Marketing ads for churches come in a vast variety of forms. Some are free, some cost money. No matter the type, one thing remains true. They’re a necessity for helping to grow your church faster.
Whether you’re trying to boost your online community or reach a new audience for in-church membership, ads do help. The key is picking the right strategy.
Typically, churches should consider several types of ads. This gives you the most overall reach. The good news is all these ads work well for churches of all sizes, including both new and old churches.
Table of contents
1. Google Ads
Since Google’s search engine handles over 3.5 billion searches daily, it’s not surprising that one of the top types of marketing ads for churches are Google ads. For perspective, as of August 2021, Google has already processed over 1.7 trillion searches for the year.
What sets Google ads apart from the rest is how many different places they might appear. Where exactly they appear varies greatly based on how you target your audience and customize your ad campaigns. But, they can appear in the following places online:
- Search results
- Google partner site search results (hundreds of options)
- Sites within the Google Display Network (Google-owned sites, Gmail, major news sites, etc.)
- Different types of devices based on location or other criteria (if you’re using a location-based ad, your ads might appear more on mobile devices, for example, if someone has their location setting turned on)
Naturally, your church’s ads won’t appear for every search and on every site. But, you do have the biggest reach overall. If you’re worried about the cost, don’t be. Churches and other non-profits are eligible to apply for Google Non-Profit Grants which include access to premium Google tools along with $10,000 in monthly ad credits. So, this really does make it a great solution for churches.
2. Facebook Ads
Outside of Google, Facebook likely has the biggest reach. With 1.88 billion daily active users and 2.85 billion monthly active users, people from every demographic are on Facebook. The great thing is you can take advantage of both the free and premium aspects of using Facebook for your church.
Build an active church community with an active Facebook page. Simply creating great, shareable posts goes a long way toward marketing your church. Of course, organic reach isn’t quite that easy on Facebook as the algorithms may only show a small portion of your posts to your followers each day or week. This is where ads come into play. Not only do you attract more people to your Facebook page/group, you reach current followers about upcoming events and other important announcements.
Like most online ads, you’re able to fully customize ad criteria to reach just the people you want. Trying to attract younger members? Edit your demographic settings based on age range. Want to only target your local community? Change your ad settings to certain cities, towns, states, etc.
3. Twitter Ads
While not nearly as active as Facebook, Twitter ads are still some of the best marketing ads for churches. This is especially true if your church and audience aren’t exactly fans of Facebook and some of the controversies surrounding the platform. Twitter allows you to customize your approach and strategies are available for businesses and non-profits of all sizes.
Currently, Twitter has 199 million daily active users and 20% of US adults use Twitter. While it might not seem that impressive compared to Google and Facebook, that’s still a large number of users your church can reach. Ideally, you’d want to opt for Twitter ads when you have a major event going on, either online or offline. You’d probably be better off using Google or Facebook for more general growth purposes, such as increasing traffic to your church website.
Just like Facebook, consider building an active community on Twitter if possible. This gives you organic reach in addition to ad reach.
4. Instagram Ads
Instagram is actually owned by Facebook, so you get some of the same features. One thing that makes Instagram ads even easier to use is the Promote feature, which lets your church turn any post into an ad instantly. Did you just share a photo of a volunteer event? Promote it to help increase volunteers and online donations for the project.
You also get a pretty wide reach with Instagram’s 1.07 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users. Creating video ads really helps to grab attention since people love videos.
If your church is using Facebook and Instagram, you can even create cross-platform ads to further expand your ad’s reach. It’s a great way to simplify ad creation so you manage everything in one place, including checking your analytics to see how ads are performing.
5. Blog Posts
After all that talk about premium ads, “blog posts” might not seem like one of the more effective marketing ads for churches. However, think about the number of Google searches we mentioned at the beginning of this post. Every blog post your church writes is a new opportunity to appear in Google searches.
With properly optimized posts, your church shows up on the first page of results. For building online communities and reaching potential new visitors, this is one of the most cost-effective options. All you have to invest is time. Plus, having an engaging church blog helps you stay in contact with your members all week long. It also gives you great content to share on social media.
You might not get quite the instant results you may get with paid ads, but you will get results. It’s a good long-term strategy that benefits your church in many ways. And unlike other types of ads, your blog posts continue helping your church versus disappearing when your ad campaign is over.
If you need a little inspiration, check out the following:
- How Your Church Blog Can Turn Around Your Dwindling Numbers
- How To Write The Perfect Church Blog Post
- Creating A Church Blog Strategy
- Most Effective Blog Post Ideas For Churches
6. Email Newsletters
This type of ad isn’t quite like the rest. It’s the only type that involves people to opt-in before you can reach them. However, it’s easily one of the best marketing ads for churches if you’re trying to boost engagement with your current members and online followers.
For example, if you have members who only attend once a month or less, a highly engaging email newsletter keeps your church in the front of their minds. This increases the likelihood of them attending more often or at least checking out your church’s live stream. It can also help boost online tithing, volunteering, ministry group participation, online community building and more.
Plus, email newsletters are ideal for people who don’t use social media. Send regular newsletters with announcements on things currently going on, how to RSVP for upcoming events and links to your latest blog posts.
7. Website Landing Pages
Think of website landing pages as a blog post that’s made specifically for marketing purposes. Usually, this type of marketing ad works best when combined with another ad type. For instance, you might create Facebook ads that link back to your landing page.
Landing pages are highly focused on a specific goal. For example, if your church hosts a summer camp, you might create a landing page with all the details, benefits and how to sign up. You can keep landing pages online all the time (just change the details when appropriate) or use them on a temporary basis.
Make sure you include plenty of details and images for best results. Plus, if someone searches for your event name, your page should show up in organic search results.
8. Shareable Social Media Posts
If buying ads isn’t really in your budget right now, don’t worry. Free marketing ads for churches work well too. And, as we’ve already covered, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have huge active user numbers. Focus on building communities on one or more social media platforms. Posting regularly and creating posts people want to share is the best strategy.
Not only are you building a faith-based community for people to come together, you’re also able to market upcoming events, fundraisers and other things. Just remember, the majority of your posts should be useful and informative, not just marketing. Ideally, follow the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule. This means only 20% of your posts should be directly marketing related. Use our social media strategy guide to learn how and what to post.
9. Local Newspapers
Yes, digital might be incredibly popular, but don’t underestimate the power of local newspapers. Print ads are still highly effective when you choose the right medium. If you’re trying to bring people together in your local community, advertise your church or church event in your local newspaper. Many people still subscribe. Plus, many local papers also have an online edition for those who prefer to read the news on their phone or tablet.
10. Ads In Local Businesses
Much like local newspapers, local businesses are a great place to market your church. Often, it helps if your church partners with the business. For instance, if a local bakery is donating bread for a spaghetti dinner, the bakery may be happy to place an ad on their wall or door to let people know about it. This helps you reach the bakery’s audience and shows off the bakery’s charitable side. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Some local businesses also charge a nominal fee to add your church’s name and/or ad to an advertising board, food mat, cup or other area of the business. Space is usually limited, but it’s a great way to let locals, tourists and those new to the area about your church.
11. Radio Ads
While many people might subscribe to satellite radio or ad-free music streaming services, you’d be surprised at how many people still prefer listening to local stations or ad-supported streaming services in order to save money. For example, iHeartRadio lets people tune in to live radio stations, along with custom stations, from around the world. The service has 128 million registered users and 250 million active monthly listeners. So, radio is still big.
For local marketing, consider purchasing ad time from a local radio station. You can usually choose what time of day you want the ads to run. For example, you might opt for 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM when more people are driving home from work and listening to the radio versus 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM when many people are stuck in meetings at work.
12. TV Ads
Many local stations, TV companies (that own multiple stations) and even streaming services (ad-supported) offer ad space to local businesses, including churches. Buying 15-30 seconds of ad time gives your church a chance to showcase what it’s like to attend. Or, if you have a community event coming up, invite people to attend. As a side note, many local TV stations and newspapers display upcoming events for free if you provide them with the details.
13. Tips For Better Overall Ads
As you can tell, there are a variety of marketing ads for churches to use. Of course, if you want to get the most from your ad strategy, consider the following:
- Target and segment your audience – Whenever possible, use any tools available to segment your audience. The more targeted your approach, the better the results. You can also run different ads for different segments of your audience. This helps you reach more people with ads that they’ll respond to better.
- Choose ad wording carefully – Changing the phrasing of your ads can make a major difference in results, especially with online ads. Try A/B testing different types of wording to see what works best.
- Run multiple campaigns at once – Though we touched on this earlier, it’s worth mentioning again. Always run multiple campaigns at one time. This allows you to reach different groups of people. You can run multiple campaigns on a single platform (which is advisable for social media and Google ads) or just pick several types of ads to work with.
Great church ads need a place for people to find out more information. Learn more about our website design services for churches to create the perfect place for your ads to lead to.