The Complete Guide to Social Media, Marketing, and Digital Signage for Churches
Are your pews beginning to look a little empty on a Sunday morning? You might need to rethink your marketing strategy. The world has shifted to the online realm, and churches across the country are upping their game to stay relevant and attract growth.
You are not alone in experiencing frustrating, dwindling numbers. Gallup found that church membership in the USA has dropped below the majority for the first time ever. That means less than half the population belongs to a church. Scary, right?
But all is not lost. Churches across the nation can continue to make the world a brighter place despite declining church numbers. A subtle shift in how you present your church will add a fresh appeal, and innovative features like digital signage for churches will modernize your ministry.
Depending on how new you are to the world of marketing for churches, you might be ready to take it a little further. This article has tips and tricks for everyone, from newly appointed church leaders to workers with advanced marketing knowledge.
Ready to see some serious church growth? Keep reading for the ultimate guide to church marketing strategies.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a detailed plan of all your promotional efforts. People often think that marketing is reserved for big businesses and corporations, but it can be translated to any and every endeavor that offers a service. Think of it as your overall game plan: how you plan to capture the attention of people in your community and transform them into people of your church.
What is Involved?
Typically, church marketing includes a budget, calendar, events, signs, media, and various channels for communication. It does depend on your church identity and the people in your community, but certain elements are universal. Offering a badge or sticker to kids in your ministry could be considered a leg of your marketing strategy, as could creating a TikTok account. The possibilities are endless.
Why is It Important?
Having an effective church marketing strategy can significantly improve your reach and enable you to serve your neighborhood. You can use marketing to let people know that your church can assist them with any inquiries they have about God and faith. When your efforts are focused and your church identity streamlined, your church will excel in all areas.
Here are the top four reasons why it is essential:
1. It Raises Awareness
Building awareness around your church is about more than just getting your name out there. Instead, it is a tool to highlight the unique selling points that make your ministry different. Think about why your church is relevant in your local community and how it makes a difference. A marketing strategy is essential to show your community the deeper meaning behind your church, so focus your church advertising ideas on the impact new members will have after joining your congregation.
2. It Attracts New Attendees
A solid marketing strategy will encourage your congregation to remain active while attracting potential newcomers from your local neighborhood. Marketing your church in the right light will result in a thriving church body, enabling your church to promote its mission and achieve its objectives. Think up new and exciting ways to get your name out there, and local people may even switch churches to get the chance to attend your Sunday services.
3. It Inspires Volunteers
Church marketing can be a powerful tool for inspiring volunteers to sign up, making it crucial if your congregation relies on volunteers to assist with initiatives. Your marketing initiatives can aid in the selection of volunteers for worthwhile projects. Similarly, your marketing efforts might attract new churchgoers, and these people may eventually choose to join your volunteer team.
4. It Boosts Your Donations
Think about it: The more effective your marketing, the larger your congregation will become, and the more successful your fundraising efforts will be. Smooth online giving services and specific fundraising events will take this even further. Use marketing strategies to develop your church by attracting enthusiastic new members and boosting donations.
Planning For a Successful Church Marketing Strategy
Now you know why a church marketing plan is a must, it’s time for the details on how to get it done. Answering these bite-sized questions will make it easy and accessible for anyone to up their marketing game, no matter how big or small your church may be. Get started on the research and planning phase now by answering these questions.
Who is on Your Team?
When building the brains behind your marketing plan, you can choose a team-based approach or hire an individual. Whether you outsource or opt for someone who already works at your church is completely up to you—you could even hire a Christian marketing company.
Ask members of your congregation for assistance if they have knowledge or experience in areas like graphic design, web design, copywriting, photography, or business management. These are the ideal skill sets for developing and putting into practice church advertising concepts. Why not establish a marketing committee or hire a marketing manager to manage your efforts?
Do You Set SMART Goals?
Creating "SMART" goals isn't a new concept—you may be familiar with it if you have ever worked in a business environment. It is a popular method of setting goals in a way that makes them happen, and the acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
For instance, simply stating that you want to build your social media presence is not a SMART goal. But you can transform it into one by making it specific. For example, a SMART version of this objective could be something like “our updated Instagram strategy will include five posts per week”—clear and measurable.
Who is Your Target Audience?
Spend some time assessing who you are trying to draw into your church. Having a specific, narrowed-down target audience is essential in every marketing endeavor, and your church growth strategies are no different. This will inform the kind of content you create, where you opt to share it, and more.
For most churches, the primary target market is actually their current congregation. Though it may seem a bit backward, word-of-mouth advertising for churches is one of the most effective. Think about it: Most of us tend to believe the advice of those we cherish and value our time with.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
Setting a budget before signing up with any marketing companies for churches is a must. The truth is that consistency and creativity matter most—not fancy church marketing companies. These may be expensive and cut into your budget, wasting money you could better use elsewhere. Discover more about how to set a church budget here.
While word-of-mouth advertising is free, it shouldn’t be the only channel you rely on. Setting aside money to create professional content and resources will level up your advertisements, flyers, and other marketing materials.
Does Your Church Have a Central Identity?
Your church's visual style and personality are articulated and defined by its brand identity. This usually takes the form of a brand standards guide, a written document detailing your brand's preferred fonts, color scheme, logo, mission, and vision statements.
The brand identity of your church should also specify the ideal vocabulary, phrasing, and even phrases you might want to avoid using when communicating verbally and in writing. By establishing your brand identity, you can make sure that the print and digital assets for your church look intentional and unified, fostering a sense of community and consistency.
What is Your Message?
After establishing your brand identity, it's time to develop your church's marketing message. Consider the distinctive qualities of your church and interview current members to determine your church's main selling points. You could ask what drew them to your church and what keeps them coming back week after week.
Knowing your strong points is essential, whether your church is admired for its modern approach and fresh ideas or has a family-friendly setup that prioritizes children. Now that you know your central selling points, you need to craft your marketing message around them. Sell your church by showing it in the best light possible.
How Will You Share Your Marketing Resources?
Distribution is an easy point of consideration, as nowadays countless accessible avenues for marketing your church exist. Popular options include traditional mediums like physically printed content (flyers, brochures, posters) and modernized solutions such as internet ads, digital signage, and social media campaigns.
Carefully consider which marketing avenues will suit your target audience and financial situation the best. Digital signage for churches enables eye-catching ads to be shared far and wide, with no limit to how often you can update them. It won’t cost anything extra to post engaging, exciting content daily. You can even update it remotely.
Do You Have a Fundraising Strategy to Support Your Goals?
To keep your church community growing, you need a plan for both fundraising and marketing for your church's promotional initiatives. Opting for innovative fundraising techniques will aid in spreading important news and generating revenue for your church.
It's a fantastic method to regularly interact with your congregation and inspire them to invite their friends and families. In this way, fundraising can also support the marketing initiatives of your church. Think bake sales, clothing exchanges, and community car washes.
What Next? Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Church Marketing Strategy
After clarifying the nuances of your church, researching your preferred techniques, and setting guidelines for your church marketing ideas, it’s time to start the marketing process! Keep reading for 10 actionable steps your church can take toward crafting a marketing strategy, free marketing ideas for churches, and church promotion ideas.
1. Refresh Your Website
First things first—your church website. If you don’t already have one, we highly recommend creating one, as it is the universal point of call if people want to learn more. Already have one? It’s probably time to give it a little TLC.
Imagine that someone sees your church while driving by or learns about it from a friend. They are curious and want to know more. As a result, they go to your church website. What they see there will have a big impact on what happens next.
Small details may turn people off your church completely. Important features are whether your website is mobile-friendly, has a modernized homepage, and is well organized. Turn to a web developer if you aren’t sure how to improve your site.
2. Add a Section for Online Giving
If your church doesn't offer a simple method for people to donate online, you are probably losing out on money. While it is optional, we recommend creating an online church donation form as soon as your website is operational.
Design a donation form consistent with your brand using a platform for donations that includes design features. Make sure your system is wired to accept recurring donations and gifts made in someone's honor or memory.
Some services let donors select a specific church project when donating. This might assist you in fundraising specifically for a neighborhood event to support your marketing initiative, helping you raise money for particular issues like a new roof or an Apple TV.
3. Encourage Inviting Others
Word-of-mouth advertising for your church can be very effective, but it only functions if the people in your church are open to inviting others to join. An invite culture can go a long way at your church, inspiring regular attendees to recruit new congregants.
Prioritize building a welcoming atmosphere at your church, and people will feel comfortable bringing friends along to give it a go. At the most basic level, this looks like a welcome team of volunteers, a system of following up with first-time visitors, and a smiley group of attendees.
Take it a step further and print appealing business cards for your church for people to give out when needed. Add an encouraging Bible verse along with your contact details and the hours of your services, and your attendees will want to invite others when an opportunity arises.
4. Go the Extra Mile for Holidays
Though many people were raised in the church, a significant portion now only attend on exceptional occasions. Christmas Eve and Easter are busy times when people often visit the church, and high attendance is anticipated in the Christian community. Mother's Day and Father’s Day also provide popular services.
Make a special effort on these occasions, and your congregation will be more likely to ask friends, neighbors, and out-of-town visitors to join them for one of these services. Over-prepare on the important days, so your church is ready to welcome the additional influx.
Put a little oomph in your cleaning procedures and make sure your printed programs are error-free and attractive. Holidays are a great time to advertise your church's ongoing services, such as summer camps, after-school activities, and future events.
5. Plan Community Events
It can be daunting to join a new church, which is why some people feel more at ease attending a neighborhood gathering than a Sunday service. Taking part in or organizing a community event is the best way to introduce your church to new neighbors and friends.
Show off your new marketing tools by planning a stellar event that everyone can enjoy. Use digital signage for churches to share news of the activity, and get ready to show off all your new marketing ideas. Why not try one of these ideas?
Fun summer day! Get some popsicles, water balloons, and other entertaining outdoor games.
Break some bread. Plan a BBQ, potluck, or picnic.
Cinema night. Plan a family movie night outside and offer snacks to attendees.
Lend a hand. Create a food drive to assist those in need in your community while forging new relationships.
Childcare for parents. Host a parent’s night and have an on-site creche so they can enjoy some much-needed adult time.
Seasonal spectaculars. Get creative with the season or time of year and host a pumpkin carving session or Easter egg hunt.
6. Invite People to Attend
Sometimes, the most obvious route really is the most effective! Designing appealing and friendly postcards or notes to invite people to your church is a low-cost way of making sure there is no confusion about it—you want new members at your church.
Make sure your postcard is well-designed and displays the distinctive features of your church prominently, noticeable at a moment’s glance. The more eye-catching, the better, as it will draw people. Ensure that your message will be pertinent to the people reading it by targeting your mailing cards by neighborhood or demographic. Along with the dates of your church's services, remember to include your address, website, donation channels, and contact details.
7. Start a Crowdfunding Initiative
Crowdfunding—where people band together to pool their contributions and make a significant difference—is a great way to boost donations. Highlight a common, mission-driven objective and aim to bring your community together through crowdfunding, so everyone can see exactly how their input helps.
One advantage of crowdfunding is that people may promote a project on social media and persuade their family, friends, and neighbors to donate. Since getting started can be a simple and cost-free procedure, crowdfunding may also be a high-ROI method of raising money.
To keep everyone motivated, look for a crowdfunding website with visual elements like a donations goal meter. You could even display your progress on your digital signage for churches. A virtual gift wall also gives donors a sense of recognition and appreciation.
8. Choose a Church Management Software
Simple administrative issues are solved in a heartbeat with the help of ChMS. Not only will it take a weight off your shoulders and clear space in your calendar to focus on marketing techniques, but it will also ensure the consistently smooth running of your church’s activities.
The more reliable your church is in terms of timekeeping, offering well-organized events, and providing clear, concise information, the more people will trust what you have to say. Investing in ChMS isn’t just a helping hand for admin—it boosts the credibility of your church!
Check out this list of the top 18 church software providers and their unique features. Select one with inbuilt software for seamless online giving, and your church will see more funds than ever before. In today’s cashless world, you are losing out if all you offer is the collection plate at the end of a service.
9. Devise a Social Media Campaign
If your church is new to social media, it’s time to get versed in the language of reels, hashtags, and stories. If you have already dipped your toe in the social media pool, there is always space to revamp your efforts. Wondering how to use Instagram effectively for your church? Here are some pointers.
Craft a visual presence. During your services and programs, take pictures. Afterward, share the images on social media and tag churchgoers! Inspiring sharing on people's personal social media profiles is a terrific approach to do this.
Share recaps and previews. Every Friday, record a small video and post it online to provide a synopsis of the next sermon.
Offer sneak-peak views. Post behind-the-scenes images from events at your church. Share images or videos of your worship team working on their music, or of a volunteer making cookies and coffee in the kitchen, for instance.
Post interactive activities and games. You could post a verse from the Bible and ask people to name it off-hand.
10. Invest in Digital Signage for Churches
Embrace a visual element of digital marketing and invest in a digital signage solution for your church. Show attractive displays to your congregation and visitors, sharing updates and information in an aesthetically appealing way. Think of it as the modern-day bulletin board, combining useful, informative elements with eye-catching designs.
All you need to get started is an Apple TV and a Playlister account, and you are ready to schedule your digital signage remotely. And, with Playlister, your ministry curriculum problems will be solved too. Just set up smart screens in your Sunday school classrooms, and load up your curriculum ready for learning.
Now, you can post dynamic and exciting videos to draw your congregation in, inspiring participation in activities while boosting awareness about projects and crowdfunding initiatives. Set up a rotating screen to share important news, details of your upcoming weekly sermon, and general information about events.
Making a Start
If this all feels a little overwhelming, don’t worry. Spend some time thinking about what you can do right now to begin the marketing process, no matter how small it may be. Remember—every step forward is progress! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your church won’t become masters in marketing overnight.
Schedule a meeting with your most creative church members, and start the discussion about how to use marketing tools while developing a church growth strategy. From welcome events and business cards to church signage ideas, marketing strategies should catch the attention of people in your community and start conversations.
If you are intrigued by church signage and want to formulate a digital signage marketing strategy, check out this ScreenCloud guide for more information. Digital signage for churches will empower you to display innovative advertisements that draw more members than ever before.
Still wondering how to grow your church? You can take different routes, so it all depends on the size, scope, and culture of your ministry. If you run a smaller service with a minimal budget, asking a volunteer for a helping hand with marketing will take you to the next level, while more developed church networks might consider a little help from Christian marketing agencies.
Hone your leadership skills by taking an online course, and go the extra mile by attending some church tech conferences. Church workers, leaders, and volunteers are the people who create the culture surrounding your ministry. Invest in your people to give your church the best chance. Your congregation and your community deserve it, and your faith commands it.