Why We Advertise: Part Three

We think advertising is a form of outreach, so we want to give it our best shot.  I wanted to just give a couple tips on advertising.

1.  Play to your strengths.  Get your team, or some volunteers together, and ask this question:  what makes us different from every other church?  For us, it was pretty easy.  We meet in the only movie theater in town, so we chose that as our angle.  All of our advertising played up "church in the movies."  We didn’t really focus on our kids program, contemporary music, or anything else.  Trying to promote everything results in promoting nothing.  Pick one angle, your strongest angle, and go with it. 

2.  One thing won’t cut it.  Don’t think a direct mail will save the day.  Or a road sign.  The power comes when you do a combination of thing.  When people get a postcard, see a sign, and then someone invites them…that’s gold.  You need to diversify.  I don’t think putting all your $$ in a billboard is smart – you can get more bang for your buck.

3.  You have to commit to do things more than once.  It takes time to build name recognition.  One postcard isn’t good enough.  You should commit to several.  Do one, then do another similar looking one three weeks later.  Send it to the same people.  If you have enough money to send out 10,000 postcards.  Send 5,000 and then send another 5,000 to the same people three weeks later.  You will get better results.

4.  You don’t have to spend a ton of money.  We’ve done helium balloons, invite cards and door hangers.  Those were all cheaper than direct mail.  I would encourage you to spend as much as you can on this – without sacrificing quality of your program or church.  You can’t advertise a big event and then have the event stink, but you can have the greatest event in the world, and if people don’t know about it, they won’t come.  Read through the archives here and I like to all the people we’ve used for print and promotional stuff.

5.  Advertise creative series.  We didn’t send out a postcard when we went through Jonah.  But we did the next month when we talked about sex.  Market your most creative and interesting sounding things.  We generally advertise an upcoming series – not just the church or the kids ministry. 

6.  Read a book called Buzz Marketing.  It’s not a Christian book, so you know there will be some good insights in there.  🙂

7.  Don’t use stock designs and templates.  Design stuff yourself.  Find a really cool image at istockphoto.com.  Get a freelance person to do some design work.  Find a college students.  Make sure your advertising looks like YOU.  This will help you play to your strengths as a church.

8.  Don’t do the same thing other churches are doing.  If six other churches do direct mail in your area, I’d find something else to do. 

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