Church Marketing Tips - Keys to Effective Church 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.
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!
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