Your Mom probably never told you anything about church postcards. Back in her day – well it might have been your grandmother’s day – most churches didn’t need to advertise, they had word of mouth. If someone new moved to town, their neighbors would invite them to come for Sunday services or the church potluck, and that was that.
In the old days, some people might even have considered it “unseemly” for churches to advertise. With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, though, you have to let people know you’re here. Typically there are three reasons people look for a new church:
- They are new to the area.
- They want to find a different church to attend.
- They are looking to change their life in some way.
Church postcards are the perfect opportunity to help potential new members of your congregation learn about who you are and what you do. You can use church postcards to invite participation in:
- Regularly scheduled services.
- Study groups.
- Teen programs or kids’ day camps.
- Special events around holidays or other religious dates.
- Mission-related activities.
And postcard marketing is especially budget-friendly, something that matters to every church council.
What works best for churches?
Jumbo postcards – 6 by 11 inches – stand out well in anyone’s mailbox. They look great, and there is plenty of room for your images and messages. Smaller postcards can work well, too.
Professional looking printing and top quality card stock are as important for churches as for business marketing. Your prospects will be drawn to the feeling of stability that quality implies. The cakes and cookies you serve after church services may be home-made, and who doesn’t appreciate that personalized connection among members? But your church’s marketing cannot appear home-made, because it tells potential members you don’t really care.
Design that promotes openness and friendliness makes your church more inviting, and that goes a long way to relieving any anxiety someone may feel about attending a new church for the first time. Customized design is essential because each church has a unique personality, not just a denomination. You need to express that, with a message or a mission that resonates with people.
Cut-and-paste postcard designs don’t allow you to differentiate your church or help people understand all the things you have to offer. Using your own images is especially important to help you do this. And you want to include practical details, too, such as your location and worship schedule.
You’ll get the best results by using a residential mailing list, also called an occupant list.
You have no way of knowing which people are looking for a new church, for whatever reason, at any given time. A residential mailing allows you to reach out to everyone within a specific geographical area, and it also assures you’ll receive the lowest available postage rate.
Mailing regularly is just as important as reaching everyone. Choosing a new church is a highly personal decision, one that can take some time. When you send the same message of hope and acceptance to the same list of recipients each month, prospects will think of you when they’re ready to make their change. And they’ll feel comfortable choosing your church.
You’ll want to boost mailings around special times that typically draw strongest interest in attending church, such as religious holidays.
Churches may be “other worldly” in some ways, but the reality is you’re of this world, too. When you’re able to grow your congregation, you’re able to raise more money. That keeps your pastor in the pulpit and your church in good repair, but it also provides needed funds for church-sponsored service programs at home and, possibly, abroad. Mom said to support your church, and church postcards can do just that.
photo credit: Jeremy Bronson via photopin cc