As a church, your mission is to deliver a message of spirituality that engages your current members and welcomes new ones. Part of that message is consistency in images, colors, and other graphic elements. It may seem odd to talk about branding and marketing when you talk about a church, which is not a profit-making company. However, a church needs to make sure parishioners and would-be members receive a consistent message through its church printing. This fosters a sense of trust and helps a church stand out.
Churches Need a Marketing Approach
When you create a marketing approach for your church, focus on the main things people gain from becoming members of a church:
- Spiritual growth
- Community engagement
- Social support
Some churches offer additional, tangible benefits, including Sunday school, adult classes, food banks, ministerial counseling, and connections to local support organizations. In your marketing materials, it’s important to highlight these benefits using materials that convey a warm, welcoming message.
Church Printing Is the Heart of Your Outreach
Print materials are especially helpful for church communications. Even in today’s increasingly digital age, people appreciate printed materials. Studies have found that printed ads, mailers, and brochures engage people on a deeper, more emotional level than digital ads. People keep these printed materials longer and are more likely to make decisions based on them. That level of emotional engagement is precisely what you want when people consider joining or donating to your church.
What can a good outreach campaign do? Use church printing to achieve several goals:
- Let people know what your church offers. This is one of the best ways to reach people new to the area or those who are wondering about their next spiritual steps. Although church attendance is declining in some areas, many people feel strongly spiritual and are looking for places where they can express those feelings. Show them what your church provides. A letter from a church followed by postcards and newsletters will remind them that they have a place to go.
- Inform your congregation about upcoming events. Does your church hold classes, social get-togethers, food drives, or other communal events? Posting the information on your church website is an important first step, but mailers and newsletter announcements will reinforce the message and remind people that it’s coming up. Use posters, postcards, and leaflets to advertise the event to the wider community.
- Address difficult topics with your congregation and the public. If your church has faced a challenging situation or been involved in some controversy, it is pointless to hide it. The truth will come out, and it will probably emerge as gossip and misinformation. Get ahead of this by addressing difficult subjects honestly and straightforwardly. Acknowledge the issue, and focus on your church’s response going forward. Express a desire to work together to build a positive future.
- Share important memories. A wonderful way to use church printing is to create directories, memory books, or scrapbooks of your congregation’s life events. Whether it’s a baptism, wedding, or funeral, use this opportunity to create engagement. Take photographs and include them with a description of the event. Highlight the family’s special day in the church bulletin or newsletter. This shows you care about your parishioners. It also strengthens the sense of community in your church members.
Consistency Is Key
In an article on church communication strategies, John Gilman writes about the importance of consistent branding for a church: “At a foundational level, the church is a place where people give their time, energy, and charitable gifts to spread the Good News and make more disciples. What sets your church apart from the church a few blocks over? What is the vision for your church, and is that recognized by the community in your branding?”
Gilman notes that the cornerstones of this branding are a logo and consistent styles across all communications: “Having this on hand helps all the staff members in your church who run various aspects of your ministry work together to put forward publications and materials that look streamlined and uniform…They flow with the recognizable church logo so that the brand is on point as you’re continuously marketing the church.”
When you create printed materials for your church, keep consistency in your logos, colors, and other elements. Are your current logos and newsletter designs out of date? A graphic designer can give you a fresh look with a modern logo, updated newsletter layout, improved brochures, and more.
Use Church Printing to Target Your Current Audience
While reaching people in your community is important, you may be overlooking the main source of growth and outreach that already exists in your church. According to the church blog unSeminary, churches that are growing successfully are those that have a strong “invite culture.” These churches focus on getting current members to invite friends and family members to church events. If these invitees feel welcome and enjoy their visit, they will return.
As author Rich Birch writes, “After years of study and hundreds of interviews with leaders within the fastest growing churches across the country, my deep conviction is that churches that grow have built a series of systems that reinforce an ‘invite culture.’”
Your printed materials can motivate members to bring other people through the door. Use these materials to strengthen your members’ connection and engagement.
Types of Church Printing
For many churches, the newsletter is the primary means of communicating with members. Is your newsletter attractive, informative, and enjoyable to read? Develop a strategy for your newsletter by asking these questions:
- How often should it go out?
- How many articles should be in each newsletter?
- What topics should it cover?
- Who will handle editorial and design?
- How many copies should you print and mail?
If you work with a professional printer, you can ensure consistency in the quality and visual appeal of your newsletter.
Many churches still use bulletins as a supplement to the newsletter or a way to make special announcements. Even in the age of digital communications, many parishioners expect something to hold and read when they enter the church. To make bulletins count, consider this:
- Do your bulletins convey the information you want them to?
- Are they well written and free of typos?
- Are they attractive, or could they use a design overhaul?
Church printing can include booklets about the church. These booklets should describe your church’s mission and philosophy. Tell the world what sets you apart. Make the booklet appealing with graphics, photographs, and high-quality printing.
It can also include one-time booklets printed especially for funerals and other special events. These booklets reinforce your connection with church members, and that reinforced sense of community is a key goal of church printing.
Spread the Word with Professional Printing
We hope you’ve found this guide useful. At Dazzle Printing, we help churches develop and print beautiful, high-quality materials at affordable rates. Contact us to learn more.