DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
JESUS LOVES EVERYONE, SO DON’T WE WANT TO TARGET EVERYONE WITH OUR MARKETING?
Every single person in your city, within a fifty-mile radius… that’s your target audience. Right? If that is your mindset, you have an uphill battle in front of you. Don’t get me wrong, you certainly want to see every man, woman, and child come to know Jesus through your church. As Christians, we love ev- eryone! But here is the crazy truth: to reach more people, focus on fewer people. Your church is going to make a much deeper impact on your community if you tailor the entire experience to a specific demographic. It seems counterintuitive, I know. Keep reading.
When I started my first marketing company I had no in- tention of making it an agency specifically for ministries. Sure, I wanted to help churches, but I also wanted to have clients in numerous other industries. The more business types that we would serve, the bigger our company would be. So I thought. Ini- tially I designed our website and our marketing to showcase the great pricing and offers we had, but I never specified what kind of industry we specialized in. I didn’t want to exclude anyone.
We were a marketing agency for any and all businesses.
But unfortunately our marketing was totally failing. I was confused as to why very few people were clicking on our ads, and we were barely getting any sales from our website. It was com- pletely deflating. Why couldn’t I get clients when our prices were cheaper than our competitors, and our service was better? What the heck?
After some prayer and reflection, I felt that God had put a passion in my heart to help churches. I really didn’t have lasting fulfillment helping the kinds of businesses that I hadbeen serving, so maybe God was leading me into a new thing. I realized that I was tired of spending all of my time helping businesses that I had no passion for. However, the church is something that excites me—it’s something I do have a passion for. In the past, I had been on staff at a few churches, and both my wife and I grew up in ministry. Ministry has always been our number one thing, so the idea of being able to put every- thing I’ve learned about marketing into helping churches and being a resource for church leaders sounded incredible! But to be honest, I genuinely felt that it was too niche of a market to be sustainable for a business. I thought that there wouldn’t be enough clients for me to grow a successful agency.
But I went for it. I launched our new entity called Vibrant Agency and made it 100% focused on exclusively serving the marketing and media needs of churches. I stayed up all night (quite literally) and put together our whole website and set up our social media profiles. By dawn, Vibrant Agency was officially a full-service media and marketing agency for churches, and only for churches. The next day, I opened my computer and launched three different Instagram and Facebook ads exclusively for pastors. It felt so weird having such a small niche audience. I really didn’t think it would work. I was in for a huge shock.
POOR FOUNDATIONS YIELD POOR RESULTS
To my amazement I was getting a hundred times the amount of leads, web traffic, and conversions than I was just two days before. I signed on our first church in less than one week of this new launch. Even though our ads targeted fewer people, we grew exponentially.
Fast forward six years later. As of 2023, we are now one of the nation’s leading marketing agencies for churches. How cool is that? Although I greatly reduced the number of people in the target audience I was advertising to, our marketing was now much more effective. Why is that? It’s because we were now the specialist to that niche audience. Our target audience knew we were the right fit for them. We spoke the language of pastors and church leaders, and they felt more comfortable partnering with us because we had their trust. We were their people.
Sometimes you have to become smaller in order to get bigger.
This story goes to show that highly defining your target audience does not mean fewer people, it means more. When you define the exact type of person that you want to tailor your church’s experience for, you are much more likely for that person to feel like you “get” them. They will be proud to be a part of your church, because they feel like they belong. You are their people. Take the plunge and make your whole strategy based on one specific type of person, and become the best for them. You can’t be the best for everyone; just be the very best for one demographic.
But wait, there is good news. Even though you focus on one demographic, that doesn’t mean you will only reach that one person type. Other demographics will also be served by and attracted to your church. I am constantly amazed by how many people don’t fit into our cultural norms. I see people that don’t fit certain stereotypes—wearing brands, attending events, or watching shows that I would have never guessed that they would like. You don’t have to worry that your church will end up only serving a specific type of person, or that everyone else will feel out of place. This is just about making your marketing specific. You will still have a well-rounded congregation, and people will still feel like they belong, even if they are outside of your defined target audience. Don’t be all things to all people, but find who you truly are and go all in with that.
Here are a few examples of a well-defined target audience:
– Young couples with children under ten years old
– Men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty who have a worldly past
– Established professionals in their forties
– Local college-aged students
You need to be prayerful and strategic when deciding who your target audience is. There must be a combination of natural intuition and seeking God’s leading. Sometimes your location makes the choice easier for you. If you live in a college town filled with hip twenty-three-year-olds, that might be who you target. Maybe your area is filled with business professionals or young families. Take your natural demographics into consider- ation, pray about it, and define your target audience.
If you define, your numbers will climb. (You like that?)
Pro Tip – Whoever you decide is your target audience, use photos of that demographic on your website and social media feed as much as possible.
Ross Turner, Owner & Founder of Vibrant Agency
Church Marketing Agency