Planning a major church outreach, campus launch, or holiday service takes hundreds of hours planning, preparing, and praying for. But it’s not just the event itself that gets so much forethought. As a church communicator, you know that just as much thought goes into announcing this event to your local community, and developing outreach metrics.
While social media is a powerful tool in marketing your outreach event, don’t be too quick to dismiss traditional marketing. Billboards, mailers, door hangers, and newspaper ads can be effective tools in reaching your intended audience when they’re part of an overall marketing plan. While these channels may not have all the detailed analytics that digital marketing channels provide, they are an affordable option for getting a lot of eyeballs on your ads.
How do you measure traditional marketing channels?
The problem with traditional, or print, advertising is measuring results. Billboard companies will tell you how many thousands of people will drive by your ad, and your print partner can give you a list of the hundreds or thousands of homes your mailer will be sent to, but neither is adequate at measuring success.
Fortunately, there are ways you can better track the impact traditional marketing has on your event.
The most common way to measure results is by setting up a unique URL (web address) for each ad. Instead of putting your church’s homepage on the ad, or even the regular URL for your event, create a separate URL just for that ad.
For example, if your landing page is examplechurch.org/easter, consider creating another URL for print that says examplechurch.org/eastervisit. This new URL will redirect to the regular landing page, but it would trigger in your analytics that they came from print.
You can also make a completely new URL just for this event (easterexamplechurch.org), which you would only use for traditional channels and would still lead to the main event landing page. Called a vanity URL in the marketing world, this is a really helpful way to see how many page visits came from an advertising channel.
Unique Phone Numbers
Similar to the vanity URLs mentioned above, you can use unique phone numbers for each print piece. The church phone would still ring as normal, but you would know that those people called after seeing your ad. You could set up a Google Voice number, or use one of the many call tracking solutions out there.
If it makes sense for your event, a coupon code is another way to measure the reach and impact of a print mailer. Your offer could be for a free gift, a contest entry, or a donation to a local charity or cause.
Setting Up Analytics
Of course, in order to establish outreach metrics, you need to have analytics software set up on your website. I recommend Google Analytics, as it has plenty of features while still being free. Plus, I’ve found it to be more accurate than the tools built into Squarespace or added on to WordPress.
The whole reason to for outreach metrics is to measure traditional marketing is to see what works in your community. The church across the state may have used mailers to great success, but it might not work for you. By measuring your results, you can see how effective traditional channels are in meeting your intended goal, whether that is a boost in attendance, more registrations, or increased donations.
There is also something to be said about using traditional marketing as brand awareness, a way of getting your church’s name and logo out to the greater community. These may not always lead to a measurable increase in attendance, but can still serve a role in your overall outreach metrics efforts.
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.