Advertising is at the heart of church outreach activities. I know we often don’t think of it that way, but it’s true. You tell people about your community and invite them to join you. It surely doesn’t feel like traditional Don Draper style advertising, but it is. Watch, I’ll prove it.
advertise (verb): To announce or praise (a product, service, etc.) in some public medium of communication in order to induce people to buy or use it.
All right, maybe yours isn’t traditional Don Draper style. Your style is probably better. That guy wears plaid polyester sports coats and smokes cigarettes in the office. But I’m digressing.
The point is, even though you don’t have the same goals as traditional advertisers, you’re competing with them to get your message across. And the competition is steep. Current estimates are that we see between 300 and 700 marketing messages a day. The result is that we’ve grown numb to traditional advertisements and we just don’t believe marketing messages anymore.
According to Nielsen 91% of people surveyed say they don’t trust advertisements. This applies to your church mailer, social media post, and print ads. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
But the interesting part is that 92% of people surveyed said they trust the recommendations of family and friends. And it gets better…. they say they trust these recommendations even if they only read them online. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? If you say your church is awesome, they’ll be so bombarded with marketing messages they won’t listen. They won’t trust. If a family member or friend says it, it’s trustworthy information.
So you see where I’m going here? You’ve got something wonderful going on, and you know people would like to be a part of it. They just need to find out about it first. You can waste your time and resources on traditional advertising, or you can inspire your community members to be the trusted message bearers. Now doesn't that sounds like the smart way to grow your church and get more members?