Do you think that marketing efforts are just a polite way of describing pushy advertising? Think again!
Marketing is for far more than selling sauna suits and ab-exercisers. In fact, it can be the difference between a dwindling ministry and a thriving church community.
We hope that this guide will provide you with six of the best church marketing strategies to boost church growth!
Start with Facebook
Whether you set up accounts for a community organisation, a business or just for yourself – a church marketing plan is incomplete without a social media presence.
This applies to churches too. Communicating with church members and keeping people updated with the latest news are both easier than ever with social media posts.
Facebook is a great place to start your church marketing. You can introduce new visitors to the team and pastor, create church events in your community, direct traffic to your church website, post about an interesting sermon that took place and talk one to one or through group chats and comments.
And there simply isn’t an easier way to get your church in front of as many people as possible as with a Facebook post.
Facebook is also a great platform to share video content about your church. This can be anything from a video introducing your pastor or highlights from a guest sermon.
Either way, a video is a great marketing strategy to introduce newcomers to your church and tell them more about your services.
If your church has a blog, you can also reshare these articles onto your Facebook page to create some engagement with fellow congregation members.
Tapping into this potential is probably the best first step you can take in your church’s marketing strategy and once you’re comfortable with Facebook, you can always expand to other platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Create a church marketing team
It can be overwhelming for one person to oversee the entire church marketing strategy. So, why not put together a team of church volunteers to work on it together?
Don’t forget to divide and conquer. This means you could divide the marketing strategy into segments so that is more manageable.
For example, you could have one volunteer overseeing online marketing on Facebook and the church’s website and another overseeing traditional advertising and community events.
However you decide to manage the marketing team, make sure everyone plays to their strengths.
Don’t let your marketing plan stop at Sunday service
There’s no use thinking of marketing strategies if you’ve nothing to market. That’s why it’s always a great idea to run small community events outside of regular Sunday service. And if you have the budget, run big events as well.
Of course, this could be anything that your local community has an interest in. The point is to really attract visitors outside of those hours to build a community around your church.
Running events, both regularly each week and on a one-off basis, gives you the opportunity to put your church in front of an audience.
If all you have to advertise are regular services, that’s just not eye-catching enough to hook and reel in potential new church visitors and members.
But even with just basic events like car boot sales, games clubs or community outreach days, you can keep people’s interest- it’s a simple case of keeping things interesting!
Build a website for your church
For churches, a website is the centre of their online presence.
Having a website also makes it easy for potential new members to find out more about you and decide whether or not your church would be a good fit for them.
If you are unsure of what to include on your website, here are some tips:
- A homepage to welcome new visitors to your website
- An “About Us” section that explains what your church does and why/how it was started
- A calendar page with your service times and any upcoming events
- The “Meet the team” page should tell visitors about who is involved in the church and what their background is
- A blog section for articles or to share the latest news about your church
- Perhaps most importantly, a contact page with your address and phone number
There are many platforms like WordPress, Squarespace and Wix that will help you build a professional-looking website in no time at all.
Boost your church’s website through online listings
There’s no point in having a website for your church if no one can find it on Google. This is why it’s vital that you register for a Google My Business account.
When users Google your church or churches in the area, it will show them important information about where you are and how they can contact you.
This is why it’s important that all of this information is accurate and up-to-date, specifically:
- Your church’s name
- The address
- Contact number
- Opening and closing hours
You will also be able to display and respond to Google reviews. These reviews can give users an insight into how other people have experienced your church and build credibility with potential new visitors.
It’s also important that you keep your information consistent across all of your online platforms. This is because outdated information will prevent Google’s algorithm from displaying your church near the top of the search results.
Therefore, accurate and up-to-date information will enable a higher ranking on Google’s search results and help people find your church.
Use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to improve your Google rankings
Simply put, SEO is the process of increasing traffic to your website from search engines.
This is typically done by making sure your website has the right keywords so that it ranks higher on Google’s search results.
For example, a keyword could be: “Catholic churches in London”. Your website will then rank higher on Google according to how often this keyword appears on your website.
You don’t need a Google or marketing expert to do this for you. Instead, you can use Google’s free keyword planner to help you with your research and finding the right keywords.
This nifty online tool will help you find the keywords that are most relevant to your church for you to include in your marketing strategy.
Once you have your keywords, you can then include them where they would be relevant throughout your site.
Don’t give up on traditional advertising
At the same time, there’s no need to give up on traditional advertising. Facebook is an excellent way of attracting new, and most often younger, members.
But older members of the community aren’t as easy to target online. That’s where traditional ‘advertising’ comes into your church marketing strategy.
One awesome way of reaching the older community is through ads in local newspapers.
Advertising events like jumble sales or afternoon teas through the local news will help promote church growth.
Make sure to combine your church marketing strategies by posting about events like these on your website and other online platforms, so that you attract church visitors of all ages.
Once you’ve started to attract more members of the community to your congregation, events and Sunday services, that’s not where your marketing efforts should end.
You have to make sure to keep church members engaged, keep visitors coming back, and keep the congregation interested in what you’re doing.
A great way of keeping hold of church members’ attention is through a good old-fashioned newsletter!
Of course, your newsletter should mostly be about church-related news and upcoming events. But you can keep it light with puzzles, pub quiz questions and crosswords, too.
Hand them out to attendees of Sunday service, and pin them up on notice boards around town.
Again, this traditional marketing strategy should help to retain older members who prefer newspapers and newsletters over online platforms.
Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth
Word of mouth marketing is an oldie, but it’s a goodie. Posting about events on social media, and advertising through traditional routes like newspapers and newsletters is effective.
But even more effective is to hear from a friend, neighbour or colleague about how much fun they had at the last church service or group meetup.
You can even go one step further. Each week, why not ask present members to talk to friends and family, and extend the invitation to your church?
Attracting new faces isn’t about bringing in twenty, fifty or a hundred visitors each week.
Remember that slow and steady wins the race, and consistent efforts- like encouraging word of mouth- can sometimes prove to be the most effective.
Post news of your church’s events on Meetup
This is another marketing strategy to attract a younger audience. If you’ve never heard of Meetup, and can’t guess from the name what it is, it’s a popular website where users can create groups related to particular interests. It’s full of hiking groups, book clubs and similar.
There’s a Meetup app, too.
There are plenty of community organisations that advertise on Meetup to give members the lowdown on up and coming events.
But more importantly, you’re going to be getting church events and outreach programs out there in front of a fresh audience.
The key to success is to achieve a balance between attracting these new church members with social media and apps like Meetup- and maybe your own app, too- and retaining members using traditional methods like newsletters.
Create your church’s own mobile app
So, you’ve set up everything from regular church events to social media profiles on every platform you can think of. What’s next?
Well, why don’t you complete the picture with your very own mobile app?
A church app is a great way to give churchgoers the chance to sign up for events, see what team members are up to, and get alerts through posts and push notifications.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to hire a designer at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds to get your very own top-quality, personalised church app.
You can actually design your own church app by using our custom drag and drop editor. And the best part? It’s all for free. So why not give it a go?