A church can only survive if it has members. The leaders of a church have a mission – a calling – but in order to fulfill their ministry they must be able to preach to a committed group of congregants who are willing to put that ministry into action.
The concept of marketing a church can be an uncomfortable one for some people. Marketing is usually associated with selling, and the notion of selling religion doesn’t resonate with many people of faith. The key to growing a ministry lies in the church’s ability to convey its core values without compromise. Marketing and branding provide the means of doing so.
How Can Branding Help Churches?
If you are a church leader, you may find it difficult to wrap your head around the idea of creating a brand for your church. However, branding has the potential to help you grow your congregation and fulfill your mission – and for that reason, you shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. The chances are good that no matter where your church is located, you have some competition for the hearts and minds of potential worshippers. Branding offers the means to differentiate your church from others in the area.
Key Logo Concerns
Effective branding begins with a compelling and unique logo. Just as manufacturers want consumers to recognize their brand at a glance, the same is true of churches. When you reach out to your community, you want potential congregants to be in no doubt of who you are and what you represent. The right logo can communicate that – and a lot more – in an instant.
Choosing the right logo means taking into consideration practical things such as colors, fonts, and shapes. Emotions also play a role – how does your logo make the people who see it feel? Does it inspire them to want to be a part of what you do?
Colors can play an important role in branding a church. The color blue is widely associated with a sense of peace and serenity, while white is a symbol of purity. Other colors are specifically associated with particular religions or sects, and their use can communicate your religious affiliation as soon as people see the logo.
The use of particular fonts can have an impact. For example, a church that preaches traditional values should choose traditional or classic fonts. A modern or boundary-pushing church, on the other hand, should opt for a font that signifies a break from tradition.
How Your Logo Can Attract Members
How can the logo you choose to represent your church or religious organization help attract members? Let’s look at a logo that has a very specific audience in mind.
We designed this logo for an organization that promotes and supports women of color in ministry. The colors have a distinctly feminine flair, featuring pink with accents of purple, brown, and gold. The font and shapes also represent womanhood and femininity, while the dove brings a traditional Christian symbol into the mix.
This logo packs a lot of impact into a clean, appealing design. Anybody who looks at it knows instantly what this organization represents.
How To Make Your Church Stand Out
The first step in creating a strong brand for your church involves finding ways to make your ministry stand out from other churches. While tradition plays a significant role in church choice, people do have options when they select a place to worship. When you take the time to differentiate yourself from other churches in your area, you make it easy for the people who are most likely to benefit from your ministry to find you. The process breaks down into three steps.
Understanding Other Churches In Your Community
The first step requires researching the other churches who compete with you to attract worshippers. Because attending church is most often a local activity, you probably already know who your main competitors are. However, you should still do some research.
You might attend services at another local church as one way of finding out what their ministry involves. Their logos and printed material might tell you a little something about what worshipping there means, but personal experience can help you understand on a deep level. Of course, you can also talk to congregants and look at the churches’ denominations to learn about who they are and what they preach.
How To Differentiate Your Church
Now, it’s time to differentiate your church from others in your area. What do you have to offer that they don’t? The answers to that question vary from church to church, but here are a few examples:
– You offer services in languages other than English
– You offer modern music instead of traditional music
– You partner with local or national charities to do good work
Anything you do that sets you apart can help you create a unique brand for your church.
How To Appeal To Potential Congregants
The final step here is to tailor your branding and marketing to the people who are most likely to find your church appealing. In marketing, that involves creating something called a “customer persona,” a representation of your target audience. As a church, you might create a “worshipper persona.”
Your worshipper persona should take two main categories into consideration:
1) The demographics of your target audience, including ages, genders, income level, marital status, and so on.
2) The psychographics of your target audience, including political affiliations, hobbies, likes, and dislikes.
The combination of these things ensures that you will get a complete picture of who your target worshippers are. Because religion appeals to people of all ages, you may need to create more than one persona to help you with marketing.
Marketing Your Church
Now that you have taken the time to determine what makes your church special, the next task involves marketing it. It all starts with writing a marketing plan.
How To Write A Marketing Plan
A marketing plan works as a blueprint for everything you do to attract congregants to your church. Think of it as an overview that will help you along the way. It should include four basic things:
1. Your mission: what you hope to accomplish with marketing
2. Your strategy: what tools will you use to accomplish your mission
3. Your tactics: how you intend to use the tools you have chosen
4. Your budget: how much you can afford to spend on the tactics you select
For example, your mission might be to grow your congregation by 10% over the next six months and increase your charitable works. Your strategy might be to use social media to reach potential congregants. Your tactics might include making YouTube videos and paid advertising on Facebook. And finally, your budget allocates your funds between your two chosen tactics.
Ways To Use Your Church Logo To Improve Recognition
Once you have developed a detailed marketing plan, you need to make sure that your branding is consistent. A well-designed logo can help you do that because it serves as an instantly recognizable symbol of you and your ministry.
Look for ways to make your logo synonymous with your church. For example, you should do all of the following:
1) Include your logo on all printed materials, including worship programs and ministry brochures.
2) Use your logo as your profile picture on all of your social media accounts.
3) Find other, creative uses for your logo. Do you have a church vehicle that you use on church business? Put the logo on the vehicle.
The more consistently and creatively you use your logo, the stronger your brand will be.
Content Marketing Ideas For Churches
No matter how clearly you articulate your mission, the ultimate goal is to spread that mission as far as possible. For your ministry to have the reach you want it to have, you must make good use of content marketing – the creation of relevant online content aimed at your target audience.
Here are some ideas to try:
1. Telling stories is at the heart of many ministries. Just as Jesus used parables to teach his followers important lessons, you can do the same – with a modern twist. Social media provides an ideal platform for faith-based storytelling. You might use modern-day versions of traditional stories to make a point, or feature your church’s good works in a video.
2. Provide practical solutions for worshippers. Often, modern life presents a series of challenges for people who struggle to balance their faith with the demands of daily life. You might write a church blog that focuses on helping people with things like budgeting, charitable giving, and even political activism.
3. Create online events (and content that supports them.) For example, a lot of churches host food or toy drives near the holidays. You might solicit and share stories from families or organizations who need help, or make videos of volunteers collecting donations.
The key to successful content marketing for a church is to find ways to share the work you do as part of your ministry.
Tracking And Testing
The final step to marketing your church involves tracking the performance of your marketing campaigns and fine-tuning them to get the results you want. If you don’t have a marketing professional to help you with this aspect of marketing, it may help to understand what to track – and what to do with the information you collect.
Tracking Your ROI And Ad Performance
Just as you make note of church attendance and tithes, you must track your marketing campaigns. As a religious organization, you have a limited budget to spend on marketing – and as a result, you want to ensure that you get the biggest possible return on your marketing investment. You can use these tools to collect information:
1) Google Analytics is free and can be used to track visitors to your website and their behavior once they’re there.
2) Facebook Insights allows you to track the performance of your content and see how much engagement it is inspiring.
3) Most email automation includes tracking that tells you how many of your emails are being opened and what actions people are taking after reading them.
Gather as much data as you can. It will help you take the next step.
How To Use Split Testing To Refine Your Marketing Campaigns
The analytics and metrics you use to measure your marketing success can help you refine your marketing strategy. Think of it as editing and proofreading a sermon. You do that because you want to ensure that your message is heard and understood – and the same is true of marketing.
Split testing is the best way to fine-tune your marketing. After you collect data, you might notice that a significant percentage of people who visit your website are leaving (or bouncing) after they look at your home page. That indicates a potential problem. Pick out one element you think could be improved, such as the headline on your home page, and come up with an alternative. Use split testing software to split traffic to your site between the old and new options.
After about a week, you should have enough information to determine which option delivers better results. Then you can update your site as needed and move on to the next element. It’s important to test only one element at a time to ensure the accuracy of your results.
It might not be comfortable to think of marketing your church, but it’s necessary if you wish to spread your ministry and attract a passionate and devoted congregation to support it. The keys are to create a meaningful and recognizable brand, and then to use it to market your church and grow it, day by day.