Five Things to Do Before You Advertise Your Church
By Chris Forbes
Before you start promoting your church in the media, there are a few things you should have in order. Here are five things to consider before you start any advertising campaign:
1. Put more effort and thought into your communication planning.
Take it slower and be more methodical when planning your communications. Too often, the promotion of church events and activities is treated almost as an afterthought. Churches often needlessly find themselves in a flurry of last-minute activity when doing ministry promotion. It is hard to plan creative and effective media in a rush.
2. Define what you want to accomplish with your promotional efforts.
Direct your promotional strategy toward achieving your ministry goals. When planning ministry communication, revisit your church’s vision, mission and core values statements. If you don’t have these, think prayerfully about the direction and priorities of your church and write them down, along with some goals for achieving them. Many times, marketing and advertising efforts fail because ministry leaders don’t have specific communication goals in mind.
3. Advertise who you really are, not who you are not.
Just because you have stock images of young families with children in your ads doesn’t mean you can reach those kind of people. If people respond to advertising that seems to imply your church has a large children’s ministry and find your church really only has a couple of struggling children’s classes, they will feel misled and will not want to return to your church.
4. Fix what is broken in your church.
Make sure you do everything you can to make a good impression with first-time guests. That means you may have to clean up your act. Make sure your church is healthy, friendly, clean and running smoothly. Recruit outside people who can be “secret seekers” and attend your church to report back about their experiences. You may find small improvements you can make that can help you better connect with people who respond to your promotional efforts.
5. Do your homework before you launch any kind of advertising outreach.
Just as a missionary begins work in a mission field by learning the language, customs and lifestyles of the people he wants to reach, begin your outreach with learning. Carefully study the demographics of your community. Do original research by observing your community, talking to unchurched people, hosting discussion groups and even conducting your own surveys.
From: www.ministrymarketingcoach.com web site. June 2009