As churches plan a variety of events and programs to engage their members and connect with the community throughout the summer it can be challenging to ensure attendance. With so many other events vying for attention, it’s important to plan effectively and communicate clearly with your members.
We also know event planning can be tasking and it can easily feel like all of your promotion goes in one ear and out the other. However, According to the marketing rule of 7, someone needs to be exposed to a message at least seven times before they take action. So it's essential to use a variety of channels and tactics to reach your audience and keep your event top of mind. To help you promote your church events this summer, we've compiled a list of 9 best practices that can help increase your visibility and plan effectively.
Whether you're planning a worship night, a Bible study, or a community outreach event, we think these tips will help ensure the seamless execution of any event you put on. So, let's dive in.
1. PLAN AHEAD
Decide how many summer events you want to plan and start well in advance so that you have enough time to prepare and promote them strategically. You also need to think through what is realistic for your church. Thinking about the size and capacity of your church staff and volunteer team will help you determine how many events you can effectively execute. Once you know this number, then you can start planning the details for each event and allocate a budget towards costs such as marketing materials, catering, event supplies, and decor.
2. USE MULTIPLE COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
In order to reach a wider audience, you should utilize different promotional channels, as we mentioned in the marketing rule of 7.
Social media is an effective tool for engaging with your congregation and attracting potential attendees. Email marketing is a powerful tool for sending personalized invitations and reminders to those who have expressed direct interest in your church or events. While Sunday bulletins are a great place to announce upcoming events to your congregation in person.
Lastly, you also want to ensure your event is being promoted on your website for those who prefer to look there for what’s upcoming. This can also help attract individuals who may already be interested in attending your church or those who are new to the area and researching a church to attend.
3. LEVERAGE PARTNERSHIPS
Partnering with a non-profit, charity organization, or local business can bring numerous benefits. This can create opportunities for your congregation to get involved in the local community and serve together. You could support these organizations by encouraging members to participate in an event that includes volunteer work, donation drives, or fundraising for a local charity or a family in need.
Involving your congregation in these efforts can not only help to create a sense of community within your church but also foster a culture of serving others and creating a positive impact in others' lives by meeting a need for them.
4. USE CLEAR & CONCISE MESSAGING
Clear is kind...and necessary. It’s important to use clear, concise, and consistent messaging that highlights the key details of each event, including the date, time, location, and any special features such as food, drinks, entertainment, or activities. Additionally, be sure to provide clear information on what volunteer needs you have for the event and how members can get involved.
Ensure this information is communicated the same through all of your communication channels. From in-person, to email, social, and your website. There should be no confusion about the details of your event.
5. ENCOURAGE SOCIAL SHARING
Encourage attendees to share their experiences on social media and provide them with social media handles to tag so you can repost their content on your own page or stories. Sharing the experiences of those attending could also encourage more people to attend your next event.
It's also important to note that you should be using social media platforms beyond just broadcasting information like a bulletin. To optimize your reach when inviting others, consider creating an engaging social invite and encouraging your members to share it with others. If you’re utilizing other forms of communication for promoting your event (which you should be), you shouldn’t have to spam your social media with posts about upcoming events. (Find some social invite graphics here)
6. CREATE ENGAGING & AUTHENTIC CONTENT
Videos, photos, and testimonials from past events can all be powerful tools in showcasing the value of your event and generating excitement among your congregation.
When it comes to social media, make sure you utilize the features available to you to make the most impact. One feature is reels, which can help you create short, attention-grabbing videos that showcase your event in an engaging way.
Instagram stories are another option that is often overlooked, but they can be really effective in personally inviting your audience to your event. Using a more casual, behind-the-scenes approach is something that usually resonates with more people.
With that said, it’s worth noting that the production quality of your content doesn't need to be overly professional. In fact, sometimes a more authentic and relatable approach can be even more effective in connecting with your audience. For example, a volunteer or lead pastor using their phone in selfie mode to invite people to the event can create a message that feels genuine and personal, which can resonate more with your audience.
7. MAKE IT EASY TO REGISTER
If your event requires people to register, simplify the registration process as much as you can. There is nothing that will turn people away faster than having difficulty finding the event to register for or a difficult registration process. One way to make it easy for them to register is by offering a QR code to scan on your screen (both in person and live stream) while you’re talking about it.
It’s also worth noting that if your event is free to attend, you may get an influx of registrations but the actual turnout could be lower than expected. Though that isn’t true for everyone, people tend to feel more committed to attending something if they’ve invested something into it. According to the Marketeer, you can expect no more than 20–25% of your overall registrations to attend because it is free. Therefore, it may be worth charging a small fee of $5-$15 to attend. This fee could be added to your budget for food, drinks, and any entertainment you would like to provide at the event.
**Make sure you are collecting their email in the registration process so you can reach out to them later when you ask for feedback and promote your next event.
8. LEVERAGE THE POWER OF WORD-OF-MOUTH
Word of mouth can be the most effective marketing and promotion tool that exists, even in today's digital age. Positive recommendations or invitations from friends, family, or acquaintances are more likely to result in attendance at an event than any other strategy. Therefore, it is crucial to encourage your church members to attend the event and invite their friends and family.
We’ve touched on this a bit already, but another way to encourage word-of-mouth promotion is by making your event shareable on social media. By creating shareable content your congregation can easily promote your event to their followers, amplifying your reach even further.
However, word-of-mouth promotion ultimately relies on creating a positive experience for attendees. By providing a well-organized and enjoyable event, attendees are more likely to spread the word and encourage others to attend future events
9. FOLLOW UP & EVALUATE
Following up with attendees after a church event is essential to evaluate the event and improve future events. You can use various methods for this, but if you have collected their email during registration then using email to send a survey and collect feedback would be the best route for you to take. The survey could include questions about the venue, the program, the sermon, the music, the overall experience, and any other element. Once you have the data, you can tweak your next event and promotion approach to meet the needs and preferences of your attendees.
Most importantly, following up after your event will really help you build genuine relationships with your congregation because asking for their feedback ensures that they feel valued, heard, and considered when your planning and promoting your church events.
Pulling together the media to support all the different events & initiatives can feel overwhelming. Don't worry, Igniter has a great library of summer church media, summer collections, summer event service slides, summer event social graphics, and stock photos & stock videos about summer to support these strategies for your church.
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