How Can I Decide Whether or Not to Buy Advertising for My Church?

Recently, I got a question from a fellow communications director. She wrote and said,

“I was looking through my Community Impact newspaper a few months ago, and I saw that your church had run an advertisement in it. When you did that, did you note any type of return for it? Do you know if anyone mentioned that they visited because they had seen your ad in the paper? We are putting together our budget for the year, and while I’d like to run some advertisements for my church, I thought I’d reach out and ask how you measured your success there.”

Here is what I wrote back:

Those Community Impact ads are a way for me to put my toe in the water of a general brand awareness building. We’re not tying a direct return on investment to it on purpose. My philosophy on church marketing is that it is 90%+ relationship oriented. The bar is too high for most cold church marketing (click here to learn more on how church growth really works, and whether or not marketing helps), so my goal is to build comfort with the church brand in the community so that when a neighbor or friend invites someone, they can nod and say, “Oh, I’ve heard of that church.”

With that in mind, we’ve got a line item in the budget for brand awareness advertising that helps reinforce these personal, relationship-based invitations. Hope this makes sense.

What is your approach to a church buying ads?

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