Billboards have been a staple in the marketing industry for many years. They’re both effective and affordable. Billboards help companies get their message out and they can do the same for your church.
What Not to Do
Although billboards can be utilized as an effective church marketing tool, there are certainly some wrong ways to do billboards.
Don’t be boring. Billboards typically work best when conveying a simple and concise message. Church marketers often make the mistake of trying to place lengthy messages on billboards and forget to keep it simple. However, too often church marketers confuse simple with boring. These two things are not the same and it is still possible to get creative while keeping it simple at the same time. Here is a perfect example from Times Square Church which demonstrates how church billboards can be simple, while also being creative and powerful.
Another common mistake we make when trying to spread the message of the Bible through marketing is not staying consistent. Every billboard need not be the same in a single campaign, but the overall message must be consistent and work together to reinforce a single idea.
Effective Billboard Marketing
As mentioned above, one of the greatest strengths of billboard advertising is the ability to reinforce a single message. This characteristic is ideal for church marketing as it can be utilized to reach those looking for answers in their lives by inviting them to look to Jesus and the Bible. Although billboards are not necessarily going to convert anyone, they can be a starting point by influencing people to walk through the doors of the local church.
Because billboards are so good at reinforcing a singular message, they can often be used successfully in conjunction with other campaigns. For example, a church that is promoting a social outreach program through a social media platform such as Twitter can also place billboards around town that display the name of the program along with the hashtag that corresponds to their social media campaign. This will not only strengthen name recognition for the church, but also drive more visitors to the social media campaign.
Here is a great example of a campaign from Cedar Creek Church that used billboards to drive traffic to an online campaign/website.
Billboard Marketing for Small Churches
Billboard advertising is not completely out of reach for smaller churches with smaller budgets.
As a small church you probably don’t have the budget to purchase multiple billboards around town, so you may need to pool together funds and invest in a single well placed billboard. If you only have one billboard the importance of location cannot be overstated. The key is to maximize the amount of impressions the billboard will produce for the price you pay.
Another way to maximize impressions with just one billboard is to do something edgy. You risk negative publicity, but there’s also opportunity for high reward, including national media attention. The Journey North Church used a single bulletin to create some controversy, start conversations and draw people to the church’s Facebook page for more dialogue. But it is possible to be too edgy.
Another option is to think smaller. You can target smaller outdoor advertising options such as city benches, bus stops and airport or mall displays. Here is an example of this type of campaign. These options are essentially tiny billboards and if the message is appropriate they can be as effective as traditional billboards but are typically less expensive.
No matter the size of your church, there is an effective billboard marketing strategy for you. Billboards can be used as a powerful marketing tool to reinforce your church’s message. As with any marketing medium, there are good ways and bad ways to use billboards. Hopefully we’ve outlined some of the good ways and offered some helpful ideas for your church.
What successful church billboards have you seen?Photo by Jacob Davies