Not going to lie, these days when I see churches tout things such as “live band,” “safe childrens environment,” “relevant teaching,” etc. I get a little tickled.
Yes, churches should posses these things, and make them known, but using them as a tactic to get folks through your doors was much more effective on postcards printed between 2001-2005.
It really comes down to bridging the trust gap and building relationships.
The Trust Gap
I’m currently reading UnMarketing by Scott Stratten. Great book. Though it’s not written for churches, UnMarketing is a must read for any church – especially with the tagline “Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.”
Stratten defines trust gap as “the amount of trust you have to earn before your potential customer will consider buying from you,” and dedicates a whole chapter to it.
Think about why you buy the things you do.
“Free Estimate” Doesn’t Address Trust
Inviting folks to try out your church by posting you have a ”live band,” “safe childrens environment,” “relevant teaching,” – oh and I’ll add “free coffee and doughnuts” – is like service-based companies who proudly offer “free estimates” or free consultations.” It doesn’t make your church stand out these days. People expect it.
We’re all guilty of this.
These “do not always address the issue of trust.” So how can you do that?
Decrease the Gap
Something clicked when I read the following from Stratten:
“As a potential client, I really want to get to know and trust you before I have you in my home and give you access to my mess. If, however, I regularly read great tips on your blog and I get updates via an e-mail newsletter that I signed up for, then I will begin to get to know you.”
“Why not reduce your customers’ hesitations and come out with an e-book about ’30 Days to a Clutter-Free Home?’ Get out to network and meet other people…”
Thinking outside the box for a minute about ways to decrease the trust gap between your church and your community, and by “outside the box” I mean banning postcards and mailers – Seriously, does a best-case-scenario 0.2 percent return justify spending all of that money?
- What’s stopping your church from producing an e-book similar to the one Stratten suggests, but make it practical to families and every day life like “30 Questions to Get Your Kids Talking at Dinner?” Instead of just telling people your church is all about strengthening families why not offer a resource folks can benefit from and pass around to their friends? Advertise it on Facebook, post it on your website, email it to your church.
- Does your church have a blog or do any moms in your congregation have a mommy blog? What do you post on it? Try talking about more than just what’s going on inside the walls of your church, local events, encourage community interaction, highlight life-change stories, and give stuff away.
- Kids Days or similar community engagement events to bring families through your doors who would not normally come through them. Also, be out and about in your community and love on folks.
- What about using the 360 degree camera app, 360 Panorama, and compile pics during an actual worship service to give a virtual glimpse to folks of what they can expect if they came?
Finally, Stratten closes the chapter with the following thought.
“Your entire focus when you try to attract new clients… is how you can build trust to remove [the] gap. When was the last time a cold call increased trust for you? I thought so.”
What do you think? What ways are you building trust with potential attenders?