If you’ve never worked behind the scenes in a church, the notion of church marketing might seem a little strange. Is that something churches do? Churches perform outreach, of course, but yes – marketing is part of the big picture, too. Churches use marketing to expand their services, attract new members. When churches market themselves, though, it’s significantly different than marketing a business, and it’s important to be clear about that.
For those responsible for church marketing, what will help set your parish apart? These 4 strategies make it clear that you’re committed to spreading the faith, not selling a service. These are messages with a mission.
Focus On The Social
You may view your church’s center as being faith and spreading the Gospel, but considering the nature of church attendance today, you’ll want to pay close attention to build a strong social media strategy. Develop your accounts, sharing photos from events (make sure you have photo release forms from your members), post video or audio of sermons, and share event invitations. Social media is often the first place that people check when looking for service times or local church events.
Make Your Website Work
Did your church build its own website? Or maybe you had professionals build your website, but it’s been years since anyone updated it. Whatever the case, if you’re working with a bare bones webpage, consider outsourcing site improvements to give your church marketing a boost.
It’s important to outsource your website updates because this element of marketing is especially technical. So, while an external marketing company can help you distribute content, such as worship videos, they also do important work like managing your church’s online citations, making your church website accessible to site crawlers, and managing your church’s online reputation. They do all the SEO work that makes your church visible to those searching for a congregation.
Emphasize Your Identity
Businesses run the show when it comes to digital marketing, so most advice is targeted to professional services. When doing church marketing, then, you need to carefully filter through this advice to ensure that you’re emphasizing the right aspects of your community. For example, businesses tend to focus on outdoing the competition. As a church, though, you’ll want to emphasize your identity as a community – who you are and what matters to you. Being clear about your mission is key here. You want to present your services and events, but within the context of your faith.
One part of church marketing that’s often overlooked is the fact that it should always come from more than just the pastor. Too often, pastors act like the owner or CEO, reflecting a consumer structure that isn’t actually true of the church. Encourage different members to contribute content to social media, newsletters, and other church messaging. Your social media content should represent the broad scope of your community, not just the paid leadership.
Despite the corporate model underlying marketing, it’s important that your church maintain its faith identity when communicating with the wider world. Evangelism and marketing have overlap and in today’s modern world, they rely on many of the same structures, but if you lose your missional center in the process, then all is lost.