People come to church to find God, to find meaning, and to find community. If visitors discover that the church has lost its passion for mission, then it loses its appeal. People who come to your church are looking for something. They want to be taken on a journey of new life in Christ. And, how to market your church is an ever changing subject. This means churches have to be headed passionately in a well-defined direction and must implement creative marketing strategies for church growth. It used to be that you had your church friends and your non-church friends. Thankfully, with the help of marketing ministry strategies, those walls are being torn down. Today, “community” is not as isolated as it once was. This means that ministries must accommodate a holistic community with people of faith and unchurched people.
But how? This list has been put together with the awareness that some things are tried and true. They will always have a place in marketing strategies for church growth. At the same time, our culture has adopted new habits, shorter attention spans, and deeper desires. The goal here is to help your ministry adjust to new patterns so you can introduce people to an everlasting God.
Here’s to all things new and these 8 church marketing strategies for retaining and attracting members:
- People crave authenticity: A great way to get personal without getting intrusive, is to teach your greeting team how to have healthy conversations. Ask questions like you really mean it, but don’t prod. Listen, but don’t judge. The FORD method is helpful when training your team to ask questions of new people. Stick with the safe areas of: Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. Then, find a way to record personal details so people know you’re purposeful in caring.
- Make it easier to attend church: Make things easy for new people before and while they are getting connected to your church. Then, they’ll have enough time to become invested members of the Body is key in marketing your church for growth. Are there ample and close to the entrance parking spaces? Is there a dedicated queue for new families to check in their children to the nursery? What about for Sunday School and/or children’s church? Is there signage to point people to the sanctuary, children’s ministry and restrooms? Welcoming people into the church means keeping it simple. Make it easy for them to navigate their surroundings, feel comfortable and ultimately engage.
- To reach your audience, you have to segment your audience: This means you need to create groupings of people with similar interests. This will help you send the right messages to the right people. This makes the targeted message in their preferred format – email, text, etc.- more relevant. These messages will be better received, engaged with and acted upon.
- Be intentional with the 2 forms of telling: Tell everyone the “Why” of ministry. Then tell certain people the “What.” This means your announcements and emails and social posts should focus more on your ministry values and vision than dates and descriptions. In other words, you talk about the details with the sub-group who might be interested. But you still talk about the purpose with the church at-large.
- Providing multiple mediums for your congregation to respond and interact is integral for communication: Enabling your congregation with group communications, along with the ability to reach you personally, allows you to create a two-way street with your members. Once your people know you are speaking directly to them about things they care about, they’ll be more apt to respond and share what’s really going on in their hearts and minds, making it easier for you to help them develop as disciples.
- Leverage technology: Such as church management software with group communications, creating posts/events/polls on Facebook, or forming a text message group all of which provide a clear way to deliver your message to each unique audience. Utilize these forms of technology because it’s where the most people (of all ages) are spending their time, plus it has the greatest impact of instantaneous content delivery so you are making the most of your church marketing plan. Technology is also data. Why is this important to your church? Plainly speaking, to love your community, you need to know your community. Embracing data means you have a powerful tool in your toolbox. How data is managed and maintained has to be prioritized. If you do it right, you focus your team and accelerate your impact.
- Provide a compelling vision and convenient giving options: Cast the vision and it will inspire the giving. Offer flexible giving options that make giving easy! Then, you can make giving easy for them by allowing them to give – and manage their online, recurring, and pledge campaign giving – from various places, including mobile apps, online, via text, kiosk, and in person. On-the-go giving options are especially important when less people are in the pews. The donations will increase, and your people will be more connected to the heart of your church.
- Reach out to people who haven’t been around for a while: Show them you see them as more than a number. People respond to that. They already have taken the first brave step to visit a new church, so the stigma is off. If you have information about your visitors, put them on a list, send them a targeted message to engage them.
God has always been up to something new for His people as we have each read and studied in Rev 21:5. A new plan, a new covenant, a new age, a new Kingdom, and of course, new life. It only makes sense to add some new church marketing strategies in order to reach new people to build His Kingdom.
As the Vice President of Marketing for ACS Technologies, John is responsible for Marketing’s overall corporate strategy and direction. Storyteller, promoter, 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.