Marketing is not inherently evil any more than talking is inherently evil. The content makes all the difference.
We can talk in a way that exaggerates, misleads, and is obnoxious or we can talk in a way that is gentle, kind, and informative.
This morning I received two emails that illustrated this difference and I want to share them here and then comment on their implications from them ministry marketing in our churches.
Editorial clarification: I published this initially a couple of years ago and just found it again and thought it might be useful as so much marketing on the web continues to be of the overly pushy, loud, in-your-face type. This isn't necessary and we shouldn't copy it. I don't know if the obnoxious site still exists, but Lightstock still does wonderful work, check them out.
Here is a short video of both video links and after the video, my commentary on them. Please remember Effective Church Communications does not take advertising or take part in affiliate programs. If I like or dislike something it is my opinion related to ministry usefulness, not to any monetary agenda. Check out the video below and then read the commentary:
A tacky and obnoxious marketing example
The link below is an example of the now overly popular squeeze or landing page. If you are not familiar with these communication tools, here is a good definition:
Landing page is pretty much synonymous with sales letter. It's a hard sell page that pitches a product with several calls to action.
The link here is attempting to sell some software that will automatically link content on your websites to various social media sites. There are many problems with this approach including that though automatic linking to social sites can be useful. I use a tool that links the headlines of the articles on this website I write to my Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/yvonprehn) but that tool is free and bundled in WordPress, the system I use to build my website. Given the skimming nature of Twitter (and I don't check it often and seldom interact through it), I feel like this is an honest representation of the level of involvement I want with it and feel is useful for the ministry at present.
In addition, the basic premise of the pitch for this product is faulty—automatic links, if solely used, come across as phony, automatic links and they often don't make sense.
People aren't stupid and Google isn't stupid. Automatic spamming of anything no matter how efficient, isn't a useful communication tool.
A tasteful and helpful advertisement
This example is from http://www.lightstock.com. I don't have the link to the specific ad because that came to me via email (that's why I did the video above) but here is what I like about this advertisement:
- No hype, it simply presents what the company has to offer
- It is beautiful and restful to look at
- It makes the product offerings clear and links to the products if you want more
- It both has material that is free and material for sale
- It respects the viewer—if their product is something the viewer wants, he or she will click-through and buy. If not, they have given the viewer a few minutes of visual inspiration.
If you didn't look at the video, please do visit their site http://www.lightstock.com and take advantage of their free weekly images and video clips.
Ministry communication implications
When you want people to attend an event at your church or take part in any ministry opportunity, don’t feel like you have to pressure them or hard sell them.
Be clear, be concise, be kind, be complete in your message. Do the best you can to tell about the ministry truly and from a Biblical perspective. Having done that, get your message out in as many channels as you can, as many times as you can and trust the Lord to speak to the people He wants to draw to your church.