12 Aug, 2009
6 Things to Be Clear About Before You Start Your Church Marketing!
If you are thinking about either participating or taking on the marketing at your church, you should be considering the following to help you and your church get the objective they are looking for.
1. Are you up to the task? Conversely, if your first campaign had less than desired results, it might prove useful to ask yourself a couple of questions. Do you have the energy to do it again, this time with a different outcome? Do you really understand marketing and have a desire to get it right this time?
If the answer to the first question was no, then stop here, save both you and your church the agony of doing it over. It doesn’t matter if you are the only person who is willing to do it. If you can’t do things in life with bliss, then life is too short to do those things that don’t fulfill you. Find someone else to do the task.
If you answered affirmatively to a desire to have a better outcome this time, then the fact that you don’t fully understand marketing is understandable. The mere act that you are searching for a better way by reading this article guarantees the next campaign you do will see greater success.
2. Understand the difference between marketing and sales. And yes Virginia, there is a great difference between marketing and sales. Think about it like this. Whatever efforts you do to get people interested enough to either be a visitor at your church, learn more about the church, or to actively seek out like minded people that your church supplies, that is marketing. What happens at the service, the actual act of converting visitors into members, etc…. that is sales.
Many times you will feel that marketing and sales overlap each other. That is because it is true. But trust me, there is a difference.
Marketing is tougher than you think. It is not easy to understand the psychology of how people think and act. Plus there is a lot of competition out there in the form of other churches who are also trying to make their efforts as successful as or even more successful than yours.
On the other hand, don’t misconstrue sales importance in the big picture. While marketing may have gotten them there, Sales has to carry them over the finish line by having them become church members or viewing the church in a different light. The fact of the matter is they both need each other, should work together to try to obtain the same results whether it is becoming a more acknowledged part of the community, raising your churches visibility or to gain membership.
3. Know the current goals of your church or organization. This is where a lot of churches go off the tracks. Because there are a lot of difference badges that a church can be to its members. And it is something that I feel many churches don’t ask of its’ congregation. If you asked a member of your congregation if they had the power, what would their perfect church look like? I am not surprised when the dreams/goals of the congregation differ vastly from the Minister’s/Board.
So what does your church want to be promoting? Is it a lifestyle? Bible fundamentals? Growing and vibrant? There is no right answer. The only wrong answer in my opinion is when one side thinks it knows the needs and desires more than everyone else. This should be a church community effort!
4. What is the budget? Like it or not, church marketing takes a budget. And it isn’t just money that I am talking about here. It is going to take an investment of both time and money if you want to be effective.
And marketing is like your baby. Both parts (money and time) have to be fed regularly. I have seen a lot of churches put all of their money and efforts into one event. I think that is a mistake. You can have a very successful campaign that you put all of your energy and financial wherewithal to. But if you don’t follow that up, chances are that the good will you just built will quickly evaporate. Think of the bump that presidential candidates get right after their convention. How quickly does that go away?
That is why I always ask churches who are interested in marketing the following question: How much time and money can you at a minimum give to marketing on a weekly basis?
Why weekly? Actually, there are several reasons that it is a better investment to spread out your marketing time/finance budget. a. If you create this as a task that is addressed a monthly basis, things get put aside. Let’s be real, that is not what many of us came to church for. We came to be inspired to live better lives and to be challenged to help one another. Pretty soon, one month slips into another without any marketing energy and before you know it, people wonder if your church actually does marketing. b. I believe it is better to take $1,200 annual budget and space it out evenly than it is to spend that amount on one event/campaign. Consistency in your marketing efforts will actually make your $1,200 (or whatever the amount is) seem like it goes further in both your and your potential audiences minds.
5. Marketing is about Carpe Diem Carpe diem is a phrase that is popularly translated as “seize the day”. Think of carpe diem as marketing opportunities (another reason you stretch your marketing budget)
You need to find your churches opportunities, so that you can compete against other (perhaps better financed church competitors). Some may call this a trend or a wave, but whatever you call it, you need to be ready to seize the day.
One example of a trend is the cycle of gas and oil prices. Some churches made a big push to insure that people living within a 2 miles radius knew about their services and ministries during the time that gas was upwards of $4,00 a gallon. Guess what? When gas came down, those people found that they liked going to a church that was very local. Most of the new members had passed these churches for years and never gave a second thought to them because they didn’t know what was on the inside. That is a great example in my mind of carpe diem marketing.
Be realistic. Trends (waves or opportunities) are larger than others. Some will appear as monster waves, while others will be of a smaller nature. The big monsters are obvious. There are very few of them, and everyone is already riding them. (Think about when you found out about Twitter. Seemed like everyone was already there didn’t it?) Find the smaller waves within the bigger waves. You can enjoy great marketing success with that approach.
6. Be honest…do you need help with this? So a question that you should resolve for yourself as well as your church might be: “Am I (or if you aren’t already) or can I be really good at this?” Once again, there is no right or wrong answer here.
We should all know what we are good at both as individuals and as a church organization. There should also be an acknowledgment what we don’t do that well too.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of churches that are what I call “spin doctors”. You know the type. When something doesn’t go as intended or an unexpected challenge comes up, they will tell you that this “really is a good thing that the $3,000 water bill happened…how else would we know that we were that far in debt. This really opened our eyes”
By being honest with yourself on how you play a role within your church also goes to wanting to do things that bring us bliss. If what you are doing is a chore or doesn’t bring you joy, you should look elsewhere in the church to find things that bring you enjoyment. It will show up in the outcome as well as how people see you. Everyone is the better for it.
So at the end of the day, you decide that church marketing isn’t your strength, then find an individual or a company that will help you reach your objectives.
We think church can and should be more. We hope you do as well!