“Advertising doesn’t create interest; at best it creates awareness. And, that is not always a good thing. Cancer has awareness, and nobody wants that.”
I have owned my own business for over twelve years now and have been in church communications for over four and truer words may have never been spoken about advertising than those above. I think we often get caught up in the norm of marketing/advertising “the other guys are doing it, so it must work right?” Not necessarily. In this we often lose touch with our audience.
Due to a “glitch in the system” my business was dropped out of the phonebook about 3-4 years ago. At first I freaked out and called the phonebook company complaining and ranting and raving, but as time went on we found that we didn’t notice a measurable difference in business at all. We’ve had a few people comment on it but they still found us another way. This was not how people found out about us or sought out our services. We thought we had to be in the book because “that’s what you do” but people did not relate to us this way. They learned about us through the positive experiences of others. Word-of-mouth advertising makes up about 85-95 percent of our business. People relate to each others experiences not to a listing or ad in the phonebook.
I have found Kem Meyers book Less Clutter. Less Noise. A marvelous resource for myself, my business and the communications team at our church.
For me, the big take away from Chapter three are the two key ingredients of advertising or marketing:
- Be clear, concise and to the point.
While you need to be informative, the message should be clear, concise and to the point. Don’t bore them with all the facts and figures. “This is happening, this day/time, here.” Really? Can it be that simple? Yes! Many times we get caught up in the “production” of an ad that the most important thing gets lost. Also, we are often too close to the subject and want to present all of the information we can so they can make a well informed choice (see chapter 2). What, when, where are the most important facts but sometimes wind up the smallest piece. You may notice I left out the who. The who can combine with the where ( XYZ Church at 123 W. Anywhere St.)
Just as important, if not more, is to RELATE. This is very similar to what the Church is ultimately about, relationships. This may sound silly but, if they can’t relate, they won’t relate. People want to relate with you. That may take on many appearances but ultimately needs to be real and true. In order to relate you need to know your audience. Get out there, mix and mingle, talk to them, ask questions, LISTEN.
“Businesses work hard to think like their customers to find simple ways to connect. Don’t you think we should work harder at this virtue, too?”
You could have the best website out there but if your typical audience doesn’t relate to the internet or computers then what is the point? Is your church on Twitter? Is anyone else in town? Do you use Facebook? Do they? If IT doesn’t relate, they won’t relate. Don’t be fake about it. We do have an advantage here. We don’t have to try to be like them. We already are them. We are all real people with real lives and real problems, it’s not that hard. Be real and relate.
Questions to consider:
- Do you know your community inside and outside the church?
- How can you better relate with them?
- How can your communications better relate with them?