A successful church and parish marketing plan and budget will need to incorporate most of the top ten free church marketing strategies if it is to be successful. The top 10 strategies can be free, or at least relatively inexpensive, depending on the church / parish’s present arrangements.
By effectively using the media and the church / parish website, there should be little expense activating these top 10 strategies, especially when the digital option is the primary method used, instead of hardcopies. If it can assumed that the parish has a website, which can be managed by the parish personnel, as well as a front signboard and a good digital camera, then these strategies can be implemented for free or little expense.The first strategy is in itself free, yet is also reliant upon a number of other key strategies to be implemented successfully – ‘Word of Mouth’.
Top 10 Free Church / Prish Marketing Strategies1. Word of Mouth
2. Quality Preaching, Engaging Liturgies and Active Pastoral Care / Social Justice / Youth Programs
3. Social Networking Sites e.g. Facebook, Twitter, You Tube
4. Professionalism of priests and staff in action and appearance
5. Church / Parish Website and Blogs
6. Use of the Media - both traditional and contemporary – including editorial, images and advertising
7. Information Sessions - night and day times – including faith / theological education, open days, prayer sessions...
8. Newsletters and Flyers - digital (hardcopy where needed)
9. Front Signboard
10. Cross Information (within the parish e.g including through the school/s)
The number 1 strategy, ‘Word of Mouth’, is dependent on those espousing various views about the church / parish being well informed. To do this, the next 9 strategies have an important role to play.
The church / parish needs:
• to have a high quality liturgical, prayerful and pastoral life, along with an openness to meet the needs of all parishioners
• acknowledgement of the place of social media in today’s digital world
• an easy to use professional website
• the ability to engage the local media so that the good stories are told to the whole community, and even the negative stories being told with the church's’s professional approach for solutions being seen in a positive light,
• openness to various visits to the parish
• the acceptance of the place of the digital flyers and newsletters.
ConclusionFree key strategies are often the best approaches to marketing your church / parish. When there is a professional website and the parish community has a positive attitude toward the parish and what it offers, along with what the digital age can offer, then a free, or relatively inexpensive, church / parish marketing plan is possible. This approach can also work when the attitude of the community is not as high – however, there may need to be a need for various forms of paid advertising to counteract such negativity. The best church / parish marketing plan would incorporate most of the free top 10 strategies for marketing your church or parish.
The 'Top 10 Free (or Inexpensive) Church and Parish Marketing Strategies' blog post 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 and all good internet bookstores.