Top 3 Email Marketing Solutions for Churches

Email marketing is an effective way to connect with your church. With so many options on the market, which one is right for you?

Why email marketing?

Before we discuss the best email marketing solutions, it’s important to understand why email marketing is important. While email may seem like an “outdated” communication network, there are a lot of hidden benefits it brings.

First, email inboxes have no algorithm. When you send an email to a first-time guest, you know they are going to receive it without a doubt. Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram control feeds using algorithms, meaning your content may not reach every person who follows your church account. Sending emails ensures that your message will arrive in front of your audience. Guaranteed!

Next, emails feel more personal. It’s easy to automate emails for efficiency, but they still feel more personal. When you receive an email, you feel like it was sent just to you — even if it was sent to thousands of people. Emails are a great way to make a connection with visitors and make them feel welcome.

Finally, emails are more exclusive. If you have a critical prayer request for your church to pray for, you may want to limit who can see it. Social media posts are visible to everyone, but an email marketing solution allows you to send private info such as prayer requests only to members of your church and not guests or those simply interested in joining your church. Email marketing gives you complete control over what goes where — a privilege that is not found through many other communication systems.

How do I set up an email marketing list for my church?

If you’re researching the best option to set up an email list for your church, you’re in the right place! There are thousands of companies offering email marketing, but we’ve narrowed it down to our three favorites for churches.

#1 – Mailchimp

Mailchimp is arguably the most popular service for church email marketing. This is because Mailchimp has a free plan, allowing you to add up to 2,000 contacts. This plan is perfect for church plants getting started, and Mailchimp’s powerful platform allows you to add “tags” to segment your email list by members, occasional attenders, visitors, and more. Mailchimp lets new users sign up through an online form, or emails can be added manually with the person’s consent.

When your church requires more than 2,000 contacts, Mailchimp offers reasonably priced paid plans. A list of up to 5,000 contacts on the Essentials plan is $49.99 per month. Plans and pricing scale up from there depending on the size of your list.

#2 – Aweber

Aweber is another popular service for church email marketing. While Aweber has no free plan, they offer the best prices for churches requiring large lists of 7,500 contacts or more. Aweber comes with all the features you would expect such as a drag-and-drop email builder, online sign-up forms, and analytics. Aweber doesn’t make the most sense for church plants who can utilize Mailchimp’s great free plan, but it’s worth a try for large churches. They offer a 30-day free trial and discounts on the first year of service.

#3 – Constant Contact

Constant Contact is the oldest company on this list, operating since 1995. They offer advanced features like surveys and polls directly in emails and access to an online donations page. Constant Contact is by far the most expensive option on this list, charging $20/month for a small list of 500 contacts. A 5,000 contact list would cost $65/month or $95/month depending on the plan you select. With that being said, Constant Contact offers ultimate flexibility with their advanced features, and they offer non-profits up to 30% off for pre-paying.

If your church is looking for something different and has already tried Mailchimp and Aweber, Constant Contact is a great option.

How else can I connect with my congregation?

Email marketing is critical, but you can also connect with your congregation through social media, a text message list, and push notifications. Unlock features like unlimited push notification announcements, interactive prayer requests, fill-in-the-blank sermon notes, and more. My Sermon Notes is the ultimate church engagement platform! Click here to learn more.

My Sermon Notes announces Sign Up with Google and other features

Gladeville, TN | June, 2019 — My Sermon Notes launched version 1.1 of their interactive church app platform on the App Store and Google Play Store. In this release, the company is expanding on their powerful feature set by including easier ways for your congregation to get started in the app and improved note-taking functionality.

iPad and tablet support

My Sermon Notes knows that many users prefer to take sermon notes on an iPad or Android tablet, so they are excited to offer tablet support in version 1.1. Tablet users will now enjoy a newly optimized view of the Church screen to give users the best possible experience on a large screen.
Church screen on iPad

Church screen on iPad

Sign Up with Facebook and Google

This release features an all new sign up screen with new “Continue with Facebook” and “Continue with Google” options. These new options allow new users to get started on the app right away without the need to enter their name, email, and a new password. Church members and guests can now download the app and get started in just 60 seconds! The app only requests the user’s name, email, and profile picture from Facebook or Google, and all user data is stored securely.
Continue with Google

Continue with Google demonstrated on iPad

Smart Expand note boxes

Users taking sermon notes can now use the new Smart Expand note boxes. In addition to fill-in-the-blank notes, many users like to add additional notes and comments to their sermon notes in between sermon points. In version 1.1, new and existing note files will now have Smart Expand note boxes that will expand and get larger as you type! Now users can type on and on without the need for a scroll bar in the notes box.
Smart Expand note boxes

Smart Expand note boxes in action on iPad

Other improvements

Additional improvements include support for swiping to go back to the previous page, syncing your notes between devices, and various bug fixes. Cliff McMahel, the company’s co-founder, said,
“We are so excited for the release of version 1.1! Our team has been hard at work on these powerful new features. New users will be able to get started much faster, and the app is smoother and improved for everyone.”
For questions or comments, contact Christian Taylor – [email protected]

3 Reasons to Offer fill-in-the-blank Sermon Notes to your Congregation

We are always searching for new and exciting ways to engage congregations in ministry. You’ve done the hard work of preparing your sermon, so how do you ensure it is heard? One of the best ways to increase retention is by offering fill-in-the-blank sermon notes for the congregation to follow along. Here are 3 reasons to offer fill-in-the-blank sermon notes.

Fill-in-the-blank Sermon Notes Engage your Congregation

Taking notes during a sermon is the best way to stay engaged and hear the message clearly. Some members will take notes on their own, but some members may not take notes unless they are encouraged to do so. Offering fill-in-the-blank notes gives your congregation an easy way to get involved while giving them a chance to take additional notes if they choose to. Actively taking fill-in-the-blank notes is a way to keep your brain listening and ready to hear the next point, allowing you to fully take in the message.

Taking Notes Helps you Remember Sermons

It’s an age-old but true fact: taking notes will help you remember things naturally! Because you are engaged when taking fill-in-the-blank sermon notes, you think about what’s being said when you jot it down. This not only keeps your congregation engaged (as talked about previously), but it also ensures they will remember the sermon in the days to come.

Members Can Go Back to Notes at Any Time

A huge advantage to guided notes is that note-takers can refer back to them at any time! Your sermons don’t need to be just a memory, they can be a tool for people to refer back. If someone is thinking about a sermon you preached a few months back, they can simply pull up their sermon notes and reflect on it. This also means that pastors will have more time due to fewer inquiries about past sermons. You won’t be getting as many messages asking “what was that sermon on that topic?” Now, your church members can refer back to their notes at all times.

My Sermon Notes Makes Fill-in-the-blank Notes Easy

Sermon Notes screen on My Sermon Notes Want a digital way for your church to take fill-in-the-blank notes? My Sermon Notes offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to build your notes. Notes are saved both in the cloud and offline, and our search feature lets users find past sermons instantly, even without an internet connection. My Sermon Notes also has features like a customizable connection card, interactive prayer requests, events with responses, and more. Get started with a 30-day free trial here!

Church App Platforms vs. Custom Church Apps

Churches are constantly looking to find new ways to connect with their congregation and increase communication with them. Chances are if you’re here, you are interested in getting a church app solution for your congregation. The app industry is constantly growing, and there are always two options: pay for a custom, branded church app, or choose an app platform that offers a pre-built, ready to go experience.

Custom branded church apps

A custom branded church app is developed just for your church. You will pay a developer to make the app to your specifications, leaving you responsible for the entire cost of development.

Pros

  • Custom church apps are made just for you, so you have the opportunity to play a role in the design of the app. You can determine the exact layout you want and find a developer to make it possible.
  • Custom church apps are optimal for branding, making sure your church name and logo are on the user’s home screen. This is essentially creating an “ad” for your church right on the user’s apps screen.

Cons

  • Developing an app is expensive. With custom church apps, you’ll have to pay a setup fee and many options require maintenance contracts.
  • Maintenance costs are required, and you’ll also have to pay for the app to be re-designed as technology changes and user interfaces evolve.
Custom church apps are great if you want a completely custom experience, but they come at a high cost.

App platforms

Church app platforms take a different approach: they have already invested in research and development so you don’t have to. Instead, you pay an affordable subscription fee to join and be part of the platform.

Pros

  • App platforms are highly affordable. Some are available for a low monthly cost and do not have setup fees.
  • App platforms have powerful features that would be expensive to create in a custom church app. Features such as interactive fill-in-the-blank notes, events with responses, and connection cards all work directly in the app with no links or other services.
  • App platforms are updated constantly, being optimized for new iOS and Android versions as they are released. Additionally, app platforms are constantly thinking about new, innovative features to bring to your church experience.
  • App platforms are familiar. When new members join your church, they will already be familiar with app platforms they used at previous churches, and the transition is seamless. Notes taken on app platforms will stick with the user forever in their personal notes section, even if they move and have to change churches.

Cons

  • App platforms feature “semi-branding,” meaning your church name and logo will appear when the user launches the app, but your church’s logo and name will not appear on the app icon. Instead, it will be the app platform’s branding.
  • If there are features you want missing in a particular app platform, you have to submit your idea to their development team and wait patiently for their decision to implement it. There are no guarantees that the feature you want will get added, so you have to live with their current feature set.
App platforms are a fantastic option if you are looking for an intuitive, affordable app experience for your congregation regardless of your church size.

Which solution is right for you?

There are pros and cons to both solutions, so it’s important to ask yourself which option is right for you. Giant mega-churches may choose a custom app for branding purposes. Small and large churches might be more likely to choose an app platform to get the best value for their money. You also have to ask yourself, are you in the business of app development or the business of ministry? App platforms can take the weight off of managing a custom app and give you more time to focus on your ministry. If you are considering an app platform, consider My Sermon Notes. Our platform offers features like fill-in-the-blank notes, interactive prayer requests, customizable connection cards, events with responses, ministry team management, and more. If you decide that an app platform is right for your church, get our 30-day free trial here.
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The Best Church Website Solution

Having a modern and attractive church website is critical to gain new church members and give resources to current members. With so many options out there, what is the best church website solution? There is not a “one size fits all” solution for every church, but there are plenty of great options to choose from. Here are three excellent options for your church website.

WordPress

WordPress is responsible for powering approximately 27% of the internet. For that reason, it should be no surprise that WordPress is naturally one of the most popular choices for church websites. It’s affordable, flexible, and widely used so you won’t have trouble finding a WordPress expert to help set up your website. On the flip side, WordPress is often intimidating to manage and is susceptible to security issues. These security issues can be fixed by someone who sets up a proper security system, but it is something to keep in mind when choosing the best solution for your church. Web hosting through Namecheap will cost you around $30 per year. You will also need a domain name and a WordPress theme (a theme can be purchased for a one time cost of $60-80), so this solution will cost $60-80 upfront and $40 per year all inclusive. This doesn’t figure in the cost of hiring a WordPress expert, but a tech-savvy church member or staff member may be able to set this up for you.

WordPress Pros

  • Affordable
  • Flexible
  • Widely used (plenty of support resources available)

WordPress Cons

  • Intimidating admin dashboard
  • Known security flaws (which can be fixed with a proper security solution)

Squarespace

Squarespace is perhaps the exact opposite of WordPress in description: it’s easy to use, easy to edit, but not the most affordable option. For $144-216 per year, Squarespace offers a drag-and-drop website builder that is one of the best options on the market for the average user. It won’t be as flexible as WordPress, but unless you like cracking into a website’s code, you won’t notice its limitations. Squarespace allows you to create pages, blog posts, and contact forms with ease. All websites are mobile friendly and Squarespace’s large portfolio of easy to modify themes will make the website creation process a breeze.

Squarespace Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to set up
  • Carefree

Squarespace Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not as flexible as WordPress

Wix

Wix is another platform that is similar to Squarespace, but it is another option to check out if you aren’t sold on Squarespace. Wix is available for $14 per month ($168 per year) and offers a similar drag-and-drop experience to Squarespace. These two platforms are similar in functionality, so it comes down to personal preference. They both offer a free trial so you can try both of them out before deciding on which one is right for you.

Wix Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to set up
  • Carefree

Wix Cons

  • Expensive with many upsells and different plans
  • Not as flexible as WordPress

Finding an expert may be worth it

Finding a local web designer might be a good call to make sure your church gets the website it deserves. You can also explore sites like Freelancer to post job requirements and capable freelance web designers will submit bids and allow you to pick the right person for the job.

But what about a church app?

Having a modern website is important, but what about a church app? My Sermon Notes is the only church app you need. We draw communities closer to Christ by increasing communication with your congregation. From fill-in-the-blank notes, to interactive prayer requests, to customizable connection cards, My Sermon Notes has the tools you need. My  Sermon Notes has no setup fees, no contracts, and is available for an affordable monthly cost. Learn more here.
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