Marketing is not a difficult concept to grasp. You use tools available to spread a message and increase awareness. Viral marketing is the golden goose that is getting other people to spread the message for you.
Success in marketing is easy to benchmark. You have stats, increases, number crunching, and income to show you how well your marketing is doing.
I was the promotions director for Texas Bible College a few years ago. Promotions = Marketing in the pentecostal world. My focus was simple. The more students I had requesting information, the more students we would have at Preview Weekend; the more students at Preview weekend, the more students enrolled.
Successful marketing equals growth in awareness and increases in whatever service or product you are selling.
So what is church marketing?
Church marketing is backwards. We use the same tools, and the same strategies. But the focus is completely different.
People are the reason for church marketing, not the other way around.
You see, in the secular world, people are also the reason for marketing, but in reverse. They market to the people, not for the people. The church marketing goals should be a mirrored image of the secular.
A secular view of church marketing success would be how many people showed up for your Sunday service. This translates to more members, more offerings, a larger facility, and eventually, more high-tech toys to send you on your way to a mega-church.
Marketing from God’s point of view is completely different. People are the focus of the marketing.
Of course you want more people, more financial abilities, better facilities, and possibly a large church, but that is not the goal. The goal is to reach people with the message, for the people’s sake.
Church marketing is not for the church’s benefit of what the payoff is, it’s about the person who benefits from what the church offers.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your focus on your recent marketing campaign to bring in more people?
- Shouldn’t it be to reach someone that’s hurting with a message they really need?
- When only one person showed up after your massive mail-out, were you disappointed?
- Shouldn’t you be rejoicing with the angels?
- Do you spend way too much time and effort changing your services for special events instead of marketing the real church?
And probably the best question
- Do you only market your church when you have a special service?
The church has been viral since the beginning
Ever since the day of Pentecost, the Christian church has been a viral marketing movement. From that day, everyone that experienced it spread out over the globe spreading the message in a giant web.
Paul didn’t have Facebook, twitter, websites, or video church signs. He didn’t have air conditioning, free coffee, or a fancy band.
Paul didn’t wear snazzy clothes and drive fancy cars to try to appear as a competent professional hoping it would give him some secular credentials.
Paul built tents and relationships. Doing those two things he built explosive churches in several cities; going down in history as the greatest missionary, ever.
The church shouldn’t rely on fancy marketing campaigns and special events to spread the message. The church shouldn’t focus on numbers and tithe envelopes as successes.
The church should be viral marketing the great, unexplainable, amazing thing that happens when a person receives forgiveness of their sins, and the Spirit of God living inside of them.
We are programmed to think we cannot grow and be successful as a church without having these things.
Your marketing focus is in the wrong place. You’re marketing your church. You’re marketing your self. You’re marketing your music, or lack of it. You’re marketing a social group. You’re marketing a cafe with free coffee.
The church should be marketing the saving grace of the One who died for our sins.
You want to know a successful church marketing campaign? When one person has their sins forgiven.
You want to know what a successful church viral marketing campaign is? When that same person brings their loved ones in to experience the same thing.
You want to know when you’ve failed at church marketing? When all the angels are rejoicing in heaven and you’re thinking about quitting because you’ve only been able to bring in a handful of people after the blood, sweat, and tears you poured into your marketing.