If coming up with effective church marketing ideas feels extra-challenging lately, know that everyone is sailing the same boat as you are. In fact, Americans’ membership in houses of worship hit a low last year with over a 50% decline.
But, thanks to our expertise and passion for helping our audience; as an industry-leading church text messaging service, we know the ins and outs of church marketing. These church marketing ideas are pretty easy to implement by yourself, so you don’t necessarily need to hire someone for the job.
This guide will help you with 6 of the best church marketing ideas and 17 church marketing tools that will help you execute those ideas.
How do you attract new members to your church?
This section focuses on 6 ways you can attract new members to your church. All these church marketing ideas concentrate on forming a solid relationship with your potential congregation right from the beginning.
Let’s see how to market your church for growth!
1. Equip people to bring in others
One of the most powerful ways to attract new people is to encourage your current congregation to bring in some. On average, word-of-mouth generates $6 trillion in annual global spending and is responsible for 13% of all sales.
When a friend, family member, or a close colleague introduces you to a new space, it comes with a sense of familiarity. Knowing they’re with their loved ones may make them feel at ease.
All you have to do is encourage your congregation to bring in new members and ensure you make the process easier for them, which makes this one of the easiest church marketing ideas to execute.
Here are some ways:
- Train them with an elevator pitch of your church.
- Introduce a few personas that may be looking for a church.
- Distribute invite cards.
- Help them create shareable social media posts.
- Train them to share their experiences compellingly.
You can also consider allocating one day in a month to be a “Bring-a-friend” day.
Best practice: Collect every new member’s contact details and offer them a small reward, like a gift certificate, a pen, etc. Now, send them a personalized thank-you note while also requesting their feedback. This will show them your efforts on constantly improving to make your church a better place to worship.
Give it a day before you send out a note so, it doesn’t feel like you’re spamming them, but again not a long gap in which they may forget the impact you had on their thoughts.
2. Host events that build a community
Hosting an event provides you with an opportunity to showcase your church to potential new members. This is also a platform to celebrate your accomplishments and reward your members.
You already have a set of events that take place regularly in your church. Gathering people for a Sunday prayer, Bible studies, and more come under that category.
All this is great.
But, we suggest you go the extra step and keep things interesting while also drawing in new members.
You can host rallies to promote the cause your church believes in. Or have an event where people from a particular community can come together. For instance, a group of environmental activists can gather and clean the city as a part of a walkathon. Annual events with an open invitation for anyone to attend are also a great way to attract people.
These events are also a great way to increase your volunteer base.
Best practice: Start by building momentum leading up to the day. Specifying the impact they’d create by joining your event and the value they’d get out of it can be a great start to promoting your event. Put up flyers and posters and distribute them among your congregation so they can bring their friends and family. Send personalized invitations using text messages. Personalized invitations induce a feeling of community and increase the chances of someone joining you.
3. Deploy digital marketing
Make it easy for people to find you online. Digital marketing takes up a considerable share of church marketing ideas out there.
Starting from providing information about your church using a Google My Business profile to landing in front of your audience when they scroll through their feeds, digital marketing is the answer to increasing your online visibility.
Here are 8 digital marketing strategies you can use to boost your online presence:
- Build a user-friendly website where people can learn more about you.
- Create and publish content that’s valuable and relevant to your audience.
- Get your church listed on Google My Business and improve your SEO score.
- Reach out to your community through texting and calling and drive more donors.
- Host online events to attract a wide audience.
- Run email campaigns and newsletters to keep your community updated on the happenings.
- Register on online directories so your parishioners can find you from different platforms.
- Invest in pay-per-click advertising for instant online visibility.
Here is a guide to help you swim through these tactics related to digital marketing for churches.
The following two sections talk about two of the biggest and most popular digital marketing tactics, which definitely deserve a special mention.
4. Share videos or stream on social media
Your audience will find immense value in watching valuable information online, especially if they aren’t in a position to make it in person. In fact, 59% of executives in a survey said, if there was text and video available on a particular topic, they were more likely to pick a video. Also, your videos act as a trailer of your church to your audience.
Streaming or posting such informative videos helps you reach more people and stand out from other churches in your neighborhood. When your followers share these videos with their network, you also get to tap into a whole new audience.
Here are some ideas for the same:
- Post a sermon that talks about being better at parenting.
- Offer snippets from the Bible on living a good life.
- Provide sessions on mental and spiritual health.
Here is an example of a sermon by a sociologist Harry Edwards, Grace Cathedral church from San Francisco.
5. Advertise on Facebook
69% of US adults say they use Facebook. However, just having a Facebook page is no longer sufficient to increase your reach. The average reach of organic posts (Posts that aren’t a part of ads) is down to 5.2%.
So, what’s the solution?
Advertising on Facebook is relatively simple compared to other social media platforms. It’s pretty intuitive and doesn’t require much technical expertise.
You can run ads to promote your upcoming event, your sermons, and… actually, literally anything, as long as you stay within Facebook’s guidelines!
Take Fellowship Baptist Church, for example. They ran an ad on Facebook to invite people to an annual event.
The responses? AMAZING!
They spent $45 to run an ad for 5 days and received 184 responses! What’s even better is that 500 NEW people showed up at the event.
Fellowship Baptist Church was running with 100 members at the time. I think it’s safe to say Facebook Ads is one of the most effective church marketing ideas.
6. Use traditional advertising
Traditional advertising is a powerful tool to draw in older members among your audience. Print, radio, television are all types of traditional advertising. While they might be a little expensive, the reach these channels can provide you with is unparalleled.
Here are some ideas:
- Ads in local newspapers
- Event promotion through radio
- Posters and flyers highlighting your church’s offerings
- Signboards around your church
- Creative messaging on pavements
Attracting new members is an integral part of your church marketing plan. Having said that, the right tools play an essential role in executing that plan.
Let’s see some such tools now.
Church marketing tools
Churches usually have a tight budget when it comes to promotional work. So, to execute these church marketing ideas, you need to be as resourceful as possible. This section focuses on cost-effective tools that will help you start implementing those church marketing ideas right away.
1. CallHub for communication
Communication is the base to all these church marketing ideas we saw. Phone calls and text messages are two of the most personal forms of communication, and CallHub is a tool that offers both. With both these channels, you can have a meaningful conversation and create a huge impact.
Texting can also be a backup of your calling efforts. For instance, if a contact doesn’t pick your call, you could follow up with a text message from the same interface on CallHub. If calling seems too time-consuming, you can also try peer-to-peer texting, which is also available on CallHub.
However, make sure you have explicit permission from your members before texting them. You can get the permission via written consent, registration forms on your website, or simply asking them to opt in to your updates.
2. MailChimp for email marketing
Email is one of the channels you can directly communicate with your contacts while also personalizing the content. MailChimp is one of the most easy-to-use email automation tools out there.
You can start for free and run simple email marketing campaigns targeted towards your donors.
3. Content Calendar for content planning
A content calendar can help you organize your content strategy, SEO strategy, and have content planned in advance. It’ll make your content planning and execution easier, especially if you’re tightly packed in terms of resources.
With a content calendar, you’ll be able to plan the topics, content body, author, timeline, platform, and more.
If you aren’t a WordPress user, then you can use this content calendar from HubSpot. With this calendar, you’ll be able to plan and bulk upload content for social media.
4. Animoto for video creation
Like we mentioned earlier, videos play an essential role in executing those church marketing ideas. Animoto is a free video maker tool that’ll help you put together pictures, clips, text, etc., and create a simple, full-fledged video.
5. Hootsuite for social media management
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps you with scheduling your posts well ahead of time. It enables you to take your strategy further by providing insights into how your posts are performing.
6. Piktochart for infographics
With Piktochart, you can create infographics, reports, presentations, and more to drive awareness and thereby donations. Regardless of your expected action, an infographic is a great way to convey the most complex information in an easy-to-consume manner.
7. WordPress for website building
Regardless of the size and age of your church, you need a website that helps people find you and learn about you. A website is the base to all those church marketing ideas we discussed.
With WordPress, you can build a good website even with a small budget. All you need to pay for is the domain and the hosting provider, and you’re good to start with your website. You don’t need to be a coding expert, and more of your focus can go into populating your website with great content. The platform is easy to navigate and is one of the best content management systems out there. To start with, there are many themes; and plugins that can help you take your website up a notch.
8. Google Analytics for performance tracking
Google Analytics is a tool that helps you know how effective your website is by giving insights such as which pages have the highest traffic and which ones have the highest bounce rate.
With such insights, you can rearrange or update your website content.
9. Sumo List Builder for website pop-ups
A list builder helps you convert your website visitors into donors. Sumo List Builder is one such tool that allows you to build pop-ups on your website that’ll show up when your visitors are about to leave the page. This pop-up will have a form you can use to capture your visitors’ information.
10. HubSpot for blog ideas generation
The blog title is the first thing your audience sees, no matter which platform they visit. I, myself, take quite some time to think and come up with a title that’s both intriguing and SEO-focused.
HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator is a tool that’ll give you several potential titles upon entering a phrase.
11. Ubersuggest for keyword research
When you use the right keywords in your website content, you increase your organic traffic. When you’re starting, all you need to find out is
- What people are looking for
- What your competitors are using on their websites
Ubersuggest, a free keyword tool, gives you content ideas while also helping you lift your existing content. All you need to keep in mind is not to overdo it so you don’t end up getting blocked by a search engine for keyword stuffing.
12. Grammarly for error-free communication
To execute all these church marketing ideas well, you need error-free communication in place, regardless of the channel. This will place you as a responsible entity in front of your audience.
With the help of Grammarly, you can make sure all your communication is professionally written. It’s a writing assistant that reviews your content for spelling, grammar, punctuation, readability, and more.
13. Content Gems for content discovery and sharing
Content Gems is a content discovery tool where you can discover and share content with your audience. Since these church marketing ideas depend mainly on fostering a community, having a regular stream of content for your audience becomes essential.
This tool is handy if you want to come up with social media content with minimal effort.
14. PosterMyWall for poster/flyer design
PosterMyWall is a fairly easy-to-use flyer/poster design tool. Once you hit the ‘Create a Design’ button, you’re directly taken to the interface where you can choose background templates to start your posters with. The tool also has a wide array of images you can choose from.
15. Sendoso for direct mails
Taking your love to your audience is becoming seemingly more important and creative. Sendoso is a leading mail platform that will help you connect with your contacts through gifts, branded swag, and more.
16. Freepik for visuals
To support the content which is the focus of your church marketing ideas, you need high-quality visuals. Freepik gives you those visuals, including images, vectors, icons, etc., that are free for personal and commercial use.
If you don’t have a trained designer who works for you, Freepik could help your team lift your content on multiple platforms.
Note: Although the tool is free to use, you’ll need to attribute the creators of those visuals.
17. Yelp for online listing
Yelp is an online listing platform where you can upload your church information like name, location, service times, and other essential information.
Having your church on such a platform increases your chances of being found by the right audience.
If you have a more generous budget you can spend on those church marketing ideas, then check out this list of church management software categorized for your convenience.
So there you have it!
6 church marketing ideas to grow your community.
Now, all you need to do is get the right resources in place to help your team get started with executing these church marketing ideas.
Have any more church marketing ideas in mind? Share them with us in the comments.
Featured image: Business photo created by rawpixel.com