5 Ways to Connect with Your Leads Using SMS and Merge Tags in InterestTracker

Lori Ball From the Field, Marketing Practices

We are all busy and the last thing we want is to be on our phones more. While we want to connect with our interest list, the idea of sitting down to text several interests can feel like a lot of work. Who needs contact today? What do I say to help encourage engagement? Has it been too long since I last texted them or is it too late to text them right now?

Rather than being glued to your phone toggling through numbers, consider creating a strategic communication plan.

You’ll save yourself time, create a consistent cadence, and develop your church voice for your team to use when connecting with leads—all while intentionally connecting with your full interest list (not just the ones at the top).
Below you’ll find 3 key steps to consider when you create a strategic communication plan plus 5 easy ways to start connecting with your leads using the scheduled text message feature in InterestTracker.

3 key steps to getting started.

Plan on setting time aside to schedule several of your text messages within InterestTracker ahead of time. This is going to be a major element for your strategic communication plan because it allows you to dedicate focused, extra effort ahead of time when you’re most ready to prepare messages that are more likely to encourage engagement.

1. Identify all of your various audiences.

Your interest list probably has a mix of leads from a variety of sources. Decide who your audience for each message should be, then you can write a more thoughtful message for each audience. You can reach “warm” and “cold” leads by filtering from past events or other customized tags to create groups you can bulk text to. (If you aren’t using tags yet, it is a lifesaver for staying organized!)

2. Take time to write a thoughtful message.

How does my tone sound? Am I staying within the character count for my SMS credits to use those wisely? What exactly am I asking my interests to do, is it clear? If you take the time to craft your message with these things in mind you can write a more engaging message that can help you get the response you hope for.

3. Review a calendar before you schedule. 

Identify key days of the week and times for when to send your messages. While Monday evenings might be better suited for invitations, Friday mornings might be a better option for a bit of inspiration heading into the weekend. Then you’ll want to be sure to avoid major holidays plus other days that might impact how your message is received or skipped.

5 SMS Connection Ideas:

1. Ask for Prayer Requests

If you have leads that are cold (maybe you haven’t heard from them in a while or have never gotten a response) then prayer request appeals are a great way to encourage engagement. Starting your communication by offering to personally pray for someone is an easy way to soften hearts and can immediately begin breaking down barriers.

2. Send Weekly Inspirational Verses

No matter where someone is at on their spiritual journey, this is another great way to engage or stay connected. You never know what someone is going through, so bringing some Good News to their phone might be the way God speaks to them this week. (Keep these short, hopeful, and limited to just once a week so it doesn’t feel like you are spamming them.)

3. Invitations for Upcoming Events

If you have an event coming up this is another way to connect with your leads. If someone pre-registered and attended an event with a similar theme, then send them an invitation. Those who pre-registered but missed the original event can get an invite too but as a different message—something that feels more personal to them. You can let them know you understand they missed the first event, but thought they might be interested in this one.

4. Prepare Hearts for Decisions

If you plan on making an appeal for decisions during one of your meetings you’ll want to use AttendanceTracker to build a custom report so you can communicate with those who have been regularly attending and anyone who missed a night to help encourage attendance at this particular meeting. (You’ll also want to follow up personally after someone has made a decision!)

5. Offer Free Giveaways

Whether you are running a Bible study lead generation campaign or you’ve purchased resources to give away at your evangelistic meetings, chances are you have some extra materials laying around. Why not send out a message to your interests offering a free book or DVD? If they say yes, then put it in a gift bag with a card letting them know you’re praying for them and drop it off at their door. This small act of kindness will speak volumes to your leads (and it can help you work through some extra resources).

Technology Designed to Foster Connections

Use Merge Tags to show your leads just how much your church cares about them specifically!

Merge tags allow you to add a personal touch to your bulk text messages—getting your heart across the text while saving your team time creating personal messages to each of your leads. Any field in the interest record (including custom fields) can be used as a merge tag, in the format %mergetag%.
To address your interests by name, you can simply type “Hello, %firstname%!” and the message sent to the interest will come through with their name.

95% of text messages are opened and read, making them one of the most effective communication methods available.

With the Text Messaging Module from InterestTracker, you can easily send SMS messages to one, some, or all of your guests with one button in the software. You can also have messages forwarded to your own cell phone for a more natural conversation experience for your users.

Merge tags are an easy way to personalize your texts, and increase your response rates.

Want to learn more?

With the Text Messaging Module from InterestTracker, you can easily send SMS messages to one, some, or all of your guests with one button in the software. You can also have messages forwarded to your own cell phone for a more natural conversation experience for your users.
Click the button below or call us at 800.525.5791 to learn more.