Technology is always changing, but in addition to cutting-edge tools that can help us communicate, following are three strategic characteristics that will help your marketing be successful no matter what tools you use. No matter the tech channel, we need to communicate clearly.
Communicate Clearly: Clarity
For audiences both inside and outside the church, you must clearly explain what you are wanting to market. Event titles like “The Growing Edge” “Riptide” “HUGS” are a few examples that mean little to people outside a certain group. Why would someone come to something when they don’t even understand its name? So use a clear name, for example, “Single’s Group” (instead of HUGS) or “Adult Bible Class” (instead of The Growing Edge). If you absolutely can’t bear to get rid of an unclear name, always add a subtitle: “Riptide, our weekly group for middle-school students.”
“Riptide” is the name of an actual church group and when I asked the pastor why any parent would want to send their child to [something] that will catch you unaware and drown you, he didn’t have much of an answer — which is a reminder to think through carefully before you commit to a name for a church group. You don’t want to be always explaining the meaning of something different than what the title means to most people.
Communicate Clearly: Consistency
Come up with one message per ministry, season, or campaign; and one set of colors, font, images, and use them consistently every time you market that event or ministry.
“But won’t my audience get bored?” is a frequent question. Professional marketers remember: audiences seldom get bored, but they frequently get confused. People won’t know if you are talking about the same program or something new if the theme or colors or presentation change simply because you got bored sending out the same thing again and again. That means that rather than try to find out, people may just click on to the next thing.
Communicate Clearly: Repetition
This relates to Consistency. In order to cut through the daily noise and get people to respond to your marketing, you must repeat your message frequently. In marketing circles, the number used to be seven repetitions, but today that number has increased to, “however many times and ways we can get our message out there. Just think of how often the same ad is repeated during the same prime time program, or how many times you hear about a movie before it comes out.
Some churches get upset if something is in the bulletin more than twice — and then they wonder why no one shows up for anything! We need to remember that no one in our church audience actually sees the marketing for a ministry as many times as we do, and it is true servant’s work to put out multi-channel marketing in print, social media, the bulletin, the church website, announcements, postcards, invitations, and using every tool of technology and creativity we can think of to involve people in ministries that will help them grow to mature disciples in Jesus.