In a previous work life, I was the Director of Communications at a very large church. One of my many responsibilities was to promote attendance at the various events we hosted, including a large Christmas program which drew thousands of visitors over the course of several services. My goal was to increase yearly attendance by ten percent. You can be sure that I had a full plan of attack when it came to promotion for this event: newspaper ads, postcards, billboards, etc. But what I learned was that no matter what I did, the single most effective draw to any of our programs was the invitations shared by our regular church attendees.
Your customers or congregation are a willing and able extension of your marketing team. But you cannot just send them off with the mission to go and spread the word. You need to make it easy and arm them with the tools they need to effectively share your story. So how do you use word-of-mouth to get your message out?
Word-of-mouth marketing might seem very basic, and while it is not hard, it is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of a solid marketing strategy. This is a shame, since it can also be one of your most effective and affordable resources if done correctly. According to a Nielsen study, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. This study also revealed that online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging. Word-of-mouth marketing is generated by consumers based on their consumer experiences.
If you aren’t maximizing your word-of-mouth opportunities, you are missing out. Need further convincing? Here are some additional stats from referralrock.com.
Data continually proves that word-of-mouth works.
So just how do you take advantage of this secret marketing weapon? Here are a few tips you can start implementing today.
Create a Great Experience
The first thing to remember is that when people have a memorable experience, they can’t wait to tell others about it. The trick is to create that great experience.
The Christmas program I mentioned above is a good example. These services were incredibly well done and created a one-of-a-kind church experience for the attendees. People couldn’t wait to talk about it. But it wasn’t just the content of the service people remembered, it was all the other details that went along with it — things like parking, easy navigation, the clean environment and the friendly people.
Remember, you don’t have to pull off something big, but you do need to pay attention and see what you are doing through the eyes of your guests. Details matter. This is what people notice. And this is what they talk about
Equip Your Team
The more resources and tools you give your church attendees, the easier you make it for them to share your message. It also allows you to maintain control over the message that is being shared.
- Consider printing invitation cards and making them available for your attendees or customers to take and pass out.
- If you have a little more room in your budget, why not turn these cards into magnets? People have a hard time throwing magnets away.
- What about an online version of your invite card that can be shared electronically from your website?
- Don’t forget to utilize printing overruns on postcards. Put postage stamps on your cards and ask your clients to take a few, address and mail them.
Strengthen Your Social Media Strategy
COVID-19 forced everyone to up their virtual communication game. But it is always a good idea to take stock of your online presence. Be intentional with your social media. Create shareable elements that allow your audience to have fun and feel connected.
- Use great images. If you can’t take good ones — there are plenty of apps with free stock photos.
- Shoot a video from your phone with a personal invitation. A warm message is a great way to make guests feel welcome. Pay attention to quality — barking dogs or office mates walking in and out of the frame are a distraction.
- Share behind-the-scenes images. These make people feel like they are an “insider.”
- Be sure to include information such as your church or business name and your address in your posts. Your regulars already know this but if they share your post, potential guests may not.
- Don’t forget to have fun with Facebook and Instagram stories — use options like questions and polls that allow viewers to talk back to you.
- If you are a church, promote your sermon series. These can be a huge draw. If you use bumper videos, these can be incorporated into social media posts to pique curiosity.
REMEMBER, WORD-OF-MOUTH WORKS BOTH WAYS
Never assume that people will only speak positively. Besides raving about what they love, people also like to vent about things they do not like. Your job is to ensure that your audience, customers or congregation has positive things to say.
Infinity Concepts is here to help you with all your marketing and communication needs!
Reach out to DARRELL LAW, our Chief Growth Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or contact us today at 724.733.1200 X26.
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