Are you looking to increase church membership? Or are you wanting to gain new followers on social media? Perhaps you want to raise awareness for serving opportunities in the community. There are so many ways to have a successful church marketing strategy and it can begin today.
From starting a YouTube page to sending out emails on a weekly basis, the options are endless. But where to start?
Let’s dive into finding out just why having a successful church marketing strategy is so important and what suits you and your team’s needs best.
Estimated reading time: 23 minutes
Table of contents
- Understanding Why Church Marketing Is Important
- Why You Need Church Marketing
- 6 Key Elements of a Successful Church Marketing Plan
- Setting SMART Goals
- 14 Church Marketing Strategies
- Church Marketing FAQ
Understanding Why Church Marketing Is Important
Don’t underestimate the power of a well-thought-out marketing strategy for your church. In a time of rapid technological advancement, Churches face the reality of getting left behind.
A hundred years ago, attending Church on a Sunday looked much different than it does now. Even compared to twenty years ago, Church services have changed drastically.
The trick to a growing Church is staying relevant. This doesn’t mean following every trend on social media that pops up, but understanding what is current and what advancements are happening.
A lot of churches fall behind when new technology is invented. However, this doesn’t mean every church needs a smoke machine, flashing lights, and an LED screen.
Relevant for your church can look like whatever it needs to. If you prefer mailing out physical newsletters over email, then do just that. You know your church members better than anyone and what they will respond to. And don’t overwhelm them by changing a ton of things at once. Implementing new marketing strategies can be and should be rolled out over time.
Church isn’t a product, it’s a place where we gather to receive the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Once we understand the purpose and place that marketing has in church, we can go out and bring people in.
Why You Need Church Marketing
Think of marketing much like promotion. You need to “promote” your Church in order for a wider audience to hear about it and attend. Very few times does a company profit only off of word-of-mouth promotional tactics.
The goal of gathering together in a community is to spread the message of Jesus Christ. Church marketing is an incredible tool to spread that message. This could be as simple as handing out a branded sticker in the kid’s ministry on Sunday mornings or creating new social media accounts. How you spread that message is dependent upon the culture of your church and your resources.
Hopefully, church marketing will raise awareness of your church and bring in new members. With new members means new and bigger opportunities to serve the community. God’s greatest commandment comes from the book of Matthew:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
6 Key Elements of a Successful Church Marketing Plan
Before you begin planning your Church marketing strategy, you should devise a well-thought-out plan. It’s essential to be organized and have a clear goal in mind. There are a few steps that you should follow before you implement any actual strategies.
1. Create a Church Marketing Team
It can be a huge task to develop and execute marketing efforts. A wise idea would be to develop a team specifically for church marketing. This team’s sole purpose is to oversee the marketing outcomes. Together, we are better, and we bring many different talents and skills to the table. What one person can accomplish on their own can be made so much better when a team of God-gifted people work together.
2. Build a Calendar/Timeline
Once you have a team, you’ll start developing a plan and timeline for the marketing efforts. Do you want the end goal to happen in one month, several months, or a year? You might have small goals along the way leading up to a bigger goal. Look at the calendar for the Church and big events you can plan around. Holidays are always a big thing to plan around and are always set dates.
3. Establish a Brand Identity
Your church’s “brand identity” is all about the look of what you’re marketing. Make detailed notes about the colors you use, the fonts, and the style you are striving for. Create a cohesive design that can be recognized and stay consistent.
4. Set a Budget
It’s important to set a budget for your marketing efforts. Marketing does cost money and sometimes it’s not cheap depending on what you’re trying to do. Allot a certain amount of money to each marketing strategy per month to keep track of this. Along with setting a budget, you can set up fundraisers to meet certain goals that we’ll discuss later on.
5. Craft a Message
Just as important as the branding, is the actual content. For each marketing strategy, the content will shift slightly. For a youth event, the wording itself will even be different to that of a women’s conference. With any form of marketing, the message needs to be clear and understandable within just a few seconds. If someone has to search too hard to find out what you’re trying to communicate they may just give up altogether.
6. Implement Strategies
Constantly check on the strategies and their outcomes. If something isn’t working like you think it should, then that’s okay. Take the time to fix what didn’t work and try again. Don’t give up if something didn’t work or go perfectly. Marketing is dependent upon a lot of moving factors.
Setting SMART Goals
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals.
Don’t be vague, but use as much detail and information as possible. What needs to be accomplished? Who will be accomplishing it? How many steps will it take to get the job done? The more specific you are, the easier time you will have carrying out your strategy. Specific goals are well organized and have a clear vision.
This goal is all about being able to measure the difference. You want to be able to track your progress to see how far you’ve come. If you want to increase church attendance, then by how much? Whether it’s by 50 new people on a Sunday or 10% from last year’s numbers, make sure you have a written out measurable goal so you can not only be inspired but continue to set new goals.
Another way to make sure you stay on track with your goals, is to make them achievable. Have you ever set a goal for the new year and been unable to keep it for more than a week? Chances are, people aim too high when setting a goal they’ve never achieved before. For example, instead of saying you’ll go to the gym 7 days a week, start with 2 days a week. When we start small, we leave room for growth, and we also leave out the chance of disappointment.
Think about the big picture and the why behind your goals. If you’re looking to increase engagement on social media, then make sure the goal is relevant to that. You wouldn’t post on Facebook if you’re trying to increase activity on Instagram.
Lastly, to measure success, set a time-end goal. It’s great if you gain new subscribers on your YouTube page, but did you gain them in the time frame you were aiming for? Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page about when the goal needs or wants to be met. This will help to keep everyone on track and moving forward. Nothing is worse than confusion when setting smart goals.
14 Church Marketing Strategies
1. Logo Design
Just as with any “brand”, it’s important to establish a certain look people can come to recognize with your church. When you have a well-established logo design, people will associate it with you. You can design it in-house or hire a company to create a logo for you. Whatever you choose, think about the purpose of the design – whether you want an image, words, or an acronym for your logo.
You want to love your Church logo, as you’ll be seeing it everywhere. Create variations of your church’s logo with different colors that all fit within a particular scheme. It might be smart to create a logo that can be transferred individually onto many different things. This way you can interchange the background depending on the seasons or different sermon series.
Examples of when to use a logo:
- Use it as the footer for all your emails
- Social media profile picture
- Coffee cups
- Print outs
- Tithe envelopes
We compiled a list of our favorite church logos out there, take a look for inspiration.
2. Website Creation
One of the best things you can do is to create a church website. You’ll reach more people this way and provide the most amount of information on this platform.
Thankfully, there are so many amazing website builders to get you started. Many websites such as WordPress or Weebly offer free website creation. Most websites however will charge a monthly or annual fee for their services.
Depending upon what you want included on your website pricing varies. Check out everything we found on some of the best church website design companies!
There’s a lot that goes into making a great website for your church. We broke it down in just 8 easy steps to make the process smoother. You’ll want to incorporate your “brand identity” on your website to make everything cohesive. And if you’re looking for inspiration before you begin your own website creation, check out these 100 church websites we love!
What Should Be Included on a Church Website:
- Home Page
- About Us Page
- Location and Service Times
- Events Page
- Contact Information
People that search for churches near them will then be guided to church websites. If it was based on appearance and functionality alone, would your church’s website draw people in? It’s an investment you can’t go wrong in making, and one that you’ll forever be grateful for. There are experts waiting to help you at REACHRIGHT create a stunning new website!
For a more comprehensive breakdown of everything that should be included on a fantastic Church website, find it here.
3. Short Form Vertical Video
Short-form vertical videos are a recent addition to the internet and the world of marketing. The average length of videos on the app TikTok ranges from 36-42 seconds. So what exactly do you choose to fill that short 30 seconds?
REACHRIGHT is here to offer you a simple and easy solution!
Sermon Sling delivers powerful sermon social media videos to help you reach even more people online. This will help you transform Sunday sermons into 30-second to 1-minute-long videos to upload onto social media. Grab a clip of an inspiring moment from your sermon and share it with even more people and keep the conversation going.
Here’s how it works:
- Choose how many videos you’d like to receive each week, either one, two, or three.
- We watch your Sunday service and pick out the best clips to fit in the time frame of 30 or 60 seconds.
- Our videographers will then add elements such as captions, a hook, music, and other graphics.
- Videos will then be delivered to your Dropbox each week!
- Upload the HD videos onto any social media platform and get sharing.
Short-form vertical videos are such a great way to engage with the younger crowd too. Younger generations have grown up with technology, so if we want to reach them, we start here.
To find out more information and how you can get weekly high-quality vertical videos delivered right to you, hop on over to our page!
4. Social Media
Social media is one of the most powerful tools you can implement. It can be used in so many different ways and covers a variety of platforms. Down below we’ll break down a few more of the specific ways you can use different social media platforms.
If your church doesn’t already have social media accounts, it’s time to create some. Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok are great platforms to use. They are each different in their own ways and bring so much to the table. Social media is one of the best ways to share information about your church and events in a widespread manner.
We are living in a time post Covid-19, which means people have come to rely on social media now more than ever. People used to receive their news from a physical newspaper, and now they can read it on their phones at any time.
There are all kinds of social media strategies to consider:
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Account
- TikTok Account
- Twitter Account
Facebook has the ability to create specific pages that can include pictures, events, and a space for people to comment and engage together.
Instagram has so many great features, such as live videos, reels, stories, and posts. It also is a great platform to use to engage comments and sharing of posts. The more people that see your post the better chance you have of them sharing it with their followers and increasing the reach.
TikTok is a fun app and can be used to interact with the younger crowd of your church. Here, you can make funny videos that people relate to. TikTok is one of the most fast-paced social media platforms.
Twitter is a unique platform consisting of short paragraphs. This could be used in a church for updating on key events or posting pictures and videos from a Sunday message.
Looking to refresh your church’s social media presence? Look here!
5. Local SEO
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and is essential in increasing traffic from search engines to your website. When you want church growth, you want to make the most out of local SEO. This is one of the most important church marketing strategies you can implement.
Your local community is searching for a church home just like yours.
Here at REACHRIGHT, we can help you improve your Google Business profile. What happens is that Google shows people that are searching relevant local results based on their Google Business profile. REACHRIGHT has the tools to help you optimize your listings.
6. Facebook Ads
Sponsored ads work better than you might think they would. They grab your attention and pop up constantly. Facebook is one of the most used social media websites, and millions of companies use Facebook ads to promote their businesses or products. Ads are targeted to people with similar interests, so people that attend Church or have recently searched for a Church near them will get ads such as this.
7. Blog Posts
Writing a weekly or monthly blog is a great way to bring traffic to your website. The possibilities are endless as well. From Bible study guides to sermon breakdowns, you’ll find a wide variety of things to write about and discuss. If the thought is overwhelming of coming up with content, then include your staff. Assign blog posts to certain members like someone from the kids ministry and have them write a fun post for kids to read with their parents.
Great ideas to get you started writing:
- Ministry specific posts
- Break down your sermon
- Highlight a helpful Christian app
- Recommend Christian Artists and Books
- Focus on frequently asked questions
- Create resource lists
- Ultimate guides
- Highlight someone special
- Create a weekly or monthly series
- Fun posts for kids
- Bible study guides
And for even more great blog post ideas, we’ve got you covered!
Podcasts are incredibly unique and a newer form of “advertising” that your church should think about. There are endless subjects to cover in a podcast. From theological topics to books in the Bible. Consider starting a podcast at your church with members of your staff and congregation.
Listening to podcasts is a great way to grow your own knowledge and constantly be learning. They are also a great way to share your own insights. Many people listen on the way to work or school or even at home. Sometimes people don’t always have the time to sit down and read, but podcasts allow you to multi-task.
There are SO many great Christian leadership podcasts to listen to, so we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of some of our favorites. Check them out here.
9. Email Marketing
Another great strategy is offering email newsletters to members who sign up. Include a spot on a guest information card for people to put their emails. Send out weekly emails of important upcoming information for events and the Sunday services. This is a good way to keep people updated, as not everyone in your church is going to be checking social media or even the website.
Now, you can send out more than one email per week, but this is risky. If people receive too many emails from one place, the chances of them looking at each one decrease. You never want to flood someone’s inbox with too much information, so keep it simple.
Whether you do a weekly or monthly report, the decision is up to you!
The next thing to consider when thinking about email marketing is using a program to send out weekly or monthly automated emails. What are automated emails? In email automation, a trigger is a specific date, event, or contact’s activity that tells your system to send out a related message at a specific time. Have you ever signed up to receive a discount from your favorite store and gotten an email almost instantly after signing up? It’s a lot like that!
Here are a few great email marketing automation companies that can help you:
10. Plan Your Visit Page
When you have an amazing church website, you want to make sure you also have a great “plan your visit page”. You might be asking just what that is. Essentially, it’s a guide to first-time visitors on what they should expect when visiting on a Sunday service.
5 steps to a great page:
- Create a tagline
- Beautiful photography
- Make a welcome video
- Build a FAQ
- Provide information about kid’s ministry
When a website is clear and can answer any questions a new visitor might have, you can help ease their mind before they ever step foot in the door. Especially if guests have children, they want to make sure they can trust the hands they leave their children with. So stay up to date with information about your kid’s ministry and all you have to offer. Continue to add photos, and update welcome videos.
11. Local Marketing
You can’t go wrong with using local marketing efforts. Have you been driving around your city and seen billboards advertised for churches? Chances are you have. The pricing of billboards range from very little to rather expensive each month and it all depends on the city of your city. Billboard advertising in a city such as New York is going to cost a lot more than a smaller city in Texas.
As previously mentioned, making sure to get your name in local Google and other search engine results is very important. Typically when you promote and advertise, you’ll have the ability to promote to those that are local. There’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to promoting your church to someone living in another country. Focus on those near you to draw them directly to your doors.
Don’t forget about simple advertising in a newspaper or on the local news. Just because most people are online or have access to the internet, doesn’t mean it’s the only source of information!
12. Google Ad Grants
Did you know that churches qualify for a Google Ad Grant? You may be wondering what even are Google ad grants. Google is one of the most used websites of all time. It’s the website people go to the most when searching for something. This includes churches near them. And did you know that non-profit organizations are eligible for $10,000 a month in Google Ads?
So what can you use this money for?
Once you meet all the requirements, you can then begin to design creative, attention grabbing ads that will draw people to your church’s website. This is free funding! That’s up to $120,000 every year with this program.
- To be eligible for the Google Grants program, nonprofit organizations must meet several strict eligibility requirements. These include being registered as a nonprofit in their country, having an active website with sufficient content, and complying with Google’s Ad Grant policies. Additionally, nonprofits must maintain compliance with the program’s requirements to continue receiving advertising credits.
Here at REACHRIGHT, we have experts who know how this program works. We’ll help you every step of the way from applying to posting your advertisements. You’ll want to take full advantage of this ad traffic each month. But it can feel like a daunting task when you have so much on your plate already. Let us help you out, and watch engagement grow, and your church fill up!
For more information watch this video below!
13. Church Fundraisers
Another one of many great church marketing ideas, is to put on a good old fashioned Church fundraiser. As a Church, you need funding for all kinds of important things. A fundraising strategy allows you to serve your community better.
Church fundraising is in addition to regular tithes and offerings. Combine social media with fundraisers, and you’re ready to go. Create fun and engaging content for your members to share with information about your upcoming fundraisers.
- Cookie Dough fundraiser
- Concert fundraiser
- TikTok Challenge fundraiser
- Peer-to-peer campaign
- Discount card fundraiser
- Text-to-donate campaign
- Matching gifts campaign
Before you start planning out your fundraiser, take into consideration your own congregation members. This is a great church marketing plan, and one that can also be really fun. This is a church marketing strategy that can not only use social media, but take advantage of the Google Ad Grant program to market the fundraisers.
YouTube is a fantastic platform to create and upload all kinds of different videos. If your church has the ability to live stream services, you can do so on YouTube. They will then stay on your YouTube page for viewers to go back and watch. This is a great feature for any church looking to expand its viewership to a wider audience.
Popular YouTube Video Ideas:
- Sermons (you can even use YouTube Live for live streaming church services)
- Special events
- Bible studies
- Q&A from members and viewers
- Volunteers in action
- Behind the scenes footage
- Humorous videos that teach a lesson
- Bible stories
- Discussing major issues facing Christians
- Content just for teens or kids
Not only is the platform great for live streaming but for shorter videos and different variety of topics. As mentioned earlier, short form vertical videos such as YouTube shorts are a fun and creative new strategy.
I personally enjoy watching YouTube videos while I cook or clean my house. It’s something I can have on in the background and listen to or sit down and watch in full.
It’s also important to note that YouTube reaches a variety of demographics too. Currently, 73% of adults in the United States use the site. As far as ages go:
- 77% of 15-35 year-olds in the US watch YouTube
- 51% of Americans over 75 use YouTube
- 37% of millennials binge-watch YouTube each day
Be creative with your thumbnails, create an engaging teaser/welcome video and watch the views soar!
Church Marketing FAQ
What are Christians in business for you might ask. We are in the business of saving souls for Christ. This is an important task, and one we shouldn’t handle lightly. When we care about how the people, we should care about the words and images we put out into the world.
Good question! Spend what you have budgeted, not what you wish you could spend. Yes, marketing can get expensive if you’re doing too much, so stick to one strategy at a time. It’s an investment, but one that hopefully brings in new members who will get plugged in and therefore find a new church home and tithe regularly. Church marketing materials don’t have to be crazy expensive.
This is entirely up to you! But we recommend ads with links back to your website that include service times, personal invites and the location of your church. Community events, conferences, or outreach initiatives are other great ideas.
Church marketing is all about using different tools and methods to increase digital and physical engagement. The ultimate goal is to bring people into the house of God and church marketing helps to spread this message.
Yes it is! Romans 10:14 says “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
5-10% of your annual church budget.
If you’ve set your SMART goals, then you will measure your results based on certain numbers you’ve previously set, such as new followers on social media platforms or new visits onto your website. Engagement of any kind is progress in the right direction.
We hope that you feel inspired by all of these church marketing strategies. Ultimately, church growth is the goal, and bringing people to know and walk with God. Any of these church advertising ideas can help with this goal.
Test out a few different ideas and find which one is best for your church’s marketing strategy.
Gather your team, start brainstorming and let REACHRIGHT help you develop incredible ads to reach your local community today!