Spreading the Word: Trendy vs Traditional Marketing for your Ministry
We’ve all seen the catchy one-liners and puns posted on church signs. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they’re thought-provoking. What you can always count on, however, is that they get a response. Because they’re posted publicly for anyone to see, these signs naturally draw people’s attention. Occasionally, they even go viral. These church signs provide potential not only for spreading messages, but for getting more people into pews.
That said, however, church signs can be tricky. It can be challenging to know how to make a statement and still stay on mission. Sure, you can be funny, but will you undermine the message proclaimed on Sunday morning?
In fact, church signs demonstrate a larger concern: How do churches maintain a balance between trendy marketing tactics and more traditional methods of outreach? What are the best ways to get the word out about your faith, in terms of effectiveness, cost and integrity?
To help answer these questions and guide you toward better community-building decisions, here are some key tips to consider:
Catchy vs. Meaningful Messages and Slogans
The obvious benefit of a catchy statement — whether on a church sign, a piece of mail, or a social media post — is that it’s easy to notice and easy to remember. In terms of marketing, these are foundational goals. Spreading the word about your ministry is vital if it’s going to grow.
If you focus too much on making a splash and trying to go viral, however, you’re likely to get the kind of flash-in-the-pan attention that doesn’t last. A better approach would be to capture attention without sacrificing the mission of your ministry. This way, you’re more likely to attract people who are interested in what you have to say.
Here are some tips to stay on-trend and be genuine:
1. Start with your mission. Look at your statement of faith or established ministry mission. What’s your focus? What are your goals? Let these inform the direction of your marketing messages.
2. Use sermons for inspiration. Because sermons tend to be a central focus in many churches, they make a great launchpad for marketing content. What quote or important point could you use in marketing?
3. Include Scripture. It’s hard to go wrong with Scripture — let the Word of God speak for itself.
4. Carefully consider. The proverb about safety in a multitude of counselors applies to marketing as much as anything else. Talk to leaders and key volunteers around you. What messages best reflect the people who are already part of your community? These questions can help you strike the right balance.
Online and Offline Marketing Venues
Truthfully, everything a church does is a kind of marketing in that it lets other people know who you are and what you stand for as a ministry. In terms of intentional marketing, here are a few options to help spread the word:
• Radio: An advertising spot on the local Christian or secular radio station might be costly, but it could also get your name and ministry in front of people in your area.
• LED church sign: The value of a large LED church sign strategically positioned outside the building is that it’s local, noticeable and customizable. Although it’s an offline medium, it has potential to spread on social platforms, particularly if it strikes a chord with the people who see it.
• Social media: Anyone who wants to expand influence can’t ignore social media today. It’s not a fad. These attention-hoarding platforms draw in users for hours, creating plenty of opportunity for your messages to be seen and heard. Even better, advertising online tends to be more affordable than TV or billboards.
As long as you start from a value-focused foundation, there are countless ways to effectively promote your mission. Other ideas include local TV commercials, billboards in the community, outreach events, direct mail campaigns and more. Feel free to combine traditional and trendy channels to expand your reach and draw more people to your organization for the best outcomes.
Author bio: Kacie Stoll is a project expeditor at Golden Rule Signs, an LED sign company. Her professional experiences range from marketing and public relations to sales and customer support. Stoll enjoys working with customers and vendors all over the country to execute with speed and accuracy.
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