low cost outreach

By August 2, 2010Church

Low cost outreach does not have to equal low quality outreach.

In these challenging economic times, many churches are having to either scale back the size of their marketing, rethink it, or discontinue it altogether.  When discretionary dollars get tight, marketing dollars often give-way to more immediate, tangible ministry needs.

As we’re gearing up for our fall outreach series, we’ve been brainstorming low-to-no cost ways of promoting the series.  While not every church may have the staff to pull all of these things off, they may have volunteers who can.  Here’s how we’ll be promoting the series for little or no dollars.

Unique URL. We created a special site just for the series: www.makinglovelast.org.  This allows us to market the series more intuitively while also building up SEO (search engine optimization) value for certain keywords and phrases.

Email Newsletter / Autoresponders. We’ve created a free four-part email newsletter called “Four Ways to Improve Your Marriage.”  When users sign up, they will automatically receive a different tip/article each week for four weeks.  We’re using MailChimp as our email blast provider.  Not only do they have awesome design, segmenting, and tracking tools, they offer autoresponders and other website tools as well.  And they’re quite funny.

Free Singing Telegram. Along with the new website, our IT guy (who is also our pastor of missions and outreach) programmed a simple way for people to send a free singing telegram to their loved one.  We spent hours with a focus group and came up with the catching name of … “Free Singing Telegram.”  We set it up as a subdomain on our “Making Love Last” site.  Give it a try — it works!

Facebook. We have a high percentage of regular attenders on Facebook.  Marketing on Facebook is free, except for the time it takes to get the word out.  We have been gradually introducing “Making Love Last” via our Mountainview Facebook fan page; we’ve also created a new Facebook page just for the series.  Our “Making Love Last” site also has the ability for people to “like” or “share” articles to their Facebook profile.

Twitter. Although we have more attenders on Facebook than Twitter, Twitter is also free.  And we’re not just looking to connect with current attenders; we’re looking for ways to get the word out to new folks as well.  We created a new Twitter account (@makingluvlast) and connected our blog to our Twitter account.  A new post to our blog automatically updates our Twitter account, as does any new singing telegram that gets sent.

Google Adwords. We haven’t rolled this out yet, but we will in the next week or so.  We’ll geotarget Google searches within the South Denver area.  These targeted ads will take people directly to our “Making Love Last” website.

Craigslist. Craigslist offers free posts within the community section of the site.  It’s a great (and free) way to target another group of users who are within your general geographic area.  Here’s our first ad.

What other ideas do you have?