Marketing and communication play an important role in any pastoral team’s ability to connect with congregants, as well as the church’s overall ability to connect with the community.
Obviously, good organizational communication cannot replace pastoral care, and slick church marketing can’t overcome a dearth of personal evangelism and invitation. But church marketing and communication is at its best when it provides informative and inspirational material that draws people, both within the church and outside it, to the vision that God has given your congregation.
The work church marketers do is important. It also comes with a unique set of challenges to overcome.
Here are seven tips for your church marketing and communication plan.
1. Clear Is Better Than Clever
When it comes to communicating an idea in a way that encourages next steps, clear is always better than clever. To be sure, your marketing and communication materials should express some measure of creativity. But that creativity must never come at the expense of clarity.
So when it comes to communicating events and initiatives, don’t try to force alliteration, rhyming, or puns. Be clear and straightforward with what is happening at your church such that no further explanation is needed.
This goes for how you name events, programs, and even the physical spaces on your campus.
For a time, it was a widespread trend in churches to be more creative in their naming conventions so as to do away with tired or stuffy language. Youth groups were renamed things like “Catalyst” and “Encounter.” Perhaps the Fellowship Hall at your campus got renamed to “The Commons.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a part of some of these types of rebrands—enthusiastically so. And some of them were good. But the danger of overdoing it is ever present, particularly when you take something that was relatively transparent in meaning, such as “youth group” and rebrand it to something less transparent—I renamed my former church’s youth group “The Ascent.”
“What is The Ascent?” someone might ask.
“It’s our youth group for junior high and high school students.”
“Why didn’t you just call it that?”
A good rule of thumb is that if a naming convention or event description requires followup explanation, it’s not a winner—regardless of how cool it sounds.
2. Over-Communication Is Underrated
Having done a fair amount of church marketing and communication, the inability of otherwise intelligent and capable congregants to absorb basic information when it is repeatedly given directly to them has never ceased to amaze me.
That is, until I feel out of the loop on the goings on of my church, despite multiple efforts to communicate them to me.
In short, over-communication is underrated.
Your church’s marketing and communication plans should be as robust and omnichannel as possible. Don’t just send one email; send multiple emails. Don’t just make one announcement; make multiple announcements, both in physical and digital spaces.
Even still, some of your favorite church folks will accuse you of needing to communicate better. Take that instruction to heart, but also realize that sometimes no amount of good marketing and communication can make a particular announcement stick. So just be diligent and do your best.