Bro Anthony LoCascio, tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
I am currently a church planter 20 minutes outside of Chicago’s North Shore, pastoring The Life Church of Glenview with a daughter work and thrift store in Arlington Heights. I have three wonderful children and a beautiful wife. I also own a printing and promotional marketing distributorship.
Why should churches be involved in marketing? What makes this an important topic?
We live in a digital age. People look up churches online first before they ever step foot in the building. If you have an effective marketing campaign/strategy, you will raise your chances of having more first-time visitors, which means you can connect with more people and hopefully turn them into permanent members.
You often hear the word “branding” when speaking of marketing. What does this mean and how does this translate into reaching your community?
Branding is more than just specific colors and a logo. Entrepreneur.com defines branding as “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” What this boils down to for a church is that they need to create a symbol that is eye-catching and helps define their church and their purpose so that people in their community can recognize who that church is and what they’re all about. Think of your brand as the nature or climate of your church displayed on marketing materials.
Pastors usually understand the need to have effective promotions for their church’s events and ministries. But how are promotions and marketing different? Are both needed?
Marketing is your overall strategy to reach people with your product or service. Promotion is the act of reaching those people. Marketing includes the product, pricing, placement, and promotion and should be executed with a planned strategy. If a church wants to promote a particular event, such as a youth event, then they would begin by defining the product (the youth event), then determine the price (free admission or price for food afterward), the placement (target teens and young adults, determine which platforms to use to promote the event, i.e. social media, posters and handing out flyers in areas where youth-aged people would be most likely to see them), and then the actual promotion (creating the image for the event, paying for flyers and posters, boosting posts on Facebook, organizing times for the youth group to go and hand out flyers to different areas, etc.). You can’t have promotion without marketing. Both are needed.
What have YOU found to be your best tools of promotions and marketing? Statistically, and in my experience, nothing compares to the effectiveness of genuine word-of-mouth. That used to be enough to get people in the door. However, it’s becoming more and more necessary to have a strong web presence and good content online to help confirm the face-to-face witness. Without the online presence, the face-to-face loses credibility. I encourage my congregation to intentionally promote our church in person, but it is very necessary to couple a personal witness with strong, targeted marketing. Consistent social media engagement along with boosted posts on Facebook or paid Facebook advertising have been hugely successful for big events. Door hangers, flyers passed out around the community, and postcards have also been very effective in getting people in the door.
If a church has a limited budget, what should they, in your opinion, focus upon first?
The first thing a church needs is a well-designed, engaging website. Eighty percent of all first-time guests already visited your website first. Next, a church needs to have a plan to spread excitement in a multi-channel approach. Excitement about your involvement in a church can be contagious and easily spread through social media. It’s also a good idea to have simple invitations like business cards in every member’s pockets while out at work or school. A church can post on their Facebook page and have its members ‘share’ it on their own Facebook pages for a more organic and free promotion. Facebook loves to see daily posts with images and engagement. Video is king in social media. I recommend using Facebook schedulers, Facebook Live videos, share and commenting on every post as well as checking in while at church as ways to reach more people. You can ‘boost’ a post on Facebook for relatively cheap and still reach hundreds, if not thousands (depending on how much money you put into the promotion). After covering the online traffic, I suggest door hanger invitations or ‘we prayed for you’ messages, as they are a very inexpensive and effective way to create community awareness.
What is your company, how did you get started in this, and what does your company offer?
L&L Graphic Solutions is a single source solution for all marketing needs. We serve churches with design, printing and promotional product distributorship. We offer design and web development, online marketing, apparel, signage, and capabilities to print a logo or a message on over 850,000 products.
Any success stories? Who is successfully using your products?
Using Facebook marketing for The Life Church of Glenview’s Multi-Cultural Family Fest in the summer of 2017, we attracted more than 300 guests and had at least five families, including a family from Indiana, come back to a service. My company was grateful to have helped nine Kraft Foods bakeries across America rebrand their building, signage, and uniforms into Mondelez’ International, a successful two-year, several hundred thousand dollar project. We do most of the promotional products and apparel work for the Special Olympics of Illinois. Our big event Facebook promotion was successful in launching a local thrift store’s big one-day event and increase their revenue by 200%. Additionally, many camps, retreats, and youth convention committees have called on us for t-shirt printing and signage.
Phone number: 847-258-4002
Christina Li, Author, Journalist
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