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What Every Church Needs to Know about Marketing: Final Thoughts: If you don't pass the people test, nothing else matters
If you do not pass the people test, nothing else matters.
Promotion without connectivity is destructive. I often share with church leaders that most of the churches in the United States should not promote themselves. Why? Simple. If your current membership is not actively inviting people or visitors are not staying, there are reasons why. If you do an advertising campaign, you are asking people to come in your doors only to realize why no one wants to invite anyone to your church. They never come back and leave to tell all their friends what they did not like about your church. This is not good marketing.
If you are connecting with people well, your membership will validate this by bringing their friends. If you are not, they won’t. The problem with your church-goers not inviting people is not their problem—as church leaders, it is our problem. It is not time to craft a message to get people to invite their friends. That is the equivalent of preaching a message on not falling asleep in church. It is our responsibility to want to make them want to bring their friends just as it is to keep people awake.
It is a sure truth that any person who has had a life-changing experience with Christ wants everyone they know to experience Christ. The problem? Most people are not ashamed of Christ, they are ashamed of their church. Having said all this, I am convinced of one thing. If members walk out of your service saying, "I wish my unchurched friend had been here," they will start to think about inviting their friend. If a member walks out of your service three weeks in a row and says every time, "I wish my unchurched friend would have heard that," nothing will stop that member from dragging that friend through your doors.
The heart of marketing is people. Don’t start with mailers. Start with people. Ask yourself, “What am I doing this week to learn how to reach people more effectively? It's time to evaluate. Are we creating an atmosphere that fosters growth or are we ministering unto ourselves?
Our love for the lost is found in how much we value them—in the time we devote to them in our sermons, in the signage on our campuses, in the red carpet we roll out to them on our websites, in the way we communicate and maximize the one opportunity they generally give us. Great marketing is founded on a heart that desires to connect to people right where they live, and loves them too much to leave them there. Ask yourself, “How can we enhance our reach this month without advertising? How can we be more about connecting with people right where they live, in everything we do?” That is where smart marketing begins.