Marketing can sound like a bad word when used within the context of ministry. After all, we’re not selling a product, right? Not exactly. Michael Marchand at eCatholicWebsites writes that our “product”, if you will, is the salvific message of Jesus Christ. Marketing is simply spreading the word (or Word) about the sacramental graces found in the Church.
If marketing is HOW we evangelize on the parish level, then marketing is a form of EVANGELIZATION. Which means marketing should be one of the PRIMARY FOCUSES of our Church – especially on the parish level. And if that’s the case, then we should be doing it with excellence, creativity and innovation.
Marchand then walks us through an assessment of our parish communications–printed materials, website, social media, and word of mouth– from the perspective of how effective they are for marketing and evangelization, emphasizing both the positives and negatives. For websites, he asks us to consider:
First and foremost, do we have a website? Is it up to date? Is it easy to navigate? Is there a way for people to easily get in touch with someone? Is it beautiful? Is there content worth reading? Is it easy to share via social media?
Negative Points: Use of frames, animated GIFs, broken links, lack of contact info, use of flash, third/fourth level navigation, cluttered home page, and the use of the forbidden fonts.
Bonus Points: Social media integration, pastor’s blog, online registration, photo directory of staff, online tithing, and consistent branding.
It’s well worth taking time on a regular basis to look at our communications and assessing how effective they are today for the community we serve. This isn’t a bad tool for that assessment. Keep in mind that it is Pilot New Media’s mission–as a ministry of the Archdiocese of Boston– to assist parishes and ministries in the Archdiocese with using new media tools more effectively and if you would like assistance in performing an assessment of your website or social media, feel free to contact us.