From the time church printing was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450s, printing has played a central role in helping spread Christianity and faith. Church printing isn’t just about bibles and programs anymore. In this day and age of technology, Church printing is essential to outreach to existing and new members. Churches need customized printing just as much as any business does, if not more.
Here are 6 proven tactics to help grow your flock through church printing.
- Understand What Sets Your Church Apart.
Before you can even create a print strategy or design, you need to understand what sets your church apart from the others. Churches are a business and you must look at your marketing/outreach as such. Knowing your church differentiation in ideals and purpose is crucial in your print outreach, but one that may not be considered as outreach is only a portion of what church’s do. What makes your church special or unique from the one next door? Is it fellowship groups, charity work, specialty retreats, music or physical ritual during a service or something else?
- Research and Know Your Congregation.
Your congregation may attend services every week, but do you know who they are? Are they single, married, have children, how far do they commute? Understanding their habits can help build your strategy to attract more members like them. Or, perhaps you want to attract a younger congregation to grow your youth program. Try using printed surveys to find out more about your members; printing these and having ballot boxes after church will get you a higher response rate than digital requests. These are all insights that need to be accounted for before your next printing project. You need to ensure you produce targeted collateral pieces that fit with your congregation growth strategy.
- Create Your Church Printing Strategy.
Now that you understand what sets your church apart and what you can offer to your members or potential new members, it is time to develop a strategy. Remember that this strategy should not only inform but have them take action.
Church attendance has been declining since the 1970s, so your print strategy needs to be sound and able to draw in your congregation and potential new members.
- Which Printed Marketing Materials Work Best.
When planning for your printed materials, make sure to use methods that work for your community and what you are trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re located in an urban area with high foot traffic, banners and brochures can be a good investment. If you’re in suburbia, you might want to try direct mail and door hangers. Door hangers with tear off cards are a great activation tools. You can ask the recipient to bring the tear card to get free admission to the carnival, symposium, or exclusive event. EDDM is another popular method for churches to reach the local community at discounted postage rates as the service is routed with postal carriers and does not require traditional postage. Recent reports from the Direct Marketing Association report that over-sized post cards are delivering the highest response rate of all measured media today with 5.1% response.
During Easter, it is common for churches to print brochures and hand deliver these to your door, reinforcing who your church is with a personal touch. And don’t forget your personalized tithing envelopes. Research shows that color elicits positive emotion, consider this as you design your print pieces. Also remember to include your churches’ moniker.
Sequencing your print media usage works well to tell your story to the community. It takes 4 exposures to media to change a behavior according to traditional media research. The effectiveness and efficiency of your printed materials can also be enhanced when promoting the content with social media.
- Choose Your Printing Company.
Remember that you are appealing to your community, so look to your community when sourcing printing. You want your church printing to look and be professional and quality to stand out among the bulk mailings as well as something a recipient may want to save. Refer to tear off cards for saving print material.
Look to your local chamber of commerce or congregation members for local print shops. Also make sure that the printer you choose is ethical and has a person to person customer service so that you know you can get assistance along the way and change out items as necessary; online printers don’t have this. This will often save you money by collaborating with an experienced printer on projects.
- Use Holidays to Increase Attendance.
Using the holidays to attract more members is a great way to get your message out. Church attendance increases dramatically during religious holidays making this a great time to promote your church, your message and any special activities. Hang banners or posters with holiday service times in front of your church.
Some attendees that aren’t regular attendees look for community activities during the year, such as, Easter egg hunts, summer bible schools and festivals. Postcards and door hangers are popular printing marketing vehicles to promote holiday services and events. Magnets are also a good idea, as they will remind them about your church year round.
Social media and traditional mass media can do a great job of reaching out. But, for sealing the deal, print is still the best way to go, short of personally meeting everyone.
Stay tuned for more information regarding your Church printing strategy!