why not consider using this form of communication to your church’s advantage?
Texting is not just something you do with your friends. Here are just three interesting ways your church can employ an SMS marketing service to help its congregation:
Use SMS text message marketing to help remind your members of events. You might argue that Email is more cost effective, but remember that many more phones receive texts than Emails, and text messages are opened far more often given the problem of spam Email. Imagine you are out shopping on the night of your church’s spaghetti dinner. That text message reminder may just save you from forgetting and getting fast food.
Send out a text message every morning, or every week to encourage your congregation. A bible verse the morning of a bible study group could put them in the right frame of mind for that day. A series of verses could lead up a great sermon that Sunday. Perhaps you can send a verse that will provide a direction for their daily prayer. Regardless, you can help your congregation grow in faith the other six days of the week using a tool such as this one.
Do you have groups in your church that help people with addiction? You can send out regular or random reminders. Send out a short reminder and/or encouragement during a time of day or night when they are most likely to slip. Depending on where they are at with managing their addiction, the frequency of these reminders can fluctuate. That short message just might be the steadying hand that keeps them from relapsing.
Word of Caution
As you can see, there are plenty of ways churches can use SMS text messages to help grow and strengthen their congregations. One word of caution; do not rely on SMS for life-threatening situations. SMS is a lower priority than voice and other forms of data on cellular networks, and suffer about a 1% drop rate. As an additional word of caution, warn your members about the dangers (and often legal repercussions) of driving and texting.
Investigate the possibilities of utilizing SMS marketing systems. Members of your church can subscribe to the list of their choice; based on how involved they are, or if they need to pay for every text message. Be clear about how often you will send out information, and in no time your members will be getting additional reminders to help your church grow, and help their faith grow as well.
Note: Inspiration came partly from the Freakonomics podcast about commitment devices.