There are plenty of reasons why churches choose not to put much effort into marketing or communication. I can understand that it’s an area that can feel burdensome. As you know, here at Church Juice, we believe good marketing and communication can lead to a more engaged community and congregation. So here are some of the common reasons we hear from churches for why they’re not engaged in marketing and some thoughts on why those reasons aren’t necessarily sound.
- Myth: Marketing is not important. The truth is your church is marketing itself whether you are being intentional about it or not. Everything you do says something about who you are as an organization. If you’re not out in your community letting them know how you are bettering people’s lives, that says something. An old, outdated website speaks, too. Why not take some control over your message so you’re actually representing yourself well?
- Myth: We don’t have enough money for marketing. Good communications, including branding and marketing, does cost money, but there are ways to do it on a budget. First, look at where you’re spending your money now. Are there areas that aren’t effective where money could be shifted? Think yellow page ads, other ineffective communications projects or unneeded programs. Set priorities and shift budgets. Second, creativity trumps cash. Use the skills and talents God’s given your church to think of ways to share your message. You don’t need the latest toys or major equipment to be successful in marketing.
- Myth: We don’t have the time. Staffing is tight in many churches. Time is valuable. But oftentimes busyness is an excuse. Again, moving communications up the priority ladder forces you to budget more time for it. Creating systems can help, too. Identify who is responsible for what in the communications chain. Set deadlines to avoid spreading out a process longer than it should take. Ultimately deliver. Projects don’t have to be perfect, but they do need to happen. An idea has no effect if it’s not presented to an audience. Forcing deliverables eliminates time wasted on nitpicking a project.
- Myth: Marketing is just for the corporate world, not the church. Rethink what marketing can be. It doesn’t have to be about selling but instead awareness. You’re connecting people with your church and the services you offer. Even businesses increasingly treat marketing this way. It’s a tool to more deeply connect with people by better informing them about how your organization fits with the needs they have in their lives.
- Myth: Marketing is deceptive and slimy. It is true that some use marketing to present a message that isn’t true to the actual experience or product. But in a digital world, bad marketing is easily exposed online. The truth is marketing has changed drastically in the last decade. It’s not about making promises you can’t keep but instead a medium to directly connect with people to have a more personal and realistic conversation about who you are. It’s story-based instead of a list of features. Good marketing moves people from observers to advocates.