Church advertising ideas seem like a stretch for an institution built on faith and a long-standing need to connect with the Lord and the community. Advertising and marketing seem better suited for businesses looking at commercial interests. But…
3700 churches close their doors each year in the United States.
That statistic is hard to believe but also a reality that many churches across the country are grappling with. Church advertising is essential to revive a church, increase memberships, and continue to thrive and give back to the community.
As a company working towards improving communications between organizations and their target audience, we have some church marketing ideas for outreach, branding, and increasing attendance that might help your church. Let’s explore.
How can you advertise your church?
Our list of church advertising ideas aims to provide you with tips that can be easily understood and implemented by the church. While all of them may seem like church marketing ideas that you could implement, we suggest you start by focusing only on those that give you the best results in the long term. Adopt more as you grow.
Here is a list of church advertising ideas that you can implement to market your church:
Build a church marketing team
The first step to building a church advertising strategy is determining who would be the key people responsible for this process. Church advertising is no small task. When a few people are responsible for your marketing activities, it becomes easier to manage accountability and optimize the process.
Here’s how having a dedicated team for church advertising will help you:
- Accountability for marketing operations.
- Everyone is on the same page in terms of branding and messaging.
- A regular manner in which marketing is done.
- You do not have to constantly monitor marketing operations if the same people are trained and continue working on it.
- You know what to expect and you can rest assured of the quality.
Depending on the advertising platforms you choose, your budget, and how widespread you want the advertising campaign, you might need a social media manager, a publisher, phone tree volunteers, a PR representative, writers, and graphic designers to work on your marketing.
Update your website
A website is often an underestimated part of your church advertising arsenal. Every church today has a website, but it is often outdated and is actively hurting your ministry. Here’s why:
- 52% of your Sunday morning website viewers are first-time visitors to your site.
- 75% of first-time guests have already formed an impression of your church based on 10 seconds of your website.
- 8 out of 10 people visit your church website before deciding whether or not to visit your church.
This means that your website, which could bring potential visitors, new members, new donations, or more community engagement – is not able to function to its best potential.
Updating and optimizing your website should be the first task on your church advertising to-do list. One key aspect of this optimization is making your website mobile-friendly since mobile devices account for most of all website traffic.
Work on your social media
Your church advertising needs to show up on these platforms as sponsored or suggested posts if you want to reach these demographics. If you haven’t already, it is time to start using social media to enhance your church marketing strategy.
Here are some ideas to leverage social media for church advertising:
- Create events on Facebook and promote them. Facebook events reach larger audiences than a regular post informing people about an event.
- Ask people to ‘check in’ to your church on Facebook when they are visiting. You can also encourage them to put up a picture of Sunday service and tag your church on their Instagram story. This way, you also end up reaching out to their friends and family members.
Bonus tip: Keep a door prize for the first person who tags you or checks in to the church during Sunday service.
- Life gets busy, and not everyone can attend church every Sunday. Stream your sermons live on Facebook or Instagram so that your members can still attend virtually, and your sermons can also reach more people apart from regular members and visitors.
- If you are a small church, you could wish regular and esteemed church members on their birthdays, anniversaries, etc., through your social media pages to boost morale.
- Regularly share pictures and recorded videos of Sunday service, community initiatives, etc., on your social media pages. You could take group pictures with members and tag them on Facebook to increase your reach.
Start a Youtube channel
This one sounds like a lot of work compared to other church advertising ideas, but starting a youtube channel has many benefits. For one, 54% of Christian millennials watch online videos about faith or spirituality. Younger people, especially the ones belonging to the millennial generation are incredibly hard to reach. They are also the demographic that is currently settling down and starting their family.
If grabbing the attention of young families and young Christians is your aim, Youtube is a great platform to explore for church advertising.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is an excellent example of leveraging YouTube for church advertising. Here are a few video ideas that you can implement:
- Share small but interesting snippets from Sunday service.
- Get a video testimonial from your members about how faith has helped them overcome challenges in life.
- Get your visitors to talk about their positive experiences in your church.
- Take a church tour video.
- Record a short video from someone within the church explaining a verse or one of the tenets you follow religiously.
- Share event videos or behind-the-scenes footage from planning to execution of the event. It helps stir nostalgia in members who actively participated as well as interest new members.
Invest in communication software
Yes, we may be guilty of a bit of bias here. But hey, it works!
Take your church advertising to the next level by investing in software specifically designed to enhance communication with your members in general and particularly your local community.
Communications software facilitates communication through various channels such as texting, calling, emails, etc. Text messages are one of the best ways to reach out to people since they have a 98% open rate. This means that you are almost guaranteed that your message is read by the people it is intended to reach. Calls, on the other hand, help you develop personal relationships with members, forming the basis of what we hope is a long-standing relationship.
On CallHub, you can save your contact lists, divide your audience into segments and reach out to them according to their varied needs. We have built a user-friendly tool that can be comfortably navigated irrespective of your tech expertise.
Here are some church advertising ideas through the use of communication software:
- Check-in with existing members and new visitors through calls: You can ring up existing members to have a chat about upcoming events, their milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, or congratulating them for their new jobs. You could also speak with new visitors who attended your church by calling them and asking them about their experience at Sunday service (This is assuming you have collected their contact details. Once you get in touch with them, ask them if they are interested in getting regular text updates. This way, you capture them as engaged members and keep in touch even between two visits to the church).
- Conduct phone or text surveys: A good communication software such as CallHub will allow you to conduct surveys through phone or text messages. These are convenient ways of gathering crucial information that will help grow your church. Information gathered could range from their experience at the church, how they view the church if they would return, what they did not like, etc. You can build upon these responses and design your other advertising strategies accordingly.
- Text messages are the new flyers: Sending out flyers is a great way to spread information about the church. However, a more eco-friendly, less time-consuming process would be to send out mass texts with information. You will also easily reach more people through texts than through flyers. You just need to craft a great message, set up your target audience, and you are ready to launch! Simply send your flyer design via an MMS text message for a visually pleasing and highly engaging communication experience.
- Switch connect cards with SMS opt-in: Connect cards are a valuable resource for gathering information about potential members, new visitors, and guests. It helps you know their name and basic information, which you can use to reach out later. However, if you are taking your church advertising seriously, it is time to go digital. Through your church communication software, set up an SMS opt-in campaign through which people can text you and opt-in to your messaging service. This way, you get their consent for outreach initiatives, their information and can feed their data directly into your church database software.
Leverage friendship evangelism
Friendship evangelism is based on the idea that non-believers and non-attendees to the church are more likely to start believing and attending if their friend convinces them. Friendship evangelism as a church advertising tactic requires a lot of time and patience.
When guided and mentored, your members can help spread the word of the Lord to their friends and unchurched peers. They could do so by listening to their friends in times of need, genuinely caring for them, and speaking about the Bible’s teachings without expecting anything in return.
A more fast-tracked way to help members be friendship evangelists is to sign them up as volunteers on your peer-to-peer texting platform. They can share messages from the church to thousands of people at one go and then continue to have personalized conversations with those recipients that reply. The advantage of P2P texting as a church advertising idea is that it moves friendship evangelism as a concept from your members’ inner circle to thousands of people quickly. You can have a look at CallHub’s peer-to-peer texting feature to learn more about it.
Host educational events
A great church marketing idea would be to host educational events that generate value. It could range from hosting guitar lessons for children on the church premises to conducting soft skill development courses for adults. Hosting educational events ensures that people in the local community see value in being a part of the church.
The church moves beyond a place of worship to be a place of growth – and helping thy neighbor is also one of the tenets of Christianity.
Look for knowledge gaps in the community which you can fill. For example, if a lot of the younger population around your church consists of teenagers, it might help to offer a career counseling session to help them decide their future.
Send out newsletters
It could be easy to assume that email marketing is an obsolete concept in the world of social media. However, 81% of Americans still pay attention to their mail.
Designing and sending out newsletters could be a valuable church advertising idea. You could send out newsletters on various topics to engage your audience. Some newsletter ideas are:
- Shining a spotlight on the highest donors for the month.
- Sharing good deeds that members of the church have committed.
- Share pictures from your latest community drive or church event.
- A round-up of the best articles on faith you read this week.
- Articles from your church blog.
Explore digital advertising
Digital marketing for church advertising includes SEO (search engine optimization), setting up ads, and setting up a Google My Business account.
Working on SEO and setting up your Google My Business account will help people in your city or town easily discover your church online. Done right, your church would appear in the top recommendations for your area whenever someone tries searching for churches to visit. Here’s an example of what comes up in search results when you type ‘Church to visit in Miami’:
When you work on your SEO and Google My Business account, your church could also feature in the results for church-related topics on google and redirect visitors to it.
This boosts your digital presence significantly and helps drive more visitors to your church. Your marketing team can explore different ways in which digital church advertising can grow your church.
Church advertising has become more competitive as many churches grapple with decreasing attendance numbers, lesser donations, and diminishing relevance in the local communities.
Encouraging people to attend church and moving them towards the faith is becoming increasingly difficult. Implement these church advertising ideas and harness the power of modern technology such as calls and texts to grow your church.
Featured Image Credit: cottonbro