Like any other business, a religious business is out to pursue growth. However, while other businesses focus on improving their products and services to attract potential customers, religious businesses connect with people on a deeper level using their faith-based values.
According to a 2016 study by the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation, religious businesses rake in about 1.2 trillion dollars of economic value to the U.S. economy. This is more than the annual revenues of top tech companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon. So, if you believe you have what it takes to help people build their faith, here are tips on how to market your religious business.
1. Try to define your audience.
Many religious businesses don’t fully understand what it means to define their audience. To them, the fact that they run a business geared towards a certain faith is enough to make anyone understand what they do. But, unfortunately, you’ll need to do more than that if you want to promote your religious business and take it to the next level.
Let’s say you’re opening up a church. To properly define your audience, ask yourself what your response would be if someone asked you what type of Christians you work with. Are you aiming to attract teenagers, fresh graduates, couples, families, new converts, or addicts? For instance, saying “I provide counseling to Christians who are single and battling with pornography and sex addiction” is better than saying “I provide counseling to Christians” or “I provide counseling to single Christians.”
In the first statement, you have streamlined your target audience to be Christian singles, and you will provide a service that helps them battle pornography and sex addiction. This means you have created a niche for yourself and can easily become the go-to source for singles battling this sort of addiction. As the famous saying goes, a jack of all is a master of none. It’s the same logic when you try to generalize your business. You’ll lose focus and direction.
2. Use physical communication tools.
Having your target audience is one step in the right direction. The next step would be to find an effective way to communicate with them. One of the best communication tools for religious businesses is the use of church bulletins. This typically involves having an announcement page at the back where vital information can be shared.
This is a great way to market your church business and get more people to understand the services you offer. For instance, on Mother’s Day, you can create a church bulletin that reflects the day’s celebration. At the announcement section of the bulletin, you can state that the ultimate mother’s love would be to help their child overcome sinful addictions, then go further to explain what you do.
The advantage that church bulletins have over other advertisement channels like radio or TV is that they tend to stick around for a longer time. This is because most people digest information at a slower pace, and posting an announcement on a church bulletin means they can always go back to it at any time.
Furthermore, ensure that your announcement is as concise as possible and avoid being too “salesy.” The idea is to let people know how you can help them. Therefore, start with a catchy opening that explains the problem you solve and end with a clear call to action. Also, remember to include your contact details at the end of the bulletin announcement.
3. Get your religious business online.
We live in a digital age, and businesses with no online presence risk being left behind. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a retailer or a service-based religious business; you’ll need to have an active online presence to attract more people. You see, the internet is fast becoming the number one source for information, and most people will not make a service or product decision until they have gone online to research the company. Similarly, most potential customers won’t buy products or services except they can view your online profile.
Even if everyone in your ministry and community knows about your business, they’ll still want to see your online profile. Besides, having an online presence exposes you to people around the globe. It opens up your market and gives you a wider marketing nest to get new customers.
The first step is to create an online presence is to own a website. You can contract this to a web developer or do it yourself using WordPress. This website should contain information about the business and services you render. Also, you can further and create different blog posts that relate to what you do.
Next would be to create social media profiles on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or whatever social media channels your target audience frequents. There’s no denying that Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels, and almost everyone can boast of an Instagram account. Therefore, it would do your business a truckload of good to create Instagram post ideas like an inspiring quote, meme, and catchy photos to gain new followers. Also, popular Instagram hashtags and influencer marketing are other creative ways to market your religious business online.
4. Ensure brand consistency.
As a religious business, you must have a brand. Your brand should represent what makes you unique and the values and principles that your company upholds. Without a brand, it would be difficult for people to differentiate from the sea of other competitors.
For instance, suppose you’re a Muslim business that sells strictly Halal meat. This would mean that the Muslim criteria guide your brand. Therefore, consistency would mean ensuring that this Muslim principle reflects in every aspect of your business. In simple terms, brand consistency refers to how a company presents itself in alignment with its core values.
Ensuring brand consistency across all your platforms helps your brand become reliable and encourages customers’ trust and loyalty. These are critical attributes for religious businesses. However, despite the benefit brand consistency offer, it can be challenging to maintain because, without sufficient guidance and monitoring, individuals can create marketing materials that do not align with the company.
The best way to ensure consistency and monitor your marketing campaign and communication strategy is through integrated marketing communications software. A marketing communication software is an easy way to ensure that all your team members are on the same page when creating, communicating, and collaborating on marketing strategies. It also ensures uniformity in the template, brand color, and brand story across every touchpoint of your business.
5. Don’t forget to network.
While building your online presence is great, you mustn’t wholly ignore all offline efforts to market your business. Similar to bulletin publications, networking is a great way to meet and interact with your target audience. In addition, it helps to generate offline traffic by placing you at the forefront of your local community.
Networking also makes it easy to deepen your relationship with community members, other religious business owners and get referrals. If you’re unsure of where to begin, start with the religious centers in your community that you share a common faith.
Alternatively, depending on the kind of business you have, you can also reach out to your local chamber of commerce. The bottom line is to establish and build relationships that’ll deepen your knowledge about your target audience while helping you connect better with them.