A Simple Weekly Church Email Template
Weekly church emails are too often atrocious. They’re too long, have too much text, packed with pixelated clip art, and few people open them, let alone read them and take action.
It’s the thing we see over and over with every church we support. So, I thought I would take a minute and lay out how we do weekly emails for churches.
Here are the questions we’re about to answer for you:
- How should you layout your weekly email?
- What content should be included?
- How do you talk about that content?
- What should be in your subject line?
- When should you send weekly church emails?
How to layout a weekly church email
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT send out an email with a million announcements, in multiple columns, with random clip art all over the place. It’s getting you nowhere. By trying to fit in everything, you’re communicating next to nothing.
When we take on a church’s weekly email, we immediately simplify the content and create a formula for them.
The first thing we do is limit their weekly email to 5-7 announcements. The fewer the better. People aren’t reading all 50 of your weekly announcements. Especially, when they don’t often change.
Here is how we layout those 5-7 church announcements:
- Subheadline or date/time/location
- Body Copy
- Call to Action button.
Here’s what that looks like:
As you can see, this is simple to both skim and read. People can skim through 5-7 announcement blocks like this quickly and easily find the announcements that pertain to them (no, not every announcement pertains to every person reading).
On top of that, it makes it very clear the ONE THING (not 2, 3, or 10) you need them to do to participate or help.
Now, on to what content you should use to fill this framework.
Your Weekly Church Email Content
Contrary to popular belief, not everything you do needs to go in your weekly emails. The best thing you can do is segment your overall list into smaller groups so you can target announcements to the people that want to read them. This might look like
- Student Ministries
- Children’s Ministries
- Women’s Group
- Men’s Group
Have an email that only pertains to one group? Send it to the segment, not the entire church. This will make sure every email you send has content that people WANT to read.
For emails to your complete list, consider announcements that are applicable to 80% of the list or more. Remember, your list might include more than just your church members.
All those families that showed up to the Trunk or Treat last year? They gave you their email list and are in there too (also another great segment group).
Will 80% or more of your subscribers WANT or NEED to read this information? Then send it to the full list. Otherwise, consider a segmented list.
(Every email marketing platform you might use allows you to tag or segment a list. See the end of this post for suggested email marketing platforms).
How to Frame Each Announcement in Your Church Email
If you’ve followed us for a while, or follow our sister brand Moonflower Marketing, we’re about to sound like a broken record…
Every announcement should be framed as a short story. By that, we mean the simplest story format possible. Here it is
You saw this in our example announcement above.
- PROBLEM: Makes you think about summer nights and ice cream which immediately makes you want it. Not having ice cream and friends is definitely a problem!
- SOLUTION: The Ice Cream Social at Spring Park
- SUCCESS: Enjoying time with friends and meeting new friends
- CALL-TO-ACTION: They need help scooping. Register to Serve
If you boil any story you read or watch down to its most basic format, this is it. That’s why we use it. Story captures your attention, even if you’re only using the elements of storytelling and not actually telling a story.
A Subject Line That Captures Attention
Subject lines are very…subjective (see what I did there?)
Sometimes you spend forever coming up with the perfect words and no one opens the email. Other times you just type out the first thing that comes to mind and a huge percentage of your list opens the email.
So, we try to make this as simple as possible for churches.
List the first 2 to 3 announcements in this week’s email that will likely be the MOST popular among a larger number of subscribers. State them in short format. Here’s what that looks like:
Subject: Ice Cream Social, VBS Registration, and More…
Keep it simple. Don’t put everything in all caps or add a bunch of emojis to try and capture eyes. That usually backfires. Sometimes, it makes email clients assume it’s spam and your email gets sent to the junk folder.
Just be clear about the value your email holds for the readers.
The Perfect Time to Send Your Weekly Church Email
Short answer: Whenever you want…just be consistent.
Some people will tell you first thing in the morning. Others will tell you right after work or right before bed.
My suggestion: Try it a few different times of the day. Then, review the open and click rates. Go with whatever time of day has the highest average open and click rate then stick with it for a few months.
If you want to send it first thing in the morning. Always send at the same time on the same day of the week. People will begin to expect it and look for it if you provide enough value to capture their interest.
Simple. Clear. Consistent.
The moral of this story is to keep things simple, clear, and consistent. With a clear template for layout and content, it will become much easier to produce these emails, and your volunteers and staff will even start writing their blurbs in the desired format. THAT saves you a ton of time.
Email Marketing Platforms to Use for Churches
There are a ton of different options out there. If you have a church management system (ChMS), there might be an email marketing platform built-in (Tithely does this, among others). Use that because it will sync up with giving, registrations, etc.
If you don’t have a ChMS, here are a few you might check out. Some have free options, others are paid but not unreasonable for most churches for something as important as email communication.
These three are all simple to use and reasonably priced. We use ActiveCampaign and love it for our business. Most of our churches use MailChimp. Don’t like one of these? Find one you like. There are a ton and most provide everything you’ll ever need.
Not Sure About Doing All of This on Your Own?
At Clear Church Communications, we offer fully-managed church communications at a flat monthly rate so almost any church can afford a great website, consistent social media, and a chance to transform their community.
Need some more time or just want some help handling communications on your own? Subscribe to our Weekly Church Communications Tips emails. Get ideas, training, and support directly to your email every week.
How to Use Story to Reach Your Mission Field
Story is a universal clarifier for the human brain. Every single human on earth responds to a good story. How should your church use story?
How to position your church in your community
Want to be an externally-focused church? Here’s our process for how to position your church in your community to grow your reach.
5 Things Your Church Can Do to Thrive in a Post-COVID World
Will your church go back to “normal” after COVID, or will you pave a new path to new growth and impact in your community?