By Chris Forbes & Robert DeVargas
The best things in life are free. We know that’s true. And the best marketing is also free. Many people are surprised when they learn how easy it is to start marketing better right away for free.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do good marketing. But you do need to get active!
1. Pick a target audience
The greatest problems today with ministry marketing come when churches don’t select a target audience. You can’t afford to market to everyone in your community imagine what it would cost to send a letter to everyone in your city! You need to match your gifts and calling to the specific people God wants you to reach.
ACTION POINT: Sit down with the leaders of your ministries and identify who it is specifically you are trying to reach. Who is your target audience? Write down characteristics and demographics.
2. Choose themes that are benefit-oriented
Take the time to make your sermon titles and headlines on brochures and newsletters more benefit-oriented. The reality is, people usually only notice what will benefit them in some way. For example, imagine a church is having a ministry retreat for men. Usually, the announcement will say something like this:
Men’s retreat this weekend. Cost $40. Meet at the church at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
While the information is factually accurate and will help a person who is already coming arrive at the right time, it won’t give them a reason to come. What if the retreat for men were advertised this way?
Learn Six Easy Ways to Improve Your Marriage Men’s retreat this weekend. Cost $40.
Meet at the church at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
This is a benefit-oriented theme that is very attractive and powerfully draws people’s attention because it speaks to a specific need. Who wouldn’t want to improve their marriage? Many more would notice the publicity and make plans to come!
ACTION POINT: Take an old bulletin or newsletter and rewrite it, not just with the facts, but in terms of the benefit to the people who are reading the announcements. You will see the difference!
3. Use well-trained greeters
When people visit a church, especially for the first time, they want information. They want to know where the service is, where the children meet, where the restrooms are, etc. If you will train your greeters to provide that information, people will see your ministry as being helpful and concerned about them.
Consider finding a special way to identify your greeters. Give them a badge or a vest or something that singles them out as a person who is there to represent the church. Learn as much as you can about how to help your greeters become excellent at what they do.
ACTION POINT: Begin a greeter ministry if your church doesn’t have one. And if you do, make sure the greeters are trained.
One church leader was having trouble attracting people to a ministry for children and mothers called “Mother’s Day Out.” It seems the people in the area weren’t familiar with the term. The church leaders did some rethinking and changed the name of the program to “The Day Camp for Children.”
The people the church wanted to reach were better able to understand what a day camp for children was! Consequently, the people in the neighborhood became more responsive to the ministry and the church was able to help more children and their mothers than ever before.
ACTION POINT: Think about the different ministries and services your church provides and perhaps takes for granted. Rethink how you may be able to offer those or change those so they’ll be more attractive to the people you’re trying to reach.
5. Have a follow-up plan
We know follow-up is hard work and it often takes away from other things ministers feel are important. So, many times, churches let ministry activities keep them so busy through the course of the week that they forget to follow up with the people who come to those activities.
The situation is so bad that most churches have lost touch with more than half the people who have made contact with their ministries. Don’t let this happen in your church! Every ministry endeavor should be planned with the follow up in mind. Make sure that each person who visits your church receives follow up within 36 hours. Have a plan to keep contacting them for several weeks after their visit.
ACTION POINT: Take the names of the people who have visited for the last four weeks and follow them up, give them a call, a visit, or send them a note or an e-mail to make sure they have been contacted in some way.
Five ways to get the word out about your church-FREE. By Chris Forbes & Robert DeVargas. Excerpted from: “25 FREE Marketing Tools You Can Use Right Now!” available for download at www.MinistryMarketingCoach.com.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”