Communication Is Personal
The most basic form of human interaction is communication. Communication first started as pictures, symbols, and grunts but it eventually evolved to words, phrases, and sentences that helped build the society we know today. Now, we find ourselves in an age of information overload. Everyone has a message to communicate. Whether it’s a Facebook ad on your phone, a billboard on the highway, or your kids telling you about their day at school, somebody is vying for your attention at almost all hours of the day. The truth is, according to a recent study, we are believed to be ingesting the equivalent amount of 34 GB (gigabytes) of information per day (from all kinds of mediums), which is a sufficient enough quantity to overload a laptop within a week.
With all that noise, why do we retain some messages and not others? With that much daily information, how does any message stand apart from another? The truth is, communication is personal.
Whether it’s face to face or in the digital space via SMS, social media or email, you’re more likely to remember a message between you and someone who you have a personal relationship with. You’re more likely to pay attention and remember a personal note, email or conversation versus a large billboard or mass email campaign that comes to your inbox. That sermon you remember, did it feel like they were speaking right to you? Communication that is personal and targeted sticks with us.
As a church leader, what makes your message different than the one from all the advertisers, employers, friends or family members? How are you translating God loves everyone to God love YOU? As you carry the gospel throughout your community, how are you engaging your members through personal communication? Communication is the mode of connection. It is the manner in which connection happens. When we send mass email messages to everyone that has ever walked through our doors, are we really connecting with people? Rarely do people unsubscribe to messages that are personal and relevant to them. Unsubscribe is the mute button on the noise of the internet.
Before you are discouraged by potential unsubscribes from your general church email lists or are disheartened by seeing another stack of bulletins in the trash, try a more personal mode of communication. And it starts with your church’s app.
Targeted communication can come easier than you think. Instead of fumbling through your CSV file of contacts and segmenting lists for an email newsletter manually, try using push notifications directly through your church app. Push notifications enable timely, relevant communication to exactly who you want. Use tagging to take push notifications a step further by sending notifications only to segmented users. By targeting your audience your message is more personal and reaches the right people in real time.
Time change for Night of Worship? Send it as a push notification to let the band, tech team, and other volunteers know. A new mission opportunity just became available? Send a push notification to your regular attendees. It’s an easy way to get the word out to the right audience, quickly.
According to Return Path, 79% of permission-based emails sent by legitimate email addresses reach the inbox. Spam filters and ISPs are working harder than ever to reduce inbox irrelevance, so if someone doesn’t have your church’s email addressed saved to favorites, then it might hit the spam folder without ever reaching your intended audience. With push notifications, there is no spam folder. They are one of the most timely, and in the moment forms of communication today. Personally sending a message via push notifications can ensure your message is seen at the right moment.
And if your email makes it past the spam filter, only about 26% of emails are opened at all, let alone in a timely manner, according to Smart Insights. So, if you have an immediate need, crisis or urgent prayer request to send out, email might not be the best communication medium. With a push notification, you can not only get your message straight to your audience, you can segment that audience in a way where you are guaranteed to get everyone’s eyes on what you need to communicate to them.
As tempting as it is to blast your message across the widest set of your audience, remember you should be acting as a filter of communication, not a funnel. Don’t funnel every ounce of information to your largest audience, as it will be seen as more noise that can get lost in the commotion of life. By becoming a filter of communication, you can segment the transmission of your information to the most relevant audiences, and effectively be heard in a noisy world. If you are still not sure of the value of filtering communication vs. funneling it, next time you’re at your local coffee shop, ask them to make you a pour over using a funnel not a filter.
How can you integrate personal communication into your church?