By Brad Abare
Advertising in the yellow pages continues to be a worthwhile medium despite the growing strength of search engine sophistication. According to The Kelsey Group, small- and medium-size businesses spend 46% of their ad budgets on yellow-pages marketing, and just 3% on search-engine keywords.
When it comes to finding your church, many will turn to the local phone book. Are you listed? Is your information correct? Have you considered purchasing a small display ad that gives people a little extra taste of what your church is all about? Yellow page advertising is relatively inexpensive and it is also a great way to reach the out-of-town guests and newcomers to the area.
God Can’t Come to the Phone Right Now
In 55% of churches a human does not answer the phone.
In 19% of churches the phone goes unanswered, either by a person or a machine.
Ouch. If someone calls your church looking for service times, a good youth group, or God, what will they find? Maybe having a person answer the phone 24/7 is unrealistic, but does your church at least make basic information available on voice mail? Giving Sunday morning service times, basic directions, and a welcoming message are a must, and it wouldn’t hurt to throw out a web site for more info. And we shouldn’t have to to tell you to return those calls.
It’s Your Church, Now Act Like It
The building where I work is two miles from the heart of downtown Los Angeles, and from the windows in my office, I can see the entire city skyline. This is especially unimpressive after living in the Chicago area and being to New York City on many occasions, not to mention several other large cities around the world. Los Angeles just doesn’t compare to the grandness of urban planning like most of the world cities in its class. This is not a new conversation or frustration; many have opined for many years on this issue.
My reaction to the criticism of downtown Los Angeles was met with a mixture of anticipation and exhilaration. Old buildings are being renovated into apartments, once famous hotels are now upscale condos. Los Angeles is on the path to becoming…
That’s just it; what is it becoming? In a city where “wannabe” and “just like” are the modus operandi for a culture drowning in its own self-interest, what will a new downtown really do?
I think we’re too busy trying to be something we are not. When it comes to telling others about your church, what are you saying? Do you tell people what you wish your church would be? Do you tell people what they wish your church would be? When will the tag line on your bulletin actually reflect what your church is about? If your church regularly has a special anointing for the Holy Spirit to move – with all its messiness and uncomfortable spirituality – quit toning it down to reach someone who won’t understand. People know genuineness when they see it. If your church does drama and media presentations really well, but people are not responding, quit wasting precious resources on methods that might not work for your church. Just because you can get a good deal on a video projector with cool vignettes to show in your services, doesn’t mean more people will respond.
Be who you are. Let the church be who it should be. And don’t try and promote the church until you’ve figured that out. KFC recently learned this same lesson and it would behoove you to do the same.
As for me, I’m going to continue watching out my window as Los Angeles learns an expensive lesson in becoming and being something it is not.
This article “Think Yellow” by Brad Abare is excerpted from www.mediaministry.com web site 2008.