You've tried everything you can think of to bring people in without seeing results; direct mail, rebranding and even re-decorating but the community didn’t break down the doors to get in. Most small churches share this struggle at one point or another, but there’s good news - Effective church marketing isn’t a mystery, it’s a process.
It’s a coordinated effort to attract and invite, then to welcome and inform and finally to inspire and engage your new visitors. By following these simple techniques you can bring more people to worship and set the stage for your ministry to take place.
Like building church attendance, which requires the coordinated efforts of attraction, assimilation and retention, building an effective church marketing strategy requires invitation, welcoming and engagement. Taking an integrated approach to all three facets of church marketing can help with the attraction part of the attendance equation, delivering active and curious minds to your church, and allowing your church leadership to address assimilation and retention. The simple goal of good church marketing is to get people in the doors and help them to feel open to receiving the message. Here’s how we suggest coordinating multiple levels of marketing to achieve that goal.
Invite your community.
The strongest way to make sure your neighborhood knows you’re there is to meet them where they live. There is a common misbelief that direct mail is going away and becoming irrelevant in today’s digitally-focused world. But the opposite is actually true. In a recent report by The Data & Marketing Association, direct mail has shown to be more effective in recent years with response rates increasing 43% from 2015 to 2016.
As overall household mail decreases year over year, the visibility of direct mail increases, meaning direct mail is still the most effective way to ensure everyone in your community receives and sees an invitation.
That’s not to say direct mail is the only invitational medium you should consider. A well rounded strategy may also include a social media campaign element like Outreach Social as well as in-person invitational techniques like door hangers and hand-delivered personal invitations to church.
Include an outdoor banner that is reminiscent of the invitation they received in the mail or in-person to remind them that your church is right in the neighborhood. Without this visual cue, your community may not make the connection that the invitation they received is from you.
Welcome them in.
Once new visitors arrive, they should be greeted and welcomed in. Church staff and volunteers are the best way to help show a warm welcome, but also use banners and hand signs with graphics and messages that continue the cohesive look of your campaign. This personal approach to welcoming is reassuring to new visitors and helps carry the theme and brand of your church from the mailboxes to your open doors.
This is also a great time to help direct them to the information area, to your children’s ministry or to your worship area. Use banners or floor graphics as a cohesive way to help people get where they want to go and ease the confusion of the new environment your bustling church lobby may create.
Engage them with the message of the Gospel!
Once your visitors have made their way in and have their bearings, offering inspirational words of scripture on banners and wall art around your building will reinforce the message that your church is a loving and spiritual place. These banners feature uplifting Bible passages that remind us that we are in community in church, and that our God is a great and wondrous God. They serve to help to set your new visitors at ease and prepare them for the message, the style and tradition your church can deliver in the sanctuary, in your ministries and in your community!
Outreach can help you build your church marketing strategy from the ground up with all the tools you need to invite, welcome and engage your community. Whether you need custom designs to add to your current branding, or professionally designed tools to build a new look for your church or campaign, everything you need exists under one roof. Mini-suite designs are created to reach visitors at the three different places: at home with an invitation (when they first encounter your unique brand), in front of the church (where they can connect the invitation to the ministry) and inside the lobby (where they are welcomed and inspired). Our new mini-suite designs are engineered to take the guesswork out of your church marketing strategy.