The Importance of Church Marketing
If you’re struggling with church membership, you’re not alone. Research shows that church attendance isn’t what it once was, which is why religious organizations need to put more effort into church marketing…
Over the past two decades, there has been a steady decline in church attendance, according to a 2019 Gallup poll. In 1998, 70% of U.S. adults were church members, but by 2018, that number had dropped to 50%. This decline is primarily due to an increase in people who have no religious affiliation. That number went from 8% in 1998 to 19% in 2018.
Differences in generations are playing a major role in church membership decline overall. For example, two decades ago, 62% of Generation Xers belonged to a church. Now, only 42% of Millennials who are the same age are members.
According to Pew Research Center, 53% of people feel that religion is very important in their lives. Interestingly, this number is right in alignment with the percentage of people who are church members.
We are clearly living in a different world, and in this world, word of mouth only goes so far. To succeed today, you’ll need a church marketing strategy to boost attendance, engage church members, and reach people in the local community and beyond.
15 Helpful Church Marketing Tips
Here are 15 church marketing tips to help you get new people to visit your church and keep existing members coming back.
1) Start with a Solid Church Marketing Strategy
Hit-or-miss marketing is not going to get you anywhere in today’s religious landscape. You’ll need a solid church marketing strategy that maps out an effective plan of action. Having a marketing team that can execute the plan is essential to your success.
2) Adjust Your Church Marketing Plan According to Data
Your church marketing plan needs to be based on actual data. When you guess, you’ll get sporadic results.
The best way to get data is to survey your existing church members. You can also work with marketing experts who can access much deeper and larger amounts of actionable data.
3) Consider Your Budget When Purchasing Marketing Tools
You’ll need marketing tools to help you carry out your marketing plan. There are so many marketing tools available in a wide range of price points, so just consider your budget. And choose tools that allow you to reach people through various means.
4) Make Sure Your Church Can Be Found on Search Engines
Search engines are your friends! They provide you with free traffic so long as you know how to get top rankings.
Remember not to neglect local search engine optimization (SEO). That means getting reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. It also means using local search terms and having listings on online directories.
5) Solidify Your Church Logo & Branding
Your church logo and branding should make you stand out and capture attention. The worst thing you can do is to be generic. Decide what your church is about and what makes you different.
Make sure you know why people will love attending your church and reflect it in your church logo and branding. Then sing it from the rooftops. That way, the people who resonate with your branding will be drawn to you.
6) Optimize Your Church Website
Church websites have come a long way. They are now a critical piece of church marketing.
You’ll need to make sure your church website has a modern look and is mobile responsive. You’ll also want to ensure you keep the content fresh so that it feels relevant when someone lands on your website.
Post blogs, list your service times and details, add events, and include updates on recent volunteer work.
7) Connect with Church Members throughout the Week
Your church members won’t be members for long if you neglect them outside of Sunday services…
Connect with them throughout the week in a number of different ways. That way, you’ll stay top of mind and they’ll be able to see the comprehensive value of membership.
8) Get Involved in the Local Community
Each church should be highly involved in their local community. Doing so puts you in front of your potential members on a regular basis and builds trust. As you know, “What you sow, so shall you reap.”
Reach out and be there for your community, and you’ll start making an impact that leads to more church members.
9) Interact with Church Members on Social Media
Your church members are on social media, so you need to be too. Remember, though, that a half effort on many platforms will get you nowhere. Instead, choose a social media platform where your church members hang out. Then, do an amazing job connecting with people there.
10) Notify Members about Upcoming Events
Make a plan to get the message out about upcoming events as much as possible. This will increase awareness and attendance.
- Promote upcoming events on social media.
- Notify members via email.
- Include it in your newsletter.
- Write up a blog about it.
- Post it on your church calendar.
11) Develop a Church Communications Plan
A church communications plan is an important part of your strategy. It maps out the who, why, how, and what of your communications with your church community and beyond.
Get clear on the following:
- Who your ideal church members are
- Why they would want to be a member of your church
- How you’ll reach them (what channels you’ll use)
- What message you want to convey and the purpose of that message
12) Reach People with Quality Content
Consider starting a blog, newsletter, video, podcast, or any other content marketing platform that calls to you.
The easiest way to do this is to base your content on your sermon series. Put out teaser content that gets people wanting more and then promise to deliver it during your Sunday sermons.
13) Encourage Church Growth through Referrals
Church growth can still come from referrals, but it’s less obvious to people these days. All that means is that you need to ask for it. And when referrals show up, have a plan in place of how you are going to wow them.
14) Take Advantage of Online Advertising
Online advertising isn’t expensive as long as you are making more than you are putting into it. Test different elements of your ads (headline, call to action, image, etc.) to find the ones that work best. Also, try different targeting demographics.
Keep in mind that Google offers Google Ad Grants that you can also check out.
15) Enlist the Help of Church Marketing Experts
Honestly, it’s pretty hard for most churches to do all of this on their own. It’s certainly overwhelming and is often a bit foreign to church leaders.
Hiring marketing experts will make all the difference in the world. If you choose the right company, the money you put into it will be a drop in the bucket compared to what you get out of it.
The good news is that we are living in a time when there are so many marketing tools and opportunities available to us. Let’s get your church to a whole new level in church membership!
Contact us today to discuss all the different ways we can help you with an effective church marketing strategy.