Small churches usually don’t have an advertising budget, or if they do it’s too small to be effective. But, relax my small-church friend because you don’t need an ad budget. Here’s why:
- Trendwatching.com says that only 13% of consumers admit they buy products because of the ad, and 6% of consumers believe that advertisers lie in their ads. Nice group to be associated with.
- Word-of-mouth is still the strongest way to get your message out. The new jargon is viral-advertising, which can include stuff like Youtube, blogs, zines, and a bunch of under-the-radar citizen marketer action. But it’s all the old word-of-mouth, just with different mouths!
- The genius of small churches is relationships. About the last thing you (and I) need is to double our attendance/membership/worship overnight. Rodney Stark writes in Cities of God that Christianity grew at 3.4% from the beginning. Could your church do that? Probably. A much more absorbable rate of growth for small churches.
- You can get enough free “advertising” to get the word out about anything that you’re going to do. Poster, fliers, tickets (even freebies), handouts, mini-mailings, targeted groups, speaking engagements, phone calls, emails, websites, blogs, free soft-drink company banners, and (do you get the picture?) will be more than enough exposure for your church. Plus, the old standby — your church sign, if you have one.
So, be creative. There is a ton of stuff out there about how to get this kind of exposure, and it’s a lot more fun than paying someone a lot of money to do second-rate advertising, which is what church ads usually are. Let me know what creative stuff you’re trying and how it’s working.