Selling an organisation that sells things is easy. Excuse the pun, but it practically sells itself! Just focus on what the organisation is selling and why. In essence, it’s as simple as that. The real marketing challenge comes when you try and sell an organisation that doesn’t sell anything. Or when you try sell something that isn’t an organisation!
Imagine trying to sell a church. A church certainly doesn’t sell anything – if it did, it would be pretty controversial. Let’s test this out by trying to sell Grace Evangelical, a Hamilton church. Should you enlist a salesman? What about creating coupons – attend one service and receive the second one half price? The answer is NO! If your local church tried that, Jesus would likely enter it’s foyer and turn over it’s stalls.
When marketing an organisation that doesn’t sell the key is knowing who they are trying to reach and why. In the case of a church, this involves being sensitive to it’s members needs. Most church goers wouldn’t be happy with a church that marketed itself using modern marketing techniques – online stalking (I mean, targeting) and sex sells advertisements.
When defining your target audience, you should also get more specific than just “Churchgoers.” With Grace Evangelical, the members mainly value a small, family friend community. They are also particularly conservative. So if you promote the church as a banquet hall sized commune with surround sound and flashing lights, you may not attract the right crowd.
Your desired marketing outcomes should keep this target market in mind. Although a church may want to expand, it might still want to keep its image as small and tight knit. It’s your job as a marketer to keep their desires, even if they seem paradoxical, in mind.
Next consider how to reach your target audience. Are they avid radio listeners? Try a local christian radio network. Or are they perhaps social media savvy? Make a Facebook page!
At the end of the day, selling a church isn’t that unlike selling a service. Except it’s more likely to get controversy if something isn’t marketed correctly.