While we all know that churches aren't in the same class as regular small businesses, it's important to maintain a business mindset. This doesn't mean you need to become fixated on money, but you also can't slack off on advertising.
After all, the more members you have at your church, the more your congregation will flourish. Therefore, it's important to look at your church as a business. In your case, you're in the business of saving souls.
Let's talk about the essential church advertising campaigns you should be using.
1. Invest in Website Design and Development
First, let's take a look at the importance of your church website. We cannot overstate how vital your website is for bringing in new members. The majority of Americans find products, services, businesses and information via online searches.
Generally speaking, most digital church advertising campaigns begin and end with your website.
If you don't have a website, you're crippling your online presence. How will new members find your church online? What information and content are you providing to convince them to visit your church?
Creating a User-Friendly Website
Establishing a website for your church is the first step. However, it must also be user-friendly if you want to make a good impression on prospective members. User-friendliness refers to the content you provide on your website as well as how the website functions.
Your website needs to load quickly and run smoothly. It should be easy to navigate and visually appealing. Website visitors should find your website intuitive and engaging. The longer they stay on your website, the more likely they are to take the next step to become a member.
As noted above, content is another aspect of your website development that you can't ignore. Remember that most churchgoers are constantly seeking guidance and information. You can give them that by creating blog articles for your site.
Now, you might not have time to create a bunch of blog articles, but the process doesn't have to be as time consuming as you think. Your church is always creating content. You have your weekly sermons that can easily be recorded. Take these recordings, upload them to YouTube and then embed the video into a blog article that summarizes the sermon in 300 to 500 words (You can do more if you're feeling ambitious).
These blog summaries will not only help members who missed your sermon, but it will extend your reach to the unchurched or those between churches. With the 300 o 500 word description, search engines like Google will have enough content to understand what your embed video is about.
Once Google and Bing understand what the video is about, they can pair it as a search result for a variety of related keywords people might enter. The video will also allow visitors to see your church in action and get the full message of the carefully laid out sermon your pastor worked hard to create.
2. Boost Your Search Engine Optimization
Speaking of SEO, what is it?
SEO or search engine optimization is the coding embedded in websites that search engines (like Google) use to direct online traffic. For example, if someone moves to your town and uses Google to search for "churches near me," the SEO coding of your website will determine whether or not they find you. As such, SEO is one of the most important methods of advertising churches online.
Improving your SEO ranking will ensure your website comes up at the top of church-related search results. This means more visibility, and most likely, more members coming to your congregation.
You can boost your search engine optimization by:
- Creating blog articles for your site (as noted above).
- Researching the most appropriate and effective keywords.
- Registering your church website with Google My Business.
- Using internal and external links throughout your site.
- Getting backlinks from other blogs and local business websites.
SEO is a fundamental piece of church advertising campaigns. If you don't have the skills, time or desire to improve your SEO ranking on your own, you could request the help of a church volunteer familiar with the concept. Or, you could seek the help of a volunteer or group of volunteers willing to learn. In fact, it could be a great way for the church to help those just starting out their career gain valuable experience.
3. Social Media Church Advertising Campaign
Now, let's talk about using social media marketing as a part of your digital advertising plan. You, like many others, might have mixed feelings about social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Certainly, there are dark corners of these platforms that directly conflict with the message of your church and your way of life. However, in this way, it is not different than the internet itself.
Yet, over 72% of Americans use social media regularly, making these platforms the ideal setting for promoting your church. You can use these apps to post videos, communicate with current and potential church members, and expand your realm of influence via paid ads.
Paid ads allow you to target specific demographics of people in your community based on things like age, location, gender and more. Using paid social media marketing, you'll also be able to view important analytics. These provide valuable insight into how each ad performed to help you streamline your marketing efficacy.
Otherwise, you can post on your profile and encourage your followers to share your posts. On certain social media apps, like Instagram, using the right hashtags can also improve your visibility. For more help, follow this link to learn how to set up a church Instagram account.
4. Use Direct Mailing
Advertising for churches doesn't always have to take place online. Remember that a church is a community-based organization. Therefore, spreading your message the old-fashioned way can also be effective.
Direct mailing has proven to be one of the best church advertising campaigns. You can create a church newsletter and work with a direct mailing company to distribute your pamphlets throughout the community. You can choose specific areas of town to target with your newsletters based on the location of your church.
This church advertising strategy is effective for two reasons. First, it helps people in your town become more aware of your church's presence in the community. Second, you can include important information in your newsletter, such as:
- Church location and contact information.
- Weekly schedules.
- Offered services.
- Church group/class information.
- Upcoming events.
- And more.
You might also consider including small sermons or stories of inspiration to help motivate people to try your church.
5. Create a Visitor Plan
We've talked extensively thus far about getting new church visitors. However, your church advertising campaigns must also include a strategy designed to get people to stay.
Growing your church is a great first step. But if the visitor never comes back, what have you gained for your efforts?
Therefore, creating a plan to convert visitors into regularly attending members is essential. First and foremost, guests must feel at home at your church. This means making sure your church greeters embrace them with a warm welcome.
Next, create a way to collect their contact information so you can reach out to them and encourage them to come back. This can be a visitor card where the guest fills out their name, phone number and email. Receiving a call or email to ask them how they felt about the service can go a long way toward bringing them back.
Finally, a church is a community where members should feel safe, loved, and cared for. If you can, reach out to the guest in person before or after the service to give them some one-on-one time. This will make them feel important and as though they are already part of the church.
Use this time to open a dialogue with them. Ask how they found the church, what brought them in and a little about their lives.
6. Invest in Online Church Apps
Did you know 81% of Americans own smartphones? The lure of these mobile devices is difficult to ignore. They provide an all-in-one source for:
- Social media.
- And so much more.
Naturally, mobile apps have also become more popular. Mobile apps are designed specifically to make using your smartphone easier, faster and more intuitive.
Taking advantage of this type of mobile device usage could greatly benefit your church. Have you considered using a customized app as part of your church advertising strategy?
A mobile church app could allow you to:
- Communicate with members.
- Build an online church directory.
- Receive online donations.
- Provide information about the church .
- Manage church groups.
- Spread your message remotely.
- And more.
This is a fantastic way to modernize your church and stay relevant among the younger crowd, as well as those who are more technologically savvy.
7. Develop an Email Campaign
It's often said that consumers need to see a marketing ad multiple times before the message really sinks in. We lead very busy lives and are constantly distracted. If we see something we like, it's likely that we will completely forget about it if we don't make an effort to write it down or take immediate action.
As such, email marketing is one of the most effective church advertising campaigns to expand your brand visibility and bring in new members. You can encourage people to subscribe to your email list on your website, social media posts and on church visitor sign-in sheets.
By providing you with an email address, a potential church member has given you a direct line of contact with them. Furthermore, by taking this action, they're essentially saying "Yes, I'm interested and would like more information."
Use your email campaign to welcome and thank new subscribers. Then, you can send information about your service schedules, upcoming events, current and future church groups and classes and more. We also recommend adding something of value to your emails, like important spiritual messages.
This is one of the best methods of advertising churches online because it constantly reminds the subscriber of your presence in the community. This is especially important for people who are on the fence about attending a service.
8. Install a Donation Kiosk at Your Church
Most people have fully conformed to the modern world. These days, everything is digital. There are fewer people carrying around checkbooks or cash.
While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it often results in fewer donations and offerings for churches. It's not that members don't want to give or tithe, it's that they lack the logistical means to do so. Even if they plan to bring cash, it's likely that they'll forget.
To overcome this hurdle, we recommend adding an offering and giving kiosk to your church advertising campaigns. This unit can be installed in your church and connected to your Wi-Fi. You can customize the kiosk with your church name and logo to make it unique to your congregation.
Then, members can quickly and conveniently offer donations to your church or tithe digitally. They can be emailed a receipt or have it printed on the spot. That way, they can keep track of their donations for tax purposes.
Alternatively, you can use a card reader that can be passed around the congregation where members can choose to tithe via swiping their cards. You'll just need to attach the card swiper to a tablet or smartphone and download our free app.
9. Encourage Your Members to Spread the Word
Finding new members in your community by word of mouth is one of the most underrated church advertising campaigns. However, this is no different than a list of referrals for HVAC companies or private contractors. In truth, people will be more likely to attend a new church if someone they know personally recommends it.
Encourage members to reach out to friends and family and invite them to a church service. In most cases, churchgoers don't need much incentive to share their faith with others. However, that doesn't mean you can't provide extra motivation.
One of the best ways to get this ball rolling is by creating church events that can be enjoyed by everyone, even if they're not members. This could be a giant pot-luck or BBQ complete with outdoor games or an indoor movie night hosted at the church.
10. Work With a Local Charity to Host a Community Event
Finally, if you want more exposure in the community, you need to get more involved in it. As a church, you probably already take part in charity events and awareness-raising campaigns. However, you can take it a step further.
Connect with a local charity group whose mission aligns with the beliefs of your church. With them, create a community event that is sure to expand your presence in the community and attract new members.
This could be a 5K race, a live music event, a silent auction that's open to the public, etc. Invite other local businesses to take part. This will add funding to your event and create more hype in the community. Then, spend a few months spreading awareness about the upcoming event and ensure all the other businesses and organizations involved are doing the same.