Your Welcome Card Needs Updating

I recently entered a grocery store and a person approached me out of the corner of my eye. I had the feeling a torpedo was locked on me. I didn’t know him so I stepped aside to let him pass. He altered course with me. Gulp. “Do you have a few moments to answer some questions?” he asked. I heard, “I want some information from you.”

If not in-person lately, you’ve probably fielded similar phone calls. The ones you end quickly by saying “I’m sorry, I’m not interested.”

So, why do we expect visitors to fill out our Visitor or Welcome Card?

Granted, when asked in person it’s harder to say “no” than on a call. A card is the easiest to ignore. Even if it’s called out from the pulpit. “I’d like all visitors to fill out the welcome card and put it in our offering plate.” But they hear, “Give me your personal info so you’ll eternally get on our mailing list and even an awkward call from our staff”.

I’m not saying to stop with your Welcome Card but please be careful with them.

Remember the guy wanting to survey me? If he only wanted 1 quick answer, I’d probably take the time. 2 questions? Maybe. But if he asked a dozen questions and required contact information; 99% would say, “No thanks”.

Recently I was at a church that had a welcome tab with 19 form requests including Name, Address, Cell Number, Email, and Birthdate! No one will offer all that; especially a visitor!

  1. Decide what you really need. Trying to figure out if your new advertising worked? Then ask that one question. Or do you honestly want to create a huge marketing list? Tell them that’s the use. It’s why a privacy policy must be added to all form-bearing websites (that collect information). No one wants to get on a list that they can’t get off of easily. And they want to know what they’ll get from you. Note: You must have an easy way to unsubscribe on your promotional emails in order to be CANSPAM compliant.
  2. Decide what they’ll get in return. People consider information a type of payment. They’ll give you info in return for something. If you’re not offering much; then don’t require much. A name and email is all you need to contact someone in this digital age. Ask them more information once you develop a relationship.
  3. Decide if there’s a better way. Giving a free gift to visitors? It’s a good time to ask for info. Or a better way? A website form asking them to pre-register a visit so someone will welcome them and show them around. Or maybe a personalized parking spot near the door. Just make sure they are welcomed!

In this age of privacy concerns we need to start dealing with Welcome Card information differently. Let it start with your church. Today!

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