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Church Marketing Blog

Church marketing personnel need to be up-to-date with the latest church marketing strategies and resources to successfully implement the church / parish marketing plan. This church marketing blog enables church marketing personnel to engage in blog discussions relating to the church marketing issues of today. The 'Church Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (2nd ed)', 2011, by Bryan Foster, forms the basis for most of these blog posts.

Everyone has a book within themselves - write, publish, sell it - the relatively inexpensive way!

Monday, October 03, 2011
I believe the old adage that everyone has a book within themselves - just waiting to get written, published and sold.

Print on Demand

There is now a relatively inexpensive way to publish your books as paperbacks and e-books. This method is based on a paperback publication called ‘print on demand’. No more having to have a large number of paperbacks printed to save on individual book costs and then paying large amounts to self market your texts, or for even more outlay paying some professional marketing firm and then having to find a distributor, etc. I would like to share my recent very positive experience this year with an Amazon.com company called CreateSpace.

Background Experiences

As a background, originally I took what I thought would be the cheapest method of publishing and marketing my books. The books I wrote I made into e-books and then uploaded these pdf versions to my websites for publication. Simple and relatively cheap i.e. if you do not count the cost of setting up two e-commerce enabled websites, each for a different theme, from a private designer. These days you can set up these e-commerce websites relatively inexpensively e.g. check out Yahoo’s Business options. Once you master the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills, which take some enormous amount of time and creativity and / or pay Google Ads, etc., then people will visit your site and purchase your books.

A Better Way

Since that time in 2009-10, I discovered that there was now a better way. This way uses the production, printing and marketing skills of an enormous world-wide internet selling company, Amazon.com, to achieve your publication at a relatively inexpensive cost to you. Once the production is finished you decide where you would like your books sold e.g. directly through Amazon.com and / or createspace.com and / or through their enormous collection of distributors and sellers world-wide. (You have more distribution options through the Amazon.com networks if you allow CreateSpace to arrange your ISBN numbers. However, if you take this option you need to stay with them and not go with other independent distributors.) The whole process is well explained on the CreateSpace website. There are many levels of production from which you may choose. They will do virtually everything for you, through to you doing almost everything yourself, with you eventually signing off on the finished product. Options range from cover design to proofing of text and internal designs, etc. Costs are proportionate to your needs. From my experience the whole process with your continued input / feedback sort or given is about 2-3 months.

Sales Outlets

Once the books are for sale through whatever outlets you choose, you then have the option of having your paperback converted into an e-book for sale on Amazon.com by CreateSpace. Once again you have various options of where to have these distributed dependent on where you had your ISBN sourced. Check their policy statements carefully before signing up.

Paperbacks + e-Books = Wider Distribution

Paperbacks and e-books now complement each other. It has been suggested that even though the markets are different, you will still sell substantially more paperbacks if distributed properly. The CreateSpace production and distribution methods seem to me to be the way to go for so many reasons, not the least this method is a cost effective world-wide means to sell your paperback and e-books.
I am still learning as my paperbacks have just been listed on Amazon.com and the e-books are being produced now. As an example of how paperbacks and e-books are listed on Amazon.com just check out Church Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (2nd ed), 2011, and School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), 2011.

The 'Everyone has a book within themselves - write, publish, sell it - the relatively inexpensive way!' was written by Bryan Foster, author of Church Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (2nd ed), - the paperback and ebook manual for Church communications and marketing personnel - 304 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points, which allow for a considerably large number of quality stategies and examples to be detailed and available for church marketing personnel - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com

Evaluation and Implementation of Church Marketing Plan for 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011
Regular evaluation of the church marketing plan is necessary for an effective implementation - this is usually completed at the end of the year or at the beginning of the new year. Towards the end of 2011 it should be a key priority to check the status of the evaluation so that decisions for next year may be made early and not get lost in the busyness of the new year's activities and parish administration.

 Step 7 of the Plan
states:
• The plan should be evaluated at least yearly and appropriate adjustments made for the following year.
• Changes may need to be made throughout the year depending on changing circumstances. (See below for complete plan.)

Representatives from the Key Stakeholders groups within the parish need to give input.

These people would include:

  • Parish Priest and priests
  • Parish Manager
  • Pastoral Associate
  • Staff (as decided in consultation with PP)
  • Parishioner representatives
  • School Principals, Leadership Teams and student leaders
  • Media Representatives (usually media contacts of yours and advertising consultants you dealt with, as needed)
  • Diocesan and Deanery representatives as needed

Survey and Feedback

Feedback quantity and quality will vary.

Requested replies would be from both specific and general groups, for example, you may target specific groups of parishioners e.g. Parish Pastoral Council and School Board, but also invite interested parishioners through the parish’s and schools’ newsletters to respond.

A simple questionnaire sent to these people asking three questions will often give enough detail for a fair appraisal and follow-up discussion with the parish leadership team and CMM (Church Marketing Manager).

The questions could be:

  • The CMP (Church Marketing Plan) for [Parish Name] for this year was successful in what ways?
  • The CMP for [Parish Name] for this year was lacking in what ways?
  • How would you suggest the CMP for [Parish Name] be adjusted for next year?

The CMM would then summarize these responses in an honest way and present the views to the parish’s Leadership Team.

It is also good to include specific examples from each question from key people e.g.

  • a Mothers’ Group may be the only ones aware of specific children or family needs;
  • a Principal may be the only one who is aware of issues regarding visitations or parish involvement in his / her school or
  • the Pastoral Associate may see specific pastoral issues in a particular light.

It is important that this isn’t lost in the summary.

Others may like to develop a survey which ranks specific statements about the CMP from 5 to 1. The number of statements in the survey would need to be minimal to gain a good percentage of replies.

This type of survey would more than likely achieve a greater number of responses, yet the detail is limited. You may like to try a greater number of statements for groups or individuals you feel are more likely to respond.

You may also like to include a section for written responses to questions similar to the above three.


CMM Support

It is important that the CMM is supported by all groups to continue on the successful way or make various changes to improve.

Most common changes are made each year in the approach and / or forms of marketing used in each subsequent year. This is normal and leads to a more successful CMP each year.

Once the evaluation process is completed, it will be the Church Marketing Manager's responsibility to implement the updated plan.

The Church Marketing Plan is absolutely essential for a successful church in this digital age!

For this to occur you first need a good appreciation of:
  • what a plan is
  • what strategy options there are
  • how to develop and implement strategies
  • how to evaluate and learn from your experiences and expenses. 

The 2011 published Church Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (2nd ed) by Bryan Foster  is an easy to read and implement instruction manual for church marketing personnel. It contains an exceptional number of key strategies and step-by-step instructions to assist with developing your Church Marketing Plan for your church or parish.

It is suggested to have a written guide show:

  • what you need to know and what is available
  • why it is suggested you do something - whether it is building essential relationships, using the traditional and contemporary media, or using various other marketing resources
  • how to do all this, often takes the stress and anxiety out of developing a successful marketing plan.

Church Marketing Plan


Each Church Marketing Plan should be based on 7 Key Strategies:

1. Define what you have to offer
2. Define your target group
3. Budget
4. Personnel and Talents
5. Develop Marketing Aims and Objectives
6. Marketing Strategies
7. Evaluation

1. Define what you have to offer
• vision and mission, personnel, basic underlying content and structures within the parish, pastoral and welfare support programs, facilities, extra activities, etc
• specific demographics targeted e.g. ages and groups catered for and their particular niche market
• future plans - programs, staffing, facilities, etc

2. Define your target group
• through various data, including surveys, observations, experience, gifts and talents available / needed
• proximity to / involvement with similar and / or churches and parishes
• any expansion - programs, facilities, staffing

3. Budget
• realistically support the marketing plan
• be flexible and open to growth and change as the needs arise
• continually develop over time through needs and experiences

4. Personnel and Talents available - including Church Marketing Manager

5. Develop Marketing Aims and Objectives - from previous information

6. Marketing Strategies

• Marketing Relationships
• Marketing Resources (including branding, advertising)
• Media Use
- Internet and other Contemporary methods
- Both for Free (Media Releases / Editorial, etc) and for
- Fee (Advertising)

7. Evaluation

• The plan should be evaluated at least yearly and appropriate adjustments made for the following year.
• Changes may need to be made throughout the year depending on changing circumstances.

The strategies and examples in this blog post 'Evaluation and Implementation of Church Marketing Plan for 2011' have come from the chapters 'Church Marketing Plan Evaluation' and 'Church Marketing Plan ' written by Bryan Foster, author of Church Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (2nd ed), - the paperback and ebook manual for Church communications and marketing personnel - 304 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points, which allow for a considerably large number of quality stategies and examples to be detailed and available for church marketing personnel - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com

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