Marketing Ministries and Christian Based Events
I have always been concerned with the way that the church markets ministries. I wanted to be able to make a difference in the religious market so I started my own website. With years as an expert in television and film productions, I thought that this would be the right step. Does anyone else agree that there is a major rift between how churches market their "product"? Anyone else have any ideas to contribute to the way that Churches have missed the opportunities. I have set up a ministry based marketing site to help people interested in the world of television, marketing, ministry, and broadcasting.
Let me know what you think
Atom McCree is a marketing expert with experience in film, television, advertising, and marketing for Ministries. Over 10 years of experience in the professional field of advertising. Worked with companies like P.B.S. Studios, GodTV, Daystar, TBN, and cable markets in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, & Miami.
I have set this site up to help the church reach people
Atom (Is that really your first name... that's pretty awesome,
I have a feeling an honest conversation about this topic could get pretty heated, so I'll try to tread softy.
When I read your post, I got the impression that you were concerned about churches falling into a trap by following popular marketing techniques du jour rather than just being authentic and using marketing to hone and project the message. I think I misread your post.
It's hard to judge the value of your content since there effectively isn't any. There's just a sales page for a product people have no way gauge the merits of. Try posting bits of your content in the form of blog posts so that people can see what they would be getting, or at least get a little something for free. This might give visitors reason to stay longer the time it takes to realize there's no way to turn off the music.
My 2 cents,
Thanks for the input. I want to make this site successful to reach my market, and was interested in opinions. Many thanks, anyone else feel free to comment or give me advice.
Without seeing any samples of your work on the site, there's no way to trust the quality of what you do. Potential clients will definitely want to see samples, as many as possible.
As noted above, too sparse a page to know anything about you or what you do.
Also, you might want to remove that link to the bluehost.com control panel in the lower right. Really doesn't need to be there.
Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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The flash animation on your main site looks very nice, but you'll want to double check the spelling of some text. (for instance...*Endeavor* to create concepts, *Affect* the lives of the lost, etc.)
Typos on your web page can directly affect your business. (Can you hear someone thinking "If he doesn't even spell his own material correctly, how can I expect him to spell my graphics correctly?)
Sorry to be harsh on that, but spelling has been shown to be one of the top influencers regarding web credibility.
For more on what makes a web site credible, check out the Stanford Web Credibility Project.
Good topic. Lots of us in that arena need help. I have a content-driven ministry, rather than a church or event based ministry, and it is growing slowly but steadily. Budget is always a concern, and things need to be as simple as possible. I'm looking for ideas.
Kathlyn, Tim and I have talked from time to time about adding a forum for the discussion of worship and ministry related video production.
If anyone here would be interested in hosting a forum of this nature, please get hold of me at email@example.com and we will work with you to get a forum live.
I too have been looking for input for a church-based video ministry that I am involved with. My problem is that I come from a documentary film making and television background and am trying to figure out how to generate effective content with no budgets, a team of people who have no television experience but are willing to learn.
I agree with the other posters, nobody will pay for your content without seeing what they are getting for their money. Both of your websites, while cosmetically nice, have no content, there is really nothing to see yet.
If you want to be successful, you will need to add actual samples of content, credible testimonials and a taste of what we can expect if we buy your product(s). Potential customers also need to see if you know what you are doing and if your advice is credible.
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As with anything else there are several schools of thought on the matter. I work in communications for a regional "conference" (in the Episcopal office) with almost 700 churches. Not only is there a division of thought among the young and old, but there are variances of opinion among clergy and lay leaders as well as discussions on whether the church/ministry is a business and whether it should be run as such. I did put together some resources at one point for an article I wrote on church marketing that might help you a little.
Here are the resources - mostly links to other church marketing sites.
If you care to see the article it is here:
Be careful about using the term "marketing" without qualifying it though. You might be surprised at how negative the perception of that word is to people outside of communications industries. I've learned that many view marketing as intentionally misleading people and they tend to view many marketing efforts as disingenuous. Good luck. There are many churches that can use any help they can get.
Good point on the potential negative connotations regarding the term "marketing". At my organization, I work on "Outreach Campaigns" (as opposed to "Marketing".) ;-)
Oh Boy!!! What a "Can O' Worms" this one is. I've not been posting much as business is booming and I simply don't have the time to join in the fracus as much as I would like. But on this one I can't resist. Over the last ten years I have been involved in many aspects of church ministry and production. From producing a double length live worship CD to filming a mission trip in Guatemala for a full length documentary, and all aspects in between. I have seen everything from tasteful and effective use of media to the ridiculous and down right offensive. What I'm about to say is my opinion and my opinion only and should be taken as such. It is not meant to offend but to get people thinking and talking
Christianity or any other religion for that matter, is not a product. To treat it as such I think does a great disservice and usually comes across as disingenuous and self serving. Case in point, Atom's website. All flash with no substance. Church and ministry however is a different matter. The church as a functioning body is indeed a marketable product and must be marketed to keep the chairs filled and the collection baskets full. Churches have bills to pay and salaries to fulfill just like any other business. The church is not in the business of selling the belief system and faith of Christianity but more so their own take on it. There are so many different angles now that to differentiate yourself from the church down the street, marketing is a must. This used to not be the case. Before this country became a Post Christian society, the choices were few, and you pretty much new what you were getting before you walked in the door. Interesting that more people went to church(ratio wise) when there were fewer choices. Marketing efforts were minimal as they were unnecessary. Not the case today.
If we take a look at the current state of Christian media it's no wonder people are disillusioned and confused. With the exception of a few, they are wrought with scandal, greed and hypocrisy. Most are nothing more than a money making machine set up very skillfully to line their pockets with offerings from the gullible and uneducated. So what to do?
Without throwing the baby out with the bath water, I think every church and every ministry needs to look at The Source....Jesus. If the message you are marketing is not focused on the words and deeds of Christ and developing a relationship with Him, you might as well hang it up. Content is king. And PLEASE.....stop using the word "relevant", it is subjective and means nothing. Stop placating to what you think people want in a church. Be who you are, and if people don't like it, then there are a thousand other doors to walk into on Sunday. I left a church last year that had a very savvy and sophisticated marketing campaign that included billboards, TV, radio and print. Every Sunday a host of new faces would show up, and the next Sunday, more new faces. The marketing campaign was very affective at bringing people in. But they didn't come back. Why? I don't know. Maybe the church across the street had better coffee. Maybe the music was better over there. Or maybe the Pastor went out on a limb on talked about Jesus that Sunday. And maybe the congregation was genuine and real. Maybe, just maybe...they were honest and humble and acted out there faith instead of just talking about it. Bottom line, you can market all you want, have great commercials, broadcast your service on Sunday morning, have great graphics and such during the service. All will be for nothing without honesty, transparency and substance.
Atom, you seem like a nice guy. And you certainly look the part with that suit. But I don't feel like you are an expert any more than I am. Your site comes across as self serving and self centered. Although your home page has very little text, "Atom Mccree" appears 8 times, 5 times on the About Us(me) page, 5 times on the Services page, and 3 times on the Contact page. You also talk about yourself in the third person which really creeps me out. I'm sorry dude, I would definitely rethink your motivation on this one. What you say you want to do and what your site communicates are 2 different things. Kinda like a lot of churches I've been to.
Higher Ground Media
I have a couple of quick questions for you and I can't seem find contact info for you. Would you mind shooting me an e-mail? firstname.lastname@example.org
Brant, I just sent you an email.
And Mick, I think you are right on target when you say "Bottom line, you can market all you want, have great commercials, broadcast your service on Sunday morning, have great graphics and such during the service. All will be for nothing without honesty, transparency and substance."
But isn't that also true about other businesses? For example, I can build great spots for a local restaurant that will bring people in, but if the restaurant serves lousy food, or have a dirty kitchen, people won't come back. They will tell their friends not to go there - and personal stories from trusted personal friends ALWAYS carries more weight than any video ever could.
[Timothy J. Allen] "But isn't that also true about other businesses? For example, I can build great spots for a local restaurant that will bring people in, but if the restaurant serves lousy food, or have a dirty kitchen, people won't come back. They will tell their friends not to go there - and personal stories from trusted personal friends ALWAYS carries more weight than any video ever could."
You got it. And you just hit the most important marketing tool any church has, word of mouth. If people's lives are being changed, if you feel a sense of genuineness and warmth when you walk in, if the sermon deals with real issues delivered in an honest fashion, if the worship is heartfelt, than word will spread. People will come, and you can use all that money you would have spent on marketing doing good works.
One thing I forgot to mention, I'm not a proponent of churches marketing themselves in the traditional sense. It's just to much talk. If you have to convince people how spiritual you are through your words(marketing), your probably not all that spiritual. St. Francis said it best..."At all times preach the gospel, and when all else fails, use words".
I cant' tell you how many times I have started a post here at The Cow that once I read it, I erased it. It just didn't need to be said. I stated the biggest marketing tool churches have is word of mouth, the second biggest sits on either side of their heads....ears.
Marketing by it's very nature is manipulation. I think we've seen enough of that in the church already. Once Christians learn how to keep quiet for a moment and listen to people's needs, the church will go a long way to filling seats on Sunday.
Higher Ground Media
I would like to thank everyone for the positive and negative aspects of my sites. I am glad to receive the criticism because I believe it is the only way to really improve. I think that it is a hot topic and I was happy to see the various viewpoints. It is a thin line, because the word of mouth is so valuable, but why not operate competitivly with the traditional forms of media. I think it is great to talk about it, and different people have different opinions. I developed these sites myself with no previous experience in the flash model. I am using them mostly for testing market purposes but it has been great to have your opinions.
As one who owns a video production business whose target audience is non-profit organizations, I find this thread interesting and valuable. I started Media317 a few years ago to provide churches, schools, and non-profit organizations video production services. The reality is that ministries NEED production services to effectively communicate their message to their audience. Call it Marketing or some other word, the reality is they have a message that needs to be communicated and video is the most effective tool.
The problem is that typical productions cost more than the average ministy or church can afford to pay. When over 80% of churches have active memberships of about 100, production service cost are way over their available budget. The approach that I have taken is to provide these services to these organizations at a rate they can afford. I have purposed to make video production available to any church or ministry. We achieve this by having the ministy do various aspects of the production, such as VO, drafting the scripts, talent from their ministry, etc. There are ways to make if affordable and viable.
We have had alot of success over the past few years operating with this philosophy. I do not define success as many would. We are not "rolling in the dough," but we have enabled small organizations and large organiztions to effectively communicate their message. I think we need more production houses reaching this market and recognizing the long term value it offers.