Were you aware that mobile phone applications (apps) are now the Number One form of digital media?
That means, the one of the most effective way to get a message to your parishioners is via their mobile phones. The best use of a church’s app is the push notification feature. The numbers show that push notifications are better than text messages in some cases.
- Communication—Push notification apps deliver real-time messages that display no matter what else the users are doing on their phones. Text messages need to be opened to be read.
- Customization—Push notification apps allow your ministry personalization options. This can lead to increased user engagement.
- Cost—Push notification apps are free for users. Text messaging services may involve user costs.
Sending push notifications is easy. The app you choose will provide an interface, allowing you simple creation and sending of your notifications. The better app interfaces have built-in marketing tools such as user definition and engagement statistics. This means that your messages reach only the relevant people. Today, mobile phone users are bombarded by a slew of messages. So much so, that they often don’t even look at many of them. Users will appreciate that your ministry has taken the time to only send notifications of interest to them.
Connecting to a push notification app is comfortable. Both tech-savvy and ‘tech-newbie’ parishioners can be guided to install and activate the app. Once the app is up and running, the notifications will just appear on the users’ phones. There will be nothing further for them to do.
Rewarding your parishioners with valuable messages is the key to the app’s success. The notifications you send will be ones which are of direct interest and use to the people reading them. As your parishioners respond (or don’t), your ministry will get feedback about what’s working (and what’s not). This will enable you to further streamline your notification process to make it even more effective. Keep in mind though, that sending too many messages or sending ones which are not valuable to your users will teach them to ignore your notifications—a defeat of the overall purpose.
Customizing notifications’ appearances pleases users. While there are differences depending on the mobile phone’s operating system, in general, push notifications appear as a pop-up banner at the top of the phone screen. There is also a notification center that can be accessed via a downward swipe. Other personalization options include sound/no sound, vibration/no vibration, and app icon/no app icon.
Locating users serves your ministry. Today’s smartphones can provide user location information. When users enable this feature, the phone will send location information to any app requesting it. Many people are most familiar with this facility via GPS navigation apps. The navigation app uses the phone’s location information to direct the user to the desired address. Ministries can also use location information to their benefits. For example, just before the evening service, send a push notification to all users currently in a 10-mile radius to “stop in and pray a while”. Also, about 15 minutes before the start of a workshop, push notify those in a 15-mile radius “faith workshop starting soon – pop-ins welcome”.
Notifying effectively is under your ministry’s control. You know your parishioners. You will readily be able to filter your push notifications so that each parishioner receives the messages that are most useful to him or her. Remember—your goal is to get your parishioners to engage. Sending fewer but more valuable messages increases this possibility.
— PocketPew (@PocketPew) July 5, 2015
Like it or not, agree or not, mobile phones are THE communication device of our current times. Children as young as three years old can already navigate by swiping and tapping. So, not only are the adults ‘mobilized’, the upcoming generations are too.
Your ministry will greatly benefit from a mobile presence. Push notifications are a significant way to accomplish this important goal.