I’ll still be on the train when this appears, and I’ve posted this in advance pending a full wrap-up of General Assembly….
More from Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerilla Marketing Excellence, as adapted for church marketing. Part 1 of the series has a general introduction to Guerilla Marketing. [Link]
The danger of originality, Guerilla Marketing’s golden rule #23:
Don’t invest money in originality when the investment should be in generating profits.
Originality. It’s what collectors look for in fine art. It’s what entrepreneurs avoid in guerilla marketing.
This golden rule of marketing works somewhat differently in church settings. In liberal churches, we are not looking to increase profits. But as religious entrepreneurs, we are trying to grow our churches by increasing the number of active members and friends. (Remember that an “active member” is best defined as someone who shows up for worship services; if you want to know how many active members you have, calculate the average worship attendance for the past year.)
In spite of the differences, this golden rule of guerilla marketing for religious entrepreneurs still holds true. Avoid originality in your marketing materials! Or as Jay Conrad Levinson says:
A guerilla repeats what works. Whenever you run a successful ad, run it again. Whenever you engage in a profitable promotion, engage in it again….
Oveer the years, by talking to newcomers to churches, I have learned which guerilla marketing materials actually work. Although there will always be differences from church to church, probably these same things will work for you:
- The church newsletter
- The “Wayside Pulpit” posters in the signboard by the street
- A content-rich Web site, updated weekly
- Word-of-mouth, including “Bring-a-friend” Sundays
- Sunday school brochures
- Attractive, visible church signage that tells who you are (actually, your whole building is a kind of sign
(Notice what’s not on this list: newspaper ads, direct mail, telephone solicitation, billboards, radio ads, TV ads.)
If these are the marketing materials that work best, doesn’t it make sense to pour more energy into them before you try some new kind of marketing? Before you rent space on a billboard, make your church newsletter truly excellent. Before you buy air time on NPR, make sure your Web site has the information newcomers want, and that it’s updated weekly. Before buying in to an expensive newspaper ad campaign, spruce up your church signage (and the exterior of your building while you’re at it). Don’t invest money in originality until you make sure the marketing materials you already have are the best they can be.
Since you’re starting to think like a guerilla marketer yourself, I’m sure you’ve already started asking every newcomer who walks in your door how they heard about you. So:
What marketing materials work for you right now? How will you repeat them again and again and again? How will you resist the temptation to be original?….