The Sharefaith blog has been featuring practical how-tos and instructions on maximizing your church’s outreach in a series we call “church email marketing.” We are using Constant Contact as the primary tool for doing so.

This set of instructions, how to create an email church devotional, will build on the knowledge that you may have gained if you have already constructed a church newsletter using Constant Contact. If you have no familiarity with Constant Contact, please take a moment to read the explanation or visit their learning center to find out more. Also, you may want to brush up on last week’s tips for how to write a church email devotional.

Topic: How to Create a Church Email Devotional.

Time Required: 20-30 minutes, not counting the time it may take to write copy.

Goals:

  • To show you step-by-step what is required to send out an email devotional.
  • To establish a pattern for regular distribution of a church email devotional.
  • To demonstrate how easy church email devotionals can be.

Getting Started on the Church Email Devotional
  1. Login to Constant Contact.
  2. Click on “Create an Email.”
  3. Create a generic name for your email that allows you to remember the topic, date, or both. This will only be seen to you, not your recipients.
  4. Select a template for your devotional. With over 400 pre-designed templates, there are plenty to choose from. You may want to select the category “religious pack” to see if one of these templates could work for your email devotional. Remember, that nearly every template is customizable with your own pictures, logos, layout and font faces. Generally, speaking, for an email devotional, the simpler the layout the better. Since most devotionals will not have multiple articles or entries, a simple one-article layout is best. When you’ve selected your devotional email template, click “next.”
  5. Edit your email message settings. Keeping the titles uniform is a great idea. For example, each devotional email subject could be “Community Church Weekly Devotional.” That way, recipients will know what they are receiving. That title could be followed by the specific theme of the devotional. For example, “Community Church Weekly Devotional: Praying Your Way Through Temptation.”
Writing Your Church Email Devotional

In this step, you will take the time needed to develop your church email devotional. Again, regarding the layout, simplicity is key. Your intent is to focus upon the theme of the devotional. This step will take the longest time, especially if you use this step to actually write your copy. Once you’ve finished and are satisfied with the layout and appearance of your daily devotional, click “save and continue.”

Getting Ready to Send Your Church Email Devotional
  1. Select the list of recipients for your church email devotional. You may wish to make the devotional email an opt-in program, allowing church members to choose whether or not they want to receive it. Or, you can send it to the general church email list, then allow them to choose if they want to receive it or not. Constant Contact has a mechanism that allows users themselves to opt in or out of the email list.
  2. Schedule the delivery date and time. With the schedule feature, you are able to write emails for days, weeks, or months in advance. It may be a good idea to write a few, schedule them, and keep up with your devotional email ahead of schedule, so you don’t miss a date.
Other Helpful Hints
  • Add images. Don’t forget to add relevant clipart or pictures to your message. Each of the clipart images from Sharefaith are optimized for use with Constant Contact. Adding pictures to an email devotional makes it much more interesting and readable. Browse an alphabetical list to find exactly what you need.

  • Invite feedback. You may wish to include a link to the church website or a means of emailing a pastor or counselor. If people want additional instruction or helping, give them a means to obtain it.
  • Keep the same theme. As you send out a regular devotional email, keep the theme the same each time. This will save you a lot of time. Rather than customize the formatting and layout each time, simply reuse the one you’ve already made. This also creates a brand image and orients recipients to the recurrence of the devotional email. To do this click on “my emails” in the Constant Contact header. Under “existing emails” find your devotional email and click the “copy” icon. Now, you will be able to follow the process for using the old devotional layout to send a new one with different text.

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