We have historically hosted different types of outreach events on our campus. It wasn’t until about five years ago that we finally took the classic outreach event, the block party, to the next level. One of the biggest changes we made was our approach to marketing. The goal of any block party should be to mainly focus on bringing in people that are not part of your church. Yes, of course, you want to get as many people as you can from your congregation to attend, including a mixture of adults and kids. Why? Because having a crowd attracts a crowd! When an event first starts, the crowd numbers are usually low because no one wants to be the first to arrive. This is when people from your church should be there. The more people and cars on campus when guests arrive, the better! This creates an excitement that something BIG is happening. Believe it or not, this very simple idea of having a crowd before the crowd is a game changer for the success of your block party.
So, this brings us to the question: how do we get people there? How do we fill the campus with many new families? You need to implement a strategic marketing plan. Here are 5 things we do in our marketing to not only get people to attend, but to also have all event expenses 100% covered by sponsors.
Church “Block Party” Checklist
- BUILD YOUR BRAND – First and foremost, you need to make sure what you are sending out in digital and print formats is professional. You only have ONE CHANCE to make a good first impression. Your budget should include hiring a design team to help you create your brand and execute your campaign. Don’t miss this very important step. There’s a reason why it’s #1!
- DIRECT MAIL – We use “Every Door Direct” from USPS. This is an inexpensive way to reach thousands of households in the area around your church. Contact USPS to find out how many households you can mail to at least three times while staying within your budget. Mailing three times or more is vital! I cannot overemphasize the fact that multiple mailers are the key to getting people to come. Statistics say that people don’t pay attention until the third mailer. I also use the exact same mailer all three times. This not only saves money in printing and designing, but the repetition gets people’s attention.
- SOCIAL MEDIA – Don’t just post any random post or graphic. Have a specific planned social media campaign that complements all of your other marketing pieces. You don’t want someone to arrive at your block party and think they showed up at the wrong place. Once your posts/graphics are created, you will want to make sure you boost them using the radius of your event and also the correct targeted demographics.
- BUSINESS PARTNERS – Wouldn’t you like have to your block party 100% paid for using outside funds? Of course, you would! Well, the good news is you can do it! There are businesses in your local area that would love to partner for the exchange of advertising at the event. We have a few different levels of business partnerships. They range from $125 to $750. Depending on the level, businesses will be able to advertise in a business partner book, social media, direct mailers and also to be included on signage at the event. The last several years our partners have paid for the entire event. When you make the advertising look professional, businesses will want to buy into your event.
- REGISTRATION – Our event is always free, but people must still register to enter. We give them an incentive to do so by having two big giveaways. We have given away bikes and also gift cards throughout the years. Registration allows you to receive names, emails and addresses to keep for following up. Follow-up will have its own blog post, but essentially if you are not following up with some type of communication, you are missing an unmatched opportunity for reaching potential families for your church. Every name that comes through registration is entered into our CMS (Church Management System) and tagged “Event Prospect.” This allows us to follow up with them for months and years to come.
Though this is not a comprehensive list of every step that goes into planning an effective block party, it will give you a starting point on how to begin a marketing campaign for your event. If our team at FaithWorks can help you with your next event, don’t hesitate to contact us. Check out our website at www.faithworksimage.com.