Creating An Effective Communications Strategy

My church, ClearView Baptist in Franklin, TN, is in the middle of writing a communications strategy for events from the different ministries in the church.  Our goal with this policy is to “balance the church’s need to speak with the audience’s ability to listen.”

We started by making a list of communication tools that our ministries are using to get the word out.  Those tools were divided into five categories:

  1. Worship Related Tools: Sunday Morning Paper, bulletin inserts, video annoucements.
  2. Campus-Wide Promotion: hallway TV slides, roadside banners, hallway posters.
  3. Off-Campus Promotions: news release, custom mailer.
  4. Website: front page feature, announcement, video story, video announcement.
  5. Email: church-wide eblast, ministry eblast, monthly ministry eblast.
  6. Social Networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

We added a timeline for ministries to use when planning their event.  This strategy was not designed to add stress to the different ministries, but to help them clearly assembly a plan for communicating their events.

Walking through this exercise has helped us identify what we’re doing correctly and what areas need improvement.

Communications and marketing go hand-in-hand.  Marketing is communicating your message.  In the case of the readers of this blog, your message is about your event.  Sitting down and spelling out your strategy for communicating your message before you start is the first step to having a successful marketing plan.  Now that you have this strategy down, add the timeline.  I’m always forgetting to put calendar dates down for this timeline, and then the event is a month away, and I’m scrambling to communicate that message.  Don’t forget to add the calendar dates!

The list of tools your event uses maybe different than what ClearView has.  You may also find different areas have better results, and therefore require time, energy and money spent on them.

What tools have been the most effective for communicating your message?

Christian Meeting Planning Resources – October Update

Here is what we’ve added in October by category

Marketing/Promotion

Site Selection

Retreats/Meetings

Meeting Planners

I hope you find these helpful and remember we have many more than might interest you  in the Meeting Planner Resources section of the blog.

3 More Social Media Marketing Tips…

Oh, social media. Everyone uses it. Most people love it. Others wish they could avoid it with a 10-foot pole. No matter what your opinion, you definitely understand the importance of it for your business, event, and marketing. Here are 3 important tips to consider when marketing your event using social media.


1. Don’t use social media just because it’s out there.  Sure, almost every company needs a Facebook and Twitter, and every businessperson should be on LinkedIn, but what else? Does your company need a YouTube account? Or a Pinterest account? Know what your company and event are truly about, do some Internet research on social media networks, and carefully pick the ones you implement. If you’re signed up for multiple, use a couple, but are only using two correctly and efficiently, then why have more than that duo?

2. Express important event information in a productive manner. Switch your brain with an attendee’s. If you were a guest, what would you want to know, and when…and where? If you think posting directions to the event on your Facebook page would make it easier for attendees, then do that. Would you not want 4 emails a day telling you to sign up for an upsell or reminding you about the discounted room rates? Then don’t do that. Think like your attendee to decide on all of your marketing (and followup) tasks.

3. Pay attention to everyone else. Social media isn’t all about you. If you want Internet followers or friends, you might have to take the first step on your own. Do some research on your niche and friend or follow important people and companies. Now, not only will you be able to see their marketing strategies, but it’s even more likely that their friends and followers will connect with you as well.

Any other tips you can think of?

5 Ways To Help Your Event Go Viral

Going viral, for those of you who don’t know, means becoming extremely popular on the Internet in a very short amount of time. Usually, this term is used when talking about a cute kitten-related YouTube video, but it is possible to have your event to go viral as well.

Okay, maybe your event won’t get as popular as some of those videos, but there are quite a number of ways to boost the hype about your event. Upping the excitement will not only make your prospects more intrigued, but the number of people who know about your conference could skyrocket.

You can’t think of a reason not to “go viral,” right? So, here are a few tips on how you could try this for yourself.

1. Make sure your event (and speakers) are buzzworthy. Simple concept, right? If you have a well-known speaker for your event, marketing this fact on your blog and social media outlets as well as others pertaining to your speaker will boost up your popularity for sure.

2. Have a “wow” factor; make sure there is something unique about your event. In the marketing world, we call this the USP or Unique Selling Proposition. If you have an original idea for your event, it’s much easier to get a niche crowd excited about it. Use this USP to decide where and how to market your event as well.

3. Have sharable content. Make sure your content is easy to read and understand, and that your website contains pertinent information so it’s simple for attendees to show off to their friends.

4. Get your online community really, really excited. Become your own personal cheerleader…or that guy who gets the crowd dancing at clubs and parties. Don’t get too “in their face,” though, or you’ll scare them away.

5. Keep them guessing…for a little while. Everyone wants what they can’t have. Offer up a few facts at first, then add information right before people become impatient. It will keep people coming back for more.

We want to know, have your events gone viral? How?

3 Steps To Building Great Sales Relationships

When a potential customer first comes in contact with your ministry or business, do they encounter a selling or buying environment? For many of us, I would venture to say it’s a selling environment. In other words, you center your marketing and sales efforts primarily on you and your product.

While it’s important to tell people about your ministry or business, this should not be the main focus. Instead, concentrate on creating a buying environment, where the focus is on customers and what they want. A great way to create this environment is through building personal relationships with your potential customers.

At LifeWay’s Ridgecrest and Glorieta conference centers, our sales staff emphasize building relationships with both existing and prospective customers. Our desire is for our customers to connect personally with their salesperson. We strongly believe that people buy from people they like and to whom they feel connected. This means that making sales is all about the relationship.

You can do many things to build relationships with your customers, but here are three to focus on first and foremost:

1. Be a good listener. Too many sales people talk too much. If you do all the talking, then you’re creating a selling environment. Remember, it’s not about you and your facility. The goal is to give your attention to the customer and to create a buying environment. Concentrate on asking questions to get to know your customer. This will help build rapport and get the relationship off on the right foot. Find out what’s important to them, what they want, what they need, etc. The more they talk, the more engaged they become in the possibility of buying from you.

2. Partnership. We are a ministry, serving other ministries. We want our customers to know that we see ourselves as their ministry partner. This means we are willing to do whatever we can to help their ministry be successful, even if that means they don’t hold their event or conference with us. Putting their ministry first, above our desire to sell our facilities, helps us demonstrate our commitment to the relationship. Time and time again, this commitment has resulted in groups looking for ways to buy from us.

3. Frequency of contact. It’s difficult to build a personal relationship with someone you only contact once a year. The same is true in business. Most sales people only get in touch with their customers when they need something from them (i.e. a signed contract, a meal guarantee, rooming list, etc.). Instead, focus on maintaining regular, ongoing contact with your customers. These contacts can be in the form of a phone call, an e-mail, a handwritten note or even a link to an article you think they may find helpful. The “how” is not as important as the fact that you are willing to invest time in building the relationship.

A word of caution when it comes to contact frequency: Just as some friends need to be touched more than others, the same is true here. Be sure to get to know your customers well enough that you know how frequently you need to contact them.

Regardless of who the person you’re speaking to is , they all could be potential customers for your organization. How are you building your relationship with them? The answer to that question could go a long way in determining your ministry’s future direction.