Offline Marketing Ideas for Churches

33 replies
I am mostly an online marketer. However, I am looking for some offline marketing/advertising ideas for churches. Some places we have already or are going to advertise include:

1. Mailers
2. Billboards
3. Public Transportation
4. Johnny Advertising
5. Movie Theater
6. Local Mall Signs

Main purpose is to increase brand awareness, create a buzz and of course get people to come to church. We are launching a new church in the fall and need ideas to create awareness in the new area. Any one have offline experience in marketing church or can give any advice or ideas?
#churches #ideas #marketing #offline
  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    If your church is one of the more common denominations, maybe you can cross promote with wedding planners and banquet halls and wedding photographers and wedding cake makers/caterers?

    Some of the above mentioned industries might have local organizations that have a website and/or newsletters they send to their members.

    I wonder if other churches would let you advertise on their own newsletters?

    Follow local chamber events, often they have, at least in my area, after hour events (I.e., 5-7 pm) where hosted at the location of various businesses. Sometimes, the businesses are retirement homes... They have billboards and newsletters and, from what I understand, older people are more concerned with saving their souls than younger ones.

    Local printed newspapers also tend to reach older people.

    Originally Posted by rwsorensen View Post

    I am mostly an online marketer. However, I am looking for some offline marketing/advertising ideas for churches. Some places we have already or are going to advertise include:

    1. Mailers
    2. Billboards
    3. Public Transportation
    4. Johnny Advertising
    5. Movie Theater
    6. Local Mall Signs

    Main purpose is to increase brand awareness, create a buzz and of course get people to come to church. We are launching a new church in the fall and need ideas to create awareness in the new area. Any one have offline experience in marketing church or can give any advice or ideas?
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  • Profile picture of the author AmericanMuscleTA
    "If You Don't Worship At WWJD Church Then Go To Hell"

    ^^^Whelp, there's your headline. hahaha

    I like DABK's ideas.

    I wonder what kind of response you'd get if you advertised in one of your local coupon books.

    "Come Worship at WWJD Church and get a FREE Ticket to Heaven (Good for the whole family)"

    Also, do you have any stats on the number of people who go from one church to the other? There's got to be some kind of list you could get.

    Maybe you could team up with AA or some kind of drug rehabilitation company and see if you could give a workshop, or leave flyers.

    How about getting a list of divorcees? Divorce is an emotional roller coaster. People are hurting.

    Advertise in Hospitals where people need hope.

    Go where the broken are! They're the ones who need it most.
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  • Profile picture of the author eccj
    Originally Posted by rwsorensen View Post

    I am mostly an online marketer. However, I am looking for some offline marketing/advertising ideas for churches. Some places we have already or are going to advertise include:

    1. Mailers
    2. Billboards
    3. Public Transportation
    4. Johnny Advertising
    5. Movie Theater
    6. Local Mall Signs

    Main purpose is to increase brand awareness, create a buzz and of course get people to come to church. We are launching a new church in the fall and need ideas to create awareness in the new area. Any one have offline experience in marketing church or can give any advice or ideas?
    The early church used to bury people that were poor and didn't have land to be buried on.

    Stuff like that is way more powerful than a billboard.

    If you have any others who are starting this church than you all need to personally invite people. Forget advertising like that..... besides do you really want a church that is filled with people that came because of a billboard?

    You can launch a church with 70-80 people in you first service but those people will be gone within a year or two and so will the church. I have seen it 100 times.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Pines
    Originally Posted by rwsorensen View Post

    Some places we have already or are going to advertise include:

    4. Johnny Advertising


    That rules out the Catholic church then - over here 'Johnny' is slang for a condom!


    On a more serious note, the demographic at my local Church is usually Grandparents and their Grandchildren. The parents usually take Sunday morning as a break from the kids. So it'll be high-impact (visual) offline marketing for a local church. Have you looked at TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) to get an idea of what the respective pastors / priests are doing to promote to their flock?
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      One of the best ways to advertise your church and get a buzz, is through community outreach (Think WWJD) . For example ...

      • A clothes or food giveaway.(Feed the hungry, cloth the naked)
      • Clean up some area of your town or city, a homeless shelter, shelter for single mothers, abandoned alley, senior home, etc.(Cleanliness is next to Godliness).
      • An event for children during the summer months or just a week-end or day.(Allow the little children to come to me)

      ***Then tell your local newspapers, radio or even television news.***
      They love stuff like that. You can kill a lot of birds with one stone (David style).

      Forgive my play on words.
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      • Profile picture of the author DaveTheSinister
        Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

        One of the best ways to advertise your church and get a buzz, is through community outreach (Think WWJD) . For example ...

        • A clothes or food giveaway.(Feed the hungry, cloth the naked)
        • Clean up some area of your town or city, a homeless shelter, shelter for single mothers, abandoned alley, senior home, etc.(Cleanliness is next to Godliness).
        • An event for children during the summer months or just a week-end or day.(Allow the little children to come to me)

        ***Then tell your local newspapers, radio or even television news.***
        They love stuff like that. You can kill a lot of birds with one stone (David style).

        Forgive my play on words.
        I personally, couldnt agree more. Church is usually a very deep experience for those who usually like to go. Making it feel more personal and approachable is the ultimate goal of whatever marketing material you put out.

        Nothing and I mean nothing will trump word of mouth when it comes to "selling" a church. Maybe having the pastor/priest/rabbi go to near by high traffic areas and just speak with passers-by.

        Try and think of places where people would be more inclined to receive the message.

        Maybe thats why church attendence is down in many places, they chose to try and preach to those who dont want to hear it. Just food for thought.

        Hope this helps
        D
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          How about impersonally?

          Originally Posted by DaveTheSinister View Post

          I personally, couldnt agree more. Church is usually a very deep experience for those who usually like to go. Making it feel more personal and approachable is the ultimate goal of whatever marketing material you put out.

          Nothing and I mean nothing will trump word of mouth when it comes to "selling" a church. Maybe having the pastor/priest/rabbi go to near by high traffic areas and just speak with passers-by.

          Try and think of places where people would be more inclined to receive the message.

          Maybe thats why church attendence is down in many places, they chose to try and preach to those who dont want to hear it. Just food for thought.

          Hope this helps
          D
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    I like the idea of events - collect food or clothes for homeless, a free "workshop" for parents or whatever

    events get a lot of traction in local newspapers

    don't forget social media - facebook especially
    you can put an event on facebook
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    .tv and youtube of the sermons
    radio ads

    and
    follow local reporters (all media types) on their twitter and facebook,
    have them tell you when some body needs a hand and be there to lend a hand,
    provide music for a fundraiser, just provide bodies to help, etc

    work with other "do good" groups in the community that are not church groups per se

    get branded T-shirts to wear around, and especially at events
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Lets get to the heart of this. The reason you are asking is to GROW your church. Churches are no different than business'

      There are 3 points that you need to focus on. There is Acquisition, ( new members ) Retention ( Keeping the Members ) and lastly Referrals ( existing members bringing in new members ).

      Anytime I think many of us go in and look at a business we are looking for the low laying fruit. That fruit in this case would be the Referrals. How can you motivate the existing members of your group to go out and bring in new members?

      Message can only get you so far. I would say that its outreach and the involvement of your group that defines who you are, and the Motivation to join you.

      This same message / mission can be used at this point for your onboard efforts.

      I would suggest the use of EDDM ( a specialize post card delivery service by the USPS ) There is a bit of a trick in this. you want to start those small steps with the existing group.

      Have them bring examples of post card type advertising they get at home during the week. Allow for an open discussion with those interested what the message of the Churches card should be what it should look like. compare that message with the card samples that were brought in. have them discuss what is good and bad about the cards.

      Get a few designs of the card done, and allow the group to decide which to use. This process makes everyone feel a part of the process makes everyone feel they are a part of the growth that will occur. they will take ownership in the process and be that more willing to refer.

      Each one of the 3 basic points ( Acquisition, Retention, and Referral ) build apon themselves, a perfect synergistic model.

      Hope that Helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author daniyal100
    Originally Posted by rwsorensen View Post

    I am mostly an online marketer. However, I am looking for some offline marketing/advertising ideas for churches. Some places we have already or are going to advertise include:

    1. Mailers
    2. Billboards
    3. Public Transportation
    4. Johnny Advertising
    5. Movie Theater
    6. Local Mall Signs

    Main purpose is to increase brand awareness, create a buzz and of course get people to come to church. We are launching a new church in the fall and need ideas to create awareness in the new area. Any one have offline experience in marketing church or can give any advice or ideas?

    Get people to your church, make them charity, I hope that's not your way of making money through this..

    That's why I'd like to know where you getting the money for all this marketing stuff you already doing and how you getting the return on your investment?
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Why so? What's wrong with marketing churches?

      Originally Posted by daniyal100 View Post

      I hope that's not your way of making money through this..
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      • Profile picture of the author daniyal100
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        Why so? What's wrong with marketing churches?
        Dude seriously?? your trying to get people to do charity but they don't know their charity is not going for that cause but in your pocket..And you asking what's wrong in this?

        Nothing could be worse then getting someone's hard earned money in form of charity and then keep it and don't spend it for the actual cause.. Most importantly your doing all this by using a church.

        I'd love to know what do you think is the wrong way of making money sir?
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        • Profile picture of the author savidge4
          Originally Posted by daniyal100 View Post

          Dude seriously?? your trying to get people to do charity but they don't know their charity is not going for that cause but in your pocket..And you asking what's wrong in this?

          Nothing could be worse then getting someone's hard earned money in form of charity and then keep it and don't spend it for the actual cause.. Most importantly your doing all this by using a church.

          I'd love to know what do you think is the wrong way of making money sir?
          Regardless if it is a church or say any non profit organization... they ALL have advertising expense. Do you think the American Red Cross gets all of that TV advertising for free?

          There are places to attempt and draw the line in the proverbial moral sand.. This sir, would not be one of them.
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          • Profile picture of the author daniyal100
            Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

            Regardless if it is a church or say any non profit organization... they ALL have advertising expense. Do you think the American Red Cross gets all of that TV advertising for free?

            There are places to attempt and draw the line in the proverbial moral sand.. This sir, would not be one of them.
            I don't know about the red cross one but I know its a famous and big charity organization all around u.s just like Fire fighters fund which only donates 3$ per 100$ received in form of charity.

            Yes sir you read it correctly then only give 3$ per 100$ received in forms of charity from guys just like you and keep the 97$ out of 100$.

            You can do your research on this one. And american red cross is also a big name like i said earlier so i am quite sure they ain't much differ then fire fighters.
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          Dude, seriously.

          I am not, nor is the OP, trying to get anyone to do charity. I am not, nor is the OP saying that anyone should keep money from charity in their pocket.

          I don't know about the OP, but I think you should use all money you collect for charitable purposes on charitable purposes.

          However, marketing a church has nothing to do with charity.

          I could market a Pentecostal church just as well as a Catholic one without being either Pentecostal or Catholic. Or, for that matter, believing the things they believe about life and soul.

          If I were wrong and you right, I'd never get letters from churches in my area asking me to join them or join them for some event, at least.

          But I get those letters, about 6 a year, from 4 churches.

          Have been for the past 13 years. Like clockwork.

          There are, of course, churches around here that don't believe in growing by marketing; they try to grow by sending random people to my house to give me pamphlets or to ask me if I'm saved.

          Some of the most successful businesses in the world, if you were to pay attention, are churches. Ever wondered how much money the Vatican collects a year?

          Originally Posted by daniyal100 View Post

          Dude seriously?? your trying to get people to do charity but they don't know their charity is not going for that cause but in your pocket..And you asking what's wrong in this?

          Nothing could be worse then getting someone's hard earned money in form of charity and then keep it and don't spend it for the actual cause.. Most importantly your doing all this by using a church.

          I'd love to know what do you think is the wrong way of making money sir?
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          • Profile picture of the author savidge4
            Originally Posted by DABK View Post

            There are, of course, churches around here that don't believe in growing by marketing; they try to grow by sending random people to my house to give me pamphlets or to ask me if I'm saved.
            And even this does not come without expense... by "Someones" will is the "Watchtower" printed and delivered in boxes to each of those folks walking door to door?
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            • Profile picture of the author DABK
              I'm saying not that someone does not pay but how they pay and why.

              Some of them have real marketing skills and marketers working for them. Some have people who barely have a pot to piss in who print 10 copies of something on their home computer and go door to door to drop it because they don't know of any other method.

              Some do it door to door, though they have tons of money, because that gets their people involved in self-soul saving.

              Some do it because the leadership is shrewd business people who're making a killing.

              I am making a distinction between marketers and wanna-be and/or accidental marketers. I am saying if a church hires a marketer, the church has debated the charitable contribution issues and determined they don't apply / are irrelevant, etc., so why should the marketer make them his/her issues?



              Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

              And even this does not come without expense... by "Someones" will is the "Watchtower" printed and delivered in boxes to each of those folks walking door to door?
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              • Profile picture of the author savidge4
                Oh don't get me wrong here... I'm in no way arguing with you... Salvation is HUGE in the realm of marketing expenditures. Here is an interesting read on the subject: What Should Your Church Marketing Budget Be? :: Church Communications Pro | Church Marketing | Church Web Design

                Granted they are a "Church Marketing firm" but they suggest $25,000 for the first year and 10 to 15% there after.

                Originally Posted by DABK View Post

                I'm saying not that someone does not pay but how they pay and why.

                Some of them have real marketing skills and marketers working for them. Some have people who barely have a pot to piss in who print 10 copies of something on their home computer and go door to door to drop it because they don't know of any other method.

                Some do it door to door, though they have tons of money, because that gets their people involved in self-soul saving.

                Some do it because the leadership is shrewd business people who're making a killing.

                I am making a distinction between marketers and wanna-be and/or accidental marketers. I am saying if a church hires a marketer, the church has debated the charitable contribution issues and determined they don't apply / are irrelevant, etc., so why should the marketer make them his/her issues?
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          • Profile picture of the author daniyal100
            Originally Posted by DABK View Post

            Dude, seriously.

            Some of the most successful businesses in the world, if you were to pay attention, are churches. Ever wondered how much money the Vatican collects a year?

            so church is a business? And its ethically and morally fine you think?
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            • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
              Originally Posted by daniyal100 View Post

              so church is a business? And its ethically and morally fine you think?
              Daniyal100,

              Yes, technically and legally, accounting for non-profit organizations is different.
              You can't have profit, you have income and expenses, losses or hopefully income in excess
              of expenses...

              It does take money to operate any non-profit and it is legally, ethically and morally fine for
              them to have paid employees. It is also legally, ethically and morally fine for them to pay
              for marketing expenses...

              OP is talking about marketing to get more church members and donations so they can
              carry out their mission(s). Nobody in this thread promoted the idea of marketing a church
              just to get money for their own pockets, or just for the pockets of the church members.

              The Catholic Church, for example, runs a lot of hospital systems. A hospital should have top
              equipment and top doctors and nurses. That takes money. They can't get everything for free,
              or top doctors and nurses without competitive pay.

              People and organizations who supply or work for non-profits and churches can only do so much
              for free or at a discount.

              There are a ton of lists like the one below that show the income and expenses for a lot of
              the non-profits. (And, yes the better ones spend less on admin and more on their projects.)

              http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Gu...l-do-they-rate
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            • Profile picture of the author DABK
              A lot of churches are businesses. A lot of church leaders make millions.

              Millions of dollars.

              So, don't tell me churches are not businesses.

              If you object on moral / ethical grounds, don't let any church hire you.



              Originally Posted by daniyal100 View Post

              so church is a business? And its ethically and morally fine you think?
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              • Profile picture of the author daniyal100
                Originally Posted by DABK View Post

                A lot of churches are businesses. A lot of church leaders make millions.

                Millions of dollars.

                So, don't tell me churches are not businesses.

                If you object on moral / ethical grounds, don't let any church hire you.
                That's so sad man that people with no moral values and a bit of devilish smartness making millions of dollars through churches and on the other side a young broke black guy try to steal something for the first time because of hunger and went to prison for few years.

                The society is so f***** up man
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                • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
                  Originally Posted by daniyal100 View Post

                  That's so sad man that people with no moral values and a bit of devilish smartness making millions of dollars through churches and on the other side a young broke black guy try to steal something for the first time because of hunger and went to prison for few years.

                  The society is so f***** up man
                  Daniyal

                  There are resources for food for those who are hungry.

                  Churches happen to be one of them.

                  No one has to go hungry. And they don't have to steal.

                  But, they do have to ask.

                  Stealing is wrong but jail or prison for stealing food...that too
                  is wrong.

                  I wish we had a better system.
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                • Profile picture of the author DABK
                  True, lots of things ought to be different.

                  Originally Posted by daniyal100 View Post

                  That's so sad man that people with no moral values and a bit of devilish smartness making millions of dollars through churches and on the other side a young broke black guy try to steal something for the first time because of hunger and went to prison for few years.

                  The society is so f***** up man
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  • Profile picture of the author TimothyW
    Best way is referrals!

    The Bible (read: God, Himself) DEMANDS that everyone in your congregation bring people to Christ. It is The Great Commission. AKA: "Arrows Out."

    -- TW
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  • Profile picture of the author mark healy
    There are many different ways such as advertising in a local church magazine that gets distributed to a wider audience. Do an audio recording and leave this in hotels where you stay for holidays. Word of mouth to your local cleaner, next door neighbour and relatives is also a great way.


    Do leaflet drops in your local city can be very effective is you have the right message.


    Hope that helps
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  • Profile picture of the author TrumpiaTim
    SMS text messaging is huge with churches especially their youth ministry, this would be a great addition to what you're already providing. Text messaging gives churches a more immediate channel to spread their message so we've found em to be extremely receptive when approached with the idea of expanding their via sms text messaging.
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    • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
      Originally Posted by TrumpiaTim View Post

      SMS text messaging is huge with churches especially their youth ministry, this would be a great addition to what you're already providing. Text messaging gives churches a more immediate channel to spread their message so we've found em to be extremely receptive when approached with the idea of expanding their via sms text messaging.

      Awwwwghh.......I suppose there is no business idea here that you will not put in your canned pitch for your sms biz?

      Opening a funeral parlor? sms

      How bout a massage parlor or strip club sms

      crack dealer....sms

      whatever

      Here is a tip -blatant self promotion is considered spam...on most forums it would be removed. People do see through it and come to disrespect those who do it
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  • Profile picture of the author TimothyW
    Of course a church is a business. It runs on money -- just like any entity that has people working in it that eat.

    -- TW
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  • Profile picture of the author TrumpiaTim
    Freebiequeen not sure what you mean, we do service a number of churches to help them communicate better with their congregation. Specifically youth ministries have found sms text messaging to be a godsend since it gives them access to a demographic that they typically we're not in touch with.
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Lessard
    One good miracle would do it!
    Zero cash out of pocket and high probability of going viral.

    Here is a great place to start
    Pictures & Photos from Oh, God! (1977) - IMDb

    ;-)

    Sorry I totally could not help myself.
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
    Is there a reason you don't call people in the area of your new Church and just invite them to join you for a service?

    You could even plan a Church picnic, or cookout, and call people in the area to invite them for the special event.
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