18 Church Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Congregation With New Parishioners

church marketing strategies

If how to grow your church faster has been a bit of a mystery, then check out these 24 tried-and-true church marketing ideas you can start using today!

1. Stand out from other churches in your area

Whether there are “competing” churches in your area or not, don’t skip this step!

Because here’s the truth:

You have competition.

Your competition may come in the form of TV, bars, debauchery, or other things, so no matter what —

Employing church growth principles to drive parishioners in the front door IS important!

And it starts by informing potential parishioners why they should come to your church.

open bible on wood table with light coming from above

In fact:

I’d go so far as to say that before you spend ANY money on church marketing strategies, you must come up with the #1 reason WHY people should.

I’m talking about something in marketing called a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Your USP tells your prospective parishioners:

  • Who you are
  • What specific (or special) services you provide
  • What experience you can help them attain
  • And why you’re in the community

Again, DON’T skip this…

FREE report: How to write an amazing Unique Selling Proposition

Once you have your USP down pat, you’re going to saturate ALL of your church marketing with it to create a consistent message of who you are.

Here’s where you’ll use your USP:

  • Your website
  • Your church invitation postcards
  • Brochures
  • Business cards
  • Social media pages, posts, and ads
  • Basically any church marketing you do!

So nail down your USP, and then you’re ready for this next essential…

2. Look like THE best church in town

How?

For starters, get a gorgeous, professional logo!

Something like this:

Holy Cross church logo

Here’s what a professional logo communicates about your church: 

  • That you’re a professional, trustworthy, caring organization and refuge
  • That you’re so legit you create name (and image) recognition

Both of which amount to more parishioners coming in to try out your fellowship and services!

See PostcardMania’s Affordable Professional Logo Design Services Here

With a professionally-designed logo, you can feel confident using it when marketing your church…

Like on church marketing materials that are pretty inexpensive!

Just check out these prices:

Those prices are definitely worth it for consistent, show-it-everywhere church marketing!

3. Market consistently throughout the year to steadily see your congregation grow

The key to church growth is simply put:

CONSISTENCY of church marketing strategies!

Realize this:

People need you already.

YOU just need to encourage them to come in.

Whichever church marketing ideas you try, remember this golden rule for how to grow a church: 

Reach people OFTEN with your message.

Aka:

Start planning — and running — your year-long church marketing plan to stay in front of your prospects with your USP (#1) professional logo (#2).

effective church postcard design

Wonder how much you should spend on your church marketing plan?

Plug-and-play your numbers in this:

FREE download: Use this EASY Marketing Budget Calculator

4. Use this time-tested marketing tool to generate constant responses

Church direct mail postcards remain a time-tested marketing tool — yes, even in our digital age!

Consider these numbers:

  • 81% of Americans still pay attention to their mail
  • 79% of consumers say they open direct mail immediately
  • 55% say they “look forward” to what they’ll receive in the mail
  • 54% of consumers say they prefer direct mail marketing the most

Which is to say:

Church postcards WORK.

effective church postcard design

Church invite postcards are cost-effective because:

  • You can target by neighborhood and/or demographics
  • Recipients see your message without having to open their mail (time-saving!)
  • You save $$$ on postage when you mail church postcards than enveloped letters

Interested in using church outreach postcards to grow your congregation?

Order a FREE sample pack today so you can check them out in person — we’ll deliver them straight to you!

5. Update your online listings to reach 93% of people browsing online

As many as 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, according to SearchEngine Journal. That’s almost ALL of them.

But this isn’t really surprising, right? How many times DO you google for things each week?

This means that many of the people who receive your church postcards will search for you by name and head directly to your website.

Also:

Many of your potential parishioners will simply search online for what they need, like:

“Churches in [your town].”

illustration of google search results

They’ll see several listings, many of which will be search-and-review sites, like:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages

Make sure you’re listed on those sites, too — and that your business profile is,

  • Correct
  • Up-to-date
  • And filled with photos of your church and staff!

Remember:

Don’t just sign up for these online review accounts and think you’re done…

Keeping your listing current means setting aside time to upload new photos regularly and asking your congregation tactfully to leave you a review on the site.

After you’re done updating your online listings, you need to address your website…

6. Capture some of the 95% of potential parishioners visiting your website

Your website isn’t just a place for interested prospects to visit you online…

It’s actually a MAJOR part of your overall church marketing plan.

Consider this:

95% of your potential parishioners will visit your website before making any decision to come in for a visit or not.

So your website must clearly communicate the following:

  • Who you are
  • Which services/classes/perks you provide
  • That you’re not just a church but a community, a family
  • And how to contact you (and make this OBVIOUS!)

If your website seems confusing or cluttered, your prospects won’t stay on it long enough to figure out how to contact you, and they’ll just leave and onto the next.

Here’s a good one:

church website design example

See that logo in the upper left-hand corner? Definitely professional! 

One of my favorite things about this church marketing website is how they have a slideshow of pictures to showcase how fun and amazing their community is:

community photo on church website

Here’s another image on their website:

community photo on church website

So the bottom line:

Make your website a showcase of how incredible your church is, and put lots of information about your services on there, so potential

parishioners get to know you and contact you to come in!

7. Address your Google listing to generate FREE parishioner “leads” from Google

Register for a FREE Google My Business account.

It’s how you’ll update your Google listing for your church, meaning…

This:

google listing for a church

Here’s why you need to use your Google listing:

When someone googles for a church like yours (or even for YOUR church directly), one of the first things Google shows them is Google Maps results.

Like this:

example google search for churches in tampa

Whether your church shows up in those first 3 spots (underneath the map) or not, either way, when someone clicks into the map for a church, when they click on your church’s name, they’ll see your listing.

Therefore:

Your Google listing can (and should) show pictures of your church (including your congregation enjoying themselves) along with all information googlers want to see right off the bat — your reviews being a MAJOR one.

All this information gets pulled from the data YOU enter in and manage from your Google My Business account.

So you need to make sure you have this data entered correctly, specifically:

  • Your church’s actual name
  • Address (Google will verify it by sending you a postcard)
  • Phone number
  • Hours you’re open

You’ll also manage and respond to any Google reviews from your Google My Business account.

Make sure you keep ALL your contact information updated in your Google My Business account since inaccurate information about you will actually prevent Google from bringing up your church in searches.

Meaning, your church may end up showing up LESS in Google searches —

Which is NOT what we want considering Google is the #1-used search engine in the U.S!

So if your address OR hours change (like for holidays) make sure to update it in Google My Business.

When someone uses Google Maps to search for a church close to them, your correct and updated information on the internet (including in Google My Business) will enable your ranking in Google Maps to be higher than those other churches who didn’t take the time.

See these 3 churches in Miami?

example google search for churches in miami

At the time of writing this, those are the 3 churches that automatically pop up in Google Maps when someone searches for “Churches in Miami” in Google.

Now take a look at this example:

Google Maps results show up even BEFORE organic results…

Meaning, your potential parishioners see Google Maps results on top when they search on Google.

See:

organic google listing for churches in miami

The first organic listing for a church in the above “churches in Miami” Google search comes AFTER those Google Maps results.

So remember:

Google LOVES consistency.

Keep your church’s information updated across anywhere it’s listed online:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Angie’s List
  • Yellow Pages
  • Your social media pages
  • Your website
  • The BBB

 And work on getting TONS of positive reviews too!

8. Reach 79% of potential parishioners on Facebook

It seems that everyone is on Facebook, which is exactly why this social media giant is one of our church growth strategies.

According to Pew Research:

  • 79% of online Americans are on Facebook
  • That’s 68% of ALL Americans
  • 75% of them go on the site every day
  • Users spend an average of 50 minutes per day on Facebook

In other words:

It’s one of those can’t-ignore-it church growth ideas! 

However:

Many business pages’ organic reach (that’s how many people you can reach for free) have declined sharply. For some, it’s as low as 2 PERCENT, and taking into account Facebook’s January 2018 newsfeed changes, you can pretty much say “so long!” to your page’s posts being seen by any potential parishioners for free.

That means you’ll have to pay up for an ad, like this:

facebook ad example for a church

I recommend running Facebook ads at the same time you’re mailing your church invite postcards.

Here’s why:

You can match your Facebook ad’s special offer and design with that of your church invite postcards.

Like this:

church postcard and matching facebook ad

Whether potential parishioners receive your church invite postcards in the mail OR they see your matching ads on Facebook, the point is:

They see ONE cohesive church marketing message.

Plus, get this:

If you’re mailing your church postcards to all the homeowners in, say, Tampa, FL, you can then target many of those same exact people (meaning, the people on your mailing list) on Facebook, too — at the exact SAME time.

Amazing, right?

This coordination of mailing church postcards plus simultaneously showing matching ads online in Facebook newsfeeds gives your prospects the perception that your business is everywhere and the #1 church to check out in your area.

Called Everywhere Small Business, your church can simultaneously target future parishioners with:

  • Direct mail
  • Google ads (across hundreds, or thousands of internet websites)
  • Facebook ads
  • Instagram ads
  • AND you receive access to your own digital dashboard to track and SEE your results!

YOU don’t have to do anything.

Essentially your church marketing will be shown EVERYWHERE your prospects already spend the vast majority of their time, generating the following:

  • Calls to your church (that we track for you)
  • Clicks to your website (we track these too!)
  • Millions of online impressions (eyes on YOUR ads)
  • Essentially MORE potential parishioner leads with ZERO effort from you.

Watch the Everywhere Small Business video to see how exactly this program can increase your church growth at just pennies extra per piece.

9. Use Google reviews as 90% trust and act on them

When potential parishioners see positive reviews, they’re 90% more likely to trust and contact you.

Plus:

People are more likely to click on a website when its Google reviews are positive, meaning those golden star ratings you see!

Google reviews for churches

Google has trained us to recognize that stars = ratings, and the more, the better!

In fact:

  • Star rating is the #1 factor used by consumers to judge a business
  • Stars in search engine results increase the # of clicks by up to 35%

So, of course…

You want to generate LOTS of 4- and 5-star reviews of your church online!!

5 stars

Here are some ways to do that:

  • Have your staff tell parishioners you’d appreciate some love online with a review
  • Make sure parishioners know HOW to leave a Google review
  • Add a link in your church’s email newsletter signature
  • Post a sign (or 2) at your church’s front reception

Make sure to grab this report to share with your staff so they understand that marketing your church today does depend on generating Google reviews:

FREE report: How to get more positive Google reviews online for church growth

Also:

You MUST take the time to respond to any potential negative reviews.

Any bad review online, left ignored, can potentially harm your church’s image and prevent new parishioners from reaching out to you.

Here’s how to handle that:

When you spot a negative review online, make sure to urgently comment on it and respond with a sincere apology. Offer to remedy whatever occurred that was dissatisfactory.

The LAST thing you need is a disgruntled person bad-mouthing your church!

So handle the review well, and they could turn into a happy member of your congregation!

But:

Even if the individual can’t be satisfied no matter what you offer or do, your response online will at least show others that you care enough to communicate and try to help.

In fact —

30% of people online will look at how you handle negative reviews before deciding whether to try out a business — or not.

So it’s worth your time!!

10. Ask for referrals since 92% of people trust them

According to a report by Nielsen, 92% of people trust referrals from people they know.

So you need to get your parishioners promoting YOUR amazing church to their friends and family members, thus helping you with how to grow your church!

How do you do this?

Ask them!!!

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Promote that you’re growing your congregation on your website with a special graphic
  • Promote it on social media
  • Have referral hand-out cards (for easy promotion)
  • Post signs at your front reception
  • Get your staff talking about this church growth strategy with parishioners!
Diverse group of people learning and studying together

Seriously —

NOT asking your parishioners to refer in family and friends is just plain ignoring potential leads that could promote your church growth!!

11. Attract 75% more of your potential parishioners with Google Pay-Per-Click ads

As I mentioned above, 93% of online experiences start with a search engine.

Unfortunately, only 75% of those people will scroll past the first page of results, according to HubSpot.

With Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, your church marketing appears above both the Google Maps results AND the organic listings when people search for your services.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Google PPC example for a church

What’s great about PPC is that you ONLY pay when someone clicks on your ads!

What’s not so great is that it’s complicated.

With PPC ads, you bid on keywords, like “Christian church” or “non-denominational church.”

Google AdWords (Google’s PPC platform) will suggest a bid for you, but you can actually bid however much you want.

Your cost-per-click is determined by many factors — your bid being just one — such as:

  • How relevant Google thinks your website is to your targeted keyword
  • “Dwell time” on your website (how long visitors stay there once they click on your ads)
  • Your conversion rate (how many visitors take your desired action, such as filling out your contact form)

Again — it can get complicated.

FREE report: How to do Pay-Per-Click yourself (and not waste money)

When you’re first starting out with PPC, I recommend setting a budget (say, $15 a day) and playing around with your ads to see what gets the best results.

Honestly…

Managing a PPC campaign can feel like a full-time job…

So, it’s honestly probably worth it to hire a PPC professional to do it for you.

You can use PostcardMania’s PPC management services here.

12. Create a video of your services for 80% more leads

Get a professional video made that introduces your pastor or minister or staff to prospective new parishioners.

Simply put —

People LOVE videos.

Just check out these stats on video marketing:

  • Increases (FREE) traffic from search engines to your website by up to 157%
  • Using video on a landing page can increase leads by 80%
  • Visitors stay on websites 88% longer when there’s video to watch

I recommend getting a video made that introduces your church to newcomers by giving them a tour (in under 2 minutes ideally).

Whether you create a video — or hire someone to do it for you (to save time) — you’ll want to use it on your website and social media.

13. Invite NEW movers into your church without lifting a finger

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a little over 11% of the American population moves every year. Many of those people may be looking for a new spiritual retreat!

With our New In Town program, you can reach new movers in your area every month without you even having to think about it, which makes it one of the easiest-to-implement church marketing ideas…

Here’s how it works:

  • You tell us your target demographic and service area
  • We design church postcards for you
  • Every month, we automatically send all new movers that fit your targeting criteria your church postcards

Check this out:

Your church invitation postcards are personalized automatically with the first name of the recipient, so they take notice of your church marketing — because they see their name!!

Here’s an example:

example of a new mover postcard for a church

By automatically mailing to every new mover in your area, your church can simply receive a steady stream of new interested parishioners who live nearby and who want a spiritual refuge!

14. Use your blog to generate 4.5X more leads

Think a blog is optional for your church marketing plan?

Get this:

Publishing helpful articles on your church’s blog can actually generate up to 4.5 times more leads than organization’s who don’t utilize this necessary resource, according to Hubspot.

So what do you write about on your blog?

You can use your blog to give bite-sized sermons to current congregation members and new prospects alike!

bible and laptop with cross necklace sitting on a desk

Here’s some additional help:

FREE report: How to create a lead-generating blog step-by-step

Another added benefit:

When you arm your church marketing strategy with helpful content that you feature on your website’s blog, you’ll have a better chance of ranking higher on Google.

How?

By using keywords.

Make a list of keywords that your prospects may use when googling for a church, and include those keywords in both your blog and website pages. (Get your website designer to help you if needed!)

When a prospect googles for a church like yours, Google will more likely suggest your website to that prospect if keywords used on your website mirror what your prospect entered into Google.

It’s essentially FREE SEO (search engine optimization) and how to grow your church.

15. Post pictures and videos on your social media profiles

Show off photos you have on the marketing channel where imagery RULES for generating engagement (clicks), meaning:

Social media!

After all, whether prospects are on Facebook or Instagram (or anywhere else for that matter), people LOOK and click when they see images.

Take a look at these Facebook statistics:

  • 79% of the U.S. population uses Facebook
  • 70% of Facebook users login DAILY
  • 75% of users take action after seeing an Instagram advertising post

Plus:

Social media is a FREE way to get your church marketing strategies out so people can see how much fun your church and community is…

And you can drive clicks from social media right back to your website.

Here are some tips on what to post on social media:

  • Pictures of your church
  • Photos of your staff smiling and looking friendly
  • Special promotional ads (EASY to make even if you have 0 graphic design skills)
  • Fun events you’re hosting

Make sure your phone number, church’s address, and website are all listed on your Facebook business page, Instagram profile, YouTube page (and any other channels) so it’s easy for prospects to contact you!

Speaking of which…

16. Improve your Google ranking with search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engines work by finding websites which match the keywords your prospects search with.

So if your prospects enter “[Your City] Baptist churches” (aka “Seattle Baptist churches”) your website will rank higher in Google to the degree that your website pages have the keywords “Seattle Baptist churches” in them (as well as other factors that are more complicated which we won’t get into detail on here).

example of search engine optimization for churches

To get your website found on Google, your website’s data must be accurate and filled with keywords your prospects use to find a church just like yours.

Again, make a list of these keywords using Google’s free keyword planner tool, and have your website guy (even if that’s you!) use them on the pages of your website — your homepage, your About Us page, etc.

But it’s NOT only keywords you need.

Here are some tips to increase your website’s SEO:

  • Each page’s title (learn about page titles here) should be different
  • Homepage’s page title should have “Lutheran church [your city, state]” or the like
  • Your contact data (on your contact page) must be correct
  • Your church’s data must be referenced (cited) on other popular web pages
  • You should have and use a free Google My Business

SEO is NOT a one-shot deal — much like church marketing strategies in general!

So word to the wise:

Steer clear of any company that claims to guarantee to get your website to #1 on Google in a short amount of time…

SEO is a continual process since Google and its algorithms (formulas) change all the time.

That’s why getting collecting Google reviews and making sure your website is set up to capture leads is 100% worth your time (and it’s WAY less complicated too).

17. Grow your congregation up to 80% more by automatically following up with inquiries

Here’s the deal:

Many of the new inquiries into your church that you generate may not become new congregation members right away.

So what do you do?

You follow up with them!

But instead of emailing and calling these spiritual seekers every single day, you can use easy email marketing to automatically follow up with people for you.

In a free email marketing software, such as MailChimp for example, you can set up a simple campaign to automatically email leads so that you’re continually reaching out to them.

Smart, right?

Also called an “email drip campaign,” it works as one of the most successful church marketing ideas by sending out emails on a predetermined schedule to prospective parishioners in a list that you create.

FREE report: Automate your email marketing to grow your congregation up to 80% more

Instead of you remembering to manually email your inquiries on a set schedule, have your email marketing system do it for you.

Plus, you can use this same email marketing tool to send out monthly newsletters to your congregation members.

computer with a man showing a bible through the screen

The idea is that the more people who are followed up with consistently, the more likely they’ll become members of your church because they’ll feel both remembered and cared for.

If you want a done-for-you email marketing solution, you can use PostcardMania’s email marketing services.

18. Track your results like a church marketing king                                                                                                    

Only TRACKING will show you what parts of your church marketing creates new inquiries and congregation members. 

So — HOW do you track?

A new caller sheet is one way!

All you do is print off a stack of these sheets, give them to your receptionist (or keep them by your phone for whomever answers it), and ensure that each and every staff member knows to use them to:

  • Gather ALL vital information from people calling in
  • Find out what church marketing strategies they saw
  • And ensure if they don’t book an appointment to come in, that you collect their email address to follow up with them

Another way to track:

Google Analytics — a free tool from Google that tracks the following:

  • Who visits your website
  • Where they’re from
  • What pages they visit
  • How long they stay there
  • And WAY more!

FREE report: Easily set up Google Analytics for website tracking

Let’s say you mail out 5,000 church outreach postcards, and you check your Google Analytics account and notice 300 people visited your website, with 75 people landing and spending 1-2 minutes on your “About Our Church” page.

example of church invitation postcard

But… maybe only 5 people made it to your contact page to actually contact you to come in and visit.

Here’s an idea:

Why not put a pop-up form or lead capture form on that“About Our Church” page to capture more of the leads — automatically — who read all about you? That pop-up form will then give you the names, emails, and phone numbers of those people so you can personally reach out to them.

Genius!

I’m always asked what my #1 piece of advice is for small business owners, and here’s my answer every time over my 20 years in business…

Be consistent with your marketing.

No matter which church marketing strategies you can do, do them every single month no matter what. Prospective parishioners simply have to see your church repeatedly in order to be compelled to come in and visit you!

So there you have it!

18 church marketing ideas to grow your congregation and community!

For even more church growth principles, check out our church invitation postcards, ready for you to use!

And if you have questions about anything mentioned here, such as marketing with Everywhere Small Business, leave a comment or you can email me directly at Joy.Gendusa@PostcardMania.com.

Ready to start your marketing campaign? Call one of my experts at 800-628-1804 — the consultation with them is 100% FREE!

Best,

Joy

FREE DOWNLOAD: Postcard Marketing in an Online World Ebook

 

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