In order to execute an effective church marketing strategy, you need to evaluate if your current methods and techniques are relevant. As a church, it may seem odd to “strategize and market” your ministry, but it’s imperative in the world we live in; and let’s be honest- what greater message is there to market than the Gospel? We are instructed in Matthew 28:19 to “Go and make disciples” and we need to be equipped accordingly. Let’s start at the beginning. You might wonder what is the best way to market a church, and we’re glad you did! Here are 5 tips for an effective church marketing strategy that must be considered first prior to launching any campaign.
According to Entrepreneur, branding is “Your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” What better place to deliver on what is being promised than in the church? Sounds like a solid place to implement Matthew 7:15-20 so that people will know you (and your church) by your good fruits.
As intimidating as that may sound, we should take it to heart for the benefit of the flock and community. At a foundational level, the church is a place where people give their time, energy and charitable gifts to spread the Good News and make more disciples. What sets your church apart from the church a few blocks over? What is the vision for your church and further, is that recognized by the community in your branding?
Forbes writes that a logo “Says everything without saying a word. It connotes feelings of honor, trust, pride, excellence and integrity. Conveys a series of virtues and a set of values without pages of copy and a team of copywriters. Evokes a sense of connection between a brand and consumers. It establishes a bond between a company and its community of fans, friends, critics, allies and champions.” What stands out to me, and I hope to you, are the words, “evokes a sense of connection.” Make sure you are putting in the time and energy to create an appealing logo that connects people to your church so you can experience the results and answer the “why is church marketing important” question.
If you’re a Dunkin Donuts coffee drinker, you might smile a bit when you see their “Dunkin” logo now when you’re driving down the street, as you feel a connection to the taste, smell and enjoyment of their specific coffee. On this note, have you noticed that Dunkin Donuts has changed its logo over the years? Guess what? Church logos can and should evolve as the logo conveys the message and mission of your church. Your church may have been traditional from 1965-1999 and then in the year 2000, you became a parking lot mission church which means that your branding and logo definitely needed to change. Smaller tweaks to the logo to modernize it, similar to what Dunkin Donuts has done since 1950, maybe more in line with the progression of your church logos.
Defined by McNutt & Partners as “essentially a set of rules dictating specifications for anything that has to do with the design of your brand. This can include logos, typography, colors, slogans, imagery and beyond. Guides help ensure design consistency in an effort to maintain credibility in the eyes of your followers.” Having this on hand helps all the staff members in your church who run various aspects of your ministry work together to put forward publications and material that looks streamlined and uniform. Children’s ministry logos may have more colors and softer lines than a Men’s prayer breakfast ministry logo, yet they flow with the recognizable church logo so that the brand is on point as you’re continuously marketing the church.
Your church website is important for so many reasons that you already know. It’s the virtual front door to your church and we’ve shared a blog, Ways to Attract New Members to Church, about why your website matters. Now make it searchable on the web so people can find you. You can register for a “Google My Business Account” so that when people search for places of worship in your area, you can be found in the listings. Online listings are also important as people can leave reviews about your church- and what a great tool to invite people to church! Have you considered asking faithful congregants to consistently post online why they value your ministry with a picture or two? This sharing of testimonies on google reviews may just be a deciding factor for a family or individual to take the next step and visit.
Search Engines (SEO)
This is the process of church marketing to increase traffic to your website from search engines. What does that mean and how does it work? This is typically done by making sure your website has the right keywords so that it ranks higher on Google’s search results. You can find these words on the Google keyword planner to help you find which are the most relevant to your church for you to include in your marketing strategy. For example, a keyword might be “Sunday service times” and your website will rank higher based on how often those terms are used on your church website. Yes, the keywords will change based on the seasons, and your church should also update your website to reflect the most searched terminology to increase your traffic online and ultimately in the pews.
Marketing a church sounds challenging. But it will make all the difference for a thriving church community. No matter if you are strategizing best practices for the Methodist or Catholic church marketing plan, we are the body of Christ and our role is to love, teach and model Him to the best of our abilities. These shared tips were written to help your ministry flourish. Lastly, here’s a hint: form a group of people who can creatively and systematically work together to implement these strategies and be willing to come back every quarter and assess. The growth of your congregation will definitely impact the community in positive ways, too!
As the Vice President of Marketing for ACS Technologies, John is responsible for Marketing’s overall corporate strategy and direction. Storyteller, promoter, and problem solver to churches of all sizes and shapes. John has traveled the world working with prominent non-profit ministries. He also serves on the board of directors for Dayspring International.