How to Nail Church Marketing for Ministry Success
There is a stigma associated with the word “marketing” when it comes to operating a church. The fact is, every church is involved in some form of marketing, whether they recognize it or not.
Ultimately, in order to benefit their community to the fullest and make the biggest difference, churches have to build strategies to engage and grow their congregation. And, the only way to do that is through some form of marketing–be it traditional word-of-mouth or methods that respond to the modern channels people use to interact with and discover new passions and information.
With that said, the average church doesn’t have a marketing team. Rather, marketing is often designated to one or two individuals who wear many hats within the organization, and therein lies the problem. Until a church recognizes the need for marketing strategies and prioritizes them accordingly, they will simply not be able to perform to their full potential.
Fortunately, since you’re here reading this guide, you’ve taken the all-important first step of acknowledging how big of a deal marketing truly is for your church. Now, it’s time to wrap your head around how you should approach it in order to get the best ROI, whether that’s more members, more volunteers, more donations, or all of the above.
Key Church Marketing Tips to Follow
Before we dive into the step-by-step, here are some key tips you should keep in mind to guide your approach to marketing.
- You shouldn’t dread marketing. While it may be intimidating and perhaps even seem overwhelming when you first try to strategize, it won’t be once you get things in order and begin measuring results.
- Stay on brand. Every church needs a strong brand. That means a consistent voice and style that accurately represents your church’s biggest values. As such, before you start any active marketing, you should create a brand book that you can check all of your efforts against to ensure consistency in your branding and outreach.
- Take a full-stack approach. Even if you choose to outsource your marketing efforts, a full-stack approach is absolutely necessary. In other words, you should utilize all the technology available to you.
- Invest in what matters. You may not have a big budget, and that’s perfectly okay, you just need to manage your available budget wisely. Investing in what really counts, like a subscription to Adobe CC, will help you stretch your marketing budget farther.
Now, let’s get into the step-by-step to help you nail your church marketing.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Church Marketing
The first and perhaps most important step to take in your marketing plan as a church is recognizing that you, indeed, need one. That means you’ve already successfully completed step one, now it’s time to dig into the specifics so you can come up with a strategy that works.
Recognize Your Goal
As a church, you might have a few different specific goals that you strive to meet. However, the overall goal of marketing is the same for every church in the world, that should be to build lifelong advocates and supporters. Many churches start out their marketing with a very short-sighted approach to get more donations or more visitors, but these things are one-off occurrences, not sustainable practices.
In your marketing, you should always be striving to educate people in a way that engages, excites, and entices them to know more. Your marketing efforts should leave people hungry for opportunities to get involved, be it through volunteerism or monetary contributions. Beyond that, you should also market to those already familiar with your church to keep them engaged for years to come.
Tell Your Story
Behind every church, there are endless stories about the work they are doing to support the community and make a positive impact. These stories are your best marketing material because they showcase your values being practiced instead of simply preached. Showcasing stories, especially those with quantifiable numbers, will help people see that your church is worthy of their time and donations.
For example, you should frequently spread good news about the differences your volunteer groups are making. So, if you recently sent a dozen church-goers to hand out care packets for underprivileged students, let everyone know that your church has helped 75 local children show up to class prepared. Likewise, if you have fed 160 homeless through your soup kitchen program, let that be known, too.
These numbers are meaningful to people, but you also have to be wise about how you showcase them. You should really focus on your approach to storytelling in order to bring these numbers to life and showcase the passion behind your efforts. That’s what’s going to get people involved.
Cater to Every Phase
One big mistake many organizations make when they kick off a new marketing strategy is failing to tailor their marketing to the various segments of their community. Ultimately, you can break your community down into five phases:
- Strangers: These are people who know nothing of your church. They’re the toughest to get through to. You must attract them so they reach the next phase.
- Guests: These are people brand new to your church. When they pay you that first visit, it’s essential that you connect with them.
- Attendees: If you successfully connect with a guest, you can turn them into a regular attendee. You must engage them to get them to the next phase.
- Members: Highly engaged attendees will soon become church members. These are the people who do more than attend and actually support and get involved with your church’s work.
- Advocates: These are the champions of your congregation. Beyond getting involved themselves, they also advocate for your church and encourage others to support you, too.
If you’re looking to grow your congregation, you must start by marketing to those in phase one. You also have to cater to every phase of the funnel in order for that growth to remain sustainable. In other words, only marketing to those in phase one will only land you one-time or two-time visitors. Unfortunately, you fail to convert them into attendees and beyond.
Ultimately, you must cater to people in every phase so that you can have as many advocates as possible. That requires a mix of digital, traditional, and in-person marketing.
Focus Your Marketing on Transitions
Now that you are familiar with the five phases, here are some examples of how your marketing can help transition people from stranger to champion.
Marketing to Strangers
Social media will play a critical role in reaching strangers who don’t know anything about your church. To do this effectively, you must make sure your church’s online brand is consistent with the values and messaging you hope to portray.
Marketing to Guests
First impressions mean everything to guests who are attending your church for the first time. This applies whether they learned about you through social media or through word-of-mouth. Your connection cards will play a key role in transitioning them to the next phase.
Marketing to Attendees
If you did good work with guests, you’ll be lucky enough to see their faces again. Now it’s essential that your leaders and congregation help them feel welcomed. Connection cards will continue to engage them and so will getting them involved with your newsletter and following you on social media.
Marketing to Members
Keeping members involved in your church means sharing stories about how their contributions are helping the church and community at large. They deserve a lot of personalized followup thanks to their support, and with that, they may eventually move into the advocate phase.
Marketing to Advocates
Those who are truly advocates for your church are the stars of your congregation. They help you reach out to strangers and they are the most supportive when it comes to your needs for donations and volunteers. Ongoing personalized outreach and storytelling is essential. This will help them see their value and how much you appreciate them.
Use Technology to Your Advantage in Church Marketing
Let’s face it, growing and sustaining a congregation isn’t as simple as it used to be. The good news is, technology gives you the opportunity to grow your church. You just have to utilize it properly.
If you really want to grow a sustainable congregation, you have to use the right software. This enables you to track people through every phase of engagement and nurture them from strangers to advocates. Because church marketing requires great ideas and solid technology.
DonorWERX can help you do just that as in all-in-one donor management and digital giving software. Click here to learn more about the power of technology and how DonorWERX can help you grow your church, and your donations, by at least 10% in the next 6 months.
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