4 Church Communication Tips to Help You Improve in 2016

It’s time to take your church communication plans up a notch. Every church is at a different level, but here are four simple tips that can help you focus and improve.

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1. What Makes Your Church Special?

Who are you as a church? What’s your mission? What makes you different from the church down the street? Who is your audience?

Now every church likes to think they all have the same mission and audience. Our mission is to share the gospel and our audience is everyone, right? Wrong.

Your church is different from the one down the street. You reach people they never will (and they reach people you never will). That’s how it should be. Your church isn’t a copycat, cut from a template and dropped into your neighborhood. You’re not a franchise or a chain. As a congregation, you have a unique vision and a specific way of doing ministry. It attracts certain types of people—recognize that you can’t be all things to all people.

Maybe your church is focused on helping immigrant communities or you have a studied, intellectual approach to theology. Maybe you’re an arts-oriented church with visual art and skilled musicians. Maybe you’re an anti-establishment church that questions everything or maybe you’re the traditional church that tries nothing new.

What makes your church special is who you are as a community. You need to figure out that unique vision and zero in on it. Once you do, all your communications efforts will have more clarity.

2. Be Sustainable

Whatever communication channels you start, sustainability is the most important thing. There’s nothing worse than church website that’s woefully out of date or a social media channel that hasn’t been updated in months.

If you’re going to start a weekly email, be sure you can sustain that effort. If you’re going to start a text messaging campaign, make sure you’re able to consistently send updates. You might need to scale back your efforts to be more realistic. That’s OK. Steady, consistent communication that people can anticipate and count on is going to be more effective.

3. Change With the Times

How people communicate is changing rapidly. Once upon a time a mailing address was all you needed. But the response rate from direct mail is pretty abysmal. These days email, social media and texting can get you more bang for your buck.

Don’t keep doing something just because that’s how you’ve always done it.

While your church shouldn’t jump on every new tech bandwagon, you should update your communication channels. Try out new ones and phase out old ones. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover your print newsletter content does better on your website and a text contact list will get a much better response than an email newsletter.

4. Benefits, Not Features

Too often marketers focus on communicating features when what people really want to hear are the benefits. Features simply describe the product, but benefits explain how the product impacts the customer. A convertible is a feature, feeling the wind in your hair is a benefit. Google is selling features when they say there are thousands of apps on Google Play. Apple is selling benefits when they say, “There’s an app for that.”

The same goes for churches: You share features when you just give dates and times. But you offer benefits when you share why people should come. It’s the difference between “Marriage Classes this Sunday at 10 a.m.” vs. “Surprise your spouse with a date this Sunday and take your marriage to the next level.”

 

Interested in learning more about text messaging for your church? Contact TextMarks at 800-696-1393 or email us at tmsales@textmarks.com.

 

 

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Kevin D. Hendricks

Kevin D. Hendricks is an avid reader, a former yo-yo man and a freelance writer living in St. Paul, Minn.

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