Many people do not like the term Church Marketing. To some it sounds gimmicky and like an attempt to bring a business tactic into the Church world.
But in reality, Church Marketing is simply a strategy that your Church puts in place to present a visible image of what your Church already is and what you are working hard for it to become.
Of course, you never want to lie or deceive in the content and visual image you put out online. But you can use marketing to put your best image forward and better direct people to what you want them to find about you both online and offline.
Helping People Find What You Want Them To Find
Church Marketing is more of an overall strategy than simply creating Ads on Google and Facebook. Most people realize that just because you create a postcard invite or send out a mailing does not mean you are effectively marketing your Church.
This strategy involves a more consistent approach to all of your Church Communication. Everything you print, publish online and mail out is saying something to the person who receives it.
The simple question your Church Marketing effort would ask is this...
Is the message they received and understood the message I intended for them to receive and understand? Is the feeling they experience when they see our logo, website or Facebook Ad the feeling we intended and want them to have?
If not, then it is time to reevaluate your Church Marketing strategy.
It is not us against them, but them ahead of us.
The problem most Churches have is that everything they put out is created from their own internal perspective. Even the Outreach Events we create can sometimes be developed with elements that we as Church attenders and Staff would enjoy instead of thinking about how an unchurched person would respond.
Yes, obviously our message should have ultimate importance in everything we do and communicate. But, we do have some responsibility to communicate it in a way will get a response from actual people.
With that in mind, the main focus of your Church Marketing efforts should first be your message and second your intended audience.
Stop thinking like yourself when thinking about your strategy. Begin to put the intended audience ahead of yourself and think through how they will understand the message of your marketing.
- What are the potential barriers our intended audience would have to overcome to attend our Church or event?
- What can we say to relate more effectively to our intended audience?
- What are the best tools and resources we can use to reach them?
- What communication tools are they already using that we can access naturally to get in front of them?
3 Simple Steps to Church Marketing Success
So many times people view marketing as the tools and resources used to do the marketing. But it is way more than that.
The simplest explanation of Church Marketing would be a 3 step process. Obviously, there are many individual steps, actions and decisions that will be made within the 3, but this is a great place to start.
#1 - The Message: Whether you are thinking through your entire overall marketing strategy, or promoting a single ministry or event you will want to be completely clear on the exact message you are wanting to communicate before you begin.
#2 - The Audience: Now that you have the right message, you will want to think through exactly WHO you want to hear the message. Are they energetic or more laid back? What words could you use in rewording your message for this specific audience? What do you want this group of people to feel when they hear or see your message.
Of course, if you are thinking through your entire overall Church strategy your audience may be your entire community. But knowing more about even that broad intended audience can help you communicate better and remove barriers to them understanding and acting on your message.
Knowing your audience also helps you take your basic message and use the right type of creative efforts to best reach that specific group.
#3 - The Channels: After you have your Message and have reworded and created content for that specific Audience, you can move on to thinking through the best way to deliver it.
Your overall Church strategy to reach and communicate your message with your intended audience could include...
- Website designed for Desktop and Mobile Devices
- Google Business Page & Local Business Directories
- Search Engine Optimization
- Community Mailings
- Facebook & Google Ads
- Weekly Bulletin
- Church App
- Social Media
When promoting a specific Church Ministry or Event you may limit the actual Channels of communication to what would best reach that intended specific audience.
For an internal Youth Event you may only email the parents, text the students, create free printed tickets, and place it in the bulletin. For a Youth Concert Outreach you may do those things PLUS add Radio Station & Facebook Ads.
The Message and the Audience will determine what Channels you use to promote your Church and Events. Most Churches work the system backwards. They start with the Channels, then try to fit what they want to say to whoever is on those Channels.
When you focus on the Message and Audience FIRST, and your online and offline efforts will be much more productive.