Church Marketing Shifts

print-onlineLindsay Christian’s recent Capital Times article, “Marketing God: Churches Turn to the Web, Social Media to Attract Members,” explores how many congregations in her area have shifted their marketing time and monies from print efforts to online endeavors. Christian’s piece effectively explores how a significant trend has impacted congregations in her community.

To highlight the significantly diminished return on investment and increasing irrelevancy of print advertising (especially with younger audiences), Christian quotes two pastors:

  • “We pay, like, $70 for a Yellow Pages listing. Why are we paying for this? Who opens a Yellow Pages anymore? Zero people.” — Jason Mack, Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church
  • “The front page of your website has replaced the front door for young adults and millennials.” —Pastor Brian Konkol, Lake Edge Lutheran 

So What?

While most congregations know that the old ways of marketing are less effective, few take the steps necessary to create a framework for effectively leveraging the congregation’s limited resources to market in this new era.  Christian provides basic information about how one congregation has initiated and is managing such a transition.  At First United Methodist Church, a social media team was created that identified their social media priorities.  To measure the effectiveness of these new efforts, visitors are asked to complete a survey identifying how they learned about the church.  The congregation relies on the survey results to determine when to phase out ineffective marketing campaigns.

  • Has your congregation made the shift from spending most of its limited time and funds on marketing via print sources to marketing online? If so, in what year was that milestone achieved?  Has the percentage of the overall marketing budget spent on print declined every year since?
  • What processes does your congregation use to the measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts?

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