Why Church Texting Matters

Jana Gauthier
May 25, 2021

Why Church Texting Matters

Staggering Statistics

Whether or not you’ve done your own research surrounding the staggering statistics about Short Message Service (SMS), you might be able to guess at just how widespread and preferred the service is by looking at your own texting usage. In today’s society, where information is more readily available than ever before, if you aren’t using technology to communicate with your congregation or ministry participants, you’ve probably missed a significant opportunity. Chances are, you are using some form of technology - maybe a group communication platform or email blasts. These are great steps toward better Church communication. However, research shows that SMS truly is the future of successfully distributing and gathering information. Simply, 73.7% of people aged 18-34 in the U.S. communicate more in a digital format than they do in person. This means that in order to engage this group of people, we really need to be utilizing innovative, digital technology to communicate.

The Old Way No Longer Works

If your church communication is solely dependent on live people responding to inquiries or interests (like a “Welcome Desk” or a voicemail system), unfortunately, the turnaround time required might be leaving people to fall through the cracks. With access to information being so simple, it has created a strong dependence on speed. Bradbury, in his LivePerson research, says, “Younger consumers expect digital convenience in all aspects of their lives. Answers must be available when and where the customer needs them, or a company will likely lose a sale.” For purchases less than or equal to $20 USD,73.4% of Millennials said that they will give up on a brand within 10 minutes if they don’t get the answer that they need. There are already many barriers that exist for a person to walk through your church or ministry doors, imagine how many more people you could reach if you were able to immediately communicate with a person when they indicate interest through asking a question or researching you. Also, young consumers, aged 18-34, have a strong preference for automating tasks over speaking with a person. We cannot solely rely on face-to-face interactions anymore. OpenMarket shows that texting is the number one preferred method of receiving notifications from businesses.

Social Media Doesn't Live Up to the Hype

Maybe you think Social Media is the best way to reach people, especially the elusive Gen Z or Millennial crowd. OpenMarket research shows that social media channels, in spite of all their hype, are not a contributing factor for businesses to communicate to Millennials. In fact, Millennials would even prefer Postal Mail than Twitter™ or Facebook™. Although it is important to have a Social Media or Internet presence, it is not a foolproof way to ensure communication is effective.

Getting Specific

The thing is, though, people dont just want to be informed, they want to be able to engage in reciprocal communication. Two-way text engagement with companies is preferred by 60% of millennials because of its convenience, speed, and how easy it is to use. This means that people prefer to use simple text messaging but also use more natural language when communicating with a company.

You’re probably using some type of large-scale, communication system like MailChimp™. Unfortunately, when asked about receiving offers or promotions via SMS and when they’re already a customer of a brand, people 18-35 and over 35 answered over 40% in positive response but only if the content is relevant to them. This means that even if the information is given to them via their preferred method of communication (SMS), they only want it if the information is relevant to them. So, general broadcasting can be effective for certain things, but you will need to consider how to tailor content more specific to your audience(s). But, this becomes exceptionally challenging for the people who have only walked into your church or ministry a handful of times and haven’t interacted with any of your staff.

By finding better ways to communicate with people where they’re at (their phones), our desire is that they would become engaged disciples in our church or ministry.

LivePerson. (2017). The digital lives of Millennials and Gen Z. https://www.liveperson.com/resources/reports/digital-lives-of-millennials-genz/

OpenMarket. (2017). Why millennials prefer two-way texting your business.https://www.openmarket.com/resources/millennials-text-with-businesses-infographic/

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