Is church marketing Biblical? As a church, the word marketing might feel a little uncomfortable.
But it all comes down to intention. Are you marketing your church for the numbers and the weekly check tossed in the tithing plate?
Or is your intention to build relationships and share Jesus? Marketing at its core is about building relationships.
Within your marketing efforts, you want to be a wise steward of your church's money. Keep reading to learn how to promote church events without spending big. See how tools like a church event invitation letter can help you drive engagement for your members and community.
Table of Contents
- Remove Attendance Barriers
- Harness the Power of the Internet
- Get Out in the Community
- Start at the Source
- Provide Value
The first place to start is with marketing materials. There are many resources you can use at a low cost to create your materials.
There are also many ways you can advertise your church event without spending more money than you already do on other church materials. This section will cover everything you need to know about creating and printing your materials.
You do not need to hire someone to create your flyers. There are many platforms available that allow you to create flyers for free or at a low cost.
The website, Canva, allows you to create flyers, banners, logos and more for free. This resource is invaluable, and if the free version isn't quite enough, the paid version comes at a decent yearly price.
Do you have aspiring artists in your church? What about aspiring graphic designers?
Utilize the people within your church to help create artwork and materials for your event. Not only does it give them the opportunity to give back to the church, but it also showcases their talent and makes your church advertising unique.
Printing may be one of the biggest expenses you encounter. There are a few ways you can address this.
The first way is to do your own printing. However, this may not always be an option. If it isn't, that's okay.
It is easy to do research and find places willing to do discount printing for churches. One example of a company that provides discounted printing for churches is Docu Copies. However, they do not stop with discounted printing; they also offer the chance to earn free printing.
Are you already printing church bulletins? If you're still using church bulletins, repurpose your bulletins for a few weeks.
How many church bulletins end up getting left in pews or discarded in trash or recycling? If you turn your bulletin into an advertisement, you can encourage your members to give the bulletin to a friend or family member they want to invite.
This means your bulletin retains its usefulness beyond Sunday morning, and you are not paying extra printing costs.
How to Promote Church Events on a Budget
Do you know how to promote church events on a budget? There are many tools to help with this.
Remove Attendance Barriers
Sometimes you may have individuals who want to attend, but there are barriers. If you create an event, give people the tools to be able to attend.
You must consider these factors in the planning stage, but make sure you mention them in your marketing! Let's look at some potential barriers and how you can eliminate them. One example is providing a church event permission slip if there are kids participating in your event. Here are other common barriers.
Are you reaching out to senior citizens or individuals in low-income areas? One problem you may encounter is transportation.
People may want to come, but if they have no way to get there, it doesn't matter. You can eliminate this barrier in a few ways.
First, does your church have a bus? If so, gas it up and let people know when you will be swinging by for pickup. This is probably the simplest way to remove this barrier.
However, if your church does not have a bus, you might need to get creative. In this instance, reach out to volunteers. Ask people in your church who may be willing to offer transportation.
Encourage volunteers to do pickups with another person. This may take a little more planning as you will need to pair riders with drivers.
Are you hosting an event for married couples? Or maybe an event for single moms?
If the demographic you are targeting are likely to have children, you should address this. There are two ways you can remove this barrier.
The first is through asking volunteers to provide childcare. Many churches are now running background checks on volunteers who work in the children's programs.
Be sure that anyone who volunteers for childcare at your events has also been cleared to work with children. This will help parents feel safe with leaving their children in the care of people they may not know.
Run another event geared towards children at the same time. For example, you can have a childcare program for infants and toddlers. But for school-age kids, plan a movie night or games night.
You can have the kids come dressed in pajamas if it's night. This helps mom and dad get them to bed quickly when they go home too. Then serve kid-friendly snacks while watching a biblical kids movie such as the Veggie Tales Jonah movie.
When you have an event, the timing will never work for everyone.
The trick is to plan the event for when the most people are available. This involves knowing the demographic you are targeting.
For example, if you are targeting retired senior citizens, a midday Tuesday event could be perfect. But if your target is college students, your best bet is an evening event as they will likely be in class during a weekday.
These are all things you need to factor in when choosing your time slot. Ultimately, you need to pick the time that will likely work for the most people in the demographic you are targeting.
You can also consider hosting more than one session if possible. For example, if you are hosting a vacation Bible school, hold a morning session for kids who can come during the daytime and an evening session for kids whose parents can't bring them during the day.
However, hosting more than one session can be a drain on your resources, so make that choice wisely. It may not work for every event.
Does your church have individuals who cannot leave their homes or facility? This is a considerable barrier and can possibly be the most difficult to overcome.
However, thanks to technology, there is a solution. Livestreaming your event can not only give people the opportunity to attend if they can't leave home but also if they're far away or sick.
In addition, in pandemic times, you need to consider that some people still will not be leaving their homes because of compromised immune systems. Even with vaccines available many of these individuals need to still take extra steps to safeguard themselves.
Harness the Power of the Internet
If you want to know how to advertise church events for free, you must harness the power of the internet. Your church marketing plan should be ongoing as you reach out into the community to build relationships.
Does your church have a website? If not, why not? A church website is a perfect place to advertise your church events.
You can create a special calendar page or even blog posts that talk about upcoming events. Using resources such as Canva makes creating images for a church website easy.
Are you clueless when it comes to building a website? Reach out to your more tech-minded members. Give them the opportunity to use their gifts and work to build a site that welcomes members and new friends into your community.
If you want to give your event a boost, you can use Facebook advertising. Paying to expand your reach will let you connect with individuals outside your immediate church community.
If you're using Facebook to advertise, we recommend using the Facebook Ad Manager, as it wont cost extra to use, and it lets you be more precise with tracking and targeting your audience.
Is your church on Instagram? Create a countdown to your event with reasons people should attend.
This can be done utilizing fun graphics or even your Instagram story. In addition, Instagram Reels has recently been released.
Instagram Reels is like the TikTok of Instagram. Speaking of TikTok, if you're there, advertise there as well. You can do fun, quick videos to pull people in and encourage them to attend your event.
Video is huge. People spend hours watching TikTok and YouTube videos. Create a team for your YouTube channel. You can post inspiring or educational videos. You can also post videos that are fun or funny.
The point behind this is taking the time to connect with the community around you. When you build this type of platform, it allows you to naturally advertise upcoming events.
People are already coming to you to watch videos; now tell them how they can connect with you in person.
Livestreaming is a great way to promote your event. Letting people know you will be live streaming the event if they are unable to make it in person can encourage online attendance.
Having the right software when live streaming is important. Software such as Restream paired with Streamlabs OBS will allow you to stream across several different platforms at the same time.
This software is free, but it does have some paid features. If you have no clue how to live stream, there are many platforms out there that offer comprehensive tutorials for free. Here is our comprehensive livestreaming guide that we built to help churches like yours. And, if Facebook is your preferred approach, we built this Facebook livestream guide just for you.
Get Out in the Community
The community is going to be the prime place to promote your event. However, when you go to market your event in the community, make sure you explain the value of attending the event.
Start Conversations With Unlikely People
It's easy to stick to your bubble. You have your church friends, your family and maybe the people you work with, but these people might not be enough to make your event a success.
That's why reaching out to unlikely people and building relationships is important in order to promote your event.
This is not a short-term approach. Relationships do not come from one conversation. That's why this effort is a long-term commitment that might span across several event promotions, but the results are worth it.
Does your town have libraries or laundrymats with community boards? Take some of your marketing materials there.
This is also a great place to talk to people. You can offer people coins or water and tell them about your event. Remember to approach this from a relationship-building perspective.
Don't just hand them a bottle of water and piece of paper and say come to our event. Start a conversation, show them you value them as a person.
If comfortable, share contact information and follow up with them. It can be nerve-wracking going to an event where you may or may not know someone. Help the people you invite be comfortable.
Even if they do not come, reach out after the event. If you just drop them after they do not attend, they will believe your sole motivation was to get them to come to your event.
Reach Out to Your Network
Do you have other churches you have co-hosted events with? Or a network of churches within your community?
Share your event with the other churches. Let them know you would like to extend invitations to them and their members as well.
In this manner, you can network within the church.
Community Outreach Programs
Is your church already running community outreach programs? For example, there is a church in Arizona that has a bus they take out to serve the transient community and offer showers.
However, being in the community can look different depending on your church. Maybe you volunteer at and support a local charity. Utilize your contacts here to ask if you can drop off flyers or post an invitation on their website.
If you run your own outreach program, invite the people who are attending to join your special event.
Start at the Source
There are many things you can do externally to promote events. However, starting at the source is a great place.
Your congregation is one of the most powerful tools you have when it comes to marketing events.
Continually remind your congregation about upcoming events. Encourage them to put the event on their calendar and make plans to attend.
Do you need volunteers? Reach out to your regular volunteers and see if they are able to help and send them reminders as the date approaches.
If you are connected with your congregation on social media, use that for reminders as well. There is even software you can utilize to schedule posts.
Mobilize Your Congregation
Encourage your congregation to invite family and friends. However, do not just encourage them to invite people.
Make it so easy for them to invite people that there's no excuse. This will make it so that they do not walk out the door and forget. Hand your members a flyer and ask them to give it out.
Send them an e-vite and ask them to forward it to people they want to invite, and then remind them again to invite.
It's not that your members don't want to invite people. The problem is that people live life at a million miles an hour. It is easy to rush about the week and forget.
Mobilizing your congregation and reminding them to invite people will help keep the thought at the forefront of their minds.
Why should people attend your event? If they're not regular churchgoers, they may not care about your event or understand why it's important. You should always show people what value you are offering on a variety of levels.
If you are planning a big event and inviting others in from the community, this is a necessity. You need to know how many people are coming to plan for the event.
You can give a discount or gift to those who preregister for your event. This not only helps you plan but provides value to those who choose to preregister.
As you advertise your event, tell people why they should come to your event. If you are speaking to those who share the same values as you, talk about the spiritual benefits.
For example, if you are having a marriage conference, talk about how husbands and wives can learn to honor God through their marriage by attending your conference.
If you want to encourage those who may not be religious to attend the same conference, you will need to look at things from a different perspective. For example, you could encourage couples to attend and learn how to build a stronger relationship while growing closer to one another.
Provide food. Food always provides value. As many will tell you, it's not church without good food and lots of it.
There are a few ways you can provide food. You can offer food for purchase prior to the event and have the meals ready for people. However, if going this route, be sure to order extra for people who do not pre-order.
You can provide food at no charge. Maybe you take donations from your church for this, or you have it as part of your budget. You can also have a potluck.
However, if you are doing a potluck, be sure to let people know they can still eat if they are unable to bring something. Doing this will help increase attendance.
Have a Fun Element
It can be difficult to encourage people to come to church events. For those who have not spent time in church, they may view the church as stuffy and boring.
However, show the people who are planning to attend that it will be fun as well. For example, if you are running a youth event, don't just encourage teens to come for a special speaker.
Your typical teen sits in a classroom being talked at all day long; that's the last thing they need when they go home. If you want to have an event for the youth, host a Nerf gun war for teens.
You can incorporate a speaker into the event, but first, you need to get them there.
The Cost-Effective & Easy Way to Market Your Church
What if your church could get $120,000 in free online advertising each year?
Or, advertise locally without spending much at all?
We'll show you how you can get a free six-figure advertising budget and other cost-effective methods to promote your church and its ministries. All you need to do to get these high-impact church marketing and advertising secrets is download our free, comprehensive guide.