Who makes for a good SMS Client? Churches that's who.

by laird
32 replies
Sent a letter out to several churches offering them a 30-day trial of SMS Broadcasting for their congregation. Only one took me up on the offer. At the time of this writing, they haven't signed up to extend their service, but they are using me during this trial period and have made recommendations to other pastors...

Long story short, I just picked up 3 churches for my SMS text broadcasting service.

Church 1: 3 keywords - one keyword for the main congregation (service announcements) and two keywords for their ministries.

Church 2: 2 keywords - one keyword for the main congregation (service announcements) and one keyword for their youth group.

Church 3: 1 keyword - main congregation (service announcements).

Key points to address when speaking with pastors and ministers:

1) This does not replace their neighborhood outreach marketing campaigns.
2) Text Broadcasting reduces current cost expenditures (live outbound reminder calls, printed/mailed flyers or postcards) and has a huge open rate.
3) Can be delivered exactly when you want rather than dealing with the postal service or outbound calls going to voicemail.
4) They can create different "groups" to send texts to specific people rather than the entire congregation.

The cool part is that youth ministers love this stuff and talk to other youth ministers. Pure authentic referral marketing.
#churches #client #good #makes #sms
  • Profile picture of the author Darrett
    Wow, this is an amazing idea!

    So how exactly would you approach a pastor/youth pastor and discuss SMS marketing?
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    • Profile picture of the author laird
      Originally Posted by Darrett View Post

      Wow, this is an amazing idea!

      So how exactly would you approach a pastor/youth pastor and discuss SMS marketing?

      They haven't signed up, however, one of their youth pastors shared the info at a meeting last week with other youth pastors and the next thing you know, I get contacted. Granted, they wanted the free offer too, but I shared with them that was a one time offer to show how effective SMS Broadcasting is for religious organizations.

      What's funny is they, the youth pastors, sold the other pastors on the idea. I did no heavy lifting.
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      • Profile picture of the author BrianFL
        Originally Posted by laird View Post

        They haven't signed up, however, one of their youth pastors shared the info at a meeting last week with other youth pastors and the next thing you know, I get contacted. Granted, they wanted the free offer too, but I shared with them that was a one time offer to show how effective SMS Broadcasting is for religious organizations.

        What's funny is they, the youth pastors, sold the other pastors on the idea. I did no heavy lifting.
        That's a pretty ingenious referral marketing idea. One sells the others, and then the others sell the decision makers.

        I'm guilty of not seeing opportunity earlier, but I know the churches I attend have more than a few business owner connections. A testimonial and referral from them could mean a lot. I'm sure this is the case for others as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author gallus
    Bless you laird, that is a great idea.
    Many thanks for sharing
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  • Thats a great idea for a niche market! Opens the door for other marketing ideas as churches suffer congregation losses.
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  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    Laird, I'm interested in this market in my area.

    Has any church in your pipeline passed the trial phase and converted to a paying client yet?
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  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    Thank you for answering so quickly.

    What is their cost to convert to a paying client? Do you charge a setup fee? What is your proposed first-month charge?
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  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    Thanks again. Keep up the good work.
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  • Profile picture of the author madeinheaven
    I've been trying to tell people about churches for a long time. I've had more success with churches than any other niche. Plus it lead up to doing other things for them too, Such as Websites, Fliers and mobile websites.

    The Church has more money than most mom and pop store and a budget of a large corporation. They are a business, they have to advertise and market just like any other business.
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  • Profile picture of the author ejunkie
    This is a nice insightful info. Thanks for sharing.

    I stay in India and here there are like 100s of religions and millions of religious centers & congregations... i am just brimming with ideas now :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Young Samurai
      Thanks for sharing this degree of detailed info.

      This thread has sparked a lot of ideas.
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  • Profile picture of the author laird
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author ejunkie
      Originally Posted by laird View Post

      This segment of my business really surprised me...

      One of the original youth pastors asked me last week if we could meet. We talked for a bit and he asked if he could be a sales rep for me in return for commission (plus residuals). I agreed since he's got the connections in this area.

      He lets me know that Monday-Thursday of this week, a pretty large religious event was going on and he planned on talking to pastors there. (1,100 pastors in attendance. Speakers, Training, Booths, etc.)

      He made 3-fold brochures and brought them with him. (He's does web design and print work.)

      He's been there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (today).

      On Monday, he had 50 conversations, 23 want to have additional consultations/information and 8 want to start the service.

      On Tuesday, he had 30 conversations, 11 want additional consultations/information and 5 want to start the service.

      He just let me know that today so far he's had 25 conversations, 18 want additional consultations/information and 5 want to start the service.

      Now granted, none of these are signed, sealed and delivered - and churches tend to have to speak with their committees before paying someone money (especially for marketing) so they may take 30 days to come into fruition, BUT, I'm pretty darn happy...18 new clients.

      All this from ONE event. And I didn't have to attend.

      That's a great development laird!

      Congrats. You have an excellent plan going there. And may I add the young pastor is admirably entrepreneurial. So you have the right evangelist for your business & brand :-) Hallelujah!
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  • Profile picture of the author earman
    Laird

    How much are you charging them after the free trail?
    What is included for that price
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  • Profile picture of the author laird
    $249/month for one keyword and 3,000 text messages
    $25/month for each additional keyword
    $.03/text overage
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    • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
      laird-

      How many times are you texting per week? Does this equate to 1 text per week (i.e. Sunday service)? And how do they get the info to you to text. Do you set it up to where they email you the text message by a certain time/date in order for the text to go out on x time/date?
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      • Profile picture of the author laird
        Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

        laird-

        How many times are you texting per week? Does this equate to 1 text per week (i.e. Sunday service)? And how do they get the info to you to text. Do you set it up to where they email you the text message by a certain time/date in order for the text to go out on x time/date?
        1 text per week per keyword.

        I have them log into a client page where I have a form set-up that collects their broadcast message (message, date and time to send). I grabbed a javascript that counts the characters in the message and warns them if they go over...I give them 140 characters. The form is then emailed to me for input.

        I am, however, considering getting an Avid or Lime account to handle user-level scheduling to offload time requirements on my part. I don't want to trade income for hours. That's a job again.
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        • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
          Originally Posted by laird View Post

          1 text per week per keyword.

          I have them log into a client page where I have a form set-up that collects their broadcast message (message, date and time to send). I grabbed a javascript that counts the characters in the message and warns them if they go over...I give them 140 characters. The form is then emailed to me for input.

          I am, however, considering getting an Avid or Lime account to handle user-level scheduling to offload time requirements on my part. I don't want to trade income for hours. That's a job again.
          Look into Twilio & SMSWordpress. Seems like your tech savy or have access to it & with a little customization, you can do simplified version of Lime/Avid for a fraction of the price.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Z
    @laird amazing imitative.

    Religious groups are a great target for mobile marketing.

    I love to see when people think outside the box to provide mobile marketing services to unique clients. Not only that but religious groups can see HUGE benefits in mobile marketing in general.

    Keep up the great work!
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    • Profile picture of the author laird
      Originally Posted by Kevin Z View Post

      @laird amazing imitative.

      Religious groups are a great target for mobile marketing.

      I love to see when people think outside the box to provide mobile marketing services to unique clients. Not only that but religious groups can see HUGE benefits in mobile marketing in general.

      Keep up the great work!
      I hope you meant imaginative rather than imitative. I'm unaware of anyone else targeting this vertical and sharing this info on WF. Lol.

      I'm letting a single youth pastor (with lots of connections) do the sales calls and close the deals. He's enjoying it too as it helps churches get more attendees to their service and ministries...plus it gives him some nice income.

      Hoping to have 40 church clients by middle of June.
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  • Profile picture of the author samlouiseroberts
    Hi Laird.. this is a great marketing idea. But it would be a hard method if you don't know anyone in the church. But really it's a great idea!
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  • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
    One idea is to send out a text blast every week with a recording of the sermon (or homily) to the list. I know many churches (including mine) have recordings available on their website, but its a pain to go to the desktop site and try to find it. A text could just have the link in it to the recording. So as soon as you get the text you could be listening to the sermon on your phone.
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  • Profile picture of the author laird
    xlfutur1:

    One of the churches does a podcast and they copy the sermon to their website. I'm sending their SMS broadcasts with a short message and URL to the sermon. :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
      Originally Posted by laird View Post

      xlfutur1:

      One of the churches does a podcast and they copy the sermon to their website. I'm sending their SMS broadcasts with a short message and URL to the sermon. :-)
      Yes, that's a terrific and useful app for churches. I made a short video showing how to "roll your own" app usingTwilio whereby people can get the latest homily or sermon sent to their phones any time they'd like. Very simple to set up, newbie friendly. You don't even need your own web server.

      SMS Foot in the Door With Churches | Mobile Marketing | Grand Rapids, MI
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  • Originally Posted by laird View Post

    Sent a letter out to several churches offering them a 30-day trial of SMS Broadcasting for their congregation. Only one took me up on the offer.
    I'd like to see this *exact* letter that you used. All you need is one to pick it up & call, & now you've got referrals. PM me with that letter.

    Great job!
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  • Profile picture of the author WaynesWorld
    Great post! I recently helped my church set up a SMS campaign. It is a great idea to bring the church together. Most of them use flyers to bring more attendees to the next congregation or special events. Now with an SMS provider, they can text everyone so that they can be in direct contact. Also, if they were having a last minute update to the church, a text is a lot more efficient than emailing everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author earman
    Just wondering how many Churches you have converted to paying customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    So am I. Let us know
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  • Profile picture of the author laird
    With all follow-ups (phone, email and in-person), the youth pastor closed only 11 churches from those he spoke with at the event.

    Some of the churches that originally said yes didn't get approval of their board or staff teams to allocate a budget to the program. Others just blew us off. We sent materials to the "interested" churches and followed-up with both email and phone calls.

    There are other major events like this one all over the place and we're reaching out to learn more about dates, costs to attend and if they're any major SMS providers attacking this space in those respective states.
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    • Profile picture of the author sodomojo
      Originally Posted by laird View Post

      With all follow-ups (phone, email and in-person), the youth pastor closed only 11 churches from those he spoke with at the event.

      Some of the churches that originally said yes didn't get approval of their board or staff teams to allocate a budget to the program. Others just blew us off. We sent materials to the "interested" churches and followed-up with both email and phone calls.

      There are other major events like this one all over the place and we're reaching out to learn more about dates, costs to attend and if they're any major SMS providers attacking this space in those respective states.
      So you signed up 11? What is your most cost/profit for those? Great job.
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  • Profile picture of the author laird
    Single keyword and 3000 texts NETS $218 per month.

    Each additional keyword is $25/month. (all profit)

    Each additional text beyond 3000 is $.03. ($.02 profit)

    Handled via Twilio.
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    • Profile picture of the author sodomojo
      Originally Posted by laird View Post

      Single keyword and 3000 texts NETS $218 per month.

      Each additional keyword is $25/month. (all profit)

      Each additional text beyond 3000 is $.03. ($.02 profit)

      Handled via Twilio.
      And you have 11 clients? Any luck in growing that? Are you letting then manage the campaigns?
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