Marketing

The ultimate guide to promoting your church and increasing membership

Community events are the lifeblood of a church. Find out how you can bring believers to notice your church organization through promotional strategies that solidify your message, without compromising on your budget.

Community events, fundraisers and religious activities are the lifeblood of a church. Bringing a congregation together solidifies the bond between a church and its members. However, events require strategic planning, organization and execution. Many small church organizers know firsthand how hard it is to market a church event with limited resources. 

As a church organizer or marketer, your primary goal is to build an active congregation of members that engage with your church’s activities, events, and outreach programs. But how can you do that with limited time, money and volunteers? The traditional word-of-mouth method isn’t as effective as it once was. With worldly distractions like jobs, families, careers and social engagements, it’s become harder to reach new members. In the last 20 years, church membership has declined by 70%, according to a 2019 Gallup poll. 

How can you cut through the distractions to promote your church and bring in more members? To grow a congregation, you have to treat church promotion as you would any other business. You need to sharpen your outreach messaging, zero in on your target audience, and design memorable content that solidifies your message. Fortunately, there are ample resources available and ready to help you do exactly that despite your limited resources.

If you plan right, you can foster loyalty from your existing members and build an engaged, passionate community that invites new members in regularly. Ready to fill the house at every service, event and activity? Have faith, because in this article, we’re sharing the best church marketing ideas to help bolster your church to the heavens.

Church marketing strategies and promotion ideas

One of the biggest obstacles small churches face is having limited funds to promote community events. You have a fantastic cause to promote, but how can you do that with a low or even non-existent budget? There are plenty of free and affordable church marketing ideas that cost next to nothing. And when it comes to conveying your message to your target audience of prospective church members, creating engaging content is vital. Why? Because compelling content illustrates exactly what your church values, ethics, and beliefs are. 

From there, they’ll instantly recognize your church. Familiarity breeds loyalty, and that’s why recognizable imagery is essential. How can you bring your church’s mission to life with minimal funds? Graphic design materials include your church’s logo, signage, printed flyers and banners, social media graphics, web images and more. 

Many church marketers think they need to hire a professional graphic designer to create visual content. But with a small budget, this is simply out of the question. Is there an affordable alternative? You bet. You can create all of your church’s assets online with design software like PosterMyWall. Browse professionally designed templates and customize the fonts, imagery and colors to match your church’s aesthetic–did I mention it’s free? 

Bring your church into the digital era

Traditional marketing strategies that once worked aren’t as effective anymore. With the rise in digital interaction and social media engagement, word of mouth is the method of yesteryear and limited to friends and family only. I’m not suggesting it’s completely ineffective, rather that it shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy if you want to grow your church membership. 

Not tech-savvy? No problem. You don’t have to be up on the latest digital trends to successfully promote your church online. Church social media marketing ideas can help you target prospective members and keep existing members engaged. Instead of getting up to speed on all the latest tech trends, you need a quick and easy solution to bring your church into the digital era. If not, you’ll miss out on the most valuable resource of the 21st century: social media.

Social media is a useful resource to help with revival efforts to engage the youth. Think about it: where do teenagers spend most of their time? More importantly, how do young people find out about local events, news and activities? On social media.

In addition to creating a stunning promotional flyer and posting it locally at schools, coffee shops, parks and local hangouts, you can use social media to bring in younger members of your community.

Picture this strategy in action:

  • You take that same graphic, quickly resize it to Instagram dimensions, and post it with relevant church hashtags like #youthministry #youthevent and #youthgroup
  • Then, you can resize the image to a Facebook event header size, create an event and invite all the youth members in the area online. 
  • Next thing you know, interested youth members are sharing it to their feeds, reposting it and voila, you’ve harnessed the power of hype via social media to promote your church event.
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Will this happen overnight? No. But if you are consistent in your efforts, word will spread because you’ve put your message in the place youths spend the most time: online. But wait, how can you resize and publish the same image to multiple social media channels? Excellent question.

Once you’ve created a design in PosterMyWall, you can easily repurpose content to different size dimensions with a single click! For example, you can create a free flyer and quickly resize it to an Instagram post or a Pinterest Pin with the click of your mouse. This is an excellent way to reinforce your message across all of your social media outlets. And that’s not the only way to promote your event.

Don’t forget to spread the word to church members

Now that you’ve generated interest and hype among the youth, how can you bring them in and keep them interested and engaged? There are always distractions competing for people’s attention, including social media, friends, and secular activities and events. However, you want your church events to remain at the forefront of their hobbies, interests and passions. As you brainstorm church marketing ideas and strategies, every function and event should start with your church’s unique identity.

While you spend time spreading the word around your community and online, don’t forget to promote your event at Sunday Service. Truth is, many pastors and leaders feel shy or embarrassed to promote a church event for fear of seeming self-serving. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your church event is going to help you help others, right? And your congregation attends your church because they believe in the church’s mission and message. Simply put: they want your event to succeed, and many of them want to help you bring it to life. 

Instead of writing off Sunday Service as an “ad-free-zone,” spread awareness about your event by putting flyers in the pamphlet, or having volunteers pass around a sign-up sheet after service. At the very least, hand out event flyers as members leave the church. Bottom line: if they don’t know about the event, how can they help you spread the word, and at the very least, show up themselves? 

Organization is the key to success

As you browse the internet for free and affordable church marketing tools, remember that spreading your efforts too thin will lead to exhaustion. Organizing church events is a full-time job, and any design tools online should be time-efficient and easy to use. With numerous events on the docket and promotional materials in the works, organization is crucial.

Not only do you need to organize how you spend your time promoting church events, but you need to organize the methods you use for promotion. For example, focusing all of your efforts on promoting Sunday Service may result in more members on Sundays, but what about all of your other church events? 

The first step to getting organized is to create an events calendar. You’ll want a calendar that enables you to collaborate with your marketing team, volunteers or event organizers. Fortunately, there are several free online calendars to help with event planning. 

Drop all of your events into a timeline in Trello, a free collaborative calendar perfect for event planning. Easily collaborate with team members or volunteers on creating an event calendar and task schedule. Once you’ve got all of your events in the calendar, you can break down the tasks required to bring them to life. Now that the small tasks are there, you can allocate them to volunteers. 

Let’s bring this concept to life with actionable steps you can apply to your organizational efforts:

  1. Create an event in your online calendar, for the sake of this example, we’ll call it “Tuesday Night Bible Study”
  2. Now, browse graphic design templates in PosterMyWall and customize one to match your church’s style.
  3. Once you’ve made the graphic, it’s time to promote it and assign tasks to volunteers
  4. Did you know that you can also collaborate on designs with fellow church members? Bring them into the design process or have them conduct a quick edit to ensure the design is ready to go.
  5. From the same tab, you can resize and repurpose the flyer and publish it to all of your social media channels
  6. Lastly, appoint someone the task of printing and posting the flyers locally at coffee shops, cafés, book stores, colleges, etc.
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Continue this process for each one of your church events. When you have everything in an organized calendar, you can visualize, conceptualize, and execute the tasks and systems necessary to create a successful event. If variety is the spice of life, organization is the secret ingredient! Lucky for you, you’ve got both on the plate. Before you move on to the next strategy, apply this same organization to your promotional materials.

Don’t forget to organize your content

With a steady stream of content in rotation, you’ll want it all organized in one spot to make posting online and on social media a breeze. Logging into each platform and posting once at a time is a significant time-eater. 

Instead, you can schedule all of your content to auto-publish from one tab in PosterMyWall. Give yourself plenty of time to arrange your posting schedule ahead of time. It helps to have content planned out 1-2 weeks in advance so that you don’t have to spend time every day on posting content. Then, you can auto-publish your designs to your social media channels. 

Develop consistent outreach messaging

As you promote your church, your mission, values and beliefs become the messaging that attracts new members. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to build awareness around your church is to create consistent content that enforces your mission. This doesn’t mean you’ll inundate members with constant promotion. Instead, you’ll promote your church through a variety of channels. A great idea is to create an email marketing campaign for event promotion. Here’s how you can create an email list:

  • Host weekly, monthly and annual events so that your community members always have activities to participate in.
  • Build an email list. At each event, have a sign-in sheet where members and attendees can list their email addresses and sign-up for your church newsletter.
  • Follow up after the event with a welcome email, and continue to send updates on upcoming church events and news regularly. Don’t forget to include supporting imagery in your emails, as viewers are more likely to scan images than text.
  • Use a free email marketing platform like Mailchimp to send emails to up to 2,000 subscribers for free. Mailchimp integrates with Facebook and Twitter, enabling you to share your newsletter as social media content as well.

Easily create designs for church events

Are you still feeling stuck on the design process? Let me illustrate just how easy it is to create eye-catching visual content to promote your church events. With a full calendar of events, you’ll need a steady stream of visual content to spread the word locally and online. Instead of rewording the same content time after time, you can use church poster templates to create graphics for all of the various events on the calendar. 

I’ve talked about how critical engaging images are, but why? Well, when it comes to event planning and activities, people tend to mix up the dates, times, and pertinent details. That’s because 65% of people learn visually, according to a study by the Social Science Research Network. When you combine high-quality visuals with professional design templates, you get memorable imagery that catches people’s eyes.

One of the single most profound ways to captivate your church members is through videos. What makes videos so powerful? Videos are a great way to highlight members in your congregation, spread the news about an upcoming event, or recap a successful fundraiser. And don’t forget to add accompanying audio that supports the video content. Browse audio samples, or include worship music or a sermon from a recent church service. Incorporating videos with audio can illuminate the heart of your church and faith. 

Want to give it a try? Start with a video template, add custom or stock audio, and engage your church audience with a compelling story. Learn more about how to use videos and audio to create promotional content for your church

Here’s a breakdown of how to use design visuals to promote church events both locally and online.

Sunday service

The main church event that requires ongoing promotion is Sunday Service. Loyal members of your church come every week for fellowship and worship. The more you promote your Sunday Services with printed digital marketing content, the more new members you’ll bring in. And that’s not all, you can provide your members with flyers they can pass on to their friends and families.

Bible study

Intimate bible study groups are great for building a community within your membership. While Sunday Service brings members in, Bible Study strengthens their bond to your church. Promote your church’s Bible Study with printable flyers and social media graphics.

Conferences

Church conferences are an excellent strategy to promote your church. Inviting professional speakers can elevate your small church to a mainstream status. Plus, you’ll broaden your network and build relationships with nearby organizations. Build a bridge of communication with sister churches by inviting lead members to speak at your conference. This generates comradery within the church community, and fosters a mutually beneficial networking opportunity for both church bodies. Additionally, conferences are great for highlighting a specific demographic or group within your church community, such as women, mothers, fathers or teenagers. Share the conference online and on social media with custom flyers, videos, and social graphics

Revival events

Traditionally, revival meetings and events have proven effective at recruiting new members through the church body. Hosting a revival event is also a great way to bring in the youth and inspire them to champion and advocate for your church. Equip them with social media templates to post online, or give them printable posters to pass around at school or work.

Church or pastor anniversary

Have a pastoral or church anniversary coming up? Invite your church members to an exciting anniversary event and print banners and event graphics to commemorate the special occasion.

You can also incentivize members to attend with a giveaway or raffle prize. This can be something as simple as a stylized t-shirt with your logo or a gift card to a local restaurant. 

With raffle ticket templates, you can easily get the ball rolling on your giveaway or raffle at your Church.

Youth groups

One of the most popular media types among youths is videos. In fact, videos are 12x more likely to be shared on Facebook than images, according to a report by Simply Measured. Who’s your primary demographic on social media? Teenagers and youth. Videos articulate what words and imagery cannot: they are an interactive way to set your message into motion. To attract young people to your youth groups and events, create shareable, engaging videos that grab their attention. Don’t worry, you don’t have to hire a videographer. Instead, customize your event with one of PosterMyWall’s video templates for youth events. Or, you can easily take an existing flyer and convert it into a video to share online.

Gospel nights

Who can resist the opportunity to turn faith into song and worship? Gospel nights are a fun way to get church members involved and on fire for their faith. They are also a great way to bring in new faces to your congregation, as it’s not only a chance to visit a new church, but it’s a fun opportunity to get to know people in the community. 

Whether you’re planning an annual fundraiser or small bible group, PosterMyWall addresses all of your marketing efforts on a dime. In fact, you can create and download unlimited graphics to help you promote all of the events on your church calendar! 

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Amplify your faith to the masses

Even with these church marketing ideas in tow, if you don’t put on the marketing and promotion hat, your membership and attendance at events will reflect it. To avoid low turnout, you need to expand your focus to include your faith as well as promotion and marketing. Doing this will enable you to amplify your religion to the masses. If you have tunnel vision, you miss all the promotional opportunities in your peripheral. 

Don’t worry; you are not alone! Many pastors and church organizers struggle to find a balance between focusing on faith and fostering growth and outreach. To expand church attendance and fill seats at events, you need to think about creating engaging graphics that capture people’s attention.

Promoting a church is a full-time job. With limited funding and volunteers, it’s vital to spend your time and energy on strategies that require little expenses and maximum results. The goal is to amplify your faith and message so that you can grow your church membership. While word of mouth helps, you’ll have to tap into the abundant resources of the internet and social media to reach the most considerable amount of people. 

Fortunately, there are resources a click away to help you do exactly that. Whether you want to grow church attendance at Sunday Service or promote a special event, you can start by creating evergreen content that you can share locally, online and on social media. Ready to spread the good word? Start creating free flyers and design content to promote your church today.