As marketers, the most essential step for knowing how to reach our audience is to know them. As ministers, we need to know our congregation and community in order to connect with them on a deep level.
As ministry marketers, we have the opportunity to love people through our words and our actions in advertising and conversing about our ministry that God has given us to do. You may wince at the previous sentence, being that “love” and “advertising” sound contradictory and odd in the same flow of words. And that’s fair, but that’s the great thing about this whole ‘marketing in ministry’ thing; we are able to show the love of God in spreading the word about what He’s doing through our church or organization (& no worries, we’ll dive deeper into this love-and-marketing pool soon, so stay tuned).
Just like a friend or a family member, your audience/community needs to be known to be loved well. To connect with people most effectively, we must know what grabs their attention, what their normal week day looks like, what stage of life they’re in, and what they’re passionate about. Think about the questions you may ask someone to get better acquainted with who they are, and ask those of the people you’re marketing to.
Below are four main aspects of your people you should know to connect and market to them well:
1. Who are they?
When you send out a post on social media, who is seeing it? Is it a community of college kids who take interest in movies and concerts? Is it a group of young parents who have young families? Find out their demographics: their age, their family position, their life stage, their career, their location, etc. Get a general idea for who you’re talking to so you can communicate with them more effectively and love them better.
2. What’s going on in their lives?
Once you know the basic information about who you’re marketing to, dive deeper and find out what’s going on in their day-to-day lives. The smaller your organization or church is, the easier it will be to connect with more people on this level, but any size ministry can do this in some capacity. If you’re a businessperson, you may know these as ‘touchpoints.’
Is there a couple that is celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary? Is there a family member that is sick? Is someone’s life being changed through an event going on at your church? Is there a person in your community online that is celebrating joy in the little things through a picture of coffee in their cozy living room?
The point here is that we can connect with our people through big and small ways. Reaching out and making people feel loved can be done through something as simple as a short comment or a like on a picture. Show your community that you’re following along with and care about what’s going on in their ordinary days.
3. What times of day are they engaging socially online?
Times of online engagement are important because we want to be intentional about communicating most effectively to our communities. We don’t want to send out a message of encouragement or important information about an upcoming event when the people that we want to see it aren’t online.
Because of the way Facebook works in algorithms and reach, timing is essential to our social media plans. In addition, the lifespan of a tweet on Twitter is a matter of seconds. We must search for the most appropriate times to post our content so it’s seen by the largest amount of our followers as possible.
These times can be found through a number of ways (and we’ll explore these later), but the easiest way for Facebook is through Insights.
4. What do they love to see on social media?
From shadowing a social media coordinator at my home church and doing social media for a church myself, I’ve learned a few things about what people love to see on social media. And that’s people. And stories about people.
An example of this may look like taking a picture of one of your church members who is on the serve team and telling the story of how God has worked in his or her life through that opportunity to advertise for your serve team meeting that week. This would give that member an opportunity to tell their story about what God’s doing in them and the church the opportunity to show the social media world real-life change through real-life people. Stories engage people and connect with them on a deeper level, especially if it’s a story they relate to.
There are other things your community will love to see on your social media in addition to stories. There are two main ways that you can determine what these are, and those are trial-and-error and to simply ask them.
The community at Redstone Church where I intern loves for us to post our #SundaySetList, which is a list of the songs sang at church that Sunday, so they can listen at home. What does your community love to see? Is it weekly encouragement? Is it #MeetTheTeam where you post about a different member of your serve team each week?
Don’t be afraid to try new things and to ask your congregation what they like about what you’re already doing and what they’d like to see more of!
I hope this post has given you a better idea of how to learn your audience. For more tips on ministry marketing, stay tuned! Until then, feel free to write below with any comments and questions!