Pastor Resource Center - Truthadvertising

PASTOR RESOURCE CENTER

Truth Advertising has been dedicated and successful in helping churches grow for over a decade. We work with churches large and small, from all different backgrounds and denominations all across the country. Because of this extensive background, we have learned a few things about church growth and what works in the church marketing arena. We strive to make this information available to you. Below you will find information to help make your marketing strategies more effective.

Use the Power of New Year to Increase Attendance

People always ask us: “When is the best time to market the church?” – You may think it is Easter, or Christmas. Sure, those holidays fill the seats, but sadly, those 1st time attendees usually fade away after a week or two.

The best time to attract new visitors with the highest potential to stick with your church is the New Year’s season. People are seeking change more than ever during the New Year. They are more receptive to life changing sermon series.

The New Year is when people make life-changing commitments—to lose weight, improve their marriage, save money, be better husbands and better parents.

  • Use the Power of New Year to Increase Attendance

    Use the Power of New Year to Increase Attendance
    How to use the power of the New Year to grow your church.

     

    For hundreds of years, our society has encouraged people to make resolutions and goals for the New Year, and we have just got in the habit of doing it.

    If we want to attract new visitors at this crucial time of the year we MUST use marketing methods that tap into those life improvement goals. While campaigns centered on a new church launch or a “visit us this Sunday” message are great, this is the time of year to tap into people’s basic needs to improve their lives.

    You can seize on this desire for change, and bring them what they truly yearn for—the life-transforming power of the gospel.

    But first, it’s important to understand what’s going on at this crucial time.

    This year 45-57% of adults will make one or more New Year’s resolutions.

    Here are the top ten New Year’s resolutions, according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology:
    2. Get organized
    3. Spend less, save more
    4. Enjoy life more
    5. Stay fit and healthy
    6. Learn something exciting
    7. Quit smoking
    8. Help others
    9. Fall in love
    10. Spend more time with family

    Family Counselor Robert Berlin says, “We make resolutions out of a sense of obligation … For hundreds of years, our society has encouraged people to make resolutions and goals for the New Year, and we have just got in the habit of doing it.”

    January is when people are most disposed to change their lives for the better, create new goals, and complete things they’ve previously neglected.

    Smart commercial marketers know this and capitalize on it. They make billions of dollars by approaching consumers when they’re most receptive. We all know “Black Friday” as the biggest sales day for the retail industry. In a similar way, New Year’s is the big profit generator for industries that promote fitness and other forms of self-improvement.

    But the church offers the most valuable self-improvement program there is! Shouldn’t we be just as smart in using this once-a-year opportunity?

    Here’s another interesting fact:

    Half of all Americans who normally don’t attend church do attend at Christmastime.

    So, in January that experience is fresh in their memories. You can see that there really is no better time of year to invite them to their local church.

    Use the right strategies to attract seekers this New Year.

    Jesus, Himself reached out to people at their most vulnerable moments. God has a habit of showing up when people are broken and need Him the most. We should do the same thing.

    Transforming people is God’s job. Reaching out to them is ours. That means providing an environment where they can hear the message, and attracting them to that environment.

    God has a habit of showing up when people are broken and need Him the most. We as a church should do the same thing.

    What’s the point of preaching a great message to an empty room?
    Step 1 is to get them into the seats by using proven marketing strategies.
    Step 2 is to rely on the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts.

    Smart secular companies use human psychology to sell their products every day. They know the things that motivate people to act.

    Here’s a secret: Those same impulses motivate seekers as they’re making decisions on Sunday morning.

    As smart marketers, we must use strategies that will bring the greatest return on our investment.

    And here’s a basic marketing principle: People buy benefits. People will come to your church based on what it will do for them. So in your New Year’s marketing, make sure you describe, in detail, what advantages and benefits they’ll gain from attending YOUR CHURCH on a given Sunday.

    Describe how your church can fulfill a need in their lives. Tell them how they can discover their purpose, improve their relationships, live healthier lives. This is all part of the power of the gospel. So, why not tell people about it?

    Study your community, and get acquainted with its needs. Then craft a marketing message to address them. Mark 8:1-9 illustrates how Jesus fed the masses with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. He found a need and filled it. We should do the same in our communities.

    How to make sure your New Year’s marketing has maximum impact.

    Designing the best marketing to get people to come to church is not a guessing game. There is a formula, and if you follow it correctly you’ll harvest a bountiful crop of new visitors, ripe for the Holy Spirit’s work.
    There are four basic points that will influence people to come to your church. Follow them in all your marketing endeavors, and you’ll achieve maximum effectiveness every time:

    1. People must have a need to come to your church.
    Complacent people don’t feel a need to attend church. But most people aren’t really satisfied with their lives. Develop a sermon series that addresses their anxieties, and they’ll come. Remember the top ten resolutions people make for the New Year? Pick one of them and develop a message around it. That’s a great way to ensure you’re meeting a need.

    2. People must believe that your church will meet their needs.
    Craft your sermon titles with words that mention the most common felt needs. Publish them, with action steps that can lead to results.

    3. People must decide that your church Is the right church for them.
    List the benefits your church offers in every marketing endeavor. Remember: PEOPLE DO NOT BUY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. PEOPLE BUY BENEFITS.

    4. People must decide the time to come to your church is now.
    Create urgency with timely sermon series that people won’t want to miss. This should be a no -brainer for the first of the year.IT”S THE NEW YEAR—THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW!

    There’s no mystery to getting people to attend your church. And it shouldn‘t be a back-burner issue that sits unresolved. People are hungry for change now. And now is the time to act.

    Here’s the best thing about reaching out to people at New Year’s: Most of the groundwork has already been done for you. People are turning over new leaves, making commitments to better their lives. The time is right; people are ripe for the harvest. Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to reap what has already been sown.

    Truth advertising can help you develop and design a postcard mailer that will get people’s attention and bring them to your church.

    I founded Truth Advertising on the belief that all churches should have access to the same marketing expertise as secular companies, without having to pay extra for it. Our team can help your church grow. Give us a call and see if our ideas are a good fit for you. 1-844-TRUTHAD.

Back to School Means Back to Church

Truth Advertising has built our church marketing platform on the following principle: “The reason people do not attend church today is because they see no benefit in attending.”

Look at it this way, Why would you go to a restaurant that has food you don’t like, or see a movie you don’t find interesting? Outside of your partner, friend, or relative who invited you, you probably would not care to go.

If non-believer families cannot see a benefit in attending church on Sunday morning, why would they go? Sure, there are churches all over the world that have their seats full of people who don’t want to be there. However, why would you even want these people to come? Yes, I do believe The Holy Spirit works in people’s lives, and the Church reaches people where they are.

  • Read the Complete Ebook: Back to School Means Back to Church

    Back to School Means Back to Church
    How to use the power of “Back to School” to grow your church this Fall.

     

    Truth Advertising has built our church marketing platform on the following principle: “The reason people do not attend church today is because they see no benefit in attending.”

    Look at it this way, Why would you go to a restaurant that has food you don’t like, or see a movie you don’t find interesting? Outside of your partner, friend, or relative who invited you, you probably would not care to go.

    If non-believer families cannot see a benefit in attending church on Sunday morning, why would they go? Sure, there are churches all over the world that have their seats full of people who don’t want to be there. However, why would you even want these people to come? Yes, I do believe The Holy Spirit works in people’s lives, and the Church reaches people where they are.

    What I am speaking specifically about here is attracting the non-believer, (which is about 92% of your local community) to visit the local church on Sundays. My vision for the local church is to make it a place that is so relevant to everyday life that local families would look forward to Sunday mornings and Saturday nights. The church is a place where marriages are healed and restored, where people learn how to manage their finances, where teenagers can find meaning and relevance in a fallen world. I am sure most of you pastors share the same passion, and most churches offer these types of programs. However, the vast majority of non-believers in your communities have no idea the local church offers such life changing programs.

    Churches love to market the church for special holidays, when people are feeling warm and fuzzy about Jesus, or when people feel guilty about missing church.

    The Back to School season offers churches a chance to do something special. It offers churches a chance to reach out in new ways and launch life-applicable sermon series. Back to School is a time when people are “ripe.” Look at the four reasons below to discover just how important and productive it can be to introduce a fall marketing campaign to your marketing arsenal.

    Four reasons why Fall is such a great time to market your church?

     
    1. People move more in the summer months.
    Awareness – With such a large number of people moving in the summer, there will be a number of families who don’t even know your church exists. The end of summer is a great opportunity to invite new residents to your church and create awareness!

    Socialization – More people move during the summer months than any other time of year. After a move, people are looking for places to shop, eat, go to the doctor, and attend church. New residents have a desire to get to know people in their community. The church can provide a great way to meet new neighbors and assimilate into a new community.

     

    2. People who come to church in the fall are more likely to become members.
    Every year pastors are frustrated by the masses of people who show up for Easter and Christmas only to continue their previous habit of non-attendance. People have been conditioned to go to church during these times. During the Back to School season people are prompted to attend church as a lifestyle choice more than as a one-time event. Since people are not focused on a one-time event, they are more likely to return than those who only attend during Christmas or Easter!

     

    3. Fall has become the 2nd New Year’s.
    Summer months are filled with different activities, vacations, and changes in family schedules. When fall comes around, people return to a more consistent program. Many people take this time to refocus their lives, and often times that include finding a church home.

     

    4. People often re-evaluate their church commitments.
    While you no doubt want to be a church who cultivates new members from the unchurched crowd, there’s an opportunity to attract new visitors. After being away from the church all summer, people may have become less interested in their previous church. People will be in the market to try out a new church when the fall season rolls around. Many of these people will be seasoned church goers who may not have been completely plugged into their previous church and have just decided it’s time for a church change.

    Introducing a relevant, timely fall sermon series to your community and properly marketing it can and should be part of your yearly marketing budget. If you advertise wisely, fall may just be the most fruitful season of the year for new growth in your church.

    Don’t trust your churches advertising to just anyone. Call one of our church consultants today at 1-844 TRUTHAD. We will build a postcard mailing program for you that is as unique as your church. You will work with an experienced church marketing consultant every step of the way. We will design a custom program, especially for your church, managing every detail to ensure maximum effectiveness. We have hundreds of sample postcard marketing ideas online, AND MORE BEING POSTED EVERYDAY.

Word-of-Mouth Church Marketing

Word-of-Mouth (WOM) Advertising – Definition: An unpaid form of promotion in which satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product, or service.

The last thing you would expect is for a direct mail advertising company to be talking about “word-of-mouth (WOM)” advertising, right? After all, it is an “unpaid” form of promotion. The truth is we want your church to grow and advance the Kingdom and we want to help you access every possible tool at your disposal. What church wouldn’t want to leverage some of their own resources to get free marketing?

The reason WOM advertising is so powerful is that, in most instances, the person talking about you and recommending your church, has nothing to gain in the transaction. This is unlike other forms of media, where the referring source has been compensated in some manner.

  • Read the Complete Ebook: Get the Most Out of Your Church's Word-of-Mouth Advertising.

    Get the Most Out of Your Church’s Word-of-Mouth Advertising.
    The Eight Keys to Effective Word-of-Mouth Advertising.

     

    The Eight Keys to Effective Word-of-Mouth Advertising

    Word-of-Mouth (WOM) Advertising – Definition: An unpaid form of promotion in which satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product, or service.

    The last thing you would expect is for a direct mail advertising company to be talking about “word-of-mouth (WOM)” advertising, right? After all, it is an “unpaid” form of promotion. The truth is we want your church to grow and advance the Kingdom and we want to help you access every possible tool at your disposal. What church wouldn’t want to leverage some of their own resources to get free marketing?

    The reason WOM advertising is so powerful is that, in most instances, the person talking about you and recommending your church, has nothing to gain in the transaction. This is unlike other forms of media, where the referring source has been compensated in some manner.

    In a Nielson’s survey people were asked the question: “Who do you trust?” Their number one answer was “recommendations from consumers.”

    So, if we are in agreement that WOM is the most powerful and effective form of advertising in the industry, how do you, as a church, go about getting the most out of it?

    Below are the top 8 ways to get the most out of your WOM:

    1. Give people something positive to say:

    This may sound simple, but it is so true. WOM advertising works both ways, both positively and negatively. People will talk about you: you as a pastor, your preaching, your members, your church building, etc. Make sure they have something good to say about you.

    2. Be Churchhurch “that…”:

    Separate yourself from other churches in the community by being special in some way. Find that one thing that makes you different, in a good way, and use it to promote yourself. You don’t want to just be the church over at Teal and Main Street in Frisco, Texas. You want to be the church in Frisco “that” has 10 people greet you when you come in the doors! Focus on the life-giving ways you are unique. Become known for the ways you best represent God.

    For example, your church may be known for supplying backpacks full of school supplies to low-income families in your school district, or for standing on the streets passing out water on 105 -degree days. Maybe your church brings gifts or sends personalized notes to church visitors. Be known for something that not only stands out, but also represents and reflects our Heavenly Father and gets people talking!

    3. Make it easy for your members to invite others:

    You need to equip your members to invite others. Give them resources and tools that make it easy for them.

    Print invitation cards and ask them to keep one in their purse or wallet to hand out to the waiter or waitress the next time they go out to eat. Create an “evite” program from your website through which members can simply click a button and email someone an electronic invitation from the church. Take the over-print postcards from your next direct -mail program, place a first-class stamp on them, and give two of them to each member. Ask them to address and mail the cards to two of their friends or relatives. When you give members’ pre-stamped postcards, they will think twice about throwing them in the trash.

    4. Throw a party:

    Each year have a community outreach event such as a fall festival, a “ spring thing ,” etc. Go all out! Have bounce houses for the kids, get the local grocery stores to donate food, or have a chili cook-off. This gets people in your area talking. It also provides a non-threatening forum through which people may come out and learn more about your church.

    5. Steer clear of “ho-hum” marketing:

    The objective is to get people talking, right? Very few people talk about the short listings in the Sunday paper. People talk about that cleverly designed, eye-popping direct mail card they got in the mail last week or the cool billboard out on the local highway.

    If you’re going to advertise in the local newspaper or magazine, see if they will also do an article on something special your church is doing, possible on how your members help out at the local homeless shelter .

    6. Put your pastor’s picture in your direct mail cards:

    I can’t tell you how many times we have convinced a church to do this and it later told us how much of a success it has been. Pastors have been approached in grocery stores and have been recognized as the pastors of the local churches. What a great opportunity that is for a personal invite to attend this coming Sunday!

    7. Be relevant:

    People love to talk about what interests them. Be all things to all people (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Speak on Sunday about things that your congregation cares about and that are of interest to them. How often do you hear “water cooler” talk about what happened on a particular TV show the night before? Wouldn’t it be great to have people gather on Monday morning and talk about the sermon you preached on Sunday instead?

    8. Be the church that changes lives:

    This is it, the coup de gras, if you will, of “word of mouth” advertising. When you become the church “that” changes people’s lives for the better, saves marriages, and/or restores people to their positions of authority, people will talk. Be a beacon of hope for the lost and hurting in your community, and your WOM advertising will spread like wildfire!

8 Cent NonProfit Postage for Churches

The US Postal Service has a special postage rate for churches, which allows them to pay just 8.3 cents per piece. Needless to say, for large mailings the savings can add up to big money.

Each year we have 20% of more of our clients that have never heard of the special rates the PO has for nonprofit entities such as churches. We have another 10% that does not understand this is a free service and they purchase a bulk mail permit from the PO which they do not need.

Usually by the time they learn of this special rate it is too late to submit the required paperwork to the PO and wait the 2-3 weeks to get approved. This ends up costing the church twice as much as they should be paying in postage. The savings are huge. A full 8 cents per card on saturation mailings. Best of all, this service is FREE from the US Post Office.

  • Read the Complete Ebook: How Your Church can Pay Just 8.3 cents for Postage - with NO Extra Fees.

    8.3 NonProfit US Postage – with NO Extra Fees.
    How Your Church can Pay Just 8.3 cents for Postage – with NO Extra Fees.

     
    Each year we have 20% or more of our clients that have never heard of the special rates the PO has for nonprofit entities such as churches. We have another 10% that does not understand this is a free service and they purchase a bulk mail permit from the PO which they do not need.

    Usually by the time they learn of this special rate it is too late to submit the required paperwork to the PO and wait the 2-3 weeks to get approved. This ends up costing the church twice as much as they should be paying in postage. The savings are huge. A full 8 cents per card on saturation mailings. Best of all, this service is FREE from the US Post Office.

    The US Postal Service has a special postage rate for churches, which allows them to pay just 8.3 cents per piece. Needless to say, for large mailings the savings can add up to big money.

    It’s done through a nonprofit mailing permit.

    You may be wondering: Doesn’t that cost money? 

    Yes, and No. Typically for a church to get a nonprpermit, it it is $180 just to apply, and then another $180 for the yearly permit. That scares a lot of organizations away.

    But what most folks don’t know is that a church can work through another organization that already has the permit—and skip the fees. These are called cooperative mailings, and they’re specifically allowed in the USPS guidelines (See Publication 417, Section 5.1-2). 

    Both of the organizations must be authorized to send mail at the special rate—but only one needs to have the permit. That means your church could soon be sending mail to members, guests, and others at the reduced rate—with no extra expense.

    Of course, you must jump through some hoops to be recognized as eligible. You also do not necessarily need to be registered as a 501(c)(3). To get started, you’ll need to fill out Form 3624 to show that you’re a legitimate nonprofit. 

    But don’t worry—we’ll guide you through it! 

    First, download Form 3624.

    We’ll take it page by page:

    Page 1. This is where you provide basic information on your organization. Fill out each field carefully and completely.

    – If you will be using a P.O. box, note that in the Alternate Mailing Address field.
    – In #9, check box (01) Religious.
    – In #10, check No.
    – Don’t forget to sign and date it.
    – Don’t write in Part 2 (below the bold line)—that’s for the post office.

    Page 2. General Information – feel free to move on to Page 3!

    Page 3. This is where you specify what documentation you’re providing to prove your status as a legitimate nonprofit. You have a choice of documents to use. But remember, the organization names on all documents must match exactly, and be the same as your organization’s legal name. The Postal Service focuses on three areas:

    1. Nonprofit Status. To prove your nonprofit bona fides, provide one of the following:
    – IRS letter of exemption.
    – Financial statement from an independent auditor showing nonprofit status.
    – Place of worship.

    2. Organization. 
    If your organization is a 501(c)(3) you can provide a copy of the incorporation paperwork. If the organization is not in your name, you’ll need that paperwork PLUS a letter on the parent organization’s letterhead stating that you full directly under its 501(c)(3) status. Ifdon’t have a 501(c)(3), bring a copy of the church’s constitution, bylaws, other organizational documents, or a profit and loss statement.

    3. Operation. You can use a church bulletin PLUS one other item, such as church materials, to show that you’re a functioning house of worship.

    What’s Next?

    1st. Once you have all your necessary paperwork, call your local post office, and ask which branch handles the bulk mail in your area.

    2nd. Call that office and ask specifically if they use PostalOne! This is an electronic processing system designed for business mailings. (You must work through a branch that uses PostalOne! If the first branch you call doesn’t, find one that does.)

    3rd. Gather all your paperwork and walk it into the post office. (You cannot mail these documents. You must deliver them in person.)

    4th. Meet with the bulk mail supervisor. Explain to him that you are applying for “Authorization to Mail as a Non Profit Organization”, which is a free service. You are not here to apply for a permit which is a paid service. If this confuses the bulk mail supervisor refer him to the second paragraph under “Making it Easy” for an explanation on how you will be handling your nonprofit mailings. If possible, watch him or her physically enter your information into PostalOne.

    5th. The system should then generate a temporary authorization number. Ask for that number. This ensures that the process was completed properly.

    6th. The postal worker should sign and date page 3 of your Form 3624.

    7th. The post office must send your paperwork to the main office in New York. Ask the worker to please send it that same day. You should receive an email response within about two weeks. That’s It.

    Making It Easy.

    You’ve done the hard part. Once you’ve been approved, we can take care of the rest for you. 

    We can ship to any post office and send your mail at nonprofit rates. This is called ghost permitting, also known as “request to mail at a post office other than your own.” We’ll get the mail to the right post office, eliminating any work on your part.

    We’ll also complete Form 3623 and type a letter on your church letterhead requesting Truth Advertising to mail for you. Then we’ll submit both to the post office when we go in to clear your maill.

    This enables us to use our mailing center in Dallas, Texas, under our nonprofit permit. We’ll then make an appointment at your local SCF Post Office and truck the mail to that PO for you. This process saves your church time and very rarely results in any extra trucking charges.

    You can also give us a call and let us walk you through it.. 1-844-TRUTHAD.

Adding Value to Your Church

The truth Advertising team usually drives over 800 miles each year to Atlanta, Georgia for the annual Catalyst Conference, which hosts more than 11,000 Christian leaders, many of whom we have never had the opportunity to meet face to face.

Leaders from today’s most influential churches share their wisdom during general sessions. Speakers challenge and equip leaders to be catalysts in today’s generation.

Throughout history, the church has added value to the world. Most hospitals exist because of the church’s influence. Many prestigious universities started as training grounds for people preparing for ministry. Till recently, science was dominated by people with a Christian worldview.

  • Read the Complete Ebook: Adding Value to Your Church

    Adding Value to Your Church
    Make your church more valuable to more people

     
    The truth Advertising team usually drives over 800 miles each year to Atlanta, Georgia for the annual Catalyst Conference, which hosts more than 11,000 Christian leaders, many of whom we have never had the opportunity to meet face to face.

    Leaders from today’s most influential churches share their wisdom during general sessions. Speakers challenge and equip leaders to be catalysts in today’s generation.

    Throughout history, the church has added value to the world. Most hospitals exist because of the church’s influence. Many prestigious universities started as training grounds for people preparing for ministry. Till recently, science was dominated by people with a Christian worldview.

    Just as our predecessors added value to the world with schools, hospitals and scientific discoveries, we can impact our culture and add value to our communities with the local church. 

    How valuable is your Church right now?

    Take a survey to find out how many church members have invited a friend, coworker or family member to attend on a Sunday morning. If the numbers are low, chances are your members do not see enough value in your church. If they did, of course they would invite others.

    How many times have your friends told you about a great restaurant or a great sale? They should see just as much value in your church. .

    Another indicator of the value your church has for its members and the community is how it’s changing the lives of real people.

    Is your church changing lives? 

    Here are three ways to add value to your Church: 

    1) Make your church a desired destination.
    The more desirable your church is, the more opportunity you’ll have to increase His Kingdom. But to get motivated, people need to see tangible benefits..

    If I could convince you that by coming to my church for three weeks, your marriage would be the best it’s ever been, your kids would get straight A’s and never do drugs, and your sex life would be great—you would probably come, wouldn’t you?

    We buy products and services for what they can do for us. According to the Barna Group, up to 65% of the population does not attend church regularly. That number would surely decrease substantially if people saw more value in attending church. 

    2) Let everyone who attends your church know how valuable they are. 
    We can’t minister effectively to people we don’t value. Those who are single, poor, aged, or of different ethnicities may not seem valuable from a worldly point of view. And we’re naturally prone to shut out those who look or think differently than we do. But when we do, we may be missing God’s hidden treasures.

    The next time someone shares or does something that you view as unimportant, ask yourself if you truly value that person and the contribution that God would have them make.

    3) Make your church more valuable to more people.
    Be a lifelong learner. Continue to work on your areas that God has gifted you in so you can reach your full potential. If you are going to speak and minister to people’s needs you must get inside their world, see what they see, and find out what they value.

    We drove 800 miles and spent a few thousand dollars to attend the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. Why? Because we saw the value in it—to us individually and to our company as a whole. 

    Meeting Them Where They Are.
    Do you want to see real growth in your church? Begin to cultivate an environment of growth in your congregation. This year, try offering life-changing sermon series aimed at:

    1. Improving marriages
    2. Creating stronger families
    3. Developing stronger character in children and young adults
    4. Overcoming past hurts
    5. Overcoming addictions
    6. Answering life’s tough questions 

    Take a long hard look at your community. Identify some of the essential needs the families have. Then develop a sermon series to market to those needs.

    If your church really takes care of people’s needs, it will grow.

The Psychology of a Seeker’s Decision to Visit Church

Let me start by saying I believe the Holy Spirit is continually working in people’s lives, whether they are born-again believers or not. My basis for this is my own life experience. Before I became a follower of Christ, I was lost. But after my conversion I could look back and see specific instances when the Holy Spirit was guiding me, keeping me safe, and urging me to come to the Lord.

I took on the task of launching Truth Advertising nationwide over ten years ago. Before that, I made my living for 20 years in secular advertising, sales and marketing. I devoured any training I could find that might help my clients, and me, make more money. I learned early the secular secret to success: Make enough people around you successful and you will be successful.

  • Read the Complete Ebook: The Psychology of a Seekers Decision to Visit Church

    The Psychology of a Seeker’s Decision to Visit Church
    The Four Phases of a Seeker’s Decision to Visit Church

     
    Let me start by saying I believe the Holy Spirit is continually working in people’s lives, whether they are born-again believers or not. My basis for this is my own life experience. Before I became a follower of Christ I was lost. But after my conversion I could look back and see specific instances when the Holy Spirit was guiding me, keeping me safe, and urging me to come to the Lord.

    I took on the task of launching Truth Advertising nationwide over ten years ago. Before that, I made my living for 20 years in secular advertising, sales and marketing. I devoured any training I could find that might help my clients, and me, make more money. I learned early the secular secret to success: Make enough people around you successful and you will be successful.

    I studied the buying behaviors of people so I could structure my clients marketing for maximum effectiveness. I learned what makes people tick and how to motivate them. The principles I learned apply to both secular and Christian marketing. If you use them correctly, they can increase the response rate on your next marketing campaign.

    So, here is the thing: People are not just sitting home on the couch, and then one day they suddenly decide to come to your church. There is a real, definable process leading to that decision. Your ability to understand that process and use it to win those seekers over to the Kingdom is what will differentiate your church from most other churches in your community. I say most because, according to statistics, over half of the churches in America have 75 people or less.

    As a church marketer my main focus is helping churches attract new members. While we must always be diligent to care for our present members, we must also continually infuse our churches with new growth. To use a business analogy, if I only concentrated on my current clients here at Truth Advertising, I would soon be out of business through natural attrition. To use a farming analogy, if I eat my crops and do not plant any more, I soon would not have any crops at all.

    It is estimated that 80 percent of churches in America are not growing or are in decline. This does not shock me. What does shock me is the explanations people give for this predicament. There is no shortage of doom-and-gloom reports about the disappearing Christian, or how the church can not reach millennial’s. But we only need to look at the statistics on business failures to understand the real reasons. How many new businesses fail and go out of business in the first three years? You guessed it, 80 percent. Are they failing because consumers are in decline? Or, because millennials do not shop? No, these businesses are failing because they did not bring in enough business each day, month, and year to cover the costs of doing business.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have seen new businesses struggling to make it, and then deciding to cut their marketing budgets. Unfortunately, most of them go under shortly afterward. It is a pretty simple principle: Without new clients, you cannot grow. This is the same approach many churches take when it comes to attracting new visitors. They will not invest in serious outreach efforts, but hope that people will somehow find them and visit. The truth remains: The only way to grow is to attract and keep new members.

    However, before you spend your hard-earned money on new marketing efforts, take a look at the decision-making process a potential visitor goes through before attending your church, or any other. In secular marketing this is called the Four Phases of the Buying Experience. It is familiar to most marketing companies, and is a main component of virtually every marketing plan written. I have revised it here to apply to churches.

    The Four Phases of a Seeker’s Decision to Visit Your Church

    1. Need Recognition. I will illustrate this with a hypothetical seeker named Dan. He has grown disillusioned and unhappy with his life. He has a co worker, neighbor or friend that he respects who goes to church, handles money well, and has a super marriage. He wants that for himself. Like many others, Dan was raised in church but lost his way as he grew older. Now he is wondering again if there may be something to this church thing. He is beginning to recognize his need. It is human nature to avoid change until we are desperate. As an example, how many people take the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class because they are in great financial shape? Most of them have piled up mountains of debt and do not know how to get rid of it. That is why they are seeking answers. They have recognized their need.

    There will always be people in a state of pain or need, and smart marketers capitalize on that. This is why Wal-Mart continues to send you that circular every week advertising a 52-inch flat screen TV. There is always someone who feels a need for that flat screen, and they are betting that you will eventually be one of them. Applying this idea to churches, we know there are always people ready for the Holy Spirit to do His work in their lives. We call this the Church Buyer’s Box. This is why direct mail postcards work so well. There is always a group of people in need of church.

    There are also many people who have needs but do not realize it. This is where expert marketing consultants do their best work, building trigger-specific messaging and content into their campaigns. With the proper headline, graphics, and text, they can bring those pains to the surface and elicit a need recognition.

    It frustrates me to see churches spending money that is not even theirs on sub par marketing that does not trigger such a need recognition, or even address any real need or pain. I recently passed a billboard in my city that I happen to know costs $2,800 a month. A church had purchased that billboard and this was their marketing campaign: Doing anything this Sunday? (followed by the church logo). So, their message was, IF you don’t have anything better to do this Sunday, no plans of ANY kind, then maybe you might consider visiting us! No wonder most of our churches are in decline, when even the church does not place any value in itself.

    A better campaign would have been: Want a Better Sex Life? Followed by: New Marriage Series Begins Sunday @ Our Church. How about that for triggering a need recognition? By the way, one mile down the road from that billboard is another one advertising a sex toy shop. So, am I worried about offending people with my marketing message? No. If they were inclined to be offended, that other billboard would have been taken down already. And by using this headline I am using that billboard to reinforce my own billboard marketing.

    – MAKE SURE YOUR MARKETING ELICITS A NEED OR TRIGGERS AN EMOTION!

     

    2. Information Search: In this step your potential visitor begins gathering information to solve the problem or satisfy the need. For instance, a marriage falls on tough times. They begin to search out ways to solve their problem. Should we seek counseling? Call some friends? Visit our local church? Take a marriage class? This is when your church name should pop up in their minds. Your church should always be in front of your community. They should always know you are there. They may not have needed you when you knocked on their door, or sent that last direct mail postcard. But if you have been reaching out consistently, they will remember you when there is a need. This is the reason marketing companies push repetition so much.

    A pastor client of mine shared a story with me recently that illustrates this perfectly. An older man had stopped attending church over 40 years before because of a sin in his life. Then he received a direct mail card with this message: God Does Not Care about your Past Flops, Failures and Fumbles. That was what triggered his need to come back to church and deal with his sin, which had been causing him pain for 40 years. Afterward, he told the pastor that he had been saving all the postcards he received from the church and putting them on his refrigerator. He had accumulated seven of them. But it was the God Does Not Care postcard that finally triggered that pain response. And based on the previous seven cards, he knew that this specific church was his answer.

    – MAKE SURE YOUR MARKETING IS ALWAYS IN FRONT OF YOUR COMMUNITY!
     

    3. Evaluate Alternatives: Details, details, details. It is all in the details. Do not sell your marketing short by neglecting the important details people need in making a decision. In this phase your potential visitors have already determined they have a need. They have also decided that church might just be one of the ways they will use to solve the problem or meet the need. They will now begin searching out churches to visit. But they have no particular loyalty yet to your church or any other. How many times have you received a circular in the mail that identified something you really wanted, and almost instantly you began looking for a way to get it cheaper, or delivered for free, or installed? Consumers have no loyalty. And oh, in case I forgot to mention it, that 82 percent of your local population that is sitting home on Sundays and not going to church? They are consumers. And they have been conditioned by our culture to think like consumers.

    Just because you triggered the response does not mean you will get the business. Your seeker may respond to your message, but still decide to visit another church. You need to spell out as many benefits as possible in your marketing. For instance, if you trigger a pain concerning marriage, you should offer a marriage group, marriage classes, marriage sermons, and so on, all of which are spelled out and visible in your marketing. The messaging on website should also correspond to your marketing campaign.

    – MAKE SURE YOUR MARKETING SPELLS OUT YOUR BENEFITS AND VALUE!
     

    4. Decision. Now that our seekers have evaluated their various options, they are ready to choose the one that seems most appropriate. If their decision is to visit your church, make sure you are ready for them. You should have a well-organized parking area, a greeter team in place, a good child care area, and messages that are clearly understandable. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

    – MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY TO CREATE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION!
     

    If people were able to find their way to God on their own, there really would be no need for the local church, or for God to send His only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. In the Great Commission, Jesus said, Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

    The key word is go. It demands an action.

    What action is your church taking to go and make disciples of the people around you? Are you actively seeking ways to reach the unbelievers in your community? Or have you closed your doors and stopped accepting outsiders? Are you using creative ways to reach nonbelievers? Or are you hoping they will hear about your church and simply stumble in on Sunday morning?

    There is a reason Easter and Christmas are such high attended church days. The first step (and the hardest step) has already been taken care of for you. People already feel the need and draw to attend church on those holidays. Your church just needs to make sure you are in front of them when they make that decision.

    Have any of these ideas triggered a need in you? I founded Truth Advertising on the belief that all churches should have access to the same marketing expertise as secular companies, without having to pay extra for it. Our team can help your church grow. Give us a call and see if our ideas are a good fit for you. 1-844-TRUTHAD.

God’s 4 Step Marketing Process

God’s 4 -Step Marketing Process from Exodus 3
If you do a word search in the Bible for the words marketing or advertising, it will yield no results. With all the divine wisdom held in those pages, why aren’t these words found? Is God saying, Do not advertise? And particularly, Don’t market the church?

A few thousand years ago, God used a 4-step marketing process to get Moses to obey His will. And businesses are still using this exact same 4-step process—from Madison Avenue marketing gurus to your neighborhood pizza parlor. While they may not be giving God the credit, He actually originated the idea. The proof is in the scriptures; we just need to look for it.

  • Read the Complete Ebook: God's 4 Step Marketing Process

    Marketing Like God
    Biblical Marketing Principles for Effective Church Advertising

     
    God’s 4 -Step Marketing Process from Exodus 3
    If you do a word search in the Bible for the words marketing or advertising, it will yield no results. With all the divine wisdom held in those pages, why aren’t these words found? Is God saying, Do not advertise? And particularly, Don’t market the church?

    Many Christians reject the very idea of marketing when it comes to the church. They see it as a waste of church resources, believing that people will simply find their way into our churches through divine guidance.
    But before we embrace that mindset, let’s take a closer look at what marketing is all about.

    A few thousand years ago, God used a 4-step marketing process to get Moses to obey His will. And businesses are still using this exact same 4-step process—from Madison Avenue marketing gurus to your neighborhood pizza parlor. While they may not be giving God the credit, He actually originated the idea. The proof is in the scriptures; we just need to look for it.

    Let’s take a quick look at the process, then go to the book of Exodus and find the earliest example.
    Effective marketing can be divided into four tasks:

    1. Capture Attention
    Before you can offer solutions, services, or products you must first gain the attention of your audience. If you don’t do this first step, the whole process fails.

    A common misconception is that “sex sells”. Sex sells nothing; it captures people’s attention. Have you ever wondered why you keep seeing commercials pushing the limits of censorship with risqué and even violent images? Unfortunately, it’s because our society has become so desensitized that advertisers and marketers must continue to increase the shock-value to get our attention.

    Don’t get me wrong! I’m not condoning the use of violence or risqué images. But I do suggest thinking outside the box a little …

    I once saw a church marketing piece that featured a graphic of a man’s large, muscular, tattooed arm (the tattoo was the church’s logo) coupled with a message that said “All of God’s people are welcome here ”. I was later told it was one of the most successful campaigns they’ve run. They thought out of the box—untypical for “churchy” advertising. This may not be the message that reflects the personality of your congregation. But there is certainly something unique about your church. Share it through your advertising! Don’t be afraid to push the limits; you might just reach people on a whole new level.

    2. Engage the Audience
    Once you’ve got people’s attention, you must keep it long enough to educate them on what your product or service has to offer. It is important that these steps are carried out in the correct order. The term attention span refers to how long someone will stay engaged. A great attention-getting image or headline may work at first, but you still need to engage your audience—hold their attention.

    3. Educate the Audience
    This is where you present the benefits of your product and guarantee that it will make the reader’s life better. You establish the need—and then meet the need with a solution. For example, you can probably remember viewing an ad for some product you felt no need for—and then after 60 seconds discovered you couldn’t live without it. That’s effective marketing. But if the advertisers hadn’t kept your attention, they wouldn’t have been able to establish a need and pitch the solution.

    4. Call to Action
    This is the point where marketers urge their audience to Buy Now or Call Today. If they have done their job correctly, they’ve captured the audience’s attention, engaged them long enough to educate them on the benefits, and created a need for the product. And now the listener or reader is ready to bite. All he needs is a way to respond—a call to action.

    There really are only 4 reasons why people don’t buy a particular product or service:

    1. No Need. The customer hasn’t been convinced that the product or service will benefit them. .
    2. No Money. This is usually just an excuse. If people really want something, they find a way to afford it!
    3. No Time. The benefit of the product/service is not worth the amount of time it would take to obtain it.
    4. No Trust. They don’t believe it will do what it promises to do.

    Savvy marketing, advertising, and salespeople will intentionally address each of these issues in order to sell the potential prospect.

    As a church marketer, it’s important that you always consider these issues in your campaigns. Specifically, keep in mind the issues of need, time, and trust (and, even money at times). How can your church successfully address these issues?

    Now that we understand what marketing is, let’s look at the Bible and see how God used this 4-step process to get Moses to follow His will.

    Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 3)
    Here, God uses the first step in the marketing process: He captures Moses’ attention with the burning bush.

    Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father -in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. (God captures his attention) So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.’ (Exodus 3:1-3)

    I don’t know about you, but a bush burning on the side of a mountain would be a huge attention-getter for me.
    Once God gets Moses’ attention, he then uses the second step in the marketing process: He engages Moses.
    When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:4)

    After God has Moses’ attention and has begun to engage him, He then uses the third step in the marketing process: He educates Moses on who He is.

    “Do not come any closer,”’ God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.” (Exodus 3:-5-9)

    God then uses the fourth step in the marketing process: He tells him what to do, or makes him an offer. God presents Moses with a call to action!

    “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)
    We can analyze story after story and see that God systematically used the principles of marketing to accomplish what He desired. If these principles are good enough for God to use in building his Kingdom, then they should be good enough for today’s church.

    So, how can the church apply these principles today in the form of marketing?

    A Current Example
    Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, offers a vivid example of how we can use the four steps effectively in a church marketing and advertising campaign:

    Capture the Audience’s Attention. In the case of The Purpose Driven Life, the strong title and the intriguing graphic of a tree (possibly inspired by the biblical tree of life or a symbol of growth), create an attention-getting cover. Both elements combine to imply that there is something greater to achieve in life. Readers are attracted to the message from the first glance. While the graphic design alone is not the most attention-grabbing element, take note of the power of words combined with an intentional graphic subtext!

    Engage the Reader. The subtitle is “Discover Your Purpose in 40 Days.” After the title has grabbed the readers’ attention, the subtitle holds it, engaging them with a promise: discovery of purpose in 40 days!

    Educate the Reader. After the subtitle has engaged the reader, it also serves a secondary purpose. It establishes a need—the discovery of one’s purpose! The title implies that we need to discover our purpose. With the title and subtitle together, readers have a basic knowledge of what’s inside. They have been educated. Now they can turn to the table of contents to become further educated on how this book can help them fulfill their need.

    Call to Action! If you were preaching a series based on The Purpose Driven Life, you might use the following as a call to action: “I would like to invite you personally to join us this Sunday when we will help you discover your purpose and dramatically improve your life over the next 40 days.”

    Don’t miss the opportunity to call your audience to action! You might invite them to take the action-step of making a phone call to your office, or visiting your church website, or visiting the church, or attending an event. Just be sure you don’t leave them stranded without an action-step! If they’ve paid attention to your efforts thus far, they want to take action. Tell them how!

    Marketing is a science, equally applicable to churches as to any other product, service, or business.
    It doesn’t have to be a guessing game. When you implement them correctly, these well-thought-out steps can give you the results you desire.